"I’m comfortable on what we have done," Sanders said Tuesday

By Adam Carlson
February 19, 2020 10:53 AM
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Sen. Bernie Sanders told CNN on Tuesday he didn’t plan to release further medical records, arguing that what he had disclosed so far had been adequate and that anyone with concerns about his stamina — following a heart attack last year — should witness him on the campaign trail.

Sanders, who is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination to face Donald Trump, was asked about the issue by CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a town hall in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

The Vermont senator, 78, had previously said he would release his full medical records before primary voting began earlier this month, according to CNN.

“We have released quite as much documentation as any other candidate has. … I think we have released a detailed medical report, and I’m comfortable on what we have done,” Sanders told Anderson.

Asked about further medical disclosures, he said, “I don’t think we will, no.”

Sanders’ doctors wrote in letters last year that he was in “good health,” according to USA Today.

His comments about his health history were met with criticism by some pundits, who compared it to President Trump’s intransigence about his medical and tax records.

Sen. Bernie Sanders
| Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Trump was the oldest president ever to take office, at 70. If elected, Sanders would be nearly a decade older — at 79. Many of his rivals in the race are barely any younger, as polling has shown voters have some concerns about candidates’ ages and the specter of medical problems.

Sanders briefly left the trail in October after his heart attack.

The tradition of candidates disclosing medical information stretches back decades but is imprecise: as much a political strategy as an act of transparency, given how information is disclosed and when and what records are even available. (As The New York Times noted in 2016, then-candidate Hillary Clinton probably would have faced a impossibility in tracking down her own pediatric records, for example.)

But some candidates have disclosed much more than others. In 2008, then-Sen. John McCain made available a thousand-plus pages of documents, according to the Associated Press.

Asked on CNN Wednesday morning about Sanders’ position on his medical history, a Sanders spokeswoman compared any controversy over it to “smear or skepticism campaigns” and said former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, 78, had not received the same scrutiny as a fellow candidate.

The Bloomberg campaign fired back in a statement — a preview of their likely conflict at Wednesday night’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas, with Bloomberg rising in the polls.