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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pauses to drink water after coughing as she speaks at the 11th Congressional District Labor Day festival at Luke Easter Park in Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Here's the deal with Hillary Clinton's cough


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Watch: Clinton coughs sometimes, but does that really mean she's unwell? 

Hillary Clinton had two coughing fits on the campaign trail on Monday, prompting inevitable cries from some conservative corners of the internet that the former Secretary of State is unwell. 

It's not the first time either thing has happened. Clinton has periodically suffered coughing spells over the course of her political career -- spells which she and her campaign attribute to seasonal allergies and general over-exertion. 

Ohio's worst state for allergies

On Sunday, for example, Clinton paused to cough during a press conference and a campaign rally in Ohio -- the worst state in the nation for respiratory problems due to allergies and pollution, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

And one of Clinton's more recent coughing spells was at the end of a hearing  where Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi for more than eight hours.

Clinton Coughing Fit at Benghazi Hearing

WATCH:  Clinton coughs during Benghazi hearing

Drudge, Jones, @hillarycoughing

But the relative frequency of Clinton's public coughing compared to other politicians has become fodder for some to question whether Clinton is physically fit to serve.

Popular conservative news aggregator Matt Drudge is one of the leading conspiracy theory proponents, as is the controversial conservative radio host Alex Jones.

An anti-Clinton Twitter feed called @hillarycoughing also purports to track the former Secretary of State's respiratory episodes. The account has less than 1,000 followers. 

Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker follows "cough-gate"

"A desire to portray her as lame and feeble"

"It's a desire to portray her as lame and feeble," the Washington Post's David Weigel recently told the Daily Beast in an extensive article about how Clinton's cough has been covered by the media.

"There's just this leftover sense that Hillary is old and frail and can be mocked for that, and it's accentuated because they [the conservative media] know that this pisses off liberals."

'Fit to serve'

There is no hard evidence that Clinton's cough is indicative of anything serious.

A 2015 letter from Clinton's doctor, Lisa Bardack, said that aside from minor maladies -- like "hypothyroidism and seasonal allergies" -- Clinton is "in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as President of the United States." 

You can read the full letter here

Trump calls for medical records

Still, claims about Clinton's health have percolated into the national dialogue enough to where the Republican presidential nominee has publicly questioned her fitness for the presidency.

In August, Donald Trump said Clinton lacked the "mental and physical stamina" required of the presidency, and called on Clinton to release "detailed medical records." 

Trump has also not released his medical records, though he pledged to on Tuesday.

The pickle jar conspiracy

Clinton herself addressed the rumors about her health, calling them a "paranoid fever dream" perpetuated by the "alt-right," a term describing the far right-leaning movement that has dabbled in conspiracy theories about Clinton's cough.

Clinton also opened a pickle jar on the late-night comedy show Jimmy Kimmel Live! to demonstrate that she was healthy enough for the White House. 

Hillary Clinton Proves She’s in Good Health

WATCH:  Conspiracy theorists, however, have seized on that, too. Following Clinton's Kimmel appearance, Alex Jones claimed the pickle jar was "pre-loosened" before the show.

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