A Hillary Clinton body double? Debunking the conspiracy theory

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after leaving an apartment building Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in New York. Clinton's campaign said the Democratic presidential nominee left the 9/11 anniversary ceremony in New York early after feeling "overheated." . AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

In spite of the fact that she’s suffering from pneumonia, Hillary Clinton looked pretty healthy as she emerged from her daughter’s New York City apartment on Sunday afternoon.

Appearing in front of the cameras looking rested and refreshed was likely a calculated move on the part of the Clinton machine, which a few hours earlier had been hit with every political campaign’s worst nightmare: a grainy video of an unsteady presidential candidate being helped into a van by staffers.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton says she got dizzy but didn’t pass out

But Clinton’s quick recovery and subsequent appearance outside Chelsea Clinton’s home had a secondary effect, as the Internet’s conspiracy theorists surfaced to float an idea…

Maybe that wasn’t Clinton outside the apartment at all.

That’s right. Within hours, Google searches for “Hillary Clinton body double” had started to spike and the hashtag #HillarysBodyDouble was catching fire on Twitter.

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Her nose didn’t look quite right, said some doubters. Her hair wasn’t the same as it had been a few hours earlier (presumably Chelsea Clinton doesn’t have a shower in her home).

People soon started obsessing about fingers and a perceived lack of protective agents.

Suspicion soon fell on Clinton impersonator Teresa Barnwell, who sent out a somewhat ill-advised tweet that was quickly deleted.

It reportedly included a weeks-old photo of her taken outside the same New York apartment and read: “Or maybe I was in NYC today…you never know!”

Barnwell, who has been impersonating Clinton since the 1990s, quickly assured the Internet that she had, in fact, been in Los Angeles on Sunday. All day.

So, how much credence should we give this body-double theory?

Well, first of all, Barnwell was indeed in Los Angeles, for a live taping of the television show Lip Sync Battle. She gave a full interview to Newsweek while in the city, and her presence on the west coast can be confirmed by literally hundreds of people watching that taping. So she’s out.

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As for the photos appearing to show tiny changes in Clinton’s appearance between the 9-11 memorial where she had the dizzy spell and her later appearance at Chelsea Clinton’s apartment, higher resolution images were later posted online showing that she looked almost exactly the same. Right down to individual wrinkles and freckles on her skin.

But what about the differing finger lengths or lack of Secret Service protection? Those can probably be chalked up to camera angles. Here’s an Associated Press shot from the same scene, showing at least two agents:

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

Bottom line: If it was a body double, it was the most convincing double imaginable.

But then again…




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