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Clinton's health now a campaign issue

AAP logoAAP 11/09/2016 Lisa Lerer and Julie Pace

For weeks, Hillary Clinton has dismissed questions about her health as little more than a conspiracy theory, part of a "wacky strategy'' cooked up by rival Donald Trump.

Those concerns are now unavoidable, made real by Clinton's abrupt departure from a September 11 anniversary ceremony and a video showing the Democratic nominee staggering and slumping forward before being held up by three people as she was helped into a van.

The damage was compounded by the disclosure on Sunday evening that she has been diagnosed on Friday with pneumonia.

Clinton's doctor said the 68-year-old former secretary of state "became overheated and dehydrated'' at the September 11 ceremony at ground zero. After an exam at her home in suburban New York, she was said to be "rehydrated and recovering nicely.''

But less than two months from Election Day, it's a problematic visual for Clinton as she tries to project the strength and vigour needed for one of the world's most demanding jobs.

Late on Sunday night, she called off plans to travel to California for two days of fundraising, campaign events and an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show.

No longer can Trump's questions about her physical stamina be summarily dismissed. The episode is also sure to fuel a vocal group of online conspiracy theorists, deemed "healthers'' by some Clinton supporters, who frequently point to videos and photos of Clinton as evidence of her poor health.

Both candidates, who've released limited health records, are likely to now face calls to release more detailed information about their physical fitness.

The incident compounds an already difficult time for Clinton as the presidential race enters its final stretch. Despite Trump's numerous missteps, the race remains close and many Americans view Clinton as dishonest and untrustworthy.

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