NYT says historian Betsy McCaughey's profile has risen sharply as a result of her involvement in Obama health care debate





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  • Response of Betsy McCaughey to NYT article
  • ... Ms. McCaughey’s role as a central, if disputed, player in the national health care debate has surprised friend and foe alike, coming after a rise-and-fall story rare even by the standards of New York’s wild and woolly politics.

    For the last few years, Ms. McCaughey has worked in a relatively quiet, (mostly) noncontroversial fight against hospital infection death. Her campaign has drawn some bipartisan support and won credit in New York for helping to push a law requiring hospitals to report infection rates.

    But, she said an in an e-mail exchange, Mr. Obama’s health care proposals compelled her to weigh in. She said she kept the effort separate from her organization and had not coordinated with any political groups. (Ms. McCaughey resigned as a director at the medical supply company Cantel last month amid accusations of conflict of interest, which she denied.)

    Her work has, however, proved to be a boon to opponents of Mr. Obama’s health care plans, if occasionally judged as over the line even by some of them.

    She incorrectly stated in July that a Democratic bill in the House would “absolutely require” counseling sessions for Medicare recipients “that will tell them how to end their life sooner,” drawing a “Pants on Fire” rating from the PolitiFact fact-checking Web site; her false assertion that the presidential health adviser Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel believed “medical care should be reserved for the nondisabled” helped inspire the former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s discredited warning about “death panels’ ” deciding who is “worthy of health care.”

    Far from isolating Ms. McCaughey, it has all seemed to raise her profile to levels not seen since she left office, earning her a star turn last month on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. (The host, Jon Stewart, said he found her analysis “hyperbolic and in some cases dangerous.”)

    Admirers and foes say Ms. McCaughey’s loud re-emergence in the health care debate is a testament to the same singular drive — and unabated media appeal — that catapulted her from the obscurity of academia to the near-top of New York politics more than a decade ago....



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