2012 presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann struggles with “incapacitating” migraines, according to a report by the Daily Caller’s Jonathan Strong. In the article, former Bachmann staffers detail stories of the GOP candidate’s emergency hospitalizations from stress-induced headaches and say she uses a massive number of pills to manage the health problem. “She has terrible migraine headaches. And they put her out of commission for a day or more at a time. They come out of nowhere, and they’re unpredictable,” the Daily Caller quotes an adviser from Bachmann’s 2010 House campaign. “They level her. They put her down. It’s actually sad. It’s very painful.” [See a photo gallery of Michele Bachmann on the campaign trail.]
Bachmann spokesperson Alice Stewart, disputes the seriousness of Bachmann’s migraines, telling the Caller that the headaches are under control.
The article says sources spoke out in fear of what debilitating headaches could mean if Bachmann became president—or if the issue blew up during the general election, giving President Obama an easy re-election. “As president, when she’s in crisis management mode, is she going to have the physical ability to withstand the most difficult challenges facing America?” asked an anonymous former staffer. [Check out political cartoons on the GOP 2012 candidates.]
But not everyone thinks migraines should disqualify Bachmann for service, and some in the blogosphere are already calling the article a sexist attempt to portray the only declared female 2012 candidate as weak.
The Atlantic’s Joshua Green says he’ll “leave it to others to speculate about whether this should indeed be disqualifying,” but discusses previous presidents’ great efforts to conceal ailments and medication use—including John F. Kennedy’s use of painkillers and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s disability due to polio. [Vote now: Can Michele Bachmann win the 2012 GOP nomination?]
Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant also reportedly suffered from migraines.
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