WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama's doctor said yesterday that the presidential candidate was in excellent health at the time of his last checkup 16 months ago, but that he has a family history of cancer and a big, obvious risk: a smoking habit that he's trying, again, to break.
In a one-page letter released by the campaign, Obama's longtime physician, Chicago internist David L. Scheiner, said he was summarizing 21 years of medical records, during which Obama had only minor problems such as upper respiratory infections.
Obama, 46, is a smoker who has quit but relapsed several times. He announced in February that he was quitting again with the aid of Nicorette gum. His doctor said only that Obama was using Nicorette "with success."
Scheiner said the senator's last official checkup in January 2007 found that Obama exercised regularly, often jogging three miles, and had "no excess body fat." His weight was not disclosed. He had excellent blood pressure, at 90 over 60.
Scheiner noted that Obama's mother died of ovarian cancer and that his maternal grandfather died of prostate cancer.
Sen. John McCain will not be coming to the Philadelphia region today after all.
Yesterday, the campaign of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee canceled the town-hall meeting with McCain that had been scheduled for Pipersville, Bucks County, at 1:30 p.m. No reason was given.
McCain was most recently in the Philadelphia area April 15 for an appearance at Villanova University.
Pennsylvania is expected to be a key battleground in the Nov. 4 election. Current polls show Sen. Barack Obama leading McCain by an average of 8 percentage points in the state, with Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton leading McCain by a slightly larger margin.
Four years ago, Democrat John Kerry won Pennsylvania by 2.5 percentage points over President Bush.
- Larry Eichel
WASHINGTON - Sens. John McCain and Chuck Hagel, fellow Republicans and Vietnam War veterans, have long been friends.
But at least during the presidential primary, Hagel's wife, Lilibet, is helping McCain's likely Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Lilibet Hagel donated twice to Obama's campaign in February, for a total contribution of $500. The contributions were first reported by the Washington Post.
The donations came a month before Sen. Hagel, a sharp critic of the war in Iraq, told ABC's
that he and McCain had "pretty fundamental disagreements on the future of foreign policy."
His wife is acting on her own, said Sen. Hagel's chief of staff, Mike Buttry. He said Sen. Hagel had not "endorsed or supported" any candidate in the race.