A fit McCain set to audition Jindal, 2 others as running mate

May 24th, 2008 - 10:27 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 24 (IANS) Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain was declared in “excellent physical and mental health” as he prepared to meet three potential running mates including Bobby Jindal, who could balance concerns over his age. “We can find nothing in his medical history that would preclude him from serving as president of the United States with vigour,” Dr. John Eckstein, who serves as McCain’s primary care physician at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, told reporters Friday.

Running into 1,173 pages, McCain’s medical records released Friday provide minute personal details about the Vietnam War veteran’s medical history, ranging from his battle with melanoma to a bout of skin fungus.

The senator, who would be America’s oldest first term president if he wins the White House in the November presidential election, takes medications to lower cholesterol, prevent kidney stones, and, when he’s travelling, to sleep.

McCain, who turns 72 on August 29, frequently jokes about his age. He also points out that his 96-year-old mother, Roberta, still trots the globe with her twin sister.

McCain’s presidential campaign Friday also made his wife Cindy McCain tax returns public after resisting demands to do so for several weeks. These show that she had a total income of more than $6 million in 2006.

The documents show that Mrs. McCain, who files her taxes separately from her husband, paid more than $1.7 million in federal income taxes - a tax rate of more than 28 percent. She reported nearly $570,000 in itemised deductions.

McCain’s campaign said she had received an extension on her 2007 tax returns and aides said it is likely she would make those public when they are filed.

The Arizona senator released his own tax return last month, reporting a total income of $405,409 in 2007 and $84,460 in federal income taxes.

Heiress to a large Arizona beer distributorship, Cindy McCain’s worth has been estimated at more than $100 million. But as presidential and senatorial financial disclosures only require assets to be listed in broad ranges, many of hers are valued at simply “over $1 million.”

Meanwhile, state Republican leaders across the US have given a tentative nod to Bobby Jindal, the first Indian American US governor and two others as McCain’s potential running mates, the New York Times reported Friday.

But they also pointed to the possible suitability of others besides Louisiana governor Jindal, Florida governor Charlie Crist and former rival presidential candidate Mitt Romney and emphasised that McCain needed to please the party’s conservative base, it said.

The influential daily cited many party officials as saying they could support the three who will be meeting with McCain at his Arizona ranch this weekend. But they also cited other possibilities, including Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The Times cited party leaders as saying Jindal, Crist, and Romney shared several qualities that many Republican officials hoped for in a No. 2 on the ticket. All are youthful and Washington outsiders, current or former state governors who would offer a balance to the age and 22-year Senate tenure of the 71-year-old McCain.

“I’m very pleased to see that they’re all governors,” said Saul Anuzis, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. “There’s been a sense that it would be great to get someone outside of Washington and to get a governor in that second spot.”

Romney in particular has emerged as a favourite among state party officials who met him during his failed campaign for the presidential nomination, the Times said.

Many said his fund-raising prowess, coupled with his high national profile and enthusiasm for long days of campaigning, would make him an attractive running mate.

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