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Hill Revisits Health Care

The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Francesca Gessner analyzes a new ad from Senate candidate Hillary Clinton playing up her continued commitment to health care reform.


The Ad: New York Democratic Senate candidate Hillary Clinton has released a new TV ad touting her long-standing commitment to improve health care. The 30-second commercial, titled Cause, is the first to mention Clinton's failed 1994 health care reform effort and highlights her plan to provide health care access for children, a Patients' Bill of Rights, and health coverage tax credits. The ad is running in New York City.

Audio: Announcer: "She's talking about health care...Because it's always been her cause. When her health care plan was defeated, she kept on fighting step by step and made a difference... mammograms covered by Medicare...longer hospital coverage for new mothers. In the Senate, Hillary will fight to provide health care access to every child, for a real Patients' Bill of Rights and tax credits to help those without coverage on the job. Who'll be a strong voice for better health care? Hillary. Always has been...always will be."

Visual: The ad features shots of Clinton speaking with patients and doctors in a hospital, and talking with people on the campaign trail across New York State. Along with the images of Hillary, the following text is written on the screen corresponding to the announcer's voice: "Mammograms Covered By Medicare," "Longer Hospital Coverage For New Mothers," and "Health Care Access To Every Child," "A Real Patients' Bill of Rights," and "Tax Credits To Help Those Without Coverage On The Job."

Fact check: No inaccuracies.

The Strategy: Cause aims to turn one of linton's biggest potential liabilities into a positive asset for her Senate campaign. Clinton's attempt at health care reform in 1994 remains her most high profile foray into policy-making - its failure, combined with the fact that Clinton has never held elected office, is a major potential weak point for Clinton in her Senate bid. Cause is an attempt to answer potential attacks on the issue by portraying Clinton's 1994 reform effort as proof of her longstanding commitment and perseverance rather than failure: "When her health-care plan was defeated, she kept on fighting, step by step, and made a difference." It is especially crucial for Clinton to bolster her legitimacy on the issue, given that Clinton has made health care reform a centerpiece of her New York Senate campaign, and has attacked her opponent Rep. Rick Lazio's voting record on the issue.

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