PHILADELPHIA, July 29, 2016 (Xinhua) — U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton take the stage at the end of the 2016 U.S. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has been staying at home since swooning at a 9/11 memorial ceremony due to pneumonia, will return to campaign trail on Thursday, her Campaign twittered Tuesday.
The former secretary of state is set to speak at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington D.C. on Thursday and due in several battleground states next week, said her campaign, which has promised to release Clinton’s medical records later this week.
Donald Trump, her Republican rival, also promised to offer up more information about his health later this week, following quarrels between the two campaigns over which candidate is more secret about their health and wealth.
A damaging video of Clinton’s faint at Ground Zero on Sunday, has turned the issue of health transparency onto the central stage in their White House bids.
Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia two days before she fainted on Sunday but her campaign had kept it quiet until the video was put online. However, earlier on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid blasted the media for having blown Clinton’s pneumonia out of proportion.
“You’ve all been unfair to Hillary … Look at Donald Trump at his medical records, which are nonexistent,” he told reporters at a news conference.
Also on Tuesday, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine suggested that Clinton’s decision to keep campaigning despite suffering from pneumonia was influenced by the historic nature of her bid to become the country’s first woman president.
The United States is “uniquely bad at electing women to office,” the Virginia senator told a crowd at the University of Michigan, citing it a factor affecting her race against the New York billionaire. Only 19 percent of the U.S. Congress is female, though it is the highest percentage in the country’s history, Kaine noted.
The September race is observed unexpectedly rough for Clinton as her wounds were rubbed salt into continuously, including a gaffe about Republican “deplorables.” A series of national poll results show that her lead over Trump has been narrowed since Labor Day.
However, questions have been raised over the health of the U.S. Democratic nominee after she suddenly fell ill recently, sparking concerns that poor health could become a stumbling block for the 68-year-old candidate in her presidential bid.
Clinton nearly collapsed Sunday reportedly due to pneumonia attack while she was attending the Sept. 11 ceremony in New York. While her aides said she would be back on the campaign trail in a couple of days, the incident is the latest in a string of health concerns about Clinton.
“There certainly are going to be more questions about Clinton’s health in light of the recent incident,” Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.
Clinton will need to provide more information about her health and reassure voters that she is up to the job, including answering questions and releasing relevant medical records, West said.
She also can use this episode to demand more health information from Trump, who has not released his medical records either, he said.Clinton is one of the oldest candidates to run for the White House since former President Ronald Reagan.
But while Reagan’s age was a factor, he used humor to deflect public concern and kept up a vigorous schedule to reassure voters.
Dan Mahaffee, an analyst with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, told Xinhua that Trump has been relatively tame in his response to Clinton’s mishap on Sunday, and has largely let media coverage of the event speak for itself.”
He has carefully avoided what could be seen as gloating over Clinton’s misfortune, yet allows the media narrative to vindicate some of the questions that he and his surrogates have raised about Clinton’s health,” Mahaffee said.
For Clinton, as the latest episode has raised concerns among the broader U.S. public about her health, it’ll be important for her to recuperate rapidly and come out strongly in the upcoming presidential debates.
The first debate is slated to be held on Sept. 26. Given Trump’s age, paucity of medical records, and what appears to be a predilection towards fast food, there are legitimate concerns from medical experts about both candidates’ health, Mahaffee said.
As a candidate, Clinton needs to tackle this issue with full transparency and directly address the issue, Mahaffee said.
“The perception that something is being hidden is worse than acknowledging that Clinton has fallen ill due to the recent tempo of the campaign or other factors,” he said, referring to Sunday’s incident, when Clinton’s team appeared to try to sugar coat the issue.
While the team initially said she was overheating, the temperature Sunday was mild. And there was a 90-minute period in which there was not a word from the team on Clinton’s health.
“While there is no crime per se with Clinton’s health, one can apply the political rule that the cover up is worse than the crime. It only empowers conspiracy theorists and feeds the narrative of the Clintons being overly secretive,” Mahaffee said.
Some analysts said both candidates can take a lesson from the 1980 presidential election, when Reagan, 69, was the oldest person to ever seek the presidency.
Reagan approached the medical issue with complete transparency during his campaign, allowing his doctors to release a wide range of medical records.
Additionally, he used lots of imagery of him being outdoors and working on his ranch to portray an image of health and strength, Mahaffee noted.
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