After one of the early Republican debates, I raised the issue of whether Perry was having problems with his recovery from back surgery. Perry had looked so uncomfortable in that debate that I wondered if he were wearing a back brace. He kept twisting his torso a little, as if he were trying to find a comfortable position. My comments were carried on the web site politicalwire.com and in the National Journal. Today, the Post’s conservative blogger (“Right Turn”), Jennifer Rubin, addressed the issue: Texas Gov. Rick Perry had back surgery on July 1. Saturday night David Carney (Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s chief campaign strategist and long-time advisor) confirmed to me via email a report from a source who met with the governor before his made the formal decision to announce that Perry was in a back brace “on in [sic] off for a few weeks in July after his procedure.” He told me Perry had not worn the brace since his August 13 announcement. Carney denied that Perry is now experiencing any back pain or is on any medication. “He is not in any pain — why would he need pain medicine? No he is not taking pain medicine,” he emailed me. I asked if he was tired during the debates. He answered, “Not that I know of.” As I wrote at the time, I have had back surgery to repair a ruptured disk, and I can sympathize with Perry. What concerned me most was that Perry’s surgery, which, as I recall, involved fusing part of his spine, included an experimental treatment with adult stem cells taken from his hip, a procedure that is not approved by the FDA and that has not been proven to have any clinical benefit, nor is it covered by insurance. This raises the question of who is paying for the operation. The answer at the time was that Perry would pay for whatever isn’t covered by insurance. Well, the amount covered by insurance is zero. That a candidate for president would undergo such a nonstandard procedure borders on recklessness, in my opinion. Perry should make his health records public.
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