Sen. Roberts has attacked you for uploading grisly X-ray images to Facebook of injuries and joking about them with friends. Should voters judge you over the episode?
The reality is that Pat Roberts is not being honest in his allegations. He accuses me of releasing private patient information, but quite frankly he’s lying. We’re talking about anonymous X-rays. If there was an X-ray of you, you would not be able to recognize that it’s you, and there’s a good chance you probably wouldn’t know what body part it is.
Does that make them acceptable?
If any of the commentary I had offended anyone, then I apologize. We’re talking about something years ago that was actually removed years ago, I apologize to anyone I’ve offended. If you have never said anything that you wish you could take back, you may not understand how I feel.
One of the realities of this is that on the campaign trail, I’ve had so many people come up to me -- other healthcare providers, first responders, police officers, folks in the military. People get that we have to joke about some of these things or it will drive us crazy.
Is that an appropriate way to relieve stress?
Those of us who deal with tragedy have to find ways to cope with it, and I’ve seen people cope with it in destructive ways. I’ve seen people led to vice, I’ve seen it tear apart marriages, I’ve seen people get burned out and walk away from the profession. If the humor I used to try and cope with it offended anyone, I apologize. My mistakes are my own. I’ll own my mistakes. If I said anything that offended anyone, I beg them for their forgiveness.
But people who don’t have those roles in society are coming up to us from the very first time the story broke. We could count at every event we’d have somebody come up, there’d always be at least these two: a younger person that would come up and say, ‘I’ve never heard of you before until the advertisements, and I want to see you for myself.’ The other is typically an older person that would say, ‘I cannot believe he is running those advertisements against you.’
So this has helped you?
I think it has. It’s hard to show how it has hurt me, other than people from afar who think it has been a bigger issue from Kansas voters than it has.
You recently ambushed Sen. Roberts on the campaign trail and challenged him to a debate. How did you know where he was?
We were on our bus tour, and he’d show up in a few towns where we had stopped. He kept claiming he didn’t have time to debate because he was so busy, yet there he was. He had put out an invitation to meet at a local business.
He particularly wanted to talk with business owners about health care and tax policy, and guess what? I’m a small business owner, and I wanted to talk with him about health care and tax policy, and why he put [former Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius in charge of Obamacare. But most importantly, I wanted him to be a man of his word, because he promised he would debate me. But if he can’t stand up to me, how can he stand up to Barack Obama and Harry Reid?
Should Mississippi Republican Senate Candidate Chris McDaniel, a fellow tea partier, concede defeat to Sen. Thad Cochran? [McDaniel recently filed a legal challenge to the results of the primary, claiming that many votes for Cochran were invalid.]
Let’s be clear on what happened in Mississippi. It was an outright betrayal by the Republican establishment. If there’s fraud in an election, it ought to be uncovered and remedied. And if we have an election that is invalid based on illegal voters, I believe they ought to hold that election again, and throw out the results of the fraudulent election.
We know where you’ll be if you win your race. But what if you lose? Will you consider running for office again?
I believe I’m going to run for office one more time, and that is for re-election in six years. I’d rather practice medicine than politics. I’m not running this race for any other reason than to win it. My mission is to save the Republican Party and save the republic. And I believe I’m going to win. We need to reclaim our Congress for the citizens.