Lost in today's reporting around Cesar A. Borja is the significant role Hillary Clinton seems to have played in helping a bit of fiction play out on the National stage.
For days, a New York City police officer, Cesar A. Borja, who died of lung disease last month, was held up as a symbol of the medical crisis affecting the thousands of emergency personnel and construction workers who labored on the smoking remains of the fallen World Trade Center after the 9/11 attack.
The Times on Line took Hillary to task for providing her very own skutnik at Bush's recent State of the Union Address:
One January evening in 1982, Lenny Skutnik, a government employee, dived into the freezing waters of the Potomac River to rescue a victim of a plane crash. Two weeks later, during his second State of the Union address, with the US mired in recession, Ronald Reagan had Mr Skutnik sit in the gallery and paid a moving tribute to his heroics.
This week, for his penultimate State of the Union, Mr Bush had a veritable galaxy of skutniks — soldiers, military people, a firefighter. ...
Usually the skutnik is a presidential privilege. But so intense already is the competition for the 2008 presidential race that others have muscled in.
And so Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had a skutnik of her own. She arranged for the son of a New York policeman sick with lung cancer to be there. As it happened, the man’s father died that day, and the son’s grief became a sad and very visible coda to the event.
Clinton sent the president a letter yesterday, urging him to meet with Borja. The 21-year-old wants the president to authorize more funding for the treatment of sick world trade center first responders.
Unfortunately, now it seems like significant elements of the story are false. So, according to Hillary revisionist history, Bush fooled her on WMD and now The Daily News fooled her on 9/11. Whether she was consistently fooled by husband Bill is a matter of debate. But the real question is, how does she think she's up for being President, if it seems she's an easy mark, destined to be fooled again and again?
NEW YORK Questions are being raised about the story of a New York City police officer whose death sparked wide interest in the plight of ailing September Eleventh first responders.
The New York Times says Officer Cesar Borja did not rush to the World Trade Center after the attacks. It says he never removed debris from the towers, and that he didn't work a formal shift at the site until December of 2001.
Media accounts had implied that he worked long hours there, breathing toxic dust while not wearing protective gear. The reports led President Bush to say he wanted to see money spent on the treatment of first-responders. And Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton cited the accounts in asking Bush for more money for ailing workers.