- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2008

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday said top Democratic leaders will push undeclared superdelegates to pick sides next week and end the long fight for the party’s presidential nomination.

The Nevada Democrat said he, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean agree that the delegate fight between front-runner Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton shouldn’t last until the convention in August.

“By this time next week, it will all be over give or take a day,” Mr. Reid said in San Francisco.

Fewer than 200 superdelegates remain uncommitted, including 64 members of Congress, heading into the final primaries Tuesday in South Dakota and Montana. Mr. Obama is within 44 delegates of clinching the nomination, according to the Associated Press, leading Mrs. Clinton by roughly 200 delegates.

The news came as Mr. Obama’s campaign released a doctor’s summary that says he’s in “excellent health,” but the half-page letter fell 1,099 pages shy of the medical document dump last week by his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain.

“Senator Barack Obama is in overall good physical and mental health needed to maintain the resiliency required in the office of president,” wrote Dr. David L. Scheiner of Chicago, who’s been the Illinois Democrat’s primary-care physician since 1987.

The letter does not mention Mr. Obama’s height or weight but does say the 46-year-old recently gave up smoking “and is currently using Nicorette gum with success.”

The very brief medical history released by the campaign contained a word of warning. “His family history is pertinent for his mother’s death from ovarian cancer and grandfather who died of prostate cancer,” the doctor concluded, although he also cited Mr. Obama’s frequent exercise habits, including regular three-mile runs.

The doctor noted that Mr. Obama - who works out daily, has held campaign contests where the winners join him on the basketball court and was caught by tabloid photographers walking shirtless on a beach - has undergone regular medical checkups and has had only minor health maladies such as upper respiratory infections, skin rashes and minor injuries.

The thousand-plus pages released last week by Mr. McCain showed a cancer-free 71-year-old with a strong heart who has health issues commensurate with his age - small non-cancerous lesions, polyps in his colon, an enlarged prostate and kidney and bladder stones.

The four-term senator did have blood in his urine in 2000, which prompted doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., to remove “enlarged prostate tissue,” remedying the malady.

“Senator McCain enjoys excellent health and displays extraordinary energy,” said Dr. John Eckstein, one of a team of Mayo physicians that attend to the four-term senator.

As for smoking, Mr. McCain, 5 foot 9 inches and 163 pounds, has had no measurable effects from his two packs of cigarettes a day for 25 years, a habit he gave up in 1980, when he was 43.

Mr. Obama’s blood pressure was 90 over 60 - well within the normal zone - and his pulse was 60 beats per minute, also considered normal (though the resting heart rate of President Bush, 61 and a fitness enthusiast, is just 45 per minute, almost that of a world-class athlete).

Mr. McCain’s blood pressure from a March physical was a healthy 134 over 84. Optimal is below 120 over 80, but high blood pressure begins at 140 over 90.

Dr. Scheiner said Mr. Obama has “no excess body fat,” his EKG heart test was normal and his cholesterol count was 173. Mr. McCain’s was 192, well below the worrisome 240.



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