A SuperPac closely associated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign is turning, yet again, to dirty tactics. On Saturday, word got out that David Brock, founder of the Correct the Record PAC, was planning to take to the airwaves to demand that Bernie Sanders release all of his medical records. The implication would be that Sanders is too old and unhealthy to be president.
Clinton released her medical records in July which revealed that she takes the blood thinner Coumadin, suffers from hypothyroidism and has seasonal allergies. Her physicians signed off on the report noting that she was in excellent health for a woman her age.
In 2012, while she was Secretary of State, Hillary had a major medical scare. After suffering from a fall that resulted in a concussion, Clinton was diagnosed with cerebral venous thrombosis, a rare and potentially life threatening condition in which blood clots between the brain and the skull.
Regardless of Hillary’s clean bill of health, her history tells another story. And some critics are concerned.
Anyone over the age of 45 will remember when Ronald Reagan became president. He took office at the age of 69, five years younger than Bernie Sanders is now, and the same age as Hillary Clinton. During Reagan’s first term, he secretly wore a hearing aid in his right ear. Later, he had to start wearing one in his left ear. Hearing issues wouldn’t disqualify him from the presidency, but that was just the beginning.
Rumors then began to float that Reagan may have been suffering from some sort of dementia. The Washington Times describes his inability to identify people he should have recognized.
“His real health issues were a closely guarded secret. In 1986, he didn’t seem to know a prominent reporter. Another time, he repeatedly referred to his vice president as ‘Prime Minister Bush.'”
Hillary’s doctors attributed the clot to severe dehydration and the concussion she sustain after her fainting spell. Recent reports show that she is now healthy and taking blood thinners, but a 2014 book, entitled “Blood Feud” claims Hillary is hiding a serious heart condition. Others speculated that she had actually suffered a mild stroke, which is why she essentially disappeared from the public eye for several months after the incident.
Brock, whose SuperPAC is not officially part of the Clinton campaign, was sharply criticized by Hillary’s campaign manager, John Podesta, Saturday for the assumed attack on Bernie.
.@davidbrockdc: Chill out. We're fighting on who would make a better President, not on who has a better Physical Fitness Test.
— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) January 17, 2016
Despite John Podesta’s tweet urging Brock to “chill out,” voters didn’t buy it. Some Twitter users even accused Podesta and Brock of coordinating the exchange to cover up their mutual complicity.
Podesta sent the tweet shortly after the Bernie Sanders campaign had responded to Brock’s rumored plan to use airtime in South Carolina to demand his medical records by sending an email to supporters.
In the email communication, Bernie Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, addressed the issue head on.
“With just two weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, the super PAC coordinating with Hillary Clinton’s campaign is reportedly launching one of the most desperate and vile attacks imaginable: they are insinuating Bernie is too old and unhealthy to be our next president.”
“Let me be very clear with you: Bernie is in excellent health.”
David Brock later released a statement denying the plan to demand Bernie’s medical records, but again, voters aren’t buying it.
— Shelly (@trekkerteach12) January 17, 2016
Traditionally, candidates do not release medical records until they have won the nomination, so Bernie Sanders not releasing them does not become an issue until this spring. However, people still have doubts about his age and health. It has been a big factor in why some voters have chosen to support Hillary over Bernie.
In late November, Sanders underwent minor hernia surgery. It was a simple medical procedure done on an outpatient basis. Not long after that, he was back on his rigorous campaign trail without any ill effects.
Perhaps one of the most revealing things about Bernie’s health, is how packed his schedule is. It is not uncommon for Sanders to campaign in Iowa, fly to Washington, D.C. for a vote, and fly right back. He rarely shows signs of slowing down or feeling the effects of such a harsh schedule.
In October, CNN ran a story about presidents and age. Is there a time when a person is too old to be president? Sanjay Gupta posited that there’s more to age than just a number.
“What’s more important than chronological age is what we call ‘physiological age.’ What is their body really like? You have 90-year-olds with bodies more like 60-year-olds — and quite frankly — even more so vice-versa.”
Despite the Hillary camp’s repeated attempts to sink Bernie’s ship, he continues to gain momentum. As of Saturday night, Politico reports that Sanders’ campaign has raised more than $3.1 million since Tuesday. That’s an average of $775,000 raised per day. Bernie’s campaign fundraising is so successful his supporters jokingly announce that they hope Hillary attacks on Bernie continue so he’ll get even more donations.
Sanders is currently in South Carolina, awaiting Sunday night’s debate after the football game. Hillary enjoys a strong lead among African Americans in the state, but Bernie hopes to swing some voters to his side. With his slow and steady progress, there is little doubt that he can do it.
[Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images]