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Sanders Backtracks on Promise to Release Medical Records

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders waves before the start of the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate in Flint, Mich., March 6, 2016. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Tuesday backtracked on his previous pledge to release his medical records “before the first votes are cast,” a promise he made before suffering a heart attack in October.

“I don’t. I don’t think we will, no,” Sanders responded at a CNN town hall in Las Vegas Tuesday night when host Anderson Cooper asked whether he plans to release more medical records.

“I think we have released a detailed report and I’m comfortable with what we have done,” the Vermont senator said. “If you think I’m not in good health, come on out with me on the campaign trail and I’ll let you introduce me to the three or four rallies a day that we do, how’s that?”

Sanders, at 78 the oldest 2020 Democrat, suffered a heart attack in early October, with tests finding a “blockage in one artery,” and receded from the campaign trail for over a week as he recovered.

Following the incident, Sanders vowed to release his medical records.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Sanders said told NBC’s Chuck Todd in November when asked if he would release his medical records. “The American people have a right to know whether the person they’re going to be voting for for president is healthy.”

The 2020 contender, who currently maintains a hefty lead nationally over former front runner Joe Biden, blamed the incident on his busy campaign schedule.

“I must confess, I was dumb,” Sanders told reporters in October. “During this campaign, I’ve been doing, in some cases three to four rallies a day, running all over the state, Iowa, New Hampshire, wherever. And yet I, in the last month or two, just was more fatigued than I usually have been.”

In December, Sanders’s primary-care physician stated in a letter that he is “in good health currently.” The attending physician of the U.S. Congress, Brian Monahan, said in his own letter that Sanders is “engaging vigorously in the rigors of your campaign, travel, and other scheduled activities without any limitation.”

A third doctor, the director of cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Vermont Medical Center, stated that the Vermont senator is “more than fit enough to pursue vigorous activities and an occupation that requires stamina and an ability to handle a great deal of stress.”

Two other older candidates, former vice president Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren, have both released medical reports giving them a clean bill of health and stating that they are fit to hold presidential office.

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