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July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann released a doctor’s letter yesterday describing her as in overall “good general health” as the Minnesota congresswomen dealt with queries about her migraine headaches.
“Your migraines occur infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid,” wrote Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician for the U.S. Congress.
Bachmann, 55, is “able to control” the migraines with prescribed medication that does not require daily consumption of the drugs, the letter said.
“I keep a very vigorous schedule,” Bachmann told reporters in Norwalk, Iowa, when asked whether her condition would hamper her performance should she win the presidency. “I feel great and so we’ve answered that.”
Karl Rove, the former top strategist to President George W. Bush, said on Fox News yesterday that he thought Bachmann should release her medical records, calling the migraine story the “first big challenge” her presidential campaign has faced.
“It’s going to be important for her to get her doctors out there quickly to provide medical records and to provide the reassurance that people are going to want to have that this is not a serious issue,” Rove said.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, one of Bachmann’s opponents in the Republican race, said in Indianola, Iowa, yesterday that he didn’t “know enough about her particular medical situation to comment,” and would defer to the judgment of the medical professionals, according to a report on the Radio Iowa website.
“But, setting that aside, all of the candidates are going to have to demonstrate they can do all of the job, all of the time,” Pawlenty said.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was more direct in dismissing Bachmann’s migraines as a campaign issue. “There’s no question in my mind that Michelle Bachmann’s health is in no way an impediment” to her serving as president, he told reporters in Los Angeles. “Her health should not be an issue.”
Surveys of Republican-leaning voters have shown Romney the frontrunner for the party’s nomination, and the $18.3 million in contributions he reported through June 30 was four times more than any of his rivals raised as of that date.
Support for Bachmann, though, has surged in Iowa and national polls since she officially entered the race last month, and she poses an immediate threat to Pawlenty’s presidential bid by embracing a strategy similar to his: spotlighting the Aug. 13 Iowa Straw Poll and the Feb. 6 Iowa caucuses as contests that could propel one or the other’s candidacy.
Bachmann’s migraines and use of medications to deal with them were initially reported earlier this week by the Daily Caller website. Its story said her condition has led to at least three hospitalizations, a matter Bachmann didn’t address in her remarks yesterday or a statement she released July 19. The letter from Monahan also was silent on that issue.
“My ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines and will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief,” she said in the statement.
A story about her health appeared on the front page of yesterday’s Des Moines Register, the largest newspaper in Iowa.
--Editors: Don Frederick, Jeanne Cummings.
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