LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Democrat Hillary Clinton said on a late-night television show on Monday (Aug 23) that sometimes she feels she is in an "alternative universe" in the United States presidential race against Republican Donald Trump.
"I do feel sometimes like this campaign has entered into an alternative universe," she said on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live. "I have to step into the alternative reality, answer questions about am I alive, how much longer will I be alive."
Mrs Clinton was for the first time responding to allegations made by Mr Trump and some of his backers that she is suffering health problems that could be problematic in the White House should she win the Nov 8 election.
Both Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump have released notes from doctors declaring them physically fit for the presidency.
Kimmel asked Mrs Clinton to open a jar of pickles as a test of her strength. She did so successfully. "This has become one of their themes. Take my pulse while I'm talking to you - make sure I'm alive," she said to Kimmel of the health rumours.
She said that sometimes Mr Trump's remarks about her - such as a recent charge that President Barack Obama and Mrs Clinton co-founded the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which he later said was sarcasm - go beyond personal attacks and become harmful to US national security.
"There's enough evidence now that when Trump talks the way he talks it actually helps the terrorists," she said. "I think it's crazy, but I think it's also harmful."
She said she had begun preparing for the three presidential debates scheduled in September and October. "I want to take it seriously," she said. "But you've got to be prepared for, like wacky stuff that comes at you and I am drawing on my experience in elementary school."
Mrs Clinton brushed off the possible release of an additional 14,900 e-mails that the FBI found when investigating her use of a private e-mail server as secretary of state. "My e-mails are so boring," she said. "What's a few more?"
The US State Department has already reviewed some 30,068 e-mails from her 2009-2013 tenure and released most of them, amounting to some 55,000 pages.