By Bonnie K. Goodman
After collapsing at the 9/11 memorial Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton returned to the campaign trail on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, just prior releasing a medical report to quell speculation about her fitness to be president. Clinton spoke to the press on her campaign plane, delivered a speech in Greensboro, North Carolina and released a medical report on Wednesday evening, Sept. 14 to prove she is healthy despite the speculation to the contrary.
After taking four days away from the campaign to fight bacterial pneumonia, Clinton started back early Thursday, chatting with reporters aboard her plane. The nominee was upbeat, telling reporters, “Welcome back to stronger together!” Clinton also told them, “I am doing great, thank you so much.” She also promised to speak more with the press after her speech, saying, “We will get to North Carolina, we will do the speech, and then we will get back on and then we can answer questions and go from there.”
Clinton’s campaign released a letter serving as a medical report summarizing Clinton’s health. Clinton’s longtime doctor, Dr. Lisa Bardack, who accompanied her to the 9/11 ceremony wrote the letter that was released to the media. Bardack said that besides pneumonia, “The remainder of her complete physical exam was normal and she is in excellent mental condition.” Clinton has to take antibiotics for ten days.
Dr. Bardack wrote, “My overall impression is that Mrs. Clinton has remained healthy and has not developed new medical conditions this year other than a sinus and ear infection and her recently diagnosed pneumonia. She is recovering well with antibiotics and rest. She continues to remain healthy and fit to serve as president of the United States.”
The letter did not include much more new than the previous letter Bardack wrote for Clinton in 2015 to release publicly. There were one new bit of medical information experts are finding troubling, Clinton’s triglycerides, fat in blood levels, which increased from 69 in 2015 to 159 now, some are dismissing it as caused by what Clinton ate before the test, others believe there might be something else behind it. The number is borderline high at 159, with 150 being the normal level.
Bardack explained Clinton’s only health problems, writing, “Mrs. Clinton is a healthy 67-year-old female whose current medical conditions include hypothyroidism and seasonal pollen allergies.” Because Clinton has had three blood clots in 1998, 2009 and 2012 on the brain when she fell and had a concussion, she takes the blood thinner Coumadin, and she also takes thyroid medication for her underactive thyroid. Bardack said Clinton’s tests were normal and that she has a “blood pressure of 100/70 and a heart rate of 70.”
Clinton’s health was put in the spotlight after leaving the 9/11 early she was caught on video collapsing and practically being dragged into her van by Secret Service agents. The video made the rounds on social media and speculation ran rampant about her health. Later in the evening, the campaign informed the media the nominee had pneumonia and was diagnosed on Friday. The diagnosis and secrecy surrounding it caused a further backlash.
As Clinton entered the gymnasium at her rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Democratic nominee addressed her recent health issue. Clinton came in to James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good),” and said, “As you may know, I recently had a cough that turned out to be pneumonia. I tried to power through it but even I had to admit that maybe a few days of rest would do me good. I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances, but with just two months to go until Election Day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.”
Clinton wanted to turn her time off into a positive, telling the audience “the campaign trail doesn’t really encourage reflection. It turns out, having a few days to myself was actually a gift.” During her absence, Trump heavily criticized Clinton’s comments on Friday, Sept. 9, where she called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.” Trump stayed away from attacking her health during her time out of campaigning, however, uring a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio, on Wednesday, Sept 14, the GOP nominee asked his supporters, “I don’t know folks — do you think Hillary Clinton would be able to stand up here for an hour? I don’t know.”
Clinton’s speech in Greensboro, North Carolina was part of her “Stronger Together” series speeches, where she specifically addressed, “how we lift up our children and families.” In the evening, Clinton spoke at Congressional Hispanic Caucus conference in Washington. Clinton started back campaigning in North Carolina, because of its importance as a battleground state this campaign, it went Democrat in 2008 and Republican in 2012, at this point; Trump is leading in the poll averages for the state. Clinton needs to win North Carolina, or else Trump might win the election.
The Democratic nominee’s illness took her away from her West Coast tour, where she was supposed to address millennial voters in speeches at stops in California and Nevada on Monday, Sept. 12. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Clinton missed out an important address on the “inclusive economy” in Los Angeles. Returning to the campaign, she still faces lingering questions about her illness, the secrecy about it and lagging poll numbers as Trump competes with her for the national polls, and pulls ahead of her in some battleground states including Ohio, Florida, Nevada, and Iowa.