Hillary Clinton’s Health Has Now Become A Legitimate Campaign Issue

I have previously not paid not attention to the various rumors about Clinton’s health as we really had no good information on Clinton’s medical history (or Donald Trump’s). I was even kicked out of a pro-Bernie group once for contradicting a right wing claim about Clinton’s health which did not hold up. Her episode today has changed matters with the above video clearly showing her collapsing while getting into a van with assistance. There were no reporters allowed near her initially, so we do not know the details of what precipitated her decision to leave the 9/11 memorial early.

clinton_collapse

There are less clear pictures from the past which have raised questions as to Clinton’s health but were much less definitive:

clinton-stairs

Chris Cillizza has had a view similar to mine in previously ignoring these claims, but now writing Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign.

Whether Clinton likes it or not, her “overheating” episode comes at a very bad time for her campaign. Thanks to the likes of Rudy Giuliani and a small but vocal element of the Republican base, talk of her health had been bubbling over the past week — triggered by a coughing episode she experienced during a Labor Day rally.

That talk was largely confined to Republicans convinced that Clinton has long been hiding some sort of serious illness. I wrote dismissively of that conspiracy theory in this space last week, noting that Clinton had been given an entirely clean bill of health by her doctors after an episode in which she fainted, suffered a concussion and then was found to have a blood clot in late 2012 and early 2013.

Coughing, I wrote, is simply not evidence enough of any sort of major illness that Clinton is assumed to be hiding. Neither, of course, is feeling “overheated.” But those two things happening within six days of each other to a candidate who is 68 years old makes talk of Clinton’s health no longer just the stuff of conspiracy theorists.

Whereas Clinton and her campaign could laugh off questions about her health before today, the “overheating” episode makes it almost impossible for them to do so. Not only has it come at a time when there was growing chatter — with very little evidence — that her health was a problem but it also happened at a 9/11 memorial event — an incredibly high-profile moment with lots and lots of cameras and reporters around.

Her campaign may well try to dismiss this story as nothing more than an isolated incident, meaning nothing. (Democrats were already pushing the story of George W. Bush fainting in 2002 after choking on a pretzel, via Twitter.)

But the issue is that Clinton kept reporters totally in the dark for 90 minutes after her abrupt departure from the 9/11 memorial service for a health-related matter. No reporter was allowed to follow her. (Clinton has resisted a protective pool for coverage because Donald Trump refuses to participate in one.) This is, yet again, the Clinton campaign asking everyone to just trust it. She got overheated! But she’s fine now!

Well, that is no longer operative. Context matters. A coughing episode is almost always just a coughing episode. But when coupled with Clinton’s “overheating” on Sunday morning — with temperatures something short of sweltering — Clinton and her team simply need to say something about what happened (and why the press was in the dark for so long.)

Both Clinton and Trump have limited press access, and neither has released very much information on their medical histories. The letter released by Trump’s doctor is especially bizarre. At the moment, however, video such as that taken today makes the health question far more urgent for Clinton. Both candidates should be more honest with the American public, provide greater press access, and provide meaningful medical information.

Update: It has subsequently been reported that Hillary Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday. From CNN

Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, her doctor said Sunday, hours after the Democratic nominee stumbled and exited a 9/11 commemoration ceremony early.
Clinton was diagnosed on Friday with pneumonia, and “was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule,” Dr. Lisa Bardack said in a statement.
“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 Bardack, chairman of internal medicine at the Mount Kisco Medical Group.

It is possible that there is nothing more to this than an episode of pneumonia which will resolve with antibiotics and and rehydration. The problem is that this shows Clinton was not being honest when she claimed to be fine earlier today. This is so typical with Clinton to see information gradually come out to contradict earlier statements from her. This history of dishonesty will also keep people wondering if this is all there is to the story, or if she is covering up more.

As Politico also stated, this shakes up the race. This cannot be resolved satisfactorily without a full release of her medical records.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    LibraryGuy says:

    So, no trustworthy medical letter or reports from Trump, no tax returns, no financial information about his web of companies, but Hilary's health " cannot be resolved satisfactorily without a full release of her medical records."  BTW, the "less clear pictures from the past" includes the one where she slipped on icy steps in February.

    And Chris Cilizza says " But when coupled with Clinton’s “overheating” on Sunday morning — with temperatures something short of sweltering — Clinton and her team simply need to say something about what happened (and why the press was in the dark for so long.)" She was recovering from pneumonia and with a Kevlar vest in a dark pantsuit in the sun for 90 minutes. Really, she pushed herself to be at a memorial that meant a lot to her, and went too far. I surprised he didn't find space to discuss how this incident cast a shadow of concern about her health. Optics aren't everything.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Both candidates have been overly secretive over multiple matters, including their health.

    The manner in which it was handled only worsened the situation with Clinton first coming out on television and saying she was fine. The report about her having pneumonia, contradicting her earlier statement, came out hours later.

  3. 3
    liz allen says:

    If in fact Hilary has a serious condition, we the people NEED to know. We demand that Bernie Sanders (the runner up in the election) is the person who will succeed her. NO Joe Biden or some other hand picked establishment candidate…they didn't run, they have no right to claim that office.

    As a retired nurse, I can believe that a bad case of walking pneumonia, and the number of events she had that day in sweltering heat….could very well have made her knees weak and caused her to react the way she did. However, we have NO idea what Trumps medical condition is either..(he needs a psychiatric review, not a physical by some doctor (he hand picked and could pay off to say HE is a okay). Neither of these two are worthy of the president office…both are crooked, and establishment loving corporate lovers, neither care about the middle class or working class of this country. We are screwed America, thank the establishment corporate media for pushing these two on the people.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Unfortunately if Clinton does leave the race (which is very unlikely) the same people who rigged the rules to get a candidate such as Clinton will also be choosing the replacement. They will probably pick Biden, not Sanders.

    Trump should also release his medical records, but if given the choice of only one, I would prefer to see a psychiatric exam as opposed to a medical exam on him. However the major problem might not be psychiatric (even though he does have issues). He is largely a showman who is now way over his head as a presidential candidate and trying to bluff his way thorough it.

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