Two Democratic presidential campaigns are slugging it out to determine which candidate really has one foot in the grave. (Spoiler alert: They both do.)
Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign, was forced to walk back a claim she made about the health of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a CNN interview on Wednesday.
Gray was responding to CNN’s John Berman, who said three doctors’ letters released by the Sanders campaign had “nothing in them other than the doctors saying that he’s fit. He had a heart attack.”
The spokeswoman retorted that “it’s really telling given that none of the same concern is being demonstrated for Michael Bloomberg, who’s the same age as Bernie Sanders, who has suffered heart attacks in the past.”
Bloomberg had an irregular heartbeat & stents. But I’ve seen no record of attack. Checking now.pic.twitter.com/iW5Ag2xbUt
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) February 19, 2020
In a statement to Fox News, Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey called Gray’s claim “completely false.”
Sheekey conceded that Bloomberg had two coronary stents placed in 2000 but said he has not had any heart attacks.
Hours later, Gray retracted her statement via Twitter.
“I mispoke when I said Bloomberg had a heart attack,” she said. “Rather, he underwent the same stent procedure as Bernie. Bernie released 3 detailed medical reports in December — just like the other candidates.”
I mispoke when I said Bloomberg had a heart attack. Rather, he underwent the same stent procedure as Bernie. Bernie released 3 detailed medical reports in December — just like the other candidates.
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) February 19, 2020
While it is true that both candidates are 78, Sanders underwent a heart procedure after experiencing chest pains last fall. His campaign didn’t acknowledge Sanders had suffered a heart attack until his release from the hospital days later.
Candidates’ age has been at the forefront of the 2020 presidential race. In addition to Sanders and Bloomberg, top Democrat candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (70) and former Vice President Joe Biden (77) are also septuagenarians, as is the man they’re all hoping to face in November, President Donald Trump (73).
While there are fewer reports of physical health problems in the other candidates, Biden sometimes forgets where he is on campaign stops, which could indicate failing memory.
He also uses midcentury movie references to insult detractors, which is more benign but nevertheless clear evidence of his waning shelf life.
What is particular about Sanders and Bloomberg is that they are two men in their twilight years slinging the mud about who is most likely to die first.
While other folks their age are campaigning to head their condo community association, these two are vying for the highest office in the land.
The irony is that both men might already be on borrowed time, as the average life expectancy for males in the U.S. in 2018 was 76.2 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In comparison, Trump seems especially spry at 73. He has also enjoyed continued good health, much to the chagrin of his political enemies.
The Sanders campaign has sunken to a new low with the false allegation of Bloomberg’s “heart attacks.” Gone are the days when candidates engaged in rows over extramarital affairs or shady finances.
Today’s Democratic Party is a race between a 78-year-old communist and a 78-year-old multibillionaire slugging it out over whose ticker needs less tinkering (to use phrasing both men would relate to better).
In the hip slang of the Joe Biden campaign, that’s just “malarkey.”
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