From NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
Clinton said today she was "surprised by the news" that Clinton fund-raiser Norman Hsu has an outstanding arrest warrant out for him, and added that after verifying the information, her campaign "returned his money."
"We will continue to analyze all contributions and take action if that's warranted," Clinton said during a joint press conference with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to discuss the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP. "And I wish Mr. Hsu well in dealing with the problems he's confronting."
A reporter pressed on, asking Clinton about problems during her husband's presidency with donors like Johnny Chung. "I don't think it's analogous at all," Clinton replied, "I think we take these one by one as they come up. When you have as many contributors as I'm fortunate enough to have, we do the very best job we can based on the information available to us to make appropriate vetting decisions and this one was a big surprise to everybody."
Spitzer, attempting to return to the planned topic, intervened. "I don't think we need any more questions on that issue," he said. "Every campaign vets donors as effectively and as efficiently as can be done. This is somebody who as the senator said, which was a surprise to everybody, had an open bench warrant from 17 years ago. I think it's a fair question to ask, was Senator Clinton's campaign, or any campaign, supposed to be doing better than the authorities in California -- who theoretically had an open warrant for this guy. They didn't do anything. Come on guys, let's get real."
Spitzer chastised the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for denying his state's application to include families who make up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, arguing that amount of money is not considered much in New York State. Clinton also attacked the Bush administration, repeating her statement that these children and families are "invisible" to them and calling the rising number of uninsured children during this administration "unforgivable."
"For the President to say he will veto an expansion to the Children's Health Insurance Program is bad enough," Clinton said. "For his administration, in the stealth of night, as the governor said, last Friday, to come out with proposed regulations that would truly turn the clock back is absolutely beyond anyone's imagination. So, there they were, last Friday, looking for a way to launch a sneak attack on the children of America and their hard working families. The President is deliberately trying to undermine what we have done in New York and what a number of states have done, to meet the moral, economic, and healthcare needs of our children. …
"I'm going to do everything I can to get our bill out of Congress, to get it sent to the President, to dare him to veto it, to say, here's a bipartisan bill that expands coverage. Let's see where you stand on that. For him to say everyone has access to healthcare in America because everyone can go to an emergency room is the height of irresponsibility."
Spitzer also pledged to keep fighting. "New York State will bring a litigation if we do not see movement on the part of the Bush administration," he said. "We are happy to go to court. What they are doing is, we believe, illegal."