CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ted Kennedy -- now backing Sen. Barack Obama -- refused to laud Hillary's signifance as an advocate for the Children's Health Insurance Program inside the Clinton White House. It looks like a political stab in the back. Health care is her signature issue. And previously, Kennedy had been full of praise. Just five months ago, he told the Associated Press:
"The children's health program wouldn't be in existence today if we didn't have Hillary pushing for it from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue."
And in July 1997, Sen. Kennedy told a Congressional press briefing:
". . . we pay tribute to Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton has made the issue of children's health and well-being her really first priority in this country, and she was of invaluable help, both in the fashioning and shaping or the program, and also as a clear advocate, in terms of having an effective outcome, during the discussion and debate on the children's health issue"
Without knocking Kennedy by name, the Clinton campaign put out a statement that complained, "Individuals who oppose Hillary Clinton's candidacy for president but previously lauded her role in helping create SCHIP are now belittling her involvement." Factcheck.org now is reporting that Hillary played a significant role in 1997, and that Kennedy relied on her influence at the White House to marshal support for CHIP.