The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Topic A

Doctor Explains McCain's Appearance

Sen. John McCain's doctor today explained why his left jaw is somewhat larger than the right, as seen in this May 7, 2008 photo. (Associated Press)

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Questions about the way politicians look can seem impertinent or downright rude. And yet ask the voters do. So today, John McCain's 2000 cancer surgeon sought to address what he delicately described as "what appear to be numerous questions about the prominence of the Senator's left jaw."

As described by Michael L. Hinni, M.D., of the department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the Mayo Clinic, the story of Sen. McCain's facial asymmetry begins in August 2000, when he removed a 2.2 millimeter thick by 2 centimeter wide invasive melanoma from Sen. McCain's face.

Located on the left lower temple region of McCain's face, the cancer was removed using a "comprehensive surgical procedure ... that included sentinel lymph node biopsy, removal of the cutaneous melanoma and key lymph nodes, and reconstruction of his left temple region," the doctor said in a statement released by the campaign.

This surgical treatment involved removing a 2 centimeter margin of normal skin around the melanoma, "resulting in a 6 centimeter by 6 centimeter roughly circular wound on the left side of the Senator's face."

The underlying mid-cheek salivary gland was also removed, in part to remove the lymph nodes inside the gland, and also to protect McCain's facial nerves from injury.

This "large incision was necessary to safely remove all cancer with an appropriate margin" and resulted in "a wound requiring sizeable reconstruction," explained Hinni. The large incision, which left a visible scar on the left side of McCain's face, "was necessary so that a flap of skin and soft tissue consistent with the color and texture of the Senator's facial skin could be elevated and advanced/rotated into the wound," Hinni continued.

This, however, led to an outcome that, more than seven years later, has fueled voter interest and media speculation about the nature of a visible protuberance on McCain's face. Said Hinni: "To answer what appears to be numerous questions about the prominence of the Senator's left jaw: this is a result of an absence of soft tissue on the face in front of his ear that makes the masseter (the chewing muscle) over the jaw appear more prominent. To be clear, the swelling is not due to any evidence of cancer."

Posted at 5:54 PM ET on May 23, 2008  | Category:  Topic A
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Let me get this straight... You REMOVE tissue from a persons face and the area ENLARGENS. Unless McBush is really a Black man and his skin has begun to keloid, it doesnt seem medically possible. Malignant growth anyone...

Posted by: isupreme | May 27, 2008 11:46 AM

There is no proof that McCain wasn't raped.

We just assume that when a grown man cries and craps his pants its due to that type of torture and mistreatment.

And the Vietnamese have a long history of raping its prisoners.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 9:47 AM

Dat's how ah got mah walnut cheeks!

Posted by: John | May 25, 2008 1:50 PM

i don't want a bigoted former torture victim for my president. it is sad that he was tortured. but he also killed innocent people as a fighter pilot--is that less sad because those people were vietnamese (or "gooks" as mc cain refers to them)? i don't care WHAT the doctors say, he is not presidential material. NO MORE WAR!!! NO MORE BOMBS!!! NO JOHN MC CAIN!!!!

Posted by: nomoreclintons | May 24, 2008 9:42 PM

I could care less about McCains health, what I care about is that you can't have a decent discourse without it breaking into a McCain is a geezer, Obama is too young and inexperienced, Hillary is a b i t c h. I though "RayGun" was too old, Hillary is approaching it, (for the record I am 58).Enough with the coke, enough with the age,lets just move on. If something happens to either candidate there are mechanisms to kick in. A young person can die just as easily as older one. Experience depends on a lot of factors. Good advisors, etc. Intuition really doesn't. Lincoln learned most of his on the job. Will any of the current candidates make mistakes? probably, will we get through them yes, will they become better? Probably.Let us unite, and move on for the better of the country.

Posted by: namvetter | May 24, 2008 5:17 PM

I like how now the talk is that McCain got raped as a prissoner of war! And you leftist arguee that what Clinton said about RFK was bad? Can anybody here send me any proof of McCain being rapped in Vietnam? I want to see otherwise you are doing what Nobama 2008 has been doing talking with no record or proof! You leberals are taking America to the pitts! Who raise all of you and were is the shame!!!

Posted by: RafaelVA | May 24, 2008 3:35 PM

Vote for War and Recession November 2008!

2008-2016 is going Republican because hey, if so many people could be misled in '04...

The religious extremists hiding in Afghanistan and a military dictorial government of Iraq, what's the difference?

Let's all be stupid, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, let's just give the Republicans a lifetime throne...

