Michele Bachmann, Republican presidential candidate and Minnesota Representative, released on Wednesday a letter from the House Attending Physician’s office which confirmed that she suffered from infrequent migraines. The letter also said that she can control them “well” by using common therapy techniques often associated with chronic headaches.
Bachmann released this letter after the Daily Caller published an article on Monday afternoon, stating that the congresswoman has been hospitalized at least three times due to the migraines. Unidentified sources told the Daily Caller that the headaches cause a decrease in her productivity for up to several days.
Dr. Brian Monahan, the House physician, stated in the letter:
“You (Bachmann) have a well-established diagnosis of migraine headaches with aura for which you have had extensive evaluation by both my office and by a board certified consulting neurologist. Your evaluation has entailed detailed labwork and brain scans all of which are normal.” He goes on to say that she is in good health overall.
Bachmann hopes this letter will quell some of the public concerns that the headaches will keep her from doing her job if elected president. Karl Rove, top adviser to former President George W. Bush, encouraged Bachmann to do just that: reassure the public by getting out in front of the media and releasing her medical records.
However, the Daily Caller’s Jonathan Strong isn’t quite satisfied with the letter stating that “it does not address Bachmann’s repeated hospitalizations, and no definition is offered for ‘infrequently’ occurring headaches.”
The presidential candidate was reportedly hospitalized in May, July, and October 2010 regarding headaches. “Medical emergencies” have been cited for reasons that Bachmann has had to miss certain political events, such as the Nov. 10 annual dinner for the American Spectator magazine.
The issue of Bachmann’s migraines has been treated like a scandal. Political opponents see this as an opportunity to attack the congresswoman whose poll numbers have been on the rise in recent weeks. Tim Pawlenty, Republican presidential candidate, was the first to take a swipe on Wednesday.
"All of the candidates I think are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time," he told reporters after an event in Indianola. "There's no real time off in that job."
His remarks raised more doubt about Bachmann’s ability to handle the presidency while suffering from migraines. Later, however, Pawlenty decided not to stay on the offensive for long. He recanted his comments to Fox News:
"I think it's mostly a sideshow," Pawlenty said of Bachmann’s migraines. "I've observed Congresswoman Bachmann. I've never seen her have a medical condition or impairment that would seem to be a concern."
Fellow Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was softer on the issue than Pawlenty. He said he did not think her health would be a hindrance to her ability to serve as commander in chief. Representative Ron Paul of Texas concluded that "the information is reasonable to know about,” but that is should not be the determining factor in the race, according to New York Daily News.
Defending herself, Bachmann said earlier that she has prescription medication that keeps the migraines under control when they arise while emphasizing that she has maintained a full schedule as a congresswoman and a presidential candidate.
“Let me be abundantly clear – my ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines and will not affect my ability to serve as Commander in Chief.”