Craig Stoltz, former Health Editor of the Washington Post, weighs in with his thoughts on the Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum.
The risk with any debate, forum, town hall meeting, or virtual digital interaction is the risk of a gas leak. Which is to say a rush of hot air, as candidates deliver their well-rehearsed bob-and-weave soundbites.
Today's Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum--by permitting extended questioning and dialogue on a single issue in addition to prepared speeches--pulled at least a few details out of the candidate who participated.
Herewith, a few observations from Lance's cancer forum:
We're No. 1--or Not
A lot of people at the forum, including Lance Armstrong, repeated that cancer is the Number 1 killer in America. You have to wrestle the mortality stastics pretty hard to support that statement. In total deaths, heart disease still kills more people than cancer. But to declare one disease No. 1 is an unnecessary act of spin that cheapens the whole discussion.
The Kucinich Better-Sex Preventive Health Plan
Dennis Kucinich, who eats an animal-product-free diet, advocates a universal, Medicare-for-all plan. He focused more on environmental causes of cancer and prevention than the other candidates. As for his personal connection to prevention, he says his diet is responsible for increased health, strength and energy. The proof? "I'm 60, my wife is 29, you can draw your own conclusions."
Hillary Knows Health Care
You want health care wonkery? Hillary Clinton's cancer program, released to coincide with the forum, is an impressive bit of work by her policy shop. Read it, if you have a lot of time on your hands, and you'll learn a lot about the politics and policy behind U.S. cancer treatment and research program on cancer.
Those Who Do Not Remember History, etc.
Bill Richardson called for a "war on cancer," recalling John F. Kennedy's pledge to commit the country to land a man on the moon. Richardson appeared to be alone among the candidates by being unaware of an eerily similar pledge by Richard Nixon in 1971. Here you can read a self-serving National Cancer Institute report on that program and its results.
Edwards: Compelling Story, Few Details
Needless to say, John Edwards, whose wife Elizabeth is battling advanced breast cancer during the campaign, has the most compelling personal interest in the disease. In terms of his policy, however, his most original proposal was a call for a "national strategy for cancer survivorship." But his Web site includes only this undifferentiated general statement about his health care policies.
Oh, yes, and this: Co-moderator Chris Matthews of MSNBC has Type 2 diabetes. Who knew?
For more on Lance Armstrong's cancer forum, visit our special section: