Clin­ton’s health goes main­stream

Dem’s pneu­mo­nia re­vealed af­ter she leaves event early

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Seema Me­hta As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted

Hil­lary Clin­ton’s abrupt de­par­ture from a Sept. 11 cer­e­mony in New York af­ter fall­ing ill Sun­day and the sub­se­quent dis­clo­sure that she is suf­fer­ing from pneu­mo­nia are likely to in­ten­sify scru­tiny on the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee’s health and po­ten­tially in­ject a new cam­paign is­sue into a race be­tween some of the old­est can­di­dates to seek the White House.

Clin­ton sup­port­ers had long dis­missed con­cerns about her health as base­less, in­sist­ing that she only suf­fered from al­ler­gies. But Sun­day’s in­ci­dent — along with a video ap­pear­ing to show Clin­ton hav­ing dif­fi­culty stand­ing on her own — will only am­plify such ques­tions just as the race en­ters its fi­nal weeks.

The in­ci­dent also could in­crease pres­sure on Clin­ton, 68, and Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, 70, to re­lease more in­for­ma­tion about their health. Clin­ton has dis­closed less than some pre­vi­ous can­di­dates. Trump has re­leased al­most noth­ing.

“This is the kind of thing that vot­ers have a right to un­der­stand be­fore they cast a vote,” said Katie Packer, a GOP strate­gist who says she does not sup­port Trump or Clin­ton.

“Both Trump and Hil­lary are el­derly. They are ob­li­gated to re­lease full med­i­cal records and full tax re­turns to the Amer­i­can peo­ple. And the me­dia, party lead­ers and Amer­i­can peo­ple should set­tle for noth­ing less.”

The pneu­mo­nia di­ag­no­sis comes as the cam­paign en­ters its most gru­el­ing phase, weeks be­fore the first pres­i­den­tial de­bate and as Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton at­tends a cer­e­mony at the Sept. 11 memo­rial in New York on Sun­day. vot­ers start head­ing to the polls in states with early vot­ing. Her doc­tor, who made the di­ag­no­sis Fri­day, has ad­vised Clin­ton to cur­tail her sched­ule. The Demo­cratic can­di­date did not ap­pear to skip any planned events over the week­end, in­clud­ing a fundraiser in New York City.

But late Sun­day, Clin­ton called off plans to fly to Cal­i­for­nia on Monday morn­ing for two days of fundrais­ing, a pub­lic cam­paign and an ap­pear­ance on Ellen De­Generes’ talk show.

Clin­ton’s lung in­fec­tion comes af­ter a tough week for her cam­paign, with polls show­ing a tight­en­ing of the race against Trump. Then over the week­end, Clin­ton was forced to par­tially walk back com­ments she made re­fer­ring to half of Trump’s sup­port­ers as “de­plorables.”

The new scru­tiny of her health will add to those prob­lems.

“Forty-eight hours ago, this was some­thing for the Flat Earth So­ci­ety and the birth cer­tifi­cate de­niers,” Dan Sch­nur, di­rec­tor of the Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Jesse M. Un­ruh In­sti­tute of Pol­i­tics, said of the spec­u­la­tion about Clin­ton’s health. “Now, it’s a topic of le­git­i­mate, main­stream po­lit­i­cal dis­cus­sion.”

Although Clin­ton’s op­po­nents will surely make an is­sue of her hav­ing pneu­mo­nia, her cam­paign’s rel­a­tively quick re­lease of the di­ag­no­sis marked a sig­nif­i­cant step to­ward trans­parency for a can­di­date who has of­ten shied away from dis­clos­ing in­for­ma­tion she con­sid­ers pri­vate.

But some crit­ics com­plained that Clin­ton did not re­veal the po­ten­tially de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tion Fri­day when it was di­ag­nosed.

And af­ter she fell ill Sun­day morn­ing, her cam­paign ini­tially at­trib­uted it to “over­heat­ing” and waited nearly seven hours — as ru­mors and spec­u­la­tion about her health swirled — un­til dis­clos­ing the pneu­mo­nia.

The video, quickly cir­cu­lated on­line and re­played on ca­ble news chan­nels, shows Clin­ton stand­ing un­easily, her knees ap­pear­ing to buckle, and need­ing help to get into her van.

A spokesman said im­me­di­ately after­ward that Clin­ton left the cer­e­mony at the site of the World Trade Cen­ter about 9:30 a.m. lo­cal time be­cause she felt un- well. Re­porters who were trav­el­ing with Clin­ton were not told about her con­di­tion or her where­abouts for 90 min­utes af­ter she left the cer­e­mony.

“Sec­re­tary Clin­ton at­tended the Sept. 11th com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony for just an hour and 30 min­utes this morn­ing to pay her re­spects and greet some of the fam­i­lies of the fallen,” spokesman Nick Mer­rill said in the ini­tial state­ment re­leased by the cam­paign. “Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, she felt over­heated so de­parted to go to her daugh­ter’s apart­ment, and is feel­ing much bet­ter.”

The weather was in the low 80s and hu­mid.

Clin­ton spent about two hours at Chelsea Clin­ton’s apart­ment and emerged shortly be­fore noon wear- ing sun­glasses.

“I’m feel­ing great. It’s a beau­ti­ful day in New York,” Clin­ton said be­fore head­ing to her home in Chap­paqua, N.Y

Her per­sonal physi­cian ex­am­ined her at her house Sun­day af­ter­noon and said Clin­ton was re­cov­er­ing.

“While at this morn­ing’s event, she be­came over­heated and de­hy­drated. I have just ex­am­ined her and she is now re-hy­drated and re­cov­er­ing nicely,” said Dr. Lisa Bar­dack in a state­ment. Bar­dack said Clin­ton was put on an­tibi­otics Fri­day.

Trump was un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally silent Sun­day af­ter news of Clin­ton’s ill­ness emerged.


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