John McCain’s campaign held a press conference call this afternoon to discuss the release of his medical records. From the pool reports, it looks as though McCain is in excellent health, with cardiovascular fitness of a man far younger than 71 years of age. His bout with melanoma appears completely under control, and other than some cholesterol issues, is a picture of health and strength.

The opening statement notes the unprecedented nature of this release. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have not released their medical records, and Bill Clinton never did disclose his. His doctors insisted that the reason it took so long to release the records was because they wanted to include his regular quarterly checkup in May. That happened eleven days ago, and this was the earliest all of the physicians could coordinate to compile a complete look at his records.

Undoubtedly, this was a shot at the New York Times.

Most of the rest of the statements from the doctors got deep in the technical weeds. The bottom line: the doctors state that they have no reason to conclude that McCain could not fulfill the duties and obligations of the office of the presidency. Even the melanomas didn’t amount to much concern; only one of the four were “invasive”, and that was removed in 2000. No melanomas have recurred, and there is no evidence of spread.

Questions:

  • ABC News: Was the shoulder melanoma in 1993 invasive, and do they have the records from that procedure? They didn’t treat it, and so they can’t comment on it. It hasn’t recurred.
  • CNN: What does “impaired fasting glucose” mean, and what was the significance? He had a fasting blood sugar of 111, but a follow-up test shows no evidence of diabetes. What about the risk of colon cancer? He has regular colonoscopies and found nothing more than benign polyps. He also had an MRA of the neck and brain, and those studies came back normal; his carotid arteries look clean of plaque formation.
  • Arizona Republic: What’s his prognosis on the melanoma? The odds of recurrence would be in the single-digit area.
  • CBS News: If he wasn’t taking a diuretic, would he have high blood pressure? What about cardiovascular risk? His blood pressure has been good, and the one that piqued CBS’ curiosity was within normal limits (134/84). They have advised McCain to limit salt intake.

At the point of the time when I had to start my show prep, the CBS News doctor had begun filibustering the conference. He apparently figured that some sort of conspiracy surrounds McCain’s use of hydrochlorothiazide, a routine diuretic indicated by the kidney stones McCain has had in the past. I hung up at the eighth follow-up on this question.
Here are the two parts of CNN’s coverage of the release:

Part II: