Reflective Clinton returns to campaign trail after pneumonia
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Back on the campaign trail, a reflective Hillary Clinton said Thursday her three-day, doctor-mandated break gave her new perspective on why she’s running to be president. She vowed to close her campaign against Donald Trump by giving Americans “something to vote for, not just against.”
Clinton made no apologies for keeping her pneumonia diagnosis from the public until a video emerged showing her stumbling and being supported by aides. She also repeatedly sidestepped questions about when her running mate Tim Kaine was informed.
An upbeat Clinton walked onstage at a rally in North Carolina to James Brown’s song, “I Feel Good.” She said that while sitting at home this week was “pretty much the last place I wanted to be,” the time helped clarify how she wants to close her campaign against Trump.
“We’re offering ideas, not insults,” she said in a jab at her Republican rival. “A plan that will make a real difference in people’s lives, not prejudice and paranoia.”
The rally marked Clinton’s first public appearance since Sunday, when she abruptly left a 9/11 memorial service after getting dizzy and dehydrated. She had been diagnosed with pneumonia Friday, but the campaign informed the public only after the video of an ill Clinton emerged.
The incident prompted fresh questions about both candidates’ openness regarding their health. Trump released a new letter from his doctor Thursday detailing his blood pressure, cholesterol and medications, one day after Clinton made public a letter from her physician with similar information. Both candidates’ doctors declared them fit to serve as president.
Trump’s letter said the Republican is 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds — giving him a body mass index falling into the “overweight” range. The 70-year-old has blood pressure of 116 over 70, and his total cholesterol is 169, his doctor says.
Clinton, 68, has blood pressure of 100 over 70, and her total cholesterol is 189, according to her doctor. Her letter made no mention of her weight, a key part of a medical exam; nor did a similar letter released last year.
Trump’s team took a swipe at Clinton’s brief absence from the campaign trail in a statement accompanying the new health information.
“We are pleased to disclose all of the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health, and has the stamina to endure — uninterrupted — the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States,” the campaign said.
Until Thursday, the only information on Trump’s health had come in a widely ridiculed letter from his doctor declaring he would be the healthiest person to ever serve as president. Before releasing the new details to the public, Trump turned over a copy to Dr. Mehmet Oz while taping an episode of Oz’s TV show.
Clinton mocked Trump’s television rollout of his health records, saying, “I’ll never be the showman that my opponent is — just look at the show he put on for Dr. Oz today.”
With two months until Election Day, the race between Clinton and Trump is far tighter than many in both parties expected. Clinton continues to be dragged down by voters’ mistrust, but she still maintains more pathways than Trump to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.
Clinton’s confidence in the electoral map was underscored in her decision to make her first stop this week in North Carolina, the only battleground state President Barack Obama lost in 2012. Trump almost certainly needs to carry the state in order to win the White House, while Clinton’s team is eager to block his path.
Clinton slammed North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for signing a law to prevent transgender people from using restrooms in schools and state government buildings that do not correspond to the gender on their birth certificates. The decision has angered businesses in the state, and this week the NCAA announced it was pulling seven sports championships from North Carolina.
“This is where bigotry leads, and we can’t afford it, not here or anywhere else,” Clinton said.
Later Thursday, Clinton and Obama separately addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington. Clinton ripped Trump for his refusal, in an interview with The Washington Post, to say Obama was born in the United States.
“When will he stop this ugliness, this bigotry?” Clinton asked.
Trump, after releasing his health information, spent Thursday laying out plans to lower taxes by $4.4 trillion over a decade and cut regulations, including some of those currently intended to protect the food Americans eat and the air they breathe. The Republican said his plans would raise the nation’s economic growth rate to at least 3.5 percent, well above its current rate of about 2 percent, and create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years.
The heart of Trump’s plan is a revised tax code, which includes a pledge that no business should pay more than 15 percent of its income in taxes, down from the current 35 percent highest corporate tax rate. Few businesses now pay the full 35 percent rate, taking advantage instead of many deductions in the existing tax code.
AP writers Jon Lemire in New York and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.
AP writers Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and Lisa Lerer at http://twitter.com/llerer