When Presidential Candidates Play Games
Do presidential candidates have a right to keep certain personal information private? Probably, but that does not include their medical records and tax returns.
This makes the peregrinations of John McCain and Hillary Clinton so vexing, inevitably raising questions about what they may be trying to hide.
Although McCain made 1,500 pages of medical and psychiatric records available in 1999 during his first presidential campaign, he has thrice rebuffed efforts by The New York Times to do so this time around and keeps moving the release date back. His campaign says it will now be sometime in May.
At age 72, McCain would be the oldest person to ascend to the presidency, so the state of his health takes on added import. Additionally, he has been treated for melanoma, the extent of which is itself the subject of some debate given the considerable scarring on his left cheek (see photo).
Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly said that the joint tax returns of she and her husband would be released, but like McCain’s medical records the deadline keeps being moved back. Her campaign said on March 26 that “additional financial information” would be made public within the next week, although implicit in that statement was that such information won’t necessarily include returns.
The Clintons reportedly have made over $50 million since they left the White House, and her defenders point out that they have paid their fair share of taxes. Good for them, but the stonewalling is especially unseemly since Mrs. Clinton has said she would end tax breaks for the rich that she and her husband have enjoyed.
Obama, meanwhile, has released his tax returns and McCain says he will do so in mid-April.
Which brings me to the big question hanging over the Obama campaign: Why won’t he release his bowling records?