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Updated Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Hillary Clinton faints, suffers concussion; recuperating at home

By The New York Times and The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suffered a concussion last week after fainting and striking her head, the State Department said Saturday.

The fainting episode occurred after Clinton, 65, had become dehydrated because of a stomach virus, according to Philippe Reines, a Clinton aide.

The statement did not describe the severity of the concussion nor did it say when it occurred or why the State Department delayed disclosing the injury. She apparently caught the virus during a recent visit to Europe.

The statement said that Clinton, who's expected to leave her job soon, was recovering at home, adding that she would work from home for the next week.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee said it won't hear from Clinton as planned at a Thursday hearing into the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. The House Foreign Affairs Committee also said Clinton would not give scheduled testimony at its hearing Thursday on Libya.

Senior State Department officials William Burns and Thomas Nides are to take her place at both hearings.

Last week Clinton, who has been widely discussed as a possible presidential candidate in 2016, canceled a planned trip to Morocco, where she was scheduled to meet with leaders of Syria's opposition. She had also planned to visit Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

Throughout the week, State Department officials gave a mixed picture about the severity of Clinton's illness. On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland described Clinton as having a "very uncomfortable stomach virus" but did not mention a concussion. The next day, Nuland said Clinton was "under the weather." Nuland did say Clinton's illness had prevented her from making calls to foreign leaders.

The Benghazi attack has been at the center of a bitter political fight in Washington. Much of the controversy focused on public comments by the ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, shortly after the September attack.

Rice had been the Obama administration's top choice to succeed Clinton but withdrew her name from consideration for the job Thursday, citing the controversy.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton


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