Hillary Clinton planned to resume campaigning on Thursday after pneumonia forced her to take time off and an aide to the Democratic presidential nominee said facing a Republican rival as controversial as Donald Trump makes it “harder to be heard.”
Clinton’s return to the campaign trail comes as Trump has cut into her lead in polls ahead of the Nov. 8 election. She was scheduled to attend a rally in North Carolina and then speak at a dinner in Washington.
Clinton, 68, had been resting at her home in Chappaqua, New York, for three days after being diagnosed with pneumonia and falling ill at a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony on Sunday.
With the candidates’ health in the spotlight, Trump, 70, on Thursday released details of a recent physical examination, a day after Clinton released details on her medical condition.
Trump’s campaign said the results of his physical showed the fast-food fan has normal cholesterol with the help of a statin drug, weighs 236 pounds (107 kg) and has normal blood pressure.
In a not-so-subtle slap at Clinton, the Trump campaign said the medical report showed Trump “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.”
Top Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri said “one upside” of Clinton’s unplanned break was the chance to “sharpen the final argument Clinton will present to voters in these closing weeks.”
“Our campaign readily admits that running against a candidate as controversial as Donald Trump means it is harder to be heard on what you aspire for the country’s future and it is incumbent on us to work harder,” Palmieri said in a statement.
Clinton’s strong lead over Trump in most opinion polls after the party-nominating conventions in July narrowed throughout August. A New York Times/CBS News poll released on Thursday showed Clinton had the support of 46 percent of likely voters nationwide, with 44 percent backing Trump.
States such as Ohio and Florida, which do not lean heavily Democratic or Republican, are no longer considered likely wins for Clinton, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project released on Saturday.
TRUMP GOAL: 4 PERCENT GROWTH
In a major economic address in New York on Thursday, Trump said if elected he would set a national goal of achieving a 4 percent economic growth annual, which he said would create 25 million new jobs. The growth rate last year was about 2 percent.
“My great economists don’t want me to say this but I think we can do better than that,” Trump said of the 4 percent goal, an idea originally championed by Jeb Bush, who was among the 16 Republican candidates Trump defeated for the nomination.
Trump backers on Capitol Hill said they were heartened by the tightening race after a call on Thursday morning with Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, who mapped out what the campaign was doing. She promised a more policy-driven approach from Trump in the race’s final stretch.
“The poll numbers are just looking phenomenal as you move away from registered voters to likely voters,” U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold of Texas said.
Clinton’s health scare forced her to cancel a two-day swing through California earlier this week and send her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to a Las Vegas campaign rally in her stead. It also interrupted a series of speeches in which she had planned to refocus her campaign on what she would do for the country after a period when she attacked Trump as a dangerous, unprepared candidate.
Clinton’s speech in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Thursday was to focus on how she plans to make sure “every child has the chance to live up to their God-given potential,” Palmieri said.
The former secretary of state, U.S. senator from New York and first lady will deliver speeches in the coming days on the economy and national service, her campaign said. Last week, she discussed her religious faith in Kansas City, Missouri.
In a move to jump-start momentum, Clinton’s campaign announced on Thursday that U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont will campaign for her on Saturday in the battleground state of Ohio.
Warren is a progressive leader within the Democratic Party, and Sanders waged a hard-fought primary race against Clinton. At events aimed at younger voters, both will discuss Clinton’s plan to reduce college tuition costs.
Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis came at inopportune time for the candidate, who spent the bulk of August fundraising in wealthy U.S. enclaves such as New York’s Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, with only intermittent campaign events.
On Wednesday, Clinton released a letter from her physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, to dispel rumors about her health. The letter detailed her pneumonia diagnosis and declared her fit for the presidency.
Trump discussed his health in a segment of the “Dr. Oz Show” that will air on Thursday.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker; additional reporting by Alana Wise in Washington; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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