Hillary Clinton Leaves Sept. 11 Commemoration Early

Sep 11, 2016
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RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

In New York today, Hillary Clinton left the 9/11 commemoration ceremony early. Her aides say she began to feel, quote, “overheated.” That's a word you might be hearing quite a bit in the next few days as pundits and politicos debate whether there's any larger significance. Video circulating online appears to show Hillary Clinton faltering and needing help getting into her van as she was leaving the event. We're now joined by NPR's Tamara Keith, who covers the Clinton campaign. Tamara, what do you know about what happened and how Hillary Clinton is now?

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: We have a statement from her doctor that the campaign just released. It says, quote, “Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. On Friday, during a follow-up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics and advised to rest and modify her schedule.” This continues, “while at this morning's event, she became overheated and dehydrated.” The doctor says she has examined her and she is now rehydrated and recovering nicely. The examination happened at Clinton's home in Chappaqua. As she left the 9/11 commemoration, she faltered. Her knees buckled. That's what you can see in the video that has been circulating and has not been disputed. She left and left the press behind. About two hours later, she was seen leaving her daughter's house, Chelsea Clinton. She waved and she said that she feels great as reporters shouted questions. Here's a little tape.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: How are you feeling, Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Feeling great. Feeling great.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: What happened?

CLINTON: It’s a beautiful day in New York.

SUAREZ: Any time a presidential candidate has a health scare it's a cause for concern. But this comes as other questions have been raised in recent weeks about Clinton's health.

KEITH: That's right. The cough that the doctor mentioned in her statement - I was there with Clinton as she was campaigning and had a coughing fit that interrupted a speech, another one that interrupted a press conference. This came at a time and gave fuel to various health conspiracies about Clinton that have been swirling on the internet for months and that Donald Trump, her opposition, has encouraged. And there is no reason to believe that these conspiracies are anything more than conspiracies. Of course - but Clinton will turn 69 next month. Donald Trump is 70 years old. He would be the oldest person elected president if he wins. Clinton would be the second oldest behind Ronald Reagan. So there are valid reasons to look at the health of both candidates.

SUAREZ: As we enter these final weeks of the campaign, what do we know that's verifiable and acknowledged about the two candidates’ health?

KEITH: Well, what we know from Donald Trump is that he has a letter from his doctor, who it turns out is a gastroenterologist. It's a short letter with very Trumpian (ph) language. It says Trump would be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency. It says his laboratory results were, quote, “astonishingly excellent.” And in later interviews, the doctor said he wrote the whole thing in five minutes. As for Clinton, her doctor released this statement today. She released a longer letter last year saying that Clinton is a healthy 67-year-old woman who has hypothyroidism and seasonal allergies.

SUAREZ: And do candidates generally - have they always released their records?

KEITH: John McCain is the only one in recent memory who released all of his medical records. Reporters got about three hours to look at them. Normally it is a letter like Clinton's letter. Trump's letter is a bit unusual.

SUAREZ: NPR's Tamara Keith covering Hillary Clinton's campaign. Thanks a lot.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.