Hillary Clinton Returns To Campaign Trail After Bout With Pneumonia

Sep 15, 2016
Originally published on September 15, 2016 6:35 pm
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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Hillary Clinton was back on the campaign trail today. After taking three days to rest from pneumonia, Clinton entered her event with some specially chosen music for the occasion.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I GOT YOU")

JAMES BROWN: (Singing) I feel good. I knew that I would now.

MCEVERS: NPR's Tamara Keith is in Greensboro, N.C., where Clinton spoke earlier. Hi, there, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi, there.

MCEVERS: So did Hillary Clinton talk about her recent illness?

KEITH: Yes, she did. She mentioned it both in her remarks at the event and then afterwards in a press availability with reporters. It was a pretty short avail, but she took several questions, several of which focused on her illness and, more significantly, on why, after she was diagnosed on Friday with pneumonia, she didn't really tell anyone. There was even a question of whether she had told her running mate, Tim Kaine, and Clinton did not answer the question directly. And she was asked whether this effort to maintain privacy was a problem for her. Here's what she had to say.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

HILLARY CLINTON: From my perspective, I thought I was going to be fine. And I thought that there wasn't really any reason to make a big fuss about it. So I should have taken time off earlier. I didn't. Now I have, and I'm back on the campaign trail.

KEITH: Her supporters seemed very glad to see her back on the trail. And, of course, Clinton's campaign has released a lot of health information in the last couple of days in an attempt to put questions about her health to rest.

MCEVERS: Also, today Donald Trump went on "The Dr. Oz Show" to talk about his health. He acknowledged that he is heavy, but otherwise he says he's fine. Did Clinton talk about that at all?

KEITH: She alluded to it just slightly in her remarks at the event. Here you go.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: I'll never be the showman my opponent is, and that's OK with me.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Just look at - look at the show he put on with Dr. Oz today.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: But I am going to deliver for you and your family just like I did for Sarah (ph) all those years ago with the Children's Health Insurance Program that gave her the chance to be the extraordinary young woman she is.

KEITH: And she was referencing someone who had introduced her at the event.

MCEVERS: In terms of Clinton's pitch to voters, she's been very focused on policy proposals, but she has promised to speak in more personal terms going forward to help voters understand where her views come from. Was she able to do any of that today?

KEITH: She did. She talked a little bit about her illness in personal ways, saying that that time off the trail allowed her to reflect in a way that you don't normally get to do when you're on the trail. She talked about the armor that she's sort of built up around herself. And she also then talked about how her illness relates to other people - voters who she says that she's fighting for.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: Life events like these are catastrophic for some families, but mere bumps in the road for others. I have met so many people living on a razor's edge, one illness away from losing their job, one paycheck away from losing their home. And that goes against everything we stand for as Americans because some things should not come down to luck.

KEITH: Clinton wants her campaign to be more than simply a laundry list of policy proposals. She says there's 38 of them on her website, but she wants to make it about something bigger. This speech is going to be part of a series of speeches that Clinton is planning to do, putting policies and things that people worry about in more personal terms.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Tamara Keith on the campaign trail in Greensboro, N.C. Thank you.

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