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Last night at around 9PM 9:45PM Eastern time, Hillary Clinton told a heartbreaking story about an uninsured pregnant woman who died -- along with her baby -- after being denied health care services because she couldn't afford a $100 fee. (Video after the jump.)

Clinton has been telling the story for about a month, but as the New York Times reports, it turns out the salient feature of her tale was not true -- contrary to what Clinton claimed, the deceased woman actually did have insurance and did receive care.

According to Google News, the New York Times published its article around midnight Eastern time last night, including a statement from the Clinton campaign accepting that the story was not true.

Here's where my question comes: unless the NYT waited until after 9PM 9:45PM Eastern to contact the Clinton campaign -- just three a little over two hours before the story was published -- then even as Clinton was telling the the story again, her campaign had already admitted it was false.

This is something a reporter should follow up on -- was the Clinton campaign aware that Hillary Clinton's story was false before she told it? If so, why did she tell the story anyway?

The worst part of all this is that our health care system is in crisis. There's plenty of true health care horror stories out there -- and when a presidential candidate tells false ones, it makes it that much harder to achieve the progressive change we all seek.

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Update 1: According to the Grand Forks Herald, Clinton actually spoke at 8:45PM Central (9:45PM Eastern): "...because of flight delays, didn’t take the stage until about 8:45 p.m." This makes it more likely that the NYT contacted the Clinton campaign before her speech.

Update 2: ABC News coverage (below)

Update 3: Remember when Clinton attacked John Edwards for holding a town hall with the Sarkisyans in NH?

"Senator Clinton’s speeches are about people she has actually helped and changes she has actually made, not stories she’s pulled from the newspaper and included in her stump," Mr. Carson wrote in an E-mail message.

Mr. Carson’s comment was in reference to an emotional town hall event Mr. Edwards held in Manchester early Sunday afternoon, featuring an appearance by the parents of Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old leukemia patient who died in December after her insurance company denied her a liver transplant.

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Clinton last night in Grand Forks, ND (incl. CNN report):

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UPDATE 2: ABC News Questions Hillary Clinton's Tale:

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Here she is telling the story in Montana on 3/8 in case you didn't see it in hungrycoyote's diary. (Edit: I deleted the embedded video to keep the diary from getting too cluttered.)

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Also posted on my blog.

Originally posted to JedReport on Sat Apr 05, 2008 at 05:45 PM PDT.

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