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The Lid: Health Questions Not Uncommon for White House Hopefuls

Presidential hopefuls have often come under pressure to disclose more information about their medical history.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walks from her daughter's apartment building Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in New York. Clinton unexpectedly left Sunday's 9/11 anniversary ceremony in New York after feeling "overheated," according to her campaign. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)Craig Ruttle / AP

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Donald Trump’s new hotel in Washington, D.C. began welcoming guests this week with rooms starting at upwards of $700 per night...because taco bowls this good don’t come cheap.

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‘16 from 30,000

The weekend’s news that Hillary Clinton “overheated” at a 9/11 memorial event -- and the campaign’s later disclosure that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia late last week -- guaranteed that questions about the health of both presidential candidates would be thrust back into the news cycle this week. It’s been a big story, and - as with all things -- it’s worth looking at the historical context here. NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald notes that questions about candidates’ health are nothing new. In 2008, then-72-year-old John McCain made more than 1,000 pages of health records available after facing questions about his age and three battles with cancer. John Kerry left the campaign trail in 2003 to receive treatment for prostate cancer. And Bob Dole faced scrutiny during his 1996 White House bid after falling off the stage at a campaign rally. (Dole attended this year’s GOP Convention, Kerry is now secretary of state, and McCain is locked in a heated re-election battle for his Arizona Senate seat.) Other campaign health woes have been more serious. Paul Tsongas largely attempted to duck health issues during his 1992 campaign and his doctors suggested he beat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, he died five years later at 55.

We’ll reiterate what our big sib First Read wrote this morning: Transparency is the best policy for both Clinton and Trump when it comes to their medical history. Still, any folks who are hyping the current questions about each candidate’s health as completely unprecedented are ignoring how often presidential hopefuls have come under pressure to disclose more information about their medical history.



“In retrospect we could have handled it better.”

  • Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon talking about the Democratic nominee’s pneumonia on MSNBC.


Mike Pence will meet with Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.