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Clinton And Trump Release Medical Information


The presidential candidate's health is still on the agenda. Today, Donald Trump talks with the controversial TV host, Dr. Oz. Here's an excerpt from that show, which taped yesterday.


DR. OZ: If your health is as strong as it seems from your review of systems, why not share your medical records? Why not let people see...

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I have really no problem in doing it. I have it right here. I mean, I - should I do it? I don't care. Should I do it?


TRUMP: It's two letters. One is the report, and the other is from Lenox Hill Hospital...

DR. OZ: May I see them?

TRUMP: ...Saying - yeah, sure.

DR. OZ: So these are the - these are the report - this is from...

TRUMP: Those were all the tests that were just done last week.

MONTAGNE: And yesterday, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton also released additional details about the health of the Democratic ticket for the White House. Joining us to talk about this is NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro and science correspondent Richard Harris.

Welcome to you both.



MONTAGNE: And let's start with you, Richard. For the medical details, such as you have, do you, for instance, and starting with Trump, have in hand any medical records?

HARRIS: Well, that would be too easy, wouldn't it? I think they are trying to hype up this TV program this afternoon. So they actually didn't release anything other than that clip so far. All I have in hand, actually, is a letter dated back from December of 2015 from his doctor, Harold Bornstein, which has been talked about a lot because it says things like his health - his test results are astonishingly excellent, things that are not exactly medical information, right (laughter)?

MONTAGNE: And the comment that the doctor made that it took him five minutes to write.

HARRIS: Right, yeah. So - so we're hoping that maybe he actually will release something more today. But at this point, no.

MONTAGNE: And the vice presidential candidate Mike Pence's not released medical records.

HARRIS: We haven't heard anything yet from him, as well.

MONTAGNE: OK, so Hillary Clinton kicked off this focus on health by coming down with pneumonia last week. What more do we know from her newly released records.

HARRIS: Right. That created some pressure, of course, to release more information because they didn't tell us right away that she was suffering from pneumonia. But so, as a result, her doctor turned around - Lisa Bardack is her name - and wrote another two-page letter that was released yesterday afternoon. This is, again, not medical records, but it's a detailed letter about Clinton's health. And we learned a bit more about her bout of pneumonia, which was cause - which caused her to bow out of that event on 9/11 and left her unsteady on her feet. As we've heard before, it had been diagnosed on Friday.

The new detail is it was actually caused by a bacterium. It was non-communicable. It showed up in a CT scan that she got on Friday. And Clinton's doctor says she's taking a 10-day course of the antibiotic Levaquin, and she continues to improve.

MONTAGNE: And the word from vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.

HARRIS: Yeah, well, Kaine's doctor also released a letter yesterday. His doctor is actually the physician for Congress. And he basically says that Kaine's in excellent physical condition. And just - all he did is recommend to take vitamin D supplements, but he's not taking any other medications.

MONTAGNE: OK. Well, Domenico, this brings us to the political aspects of this. If Clinton's health record is fairly normal, what does all this say about why it took so long to release this information?

MONTANARO: Well, I mean, it's no secret that Hillary Clinton likes to keep things private, you know, which can present problems for her. She's running for a very public job. You know, that said, she and her campaign, I have to say, have released far more information to this point than him. You know, Donald Trump can go on "The Dr. Oz Show" and say that he showed him some records, but we haven't seen that.

And ironically, this whole drama around Dr. Oz has only served to change the conversation away from Clinton's pneumonia and her not releasing the information earlier to the fact that Donald Trump eats fast food and doesn't exercise - hardly the healthiest individual to ever run for president, as his doctor had originally said.

MONTAGNE: Well, it gave both campaigns a chance to get in their digs. Trump told a rally that Clinton was, quote, "lying in bed" - little pun there. Also, a former senior adviser to President Obama tweeted out that Trump now rivals William Howard Taft in portliness. But beyond that, what does this say about the two of them?

MONTANARO: Well, look, I do think that it tells you something about how they would govern. I mean, we noted Clinton's desire for privacy. And she'd probably try to carve out some of that for herself as president, if elected. But what Trump is doing is hardly forthcoming or very serious, frankly.

You know, from this to the military, it seems really that he would disregard the most credible experts and sources of information and go with ones that he likes and that would cater to him. And he'd try at every turn to bypass scrutiny. I mean, that's not new, but he's doing it in ways we've really never seen before.

MONTAGNE: Well, thank you both very much.

MONTANARO: Thank you.


MONTAGNE: That's NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro and NPR science correspondent Richard Harris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Award-winning journalist Richard Harris has reported on a wide range of topics in science, medicine and the environment since he joined NPR in 1986. In early 2014, his focus shifted from an emphasis on climate change and the environment to biomedical research.
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.