On Sunday, Sept. 11, American media focused on a number of stories, most prominently the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and Hillary Clinton's health episode at the memorial in New York City. Her campaign later explained that she had to leave the event early due to overheating amid a previously undisclosed case of pneumonia. After this incident, former President Bill Clinton spoke with CBS News to try to explain and reassure people about what happened. However, Bill revealed Clinton's history with fainting, saying Clinton fainted "frequently," then changed to "rarely," in his interview with Charlie Rose, according to a deleted clip obtained by TMZ.
As numerous outlets have noted, including Mediaite and the New York Daily News, the "frequently" moment was actually edited out of CBS' shortened evening news clip, but was left in for all to see in the longer version. Here's what Bill told Rose: "Frequently — not frequently, rarely, but on more than one occasion over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing's happened to her when she just got severely dehydrated."
Clinton has only had two notable, publicly documented health incidents in recent years: in 2012 when she passed out and fell, suffering a concussion, and what happened on Sept. 11. Both incidents have been reported as caused by dehydration, the first in concert with a stomach virus, and Sunday's with a bout of pneumonia.
To be clear, it's entirely unclear whether there was any real distinction in Bill's mind between what "frequently" and "rarely" meant, beyond the fact that he could probably reckon the former would sound much worse from a political standpoint. If someone close to you fainted a couple of times in the period of five years or so, it might strike you both as more frequent than you'd expect, but also rare within the full context of that person's life and health.
Ultimately, the sense that Bill might have made a verbal misstep — and an undeniably politically loaded one — rather than some kind of witting attempt to obfuscate about Clinton's health might help explain why CBS trimmed the clip for the evening news. Although plenty of conservative critics and Trump supporters, already primed to treat mainstream (non-Fox News) media with loathing and skepticism, are none too happy about it.
For Clinton's part, she's reportedly been resting up since the incident, first heading to her daughter Chelsea's New York apartment to recover, then to her home in Chappaqua, New York to take some time off. At present, it's not clear when exactly she'll head back on the campaign trail, although the campaign is reportedly targeting Friday, Sept. 16 as a potential return date.