On Sunday, the Tribune reported that both campaigns had denied its request for “basic medical information” about their vice presidential candidates. Today, the New York Times reports that medical information about the presidential candidates has also not been forthcoming.
“Fifteen days before the election, serious gaps remain in the public’s knowledge about the health of the presidential and vice presidential nominees,” writes longtime Times medical correspondent Lawrence K. Altman. “The limited information provided by the candidates is a striking departure from recent campaigns, in which many candidates and their doctors were more forthcoming.”
The McCain campaign has made 1,200 pages of medical records available in a limited way to a limited number of reporters, though no records have been forthcoming regarding Sarah Palin.
But what is oddest is the Obama campaign’s refusal to release anything other than a six-paragraph letter from his doctor attesting to his “excellent health.” The Obama campaign is not allowing the doctor to be interviewed.
This afternoon, the Obama campaign, which has made transparency a rhetorical calling card despite the secretive nature of its operation, similarly released a statement from a doctor who reviewed Joe Biden’s medical records “on behalf of” the Obama campaign and pronounced Biden in “excellent health.” That doctor also is being shielded from media inquiries.
“Biden’s doctor, John Francis Eisold, attending physician for the United States Capitol, does not speak to reporters, according to Biden aides, but in a letter to Biden that the campaign allowed reporters to review, Eisold described Biden as ‘recovered fully without continued effects’ from a 1988 brain aneurysm,” the Washington Post reports.)
You’d think we could all agree on a level of disclosure. “The information that has been released is a retreat from the approach that most campaigns took over the last 10 elections,” Altman notes.
In the primary, when Hillary Clinton did not release her tax returns fast enough to satisfy the Obama campaign, the campaign and its surrogates asked what she was hiding. Fifteen days out from electing a president, the question is apt for both campaigns – but especially the Obama campaign, which somehow thinks six paragraphs is sufficient.