WASHINGTON - Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) released a letter from Congress' attending physician Wednesday attesting to her health in an attempt to deflect growing attention to the issue of her migraine headaches.
Dr. Brian P. Monohan wrote in a letter provided to the press by Bachmann's campaign that the congresswoman and presidential candidate has had "an extensive evaluation by both my office and by a board certified consulting neurologist."
The evaluations, Monahan wrote, have included "detailed labwork and brain scans all of which were normal."
"Your migraines occur infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid," the letter continued.
[READ THE FULL LETTER HERE]
Monohan wrote that Bachmann can "control [the headaches] well" with sumatriptan and odansetron and added that "it has not been necessary for [Bachmann] to take daily scheduled medications to manage this condition."
The migraine story, since it was first reported Monday night by The Daily Caller, has become increasingly significant in the political conversation. Former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove said Wednesday that Bachmann should release her medical records to show supporters and potential voters that she is physically up to the challenge for running for president, much less holding the job.
"It's going to be important for her to get her doctors out there, quickly, to provide the medical records and to provide the reassurance that people are going to want to have," Rove said.
News reports from Bachmann's campaign events have been dominated by questions about the issue over the last 36 hours. Meanwhile, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, another 2012 hopeful who is struggling to make up ground against Bachmann ahead of the Aug. 13 straw poll in Ames, was asked questions about Bachmann's fitness for higher office.
"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 said.
"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 said.
UPDATE: 5:41 p.m. - Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said at a campaign stop in Los Angeles late Wednesday that Bachmann's headaches should not be an issue.
"There is no question in my mind that Michele Bachmann's health is in no way an impediment to her being able to serve as president," Romney said when asked by reporters about the issue.
"She and I have differing views, I'm sure, on some issues. We'll campaign in various states and express our views. But her health should not be an issue in a campaign. I have no question about that in my mind," Romney said.
Earlier in the day, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex) said that the news of Bachmann's migraines was "probably legitimate to know, and I don’t think that disqualifies somebody from running for office."