Clinton visits NC in campaign trail return; Trump up in polls

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Hillary Clinton got back on the campaign trail Thursday, visiting Greensboro after taking three days off for pneumonia. The Democratic presidential candidate faced a more challenging political landscape, with Republican rival Donald Trump rising in opinion polls.Senior Clinton aides said they always expected the race to the Nov. 8 election to be close. But it was clear from a raft of new polls that Trump had halted a summer swoon after taking steps to give a less freewheeling, more polished performance on the stump.Clinton, 68, appeared in good health during the appearance, leaving the stage to the tune of James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” Clinton told reporters she kept her pneumonia diagnosis last Friday quiet, telling only senior staff, because she thought she would be able to “power through” the illness and keep campaigning.”From my perspective, I thought I was going to be fine and I thought that there was no reason to make a big fuss about it,” she said.On Sunday, Clinton nearly collapsed while leaving a ceremony marking the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York.Her illness coincided with a surge by Trump, who has drawn even or taken a slight lead in national polls. Polls in battleground states where the race is likely to be decided showed Trump now leading in Iowa, Ohio, Florida and Nevada, and tied in North Carolina.Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist who managed 2004 candidate John Kerry’s unsuccessful campaign, said that what has hurt Clinton is not the time taken off from the campaign trail but rather her decision to keep her diagnosis secret until forced to disclose it — which reinforced a perception among voters that she has a penchant for secrecy.”Fairly or unfairly, what this was taken as was more evidence that she was not transparent and that’s what hurts her,” Shrum said. “She been far more transparent than Trump but she hasn’t gotten any credit for it.”With the candidates’ health in the spotlight, Trump, 70, released details Thursday of a recent physical examination, a day after Clinton released specifics on her medical condition.Trump’s campaign said results of his physical showed the fast-food fan has normal cholesterol with the help of a statin drug, weighs 236 pounds, and has normal blood pressure.The Trump campaign said his medical report showed he “has the stamina to endure — uninterrupted — the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States.”Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri said “one upside” of Clinton’s unplanned break was the chance to “sharpen the final argument Clinton will present to voters in these closing weeks.”Clinton’s visit to Greensboro came the same day that Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, opened a campaign office in Cary and announced that Trump will visit High Point and Kenansville on Tuesday.