While introducing Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine at a high school in Dayton on Monday, former Ohio governor Ted Strickland raised eyebrows by stressing that Kaine is “ready to become the president,” if Hillary Clinton proves unable to serve.
The New York Times has Strickland praising Kaine as “a wonderful and prepared person to be the president” in Clinton’s place.
The Times said this sounded “a little awkward,” since Clinton is ostensibly recovering from pneumonia after collapsing on Sunday. However, the paper assured readers that Strickland “wasn’t specifically referring to Clinton’s current state of health.”
Strickland did specifically address Clinton’s health with reporters during his visit to Stivers High School, according to the Columbus Dispatch:
“Secretary Clinton by all reports is a healthy person. A lot of people get pneumonia. That’s not something to be terribly concerned about,” Strickland told reporters.
“There have been efforts for a long time to imply that she is not healthy. I think that is part of her political enemies’ attempt to conjure up a rumor that could hurt her politically. I don’t think there’s any evidence she has any serious chronic health conditions that could make it difficult for her to serve as president.”
When asked whether Clinton needs to get back out on the trail in a close race, Strickland replied, “I think the most critical thing for her to do is to be fully recovered of this pneumonia. I would hope that she would take whatever time is needed to fully recover. … It’s tough when you get little sleep and you’re making speech and you’re giving interviews. It can wear on you.”
The Toledo Blade reports Kaine also talked about Clinton’s condition:
“I reached out to her,” he said. “She reached right back to me. She said, ‘I’m going to be fine,’ and she started to make fun of me because I was sitting reading endless debate memos…She was immediately responding back and joking around. She has been on the campaign trail 18 months. Her energy staggers me. We know she’ll be a fantastic president.”
The Blade states that Kaine has canceled another campaign event that was scheduled for northeastern Ohio on Tuesday, without specifying the reason. Clinton canceled a fundraising trip to California on Monday.