AUDIO: Bill Clinton's Digestive Problems Go Back to White House Years

Clinton presidency plagued by constant flatulence

Bill Clinton
February 23, 2016

"I never clog," former president Bill Clinton told Politico last week in Las Vegas, attributing the digestive feat to his strictly vegan diet.

However, 'clogging' is not the only digestive problem with which Clinton has had to deal, according to audio recordings obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Clinton became so flatulent at one point during his presidency that his close friend and biographer Taylor Branch "worried about his health," according to an audio diary kept by Branch to record his thoughts after interviews with the president.

"I haven’t really noted this before because I know it’s a little embarrassing, but tonight I noticed it a lot," said Branch after an interview with Clinton on May 11, 1998. "A lot of times when he was standing up, he was very flatulent."

Clinton’s flatulence was so bad that it served as "an accompaniment in the background" of their conversations, Branch said.

"I worried about his health just a little bit," said Branch who, despite his concern, never brought it up with Clinton directly.

Clinton also never bothered to excuse himself or offer an apology for the distracting bodily function, according to Branch.

"I figured it must bug him, but he never acknowledged it and neither did I, of course," said Branch.

Aside from the flatulence issue, Branch said he was troubled by Clinton’s general appearance in 1998.

"That big nose, I worry about the color in it. It looks like an alcoholic’s nose but I know he’s not a big drinker," said Branch. "It has some deep reds and even purples in the side of his nose."

President Clinton underwent knee surgery the previous year after 'falling down the steps' late one evening at the home of professional golfer Greg Norman. The president subsequently was on crutches for several weeks.

Clinton’s health deteriorated after he left the White House, ultimately leading to an emergency heart bypass surgery in 2004 and his adoption of a vegan diet.

"I might not be around if I hadn’t become a vegan," Clinton told Politico while eating at a vegan eatery in Las Vegas ahead of last Saturday's Democratic presidential caucuses. "The vegan diet is what I like the best. I have more energy, I never clog."

Many commentators, however, have noted that Clinton appears to be a shell of his old self as he travels the country stumping for his wife.

The New York Times wrote last week that Clinton "looked smaller and his voice seemed weaker than in past campaigns" and also that "people had to strain to hear him at times." Nevada political expert Jon Ralston noted that he "looked gaunt." During his wife's concession speech after losing the New Hampshire primary to Bernie Sanders in a landslide, Clinton looked like he did not know where he was.

Published under: Bill Clinton