U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been treated for pneumonia, her doctor says, after she was taken ill at a 9/11 ceremony.
Dr Lisa Bardack said she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday and given antibiotics, but had become dehydrated at the New York event. The doctor’s statement said she was now re-hydrated and “recovering nicely.”
But a campaign official said she has cancelled a campaign trip to California due to the illness. She was due to leave for California on Monday morning for a two-day trip that included fundraisers and a speech on the economy.
On Sunday, video showed her being supported by aides as they put her into her van after she left the 9/11 ceremony in New York early. Her Republican opponents have queried her physical fitness, with the presidential candidate Donald Trump telling supporters last month she “lacks the mental and physical stamina” to serve as president and fight Islamic State militants.
The question is, how will Clinton’s illness affect her campaign? Don Millar is chairman of Hogan Millar Media, a company that works in advertising and entertainment with a focus on politics, social issues and the environment, and has worked across the border for U.S. Democratic candidates.
Social media may do more harm than good
“We’re in this world, or this particular campaign, where there’s all these conspiracies floating around the internet, and conspiracies about her health… and obviously Trump has been bringing it up himself absent any facts or any evidence for over a year.”
He says that living in a time where social media is so popular will make it hard for the topic of #HillarysHeath to disappear.
“The videotape of her needing to be helped into the van is something that will be played several billion times between now and the 8th of November.”
Debates may be key to recovery
But Millar says this is far from the first time a candidate has faced a blunder, and it’s possible for Hillary to make a comeback by outshining Trump in the debates.
“We had a situation in 1984 quite a few years ago where Ronald Reagan was just more or less out of it in the first debate, and all that was necessary for him to bounce back was to turn on the charm and have a good performance a couple of weeks later, so I think really the debate becomes more important here for her.”
He also stresses the difficulty of campaigning, for both candidates, taking their age into account and the long days they’ve faced. Clinton shouldn’t necessarily be penalized for her health taking a slight turn during this time.
Health problems seem inevitable for either senior citizen candidate
“There people are both senior citizens, they’ve both been at it for the better part of a year… and you are crisscrossing the country putting in 16 to 18 hour days doing press interviews where you have to be on top of your game because you can;t obviously slip up, and so I think it’s really hard to understand just hoe grueling this is unless you’ve been there and I think for her to have pneumonia is not particularly surprising and I do think that there’s a gender aspect to this.”
Millar also believes that the issue is causing such a dramatic response for two reasons. The first: it’s on camera. The second: the fact that Clinton is the first female nominee makes her more of a target when any weakness is shown. A strategy, Millar says, Trump has prayed upon during the entire campaign.