Hillary and Children (Rather Than Hillary and Hsu)

Another observation on that Hillary Clinton press conference…

The questions were inevitably going to be dominated by her connection to a donor on the lam, but her championing of expanded health care insurance to children provides an ideal contrast.

Clinton sent cameras fiercely clicking when she fed a coughing two-year-old girl a cup of water, and received the baby’s photogenic and approving smile as a reward.

The scene, with Clinton standing in front of mothers and a child, echoed her first press event after declaring her candidacy in a Chelsea medical center, which ended up producing approving headlines and priceless Maternal Hillary photos.

Today, she used a similar backdrop to join Eliot Spitzer in attacking the Bush administration for a new policy limiting insurance coverage to children under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Spitzer is calling for the coverage to be expanded to help children in families that live 400 times above the poverty level, which he said is about $80,000 for a family of four. Along with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Spitzer sent a letter to Bush this month asking the administration to revoke new rules that make such extended coverage impossible.

He said the Bush administration “simply don’t understand health care economics,” and called it “fundamentally wrong, at a moral level, at an ethical level.”

Clinton, who introduced similar legislation to expand SCHIP in the Senate, took an even sharper line.

She cited census figures showing the number of uninsured children climbing under the Bush administration, an increase she called “unforgivable.”

In a refrain familiar to anyone who has followed her campaign, she said uninsured children were “invisible” to Bush, and said the administration’s new rules were done “under the cover of night” and amounted to a “sneak attack on the children of America and their hardworking families.”