The blood clot that hospitalized outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been diagnosed as cerebral venous thrombosis. The clot, which was discovered through an MRI, lies between her brain and her skull. She has been released from the hospital, and blood thinners will be used to treat the clot.
Clinton is expected to make a full recovery; however, the rare and life-threatening disease raises concerns about any plans Clinton may have to run for the presidency in 2016.
Clinton, 65, was hospitalized after suffering a concussion from a fainting spell brought on by the flu. Dr. Greenwald, medical director at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Center for Head Injuries, explained “the clot was most likely caused by dehydration brought on by the flu, perhaps exacerbated by a concussion.” This is the second time Clinton has had to deal with a blood clot. In 1998, she was treated for a blood clot in her leg.
The nature of Clinton’s illness has some wondering if she would be healthy enough to run for office in 2016. She would be 69 years old if she was to win election, making her the second oldest president to take office. (Ronald Reagan was 17 days shy of his 70th birthday when he was inaugurated on January 20, 1981.)
There is no doubt that Clinton’s experience as senator and secretary of state, not to mention the cachet of being married to a former two-term president, makes her imminently qualified to be president. However it is an extremely stressful job, and the rigor of a campaign can tax even the healthiest of people. The stress of a campaign and the office can be seen in the physical changes that a president goes through, epitomized by President Obama’s rapidly greying hair.
Undoubtedly, a Clinton 2016 candidacy would draw parallels to Senator John McCain’s (-Ariz.) failed 2008 campaign. If inaugurated in 2009 at age 72 years and 144 days, McCain would have been the oldest U.S. president upon ascension to the presidency, and the second-oldest president to be inaugurated. Concern over McCain’s health was centered on his successful recovery from skin cancer. During his presidential bid, McCain allayed concern over his health by allowing the media to review his medical records. He has not had any major medical issues since the cancer treatment in 2000, and is still serving in the Senate.
All of this talk may be premature as, Clinton has indicated she is not interested in running for office, noting “I've said I really don't believe that that's something I will do again.”
But that hasn’t stopped speculation. You can already buy “Clinton 2016” merchandise. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “She could be President of the United States, and she would be great.”
Further, Clinton polls very well for the presidency: “85% of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic Party say they would be very or somewhat likely to support Clinton if she runs for the Democratic nomination.” Even Republicans recognize that a Clinton candidacy would be tough to beat. Former Republican presidential candidate and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich noted, “She's very formidable as a person.”
David Axelrod believes Clinton is the leading candidate for 2016. He describes her position as being “first among equals.” He pointed out that history could be the motivating factor in Clinton’s decision. Axelrod explained “I think the reality of a woman getting elected the president of the United States may be an even more powerful incentive in 2016.”
Still, Clinton maintains that a future run is not in her plans. “Look, I'm flattered. I am honored. That is not in the future for me, but obviously I'm hoping that I'll get to cast my vote for a woman running for president of our country.”