Bachmann Releases Doctor’s Note on Migraines as Pawlenty Says Candidates Must Be Able ‘To Do All of the Job, All of the Time’

By Eliza

Jul 20, 2011 4:12pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe (@matthewbjaffe) reports from Indianola, Iowa:

When Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty descended on Iowa today, both faced questions about whether or not Bachmann’s migraines would impede her from doing the job of president.

Meanwhile, Bachmann issued a letter from the Attending Physician of the U.S. Congress arguing that Bachmann’s migraines occur “infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid.”

The letter, from the Dr. Brian Monahan, the top doctor for Congress, is addressed to Bachmann and reads:

“When you do have a migraine, you are able to control it well with as-needed sumatriptan and odanestron. It has not been necessary for you to take daily scheduled medications to manage thi condition.”

Monahan further clarifies that Bachmann has “not needed medical attention” from his office regarding her migraines “with the use of the above mentioned commonly used therapies.”

Read Dr. Monahan’s letter to Michele Bachmann.

But her migraines were becoming a campaign issue on the campaign trail. After Pawlenty’s event at a sports bar in Indianola, Iowa, this afternoon, the former Minnesota governor warned that every candidate will have to prove they can do “all of the job, all of the time.”

“I don’t know enough about her particular medical situation to comment. I just don’t have enough facts on me. I certainly would defer to the judgment of the medical professionals, but setting that aside all of the candidates, I think, are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time,” Pawlenty told reporters.

“If you’re going to be president of the United States you’ve got to be able to do the job every day, all the time. There’s no real time off in that job,” he added.

“Is the ability to do all of the job all of the time something that you think voters should take into account when making their selection?” one reporter asked.

“Well again as a general requirement for the office I think that applies to all of us. But as to her particular medical situation I would defer to the health care professionals as to how it might impact her ability to function,” Pawlenty replied.

“Have you ever had a migraine?” another reporter said.

“I have not,” he responded.

Just up the road in West Des Moines, Bachmann faced questions about whether she would release her medical records.

“We have released a statement on this issue and the focus that I’ve had, again, is on the fact that as Commander in Chief I’m going to make sure that we get our fiscal house in order,” Bachmann replied, pivoting to talk about the debt limit debate raging in Washington.

“Do you worry that these questions are distracting you from the campaign?” she was asked.

“What I’m focusing on is what the people in Iowa are focusing on, in South Carolina, all across the country, they’re paying attention to this issue of will the politicians in Washington, DC listen to them,” Bachmann responded, before reiterating that she will vote against raising the debt ceiling.

And with that, she ended the impromptu presser outside the West Des Moines deli and boarded her campaign bus.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul also touched on the issue of migraines.

“I think it is probably legitimate to know,” he said of Bachmann’s condition. ” But I don’t think that it disqualifies someone from running for office. I don’t think that should be the deciding factor on how well she does but I would say that the information is reasonable to know about.

Paul’s comments came during a Wednesday morning radio interview with Bryan Nehman, co-host of WMAL’s “The Morning Majority Show” in Washington, D.C. Dr. Paul said he has a lot of familiarity in treating women with migraines as a practicing OB/ GYN for years in Texas.

ABC News’ Jason Volack contributed to this report.


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