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Inside Politics

Hillary Clinton faints during speech

New York senator recovers, continues with schedule


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Hillary Clinton speaks Monday at Canisius College in New York after fainting earlier in the day.
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Hillary Rodham Clinton
Canisius College

(CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton fainted during a luncheon speech Monday in upstate New York, citing a 24-hour virus, but she recovered and resumed her public schedule.

Clinton, 57, was speaking at the Saturn Club in Buffalo, said Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan, who greeted her upon her arrival.

"She said she was not feeling well, looked pale," he said. "She told the crowd she was queasy."

"She said she was going to sit and talk," Lenihan said. At that, she took the microphone but then said she felt warm and left the room to remove the jacket of her black jumpsuit, he said.

Upon her return, at about 12:15 p.m., the senator fainted as her staff placed the microphone in front of her, Lenihan said.

Her Secret Service agents quickly surrounded the former first lady, and four people broke her fall, he said.

"They took her down gracefully; let's put it that way," said Lenihan.

Among the attendees was Dr. Stephanie Pincus, a leading doctor in New York and professor at the University of Buffalo.

"She has had a GI virus -- an acute gastrointestinal illness -- and she has been sick for at least a day and she needed some fluids; she needed to sit down and relax," Pincus told a reporter for television station WIVB.

"She had clearly consulted with physicians beforehand," Pincus said. "She came in, she said she wasn't feeling well. She felt hot. She had stepped out to remove some of her heavier clothing, and it was just too much for her to continue."

Pincus predicted the senator would feel "much better within the next 24 to 48 hours."

The junior Democratic senator from New York was speaking to the Buffalo Women's Taking Action Politically Fund -- or TAP -- a nonpartisan group that sponsors women running for public office.

By the time of Clinton's arrival, shortly after noon, most of the approximately 125 attendees -- who had paid $100 apiece for their chicken salad and alcohol-free beverages -- had already eaten, Lenihan said.

Clinton did not go to a hospital, and no ambulance was called, sources said.

"She received immediate medical attention at the site and is now proceeding with her schedule as planned," said the senator's press secretary, Philippe Reines.

Club general manager Vincent Tracy said Clinton appeared to have recovered by the time she left through a rear door, as had been planned.

"She waved and said goodbye," he said.

There were no cameras in the room when Clinton fainted, a club spokesman said.

Clinton appeared about an hour later at Canisius College, a Jesuit school in Buffalo, where she delivered a speech on health care, a college spokesman said.

The senator assured people there she was all right, said John Hurley, vice president for college relations at Canisius, and "she delivered a very forceful speech."

After retired Rep. John LaFalce, who introduced her, told the audience that she had "collapsed" at lunch, Clinton said, "It wasn't as dramatic as it sounds."

She has since returned to Washington.

A number of Clinton's Senate staffers fell ill during a weekend staff retreat in Rye, New York, a staff member said.

Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, 58, underwent quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery in September. They live in Westchester County, north of New York City.

CNN's Tom Watkins, Phil Hirschkorn, Jamie McShane, Steve Turnham, Claire Brinberg, Lauren Rivera and Maureen Madden contributed to this report.


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