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Biden: No brain scans for aneurysms


The Chicago Tribune reports that among recent medical records released by Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, there are no scans that might indicate the potential for another dehabilitating aneurysm such as the ones he suffered 20 years ago. Biden, 65, had multiple brain surgeries following the attacks.

Here’s the report:

Newly released medical records from vice presidential candidate Joe Biden do not include the results of any recent brain scans, which some experts consider necessary to assess whether the senator is at risk for a repeat of the brain aneurysms that nearly killed him 20 years ago. Biden’s most recent physical exam in July showed him to be in good health, according to a letter from Dr. John Eisold that the campaign released Monday. The letter from Eisold, who is the attending physician for Congress, described Biden’s cardiac capacity as excellent.

But the 49 pages of records the campaign released gave no indication that Biden’s doctors sought follow-up tests after the serious aneurysms he suffered in 1988. Medical experts are divided over the need for such precautionary brain scans, but many feel it is the only way to be sure a patient is out of danger.

“If this was my patient, I would re-image every three to five years to make sure no new aneurysm had cropped up,” said Dr. Mark Alberts, a professor of neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

The health of the candidates on both sides has become a small but growing issue in the last days of the presidential campaign. A comprehensive look on the subject by the New York Times’ Lawrence K. Altman stated that all four candidates on both tickets could be more forthcoming about their physical condition.

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Obama: McCain wants ‘campaign to be about biography’


Obama speaks to a crowd on a farm in Dillionvale, Ohio

Obama speaks to a crowd on a farm in Dillionvale, Ohio




Obama at an economic forum in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Obama at an economic forum in New Philadelphia, Ohio.


Writ Large is on the road this week, embedded with the Barack Obama campaign. 

DILLONVALE, Ohio—The politician who became famous in part because of his life story said Wednesday that the presidential race isn’t about biographies or personalities.

“I don’t know what John McCain is thinking,” Sen. Barack Obama told a crowd at an eastern Ohio college, “but I am going to be talking a whole lot about issues.”

Obama’s comments came as a response to remarks made the day before by John McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis.

Davis told the editorial board of the Washington Post that “this election is not about issues,” said Davis. “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”

Seeing the opening, Obama pounced, saying the Republicans were trying to steer the campaign away from issues such as the stagnant economy, because that’s where they hold a disadvantage. And it gave him a ready-set opportunity to promote his economic agenda.

Obama, of course, has long trafficked in his own compelling biography, even writing a book about his life as the son of a Kenyan father who was raised by his Kansas-born single mother. And even as he derided the McCain campaign, he couldn’t help but strike some well-worn personal chords himself, taking about the financial struggles of his mother and grandmother.
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Obama and Biden: Two sides of the coin

TOLEDO, Ohio–Political observers said adding Joe Biden to the Democratic ticket for president would do a lot of things for Barack Obama: provide him with a better connection to middle-class voters, shore up his foreign policy profile, perhaps give him a shot at winning a battleground state.

Add something else: Biden has taken the oh-so-serious, scripted Obama campaign into the realm of improvisational theatre

Take Sunday at a small-scale event in here in Toledo. Biden was doing his job, laying out the case for Obama, when he simply couldn’t resist the urge to riff.

“There’s a gigantic — gigantic — difference between John McCain and Barack Obama, and between me and I suspect my vice presidential opponent . . . Well there’s obvious differences,” he paused. “She’s good-looking,”

The crowd laughed, and one woman shouted that Biden was “gorgeous.”
“Where’s that person?” Biden asked. “Who said that? Who said that? Would you say that again for my wife?”

Obama, by contrast, has called Gov. Sarah Palin “compelling” and “dynamic.” He’s never mentioned the former Alaska beauty queen’s appearance. Continue reading

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DOUBLETAKE: Guilt by association

Welcome to Doubletake, your morning cup of joe with Tribune correspondents Jim Tankersley and Jim Oliphant. They can also been seen starring in a musical version of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” at the Potomac Playhouse through Aug. 29. The pork chops are half-price.

Jim Oliphant: Bonjiourno. Tough night last night

Jim Tankersley: Don’t tell me — you took the red-eye in from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, and you missed the women’s gymnastics individual events in flight.

Oliphant: Georgia’s always on my-my-my-my-my-my-my-my mind.
No, close. Picture this: Your football team hasn’t been on Monday Night Football for FIVE years. And yeah, it’s preseason, so who cares. But they are playing the world champions and there is a buzz around the team. Maybe a real contender . . .

Tankersley: Is this the part where you admit your team is the Browns?

Oliphant: It’s like a witness protection program, right? Or AA? My name is Jim and I am a Cleveland fan. Hi Jim!

Oliphant: So I sit down to watch the game and almost before I can blink: penalties, fumbles, runback, sacks, safeties…it’s like a blur. I look up and it is literally 30-3 at the end of the first quarter! It felt like the opening scene of Gladiator. Unleash hell!

Tankersley: I am contractually obligated to remind you that the NFL preseason matters less than the Des Moines straw poll.

Oliphant: Hey, it was their first team against ours and it looked like Russia versus Georgia. (In the freestyle war competition) Bottom line: They are simply not ready for prime time.

Tankersley: I will allow you your Cleveland misery. But speaking of all this Georgia stuff: Would you please explain the Joe Biden boomlet to me? I know you trailed him for a week in Iowa. How did he go from almost-zero land to short list?

Oliphant: I think it’s pretty simple. Obama went to Hawaii. The Russians went to South Ossetia. And suddenly John McCain had the field clear to be presidential on a matter perceived to be Obama’s greatest weakness. It might have convinced some in his campaign that they needed someone who could stand up and be taken seriously on world affairs.

Tankersley: But does America take Joe Biden seriously? I know the party faithful do — I saw one of them crash a New Hampshire press conference to ask John Edwards if he’d pick Biden as running mate (ah, the days when John Edwards looked like a contender for … anything).

Oliphant: Biden, despite his tendency to talk until the trees lose their leaves, is a heavy hitter in that regard. Watching him talk (and talk) in the basement of a public library in a small town in Iowa about the origins of Iraq and a Brief History of the Kurds convinced me and the 15 other people there. And then we went outside and the Statue of Liberty was half-sticking out of the ground. It was like Planet of the Apes!

Read the rest at the Swamp.

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