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2016's Unhealthy Political Climate

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Is a presidential candidate with Hillary Clinton's health problems -- pneumonia now, but also for some time deep vein thrombosis and a history of blood clots -- healthy enough to be president? Most probably, yes, but her weekend health issues make you wonder if Clinton is covering up bigger health problems than her team has revealed to date. After all, her campaign initially told the press Clinton left a 9/11 ceremony early because she "felt overheated." Only after a video revealed Clinton's legs buckling as secret service agents spirited her into a van, did Camp Clinton release a statement that revealed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia Friday.


You can't watch the video of the back of Clinton's head as others tried to prop her up and not feel for the former secretary of state and first lady. She's always been an all-out campaigner, and even the healthiest politicians get sick. But as you think about the campaign's attempt to gloss over this incident, you start to wonder what her team is not telling you. You recall Clinton's many misrepresentations -- that she was told her used of a home-brew server was "allowed," that she had handed "all my work-related email" to authorities, that she was cooperating fully with officials when she refused to talk to the Office of Inspector General -- made before the Democratic primary was settled.

Clinton, 68, doesn't just mislead others about herself. During an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer last week, Clinton said, "we are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we're not putting ground troops into Syria. We're going to defeat ISIS (Islamic State) without committing American ground troops." Surely Clinton is aware of the more than 4,000 U.S. troops risking their lives in a bid to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as I write this. Yet she talks as if there are no boots on the ground.


Critics pounced on Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson -- a fitness buff, who says he runs two to three hours every day he does not campaign -- for fumbling when asked what he would do about Aleppo. Johnson didn't think immediately think "Syria" when he heard the name Aleppo, as one steeped in foreign affairs would. He said he thought Aleppo was an acronym. What's Clinton's excuse for her off-the-mark answer on ISIS?

This would be an ideal time for Donald Trump, 70, to release comprehensive medical records. (The rushed letter in which his doctor wrote that Trump could be "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" was more a stunt than the result of close examination.) Trump now says he will release detailed records Thursday on "The Dr. Oz Show." And yet, I remain skeptical -- because one always should be skeptical when Trump says he will do something. Donald Trump, after all, repeatedly told the press he would release his personal tax returns.

I appreciate how Clinton's drive led her to push herself to attend the 9/11 memorial event on Sunday. But after she collapsed, I think she should have gone to a hospital, where given the state of her health that day, she could be given diagnostic tests. Instead, she went to her daughter's home for enough recovery time to stage a comeback photo op with a little girl. Not for the first time, Hillary Clinton's first instinct was to cover up the basic facts of her situation.


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