Posted by: eljefejesus | May 24, 2008 3:14 PM

"America has now turned to a country that glorifies cocaine addict over an hero."
First of all, let's get something straight, just because someone dabbles with and then stops using a drug that does not make them an addict.

John McCain is well known for his indulgence in alcohol for over 4 decades, does that make him an alcoholic?, which by the way, is every bit as debilitating as any other substance abuse if not more, certainly responsible for more deaths.

Neither would necessarily be an addict/alcoholic, it's not so much how often you use/drink but more of "what happens when you use/drink" Though the chances of becoming an alcoholic/addict increase greatly with long-term use.

Posted by: jr | May 24, 2008 1:14 PM

has now turned to a country that glorifies cocaine addict over an hero

are you talking about Bush here?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2008 12:58 PM

He has been a functioning person since his ordeal, although it may lead to male intimacy issues and therefore reinforce his stance on meeting with other leaders in the world.

- - - - -

Did he like it?

Posted by: James Laughlin | May 24, 2008 12:28 PM

So you are saying that McCain's stance on meeting with foreign leaders has something to do with being raped in a POW camp?


Come on, get real. You can't be blame a guy who was beaten and forced to have sex while a prisoner of war.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2008 12:26 PM

Perhaps the real question is how does the religious homophobic right deal with voting for a guy who has been sodomized?

Either willingly or forcefully.

Posted by: Greg Davis | May 24, 2008 12:23 PM

So you are saying that McCain's stance on meeting with foreign leaders has something to do with being raped in a POW camp?


Posted by: Dave Neville, NO | May 24, 2008 12:21 PM

He has been a functioning person since his ordeal, although it may lead to male intimacy issues and therefore reinforce his stance on meeting with other leaders in the world.

Posted by: Ann, NH | May 24, 2008 12:20 PM

That might explain the anal pallops.

Posted by: Jeffrey Tate | May 24, 2008 12:18 PM

I wonder what effect being raped repeatedly while a prisoner of war might have on McCain's mental health?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2008 12:18 PM

I am happy to hear McCain is in good health. I doubt it would stay that way if he were in office.

Certainly not in todays current political climate. We need a younger sharp witted individual in office.

The job in and of itself ages everyone who sits in that chair.

He can't even keep facts straight on the trail. Sorry, I just can't see him in the Oval Office.

That's in addition to the fact that the STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS derailed a long time ago. Is age a factor? I hope so, because if it is not, it means he is a liar.

Posted by: Vance McDaniel | May 24, 2008 10:26 AM

Our Life is in the hands of our creator and we are here because we have to fulfill our purpose> McCain's life had been in peril but he survived, he came back from the war, stronger and ready to fulfill what God has made for him. He lost the nomination to george Bush and see what America got? Now he is trying to offer his last years of his life to serving america as its president and it depends on the americans, we want him or we reject him. What else will this man offer but the best he could because he wants to do the best for america and wants to be remembered as a good president. His body is fighting a very powerful disease, Cancer and he's winning the battle. For a man like him, each day is a gift from God and I believe that he will bless each day with accomplishment for the American people.

Posted by: statistician | May 24, 2008 1:47 AM

After reading multiple news sources today, I see McCain had cataract surgery, 4 polyps removed, enlarged prostate reduced, kidney stones and cysts, vertigo, arthritis, abnormal blood sugar readings (diabetic?) and will likely need shouldar and knee replacement in the future. And they call that healthy? Seems to be a list indicating his body is aging, maybe even more than most. So what if he can last on the treadmill. His good cholesterol(HDL) is ONLY 35 which puts him in the HIGHEST risk category for heart attack. Has anyone (press or doctors) ever suggested he might have inherited the genes of his father and grandfather who died of heart attacks at 71 and 60, versus his 95 year old mother? Why does the press act as McCains "base?" I read of nothing today that reports on the stage of cancer for McCain's past melanoma surgery. Was it a 2 or a stage 3? They did however report 2 other cancers were a stage 0. I would think that is what the press would ask or look for. By the way only 2 reporters were allowed from print media to peruse 1,200 pages of documents for 3 hours. I am sure some pages were never read by any of the press allowed in the room. Why did only one press source mention "abnormal blood sugar" and not follow up with is he type 2 diabetic making him more prone to heart problems and stroke. The media does a shameful job of "reporting" and seem happy at the crumbs thrown their way. Note the NYT was NOT allowed to view the medical records- payback for the Vick Iseman story?? By the way has Vicky Iseman ever been spotted since that story came out? I keep checking the web and it seems she has vanished. Where has she gone and how does she make a living now? Can anyone look into this hushed up story before we possible elect this man.

