Fourth Time’s The Charm: McCain Releases Medical Records After Three-Month Delay

This morning, the McCain campaign finally released Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) health records. The delayed disclosure comes on the heels of three broken pledges to release the senator’s health documents and contrasts sharply with the way McCain released his records during the 2000 campaign. In fact, while McCain proudly disclosed “1,500 pages of medical and psychiatric records” in 1999 and gave journalists “direct access” to his personal physician, he has circulated “precious little medical information” after being diagnosed and undergoing surgery for melanoma in August 2000:

At least three times since March 2007, campaign officials have told The New York Times that they would provide the detailed information about his current state of health, but they have not done so. The campaign now says it expects to release the information in April.

McCain’s secrecy and reluctance to discuss his health has raised several eyebrows among medical doctors. While repeatedly claiming to be in “excellent” health, McCain has delayed the release of his records. During an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes in March, McCain promised to release his medical records in April:

PELLEY: At 71 years old, McCain’s health has been an issue. After his presidential race in 2000, he was diagnosed with the most lethal form of skin cancer. How’s your health?

MCCAIN: It’s excellent. It’s excellent, excellent. Thank you. And we’ll be doing the medical records thing with the media sometime in the next month or two.

PELLEY: There has been some criticism that you have not released your medical records.

MCCAIN: Mm-hmm.

PELLEY: You’re saying in this interview that you’re about to do that.

MCCAIN: Oh, I will do it in the next month or so, yeah.

Two months later, the records are out. But today’s release comes with certain caveats that were missing from his previous disclosure. Rather than allowing full and open access to all interested media organizations, McCain is releasing some of his records to a select group of reporters who “can neither photocopy nor keep the documents”; they will only “be allowed to take notes from the records.”


McCain’s handpicked reporters will have to scribble fast, but the senator may change his mind before they finish. Just eight days ago, during a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, McCain promised that his “administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability.” Today’s holiday weekend document dump suggests that McCain may continue Bush’s secretive ways.

UPDATE: The Huffington Post notes: “Notably absent from the list is the New York Times. Could this have anything to do with [who] wrote the paper’s controversial article about McCain’s ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman?”