The Clinton Credibility Gap Widens

Hillary Clinton, who already has a serious credibility problem, has been caught telling yet another untrue story. The New York Times reports:

Over the last five weeks, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has featured in her campaign stump speeches the story of a health care horror: an uninsured pregnant woman who lost her baby and died herself after being denied care by an Ohio hospital because she could not come up with a $100 fee.

The woman, Trina Bachtel, did die last August, two weeks after her baby boy was stillborn at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio. But hospital administrators said Friday that Ms. Bachtel was under the care of an obstetrics practice affiliated with the hospital, that she was never refused treatment and that she was, in fact, insured.

“We implore the Clinton campaign to immediately desist from repeating this story,” said Rick Castrop, chief executive officer of the O’Bleness Health System.

Linda M. Weiss, a spokeswoman for the not-for-profit hospital, said the Clinton campaign had never contacted the hospital to check the accuracy of the story, which Mrs. Clinton had first heard from a Meigs County, Ohio, sheriff’s deputy in late February.

A Clinton spokesman, Mo Elleithee, said candidates would frequently retell stories relayed to them, vetting them when possible. “In this case, we did try but were not able to fully vet it,” Mr. Elleithee said. “If the hospital claims it did not happen that way, we respect that.”

This story furthers two problems for Clinton–both that she is running a poor campaign and that she cannot be trusted. Failing to vet the story is just another in the long list of errors made by a campaign which started out as being perceived as an invincible force. The number of errors made by her campaign raises questions as to her competence as a manager and of the type of administration she would run.

While many campaigns have been caught saying things which turn out to be untrue, few do so with the frequency of Hillary Clinton. This news will probably hurt her campaign coming so soon after she was exposed for falsely claiming she faced sniper fire in Bosnia. Clinton has also received criticism for the numerous lies she has told when campaigning, with some of them discussed in this video from Lawrence Lessig (with transcript also posted). Worst of all she has perpetuated the lies of the Bush administration in justifying the Iraq war based on the 9/11 attacks. She has continued  pandering to fear of terrorism while campaigning and in her recent ads.

Her husband’s administration is largely remembered for the lies told, including the claim that “I did not have sexual relations with that women.” Even before entering a general election campaign, Hillary Clinton has a serious problem with regards to dishonesty. If the media destroyed Al Gore with erroneous claims of dishonesty, imagine what they will do to Hillary Clinton, where there are many real examples, in a race against John McCain.