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St. Vincent's No Safe Harbor For Romney

What better place to attack New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's new health care plan than standing in front of a New York hospital?

That, apparently, was the thinking of advisers to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who blasted his Democratic presidential rival Monday morning during a press availability in front of St. Vincent's Hospital.

"If you've seen the reports this morning on the latest version of HillaryCare, you'll see that version 2.0 is not likely to have any more success than 1.0," Romney said. "HillaryCare continues to be bad medicine."

He added: "It's a European-style socialized medicine plan...and that's the wrong direction for America."

But shortly after his comments to reporters, the hospital issued its own statement, taking issue with the venue Romney chose.

"We find it unfortunate that Mr. Romney misappropriated the image and good will of St. Vincent's Hospital to further a political agenda," a hospital spokesman said in a statement.

Oops.

In response, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said his candidate had done nothing wrong and never intended to link the hospital to the blunt message he was offering.

"It was a public sidewalk, in front of a hospital, and we didn't use hospital property," Madden said. "It's a public place, we had an event open to the press."

Maybe next time Romney will choose for a backdrop a hospital that isn't home to the Rudolph W. Giuliani Trauma Center.

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  September 17, 2007; 6:01 PM ET
 
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