Since last summer, while he was still directly employed by the Democrat Sheriff of Bergen County, John McCann has shopped around a tale about how he stopped HillaryCare and saved America. Here is a transcript of a video recording of McCann telling his tall tale to the Sussex County Republican Committee on December 27, 2017.
"I'm the only candidate with an actual proven record of doing things... I was gone (sic) to the United States Senate to take on the Clinton Health Care Plan. I designed a chart, it was presented to the country, and the chart was credited -- by others, not by me -- with saving the United States from 16 years of government controlled healthcare." (Candidate John McCann, on video)
Many people familiar with the long battle to stop the Clinton Health Care Plan disputed John McCann's story. They said they never heard of him and accused him of taking credit for the work of dozens of others. They noted that there was a plethora of graphs and charts but that only one got national coverage. It wasn't John McCann's.
The Clinton Health Care Plan began with a speech by President Bill Clinton in September 1993. Legislation was introduced in November 1993. Hearings were held and the debate went into 1994. In January 1994, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) unveiled his famous chart that detailed the bureaucratic morass that was the Clinton Health Care Plan. As the legislation was amended, dozens of subsequent charts were built off this one, noting those changes and updates.
Last week, we published a link to a C-Span video of the United States Senate Floor on January 27, 1994. The video is 11 hours long and unedited.
At two hours and thirty minutes (2:30) into it, Senator Specter speaks on the issue and appears with his famous chart. About six minutes into his speech, he explains that staffer Sharon Helfant was responsible for creating it. He goes on to explain how the Washington Post had a story a day earlier mentioning Helfant and her role in developing the chart. Numerous national newspapers covered it, and in each story, Sharon Helfant is credited with creating the chart. John McCann is not mentioned.
C-Span caught the whole thing and it is now part of history. Numerous newspapers wrote about it. But yesterday, the campaign of candidate John McCann disputed that history. Presumably with their candidate's approval, they issued a media statement that made this boast by the candidate: "Yes, I authored the chart that killed Hillarycare."
The statement by John McCann's campaign continues: "On Friday, a conservative blogger made an accusation regarding my involvement in stopping Hillary Clinton’s healthcare proposal back in the early 90s when I was a fellow in former Senator Arlen Specter’s office (R-PA), insisting that I have overstated my role and plagiarized a graph used to stop Hillarycare.
The basis of these accusations stems from a CSPAN video in January 1994 where my boss at the time, former Senator Specter, credited Sharon Helfant (whom I never worked with) for creating a chart (I never saw) to help explain how bad Hillarycare was for American taxpayers."
The McCann campaign then includes a paragraph from the Congressional Record for August 10, 1994, at the tail end of the battle to stop the Clinton Health Care Plan. By this time, it had been amended and re-amended. The legislation went through more than 130 permutations and, in the end, was scrapped when the Democrats lost control of Congress in November 1994,and were unable to bring the bill up in 1995, as they had planned. Here is that snippet from the Record:
Read it carefully. "John McCann, an intern on my staff who helped me prepare the chart on the Mitchell health care bill."
Thousands of names of individuals and groups are read into the Congressional Record each year for everything from boy scout troops to the winners of fishing tournaments. It is a small favor, often bestowed by members of Congress. Rarely does it become the centerpiece of someone's candidacy for Congress.
The McCann campaign also included a paragraph from a letter from Senator Specter's office to John McCann's professor at the Fels Center of Government, where he was a student: "In the summer of 1994, the Senate rejected the Clinton proposal to take over one-seventh of the entire U.S. economy in large measure because of John McCann’s charts and graphs which clearly showed the flaws and weakness of the proposal."
Again, read it carefully: "John McCann’s charts and graphs..."
Plural. As an intern, John McCann obviously worked on many updates and permutations of the original chart (which he now claims not to have seen, despite the news coverage of it, or Ms. Helfant, who he claims not to have known, despite her prominence on the Specter staff and her preeminence within that staff on matters related to health care).
Of course, it is a grandiloquent letter of recommendation, which either means that Senator Specter's office was prone to that sort of thing or that they liked and appreciated John McCann's work as a college intern. Neither alters the record, which is now clear.