Michele Bachmann suffers from debilitating migraine headaches that can last for days, and some are calling for her to throw open her medical history to the public.
In response to a story from the Daily Caller, in which several close confidants told stories of Bachmann's headache history and the medication she takes to stay on task, Bachmann released a statement that said the headaches wouldn't affect her if she became president.
Sources say Bachmann experiences these headaches about once a week, and that they've landed her in the hospital at least three different times. One person who worked as a close adviser during Bachmann's 2010 campaign said the headaches leave her unable to function.
"The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills," the adviser said. "Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes."
[jump] The Daily Caller's story has the Bachmann campaign on its heels, and at the worst possible time, with Bachmann taking the lead in a national poll released today.
The story recites a series of specific incidents in which those close to Bachmann watched her come apart at the seams due to migraines. After her communications director Dave Dziok left to start his own firm in July 2010, Bachmann experienced a headache that put her in a D.C.-area hospital and forced her to fly home and rest over the weekend.
In October, as Bachmann attended a fundraiser at the home of a Connecticut businessman, a migraine forced her to leave the event and lie down in a bed. Later, she checked in to an urgent care clinic near LaGuardia Airport in New York.
An aide told the Daily Caller that Bachmann's staff are "constantly" in touch with her doctors to adjust medication levels, and that her headaches render her "incapacitated."
The aides said they came forward because they fear what might happen if Bachmann actually wins the presidency, and those headaches shift from the halls of Congress to the Oval Office.
Bachmann's campaign released a statement on her behalf that responds to the report. As she often does, Bachmann has tried to deflect the issue, and stay on message about taxes and the deficit:
"Like nearly 30 million other Americans, I experience migraines that are easily controlled with medication. I am a wife, a mother, a lawyer who worked her way through law school, a former state senator who achieved the repeal of a harmful piece of education policy in Minnesota, and a congresswoman who has worked tirelessly fighting against the expansion of government and wasteful spending. Since entering the campaign, I have maintained a full schedule between my duties as a congresswoman and as a presidential candidate traveling across the nation to meet with voters in the key, early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. I have prescribed medication that I take whenever symptoms arise and they keep the migraines under control. 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.Jamie Weinstein, an opinion writer for the Daily Caller -- the right-leaning blog founded by Tucker Carlson -- wrote that the disclosures from Bachmann's staff are cause for concern, and she should let America know what they're in for if she becomes president.
The many questions I have received on this subject have allowed me to discuss this important condition that impacts individuals in nearly one in four households. However, as a presidential candidate and office holder, I am focused on performing my job, which has never been more important given the state of our economy and the millions of Americans that are out of work. While I appreciate the concern for me and my health, the greater concern should be the debate that is occurring in Washington over whether or not we will increase our debt, spending, and taxes."
"If Congresswoman Bachmann believes in the American people, she will open up her records and allow Americans to fully understand what affect her migraines have had on her in the past. This means permitting her doctors to speak to the press, and allowing the records of her hospital visits to be examined."Previous Coverage