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Question of the Day
Mr. McCain, 5-foot-9 and weighing 139 pounds at his last physical in March, has had no measurable effects from smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for 25 years, a habit he gave up in 1980, when he was 43.
“He has no evidence of heart or other cardiovascular disease. He walked the Grand Canyon rim to rim in August 2006 without problems,” the doctors wrote in their summary.
Mr. McCain, portrayed in biographies as a hard-drinking Navy man in his youth, also limits his alcohol to about two drinks a month. During a media dinner with the senator in January, he had a single glass of white wine.
Mr. McCain takes medication to keep his cholesterol in check and just switched from the controversial Vytorin that made headlines this winter to a proven standby, simvastatin. The Vietnam veteran, who spent more than five years in a prison camp, has degenerative arthritis from war injuries that might mean a future joint replacement, his doctors said.
One other malady also emerged yesterday: Mr. McCain suffers from “positional vertigo,” which his doctors described as a dizziness for three to five seconds when he gets up suddenly.
For more than a year, Mr. McCain repeatedly promised to release his recent medical records but has not done so. The campaign decided to put out the documents yesterday, just as Americans embarked on the first three-day holiday weekend of the summer, but said the release had been in the works for weeks.
The document dump was unusual — a small group of hand-picked reporters was given three hours to view the documents in a conference room in the Copper Wynd Hotel, just off a restaurant called Alchemy, but they could not take the documents or make photocopies. Although the select members of the press were to see the documents at the same time, the campaign actually gave the Associated Press an advance look; stories appeared on the wires at 6 a.m. EDT, hours before the rest of the pool of reporters saw the documents.
Meanwhile, the McCain campaign also moved to nip another possible controversy in the bud, releasing summaries of Cindy McCain’s 2006 tax returns. The wife of Mr. McCain, who is the heiress of a large Arizona beer distributorship, made more than $6 million and paid more than $1.7 million in taxes.
McCain aides said that disclosing only the summary pages had precedent, pointing to tax information made public in 2003 by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, heiress to the Heinz ketchup fortune.
The campaign said she had received an extension on her 2007 tax returns and planned to make those public when they are filed.
A review of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain’s medical records, spanning 2000 to May 2008, show:
His most recent complete physical was in March; his latest checkup was last week.
•Blood pressure was 134 over 84. Optimal is below 120 over 80, and high blood pressure begins at 140 over 90. An in-between reading is sometimes called prehypertension, but Mr. McCain’s doctor said other recent readings were lower and his blood pressure is normal.
•Total cholesterol is a healthy 192, below the worrisome 240 level. His so-called bad or LDL cholesterol is a healthy 123. But his so-called good or HDL cholesterol is 42, below the recommended 60.
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