Barack Obama, Bill Clinton To Fill In For Hillary Clinton

Sep 13, 2016
Originally published on September 13, 2016 7:49 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Hillary Clinton is taking some time off after she fell ill during a 9/11 ceremony in New York City on Sunday. It was revealed that she'd been diagnosed with pneumonia a couple of days before. Former President Bill Clinton talked about his wife's condition in a talk with Charlie Rose on PBS.

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CHARLIE ROSE: She has pneumonia.

BILL CLINTON: Yeah.

ROSE: Sometimes that can take a while, the recovery.

B. CLINTON: It can.

ROSE: Is it possible that she will be away for weeks from the campaign trail?

B. CLINTON: No, not a shot (laughter). I'll be lucky to hold her back another day.

INSKEEP: NPR's Tamara Keith covers the Clinton campaign. She's on the line. Hi, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi.

INSKEEP: How's Secretary Clinton doing?

KEITH: Well, she says she's feeling much better. She sent out some tweets yesterday. There was a thank you note that was sent out to her supporters along with a fundraising solicitation. And she called into Anderson Cooper's show on CNN to say that she was finally following her doctor's orders that she had gotten on Friday to rest.

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HILLARY CLINTON: I should have gotten some rest sooner. I probably would have been better off if I just pulled down my schedule on Friday, but like a lot of people, I just thought I could keep going forward and power through it. And obviously that didn't work out so well.

KEITH: She also last night called in to a fundraiser that she was supposed to attend in San Francisco, and even though she wasn't there, it was still a very big draw with 2,500 people and K.D. Lang performed.

INSKEEP: And now she's got a substitute, a fill-in with some campaign experience.

KEITH: A guy named Bill Clinton...

INSKEEP: OK.

KEITH: ...Former president (laughter). And he's going to do a couple of fundraisers for her and then one campaign event tomorrow in Las Vegas. But she also has a ton of other very high-profile surrogates like President Obama who's campaigning for her in Philadelphia today. So if there is a day to take off, I guess it would be the day that the president is out there holding a rally for you. Also Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama and, of course, her running mate Tim Kaine are all campaigning for her this week.

INSKEEP: But let's remember the way this unfolded, Tamara. She was diagnosed on Friday. Nobody heard anything about it until after she was seen as unsteady or falling on Sunday, and even some hours after that elapsed before we heard about pneumonia.

KEITH: That's exactly true. I want to read a tweet for you from David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama, a supporter of Clinton but he says this (reading) antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What's the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?

Clinton was asked about that tweet last night by Anderson Cooper, and she was also asked if how all this went down just confirmed people's doubts about her honesty and transparency.

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H. CLINTON: Oh, my goodness, Anderson. You know compare everything you know about me with my opponent. I think it's time he met the same level of disclosure that I have for years. You know, you've got a medical report on me that meets the same standard as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Donald Trump's doctor said he'd be the healthiest president in history. That's just not even serious.

INSKEEP: That's Hillary Clinton last night on CNN. Tamara Keith is with us. And Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is still with us in the studios. And, Senator...

DEBBIE STABENOW: Yes.

INSKEEP: I want to ask you about this as a fellow Democrat. Does it concern you at all that Secretary Clinton did not disclose more or differently here?

STABENOW: You know, this is - it's not a surprise to me when any of us get the flu or in this case pneumonia, you try to power through it. Our next Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, my dear friend, has had walking pneumonia for several weeks and tried to just power through it, and finally his doctor said take a few days off. I think that's just the way it is, you know, you go to work, you get sick, you try to keep going.

INSKEEP: But was she pressured into trying to hide this...

STABENOW: No, I...

INSKEEP: ...Because Donald Trump had been talking about her health?

STABENOW: You know, it doesn't - in this campaign it doesn't matter. Donald Trump said that the president of the United States wasn't a citizen, started the birther movement - doesn't matter what she does...

INSKEEP: But did she try to duck under that pressure?

STABENOW: No, I think she probably did what I would do which is ignore her doctor and keep going.

INSKEEP: OK. Senator Stabenow, thanks very much.

STABENOW: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: Really appreciate it. We also heard from NPR's Tamara Keith as Hillary Clinton takes a few days off campaigning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.