Clinton Turns Her Lemons Into Lemonade

by Charlie Beckerman

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has hit some bumps in the last few weeks. After getting thrashed for placing half of Donald Trump supporters into the "basket of deplorables," she was caught on film wobbling on her feet after an early departure from a 9/11 memorial event before her campaign disclosed that she'd been diagnosed with pneumonia. Her polling numbers have noticeably slipped, and every polling average out there shows an uncomfortably tight race. But the former Secretary of State is no fool. In fact, Clinton turned her illness into a point about healthcare, telling PEOPLE magazine that it "really brought home how lucky I am."

"When I'm feeling under the weather, I can take a few days off," she said in an interview published Wednesday. "A lot of people can't — they go to work sick, or lose a paycheck. Getting sick is devastating for some families, but a bump in the road for others. That's not right."

The former Secretary of State has been campaigning on strengthening the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature healthcare reform legislation. The act, however, doesn't address the issue of paid leave. In 2015, Obama attempted to push sick leave reform through executive orders and proposing legislation (which Republicans pushed back against).

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Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics paint the grim picture that only 61 percent of private sector workers have access to paid sick leave benefits; the U.S. has no federal sick leave requirement, putting us way behind other industrialized nations.

Clinton's decision to not only not shy away from talking about her illness, but to make it part of her campaign, might turn out to be a savvy one. As she continues in her epic struggle to become more "humanized" and "relatable" to the voting public, this latest episode gives her an organic way to discuss an important policy point.

"Something as fundamental as affordable health care or financial security — that shouldn't come down to luck," she said in the PEOPLE interview. "They should be within reach for every family in America. That's why I got into this race, and that's what I'll fight for as president."

Whether this will undo Clinton's recent polling damage remains to be seen. The most recent RealClearPolitics averages put Trump only 1 point behind his Democratic opponent.

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While I hope Clinton doesn't have to deal with too many lemons — like the ones lobbed by health truthers — being thrown at her, it's good to know she has a decent recipe for lemonade.