Experts Doubt Clinton Claims on Kids' Health Care Legislation

Friends, foes dispute first lady's role
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2008 1:10 PM CDT
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., right, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., listen to fellow senators during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Nov 24, 2003 file photo.    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
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(Newser) – Legislators and advocates are disputing a key element of Hillary Clinton's stump speech: her description of her role in creating children’s health care legislation passed in 1997. The then-first lady often calls SCHIP an initiative “I helped to start,” the Boston Globe reports, but the White House lobbied against it at first, and some insiders are steaming over ads saying she "helped create" the program.

Clinton supporters backed up her version, but at least one of her fellow senators didn't. Asked whether Clinton deserves the credit she's taking, Orrin Hatch, who helped push the legislation through, responded, "No—Teddy does, but she doesn't." Ted Kennedy demurred when asked whether accounts of Clinton's role were overblown, saying, “Facts are stubborn things.”