The news that Hillary Clinton has pneumonia throws an unexpected spanner into the presidential race.
It certainly leads to legitimate concerns about her health at 68 and indeed, the health of her opponent, Donald Trump, who is 70. It is clear that both sets of medical records should be released.
Depending on the outcome of those medical reports and Hillary's recovery from pneumonia the impact may be minimal, which is what I suspect, or quite serious if major health problems are discovered in either candidate.
The announcement of pneumonia at least may explain her almost fainting episode on Sunday, when she had to be helped into her security van, but no doubt her critics on the right will have a field day. There has been a concerted campaign to raise questions about her health for several months now.
There is no question that running for president ain't beanbag.
There are times when I have witnessed Hillary Clinton on the verge of absolute exhaustion.
In Belfast in 2012, during her last trip as Secretary Of State and after a dreadful and punishing schedule on her farewell tour, she looked bedraggled, tired and drawn.
I was not entirely surprised when she fainted from exhaustion shortly after that tour. It definitely looked like she had stretched herself to the limit.
Another time I recall was at a New York fundraiser in 2008 when she was vainly trying to catch up with Barack Obama and was chasing him pillar to post across America. She also had a heavy flu. Again she looked tired and drawn, stumbled through her remarks and seemed utterly out of sorts
Surprise, surprise she was human.
Here is Hillary Clinton leaving Chelsea's apartment. (A little girl came up to give her a hug) pic.twitter.com/VreSXmT1Yh— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) September 11, 2016
The final time was back in 2000 when she was running for Senate in New York and come to an event sponsored by our newspaper Irish Voice. Again she had a heavy flu, looked exhausted and explained quietly she had to leave early, which was no problem.
I have no doubt her episode at Ground Zero was similar to those events: overtired, sick and nearing the end of the most brutal presidential race in history, she simply needed rest and antibiotics to defeat the pneumonia.
"During the ceremony, she felt overheated so departed to go to her daughter's apartment, and is feeling much better," the campaign statement said.
I remember accompanying the president and first lady to Belfast in 1995 on a hectic visit to help drive the peace process forward.
I had a brief glimpse from a few days what it's like to be president or first lady, a relentless, punishing schedule that lasts from dawn to the early hours of the following day. The presidential bubble is well named. After a few days I was wiped out. Every president faces it every day.
I asked President Clinton about it once and his comment was, “It's when you're too tired that mistakes are made.” I can definitely get that now.
Of course there will be calls for her to release her medical records, which she should do. Trump should release his as well. He is 70, looks fit, if somewhat overweight, but who knows? And his kooky doctor’s note didn't help. Maybe he got his medical degree from Trump University.
The Hillary episode will hopefully be much ado about nothing.