Posted by: sunshine | May 23, 2008 11:04 PM

Now, if someone could explain the "Camel-Toe" below his CHIN...

Imagine Juan McAmnesty with a Trimmed Goatee! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 23, 2008 10:47 PM

What is wrong with you all. What a shame to all of your comments. America has now turned to a country that glorifies cocaine addict over an hero.

It is shameful. McCain deserves a lot of respect. Comparing McCain with Obama is like comparing light and darkness. Obama represents the elist, calculating, manipulative, lying politician I have ever witness in my lifetime.

Obama is a threat to the security of this nation. Beware of enemy from within. If Obama is a truly a Christian, he will love what God loves and hate what God hates. But Obama character speaks for itself. Obama supports infanticide, attends a church that promote hatred to other race. Read James Cones book on Black liberation theology for more on that.

Obama is not any different from other Chicago Politician. Obama's church also supports Hamas.

May God help us all. May God save us from Soros and friends - CNN, Washington Post, NY Times etc

Read more about Obama at:


Posted by: Audacity | May 23, 2008 10:15 PM

xantiphi makes accusations that Obama is on drugs. This is so typical of the right wing process. Remember "swiftboating"? Just keep repeating lies and maybe something will stick. The funny thing about xantiphis comments was that he/she said that he/she was in the medical field for 40 years and still doesn't know how to spell "physician"...opps

Posted by: 6925thcobras | May 23, 2008 10:11 PM

There is something very odd and very concerning about this story. The Chicago Trib story on this states that McCain has not had melanoma for almost eight years and that when his major occurrence in 2000 occurred, it was not disseminated. However, his doctor (Eckstein) reports that in addition to melanoma on his temple: "Those three were on his left shoulder, left arm and left nasal sidewall, removed in 1993, 2000 and 2002." (Chicago Tribune). There is something obviously wrong: not only did he have melanoma at two sites (temple and left arm) but he had a recurrence in 2002, six years (not eight) ago. This is reminiscent of Paul Tsongas, who had an incurable lymphoma while running against Clinton in 1992. At that time, his doctors essentially lied and said that he was cancer-free despite evidence that he still had a residual disease. While I don't want to be relentlessly diving into candidate's personal lives, this requires a little better journalistic digging. Perhaps Hillary should try to become McCain's VP.

Posted by: zoot | May 23, 2008 10:09 PM


Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2008 10:07 PM

I am an ex USAF pilot (mostly cold war B-52) and I have nothing but respect for someone who flew A-4s off a carrier in Vietnam, but respect for the risks he took as a pilot does not necessarily make him a good choice for president. My father and mother both died of cancer. My father died of skin cancer so I know a bit about it. I would venture to guess that McCain will not make it through his first term if elected. Even if he were to survive, he is going to be spending a lot of time in the care of doctors, rather than doing America's bussiness.

If is somewhat telling that he only allowed a small number of reporters a very limited amount of time to look over some selected medical records. No copies were allowed and we have no idea about what wasn't included in the records that the reporters were able to see. By my calculation these reporters had 180 minutes to look over 1200+ pages of records, that's less than 10 seconds per page to read and takes notes. I'm a pretty fast reader but I couldn't possibly review those records in the time allowed.

This was a media stunt meant to give the appearance of openess, but we are no closer to knowing McCain's true condition than we were. His doctor's assurance should be small comfort to even the most trusting voter. What did we expect his doctor to say, that McCain is about to die?

Posted by: captbilly | May 23, 2008 9:57 PM

All those hollering about McCain being too old...Well Obama is still wet behind the big ears, he has not been out of pampers long enough to have a mature brain and it's obvious everytime he opens his mouth.
I think he should have a drug test everyday through the election process.
Also a psychiatric exam by an un-biased phycian and his medical records made public, with all the smoking be sure and check for lung cancer or other types.
After 40 years working in the medical field, I know all too well nobody has to be old to get cancer or to die.
Let's see if Obama's health is as good as McCain

Posted by: xantiphi | May 23, 2008 8:53 PM

Great job John Mc Cain....the melanoma is always a concern and you have done extremely well.

Now, Obama's health history of cancer, etc., but he does have an admitted history of cocaine abuse. His impaired/poor judgement are a cause of concern. In the last few days he has been doing more ranting and raving!

He will of course have hair follicle analysis on whether or not he has any recent use of the cocaine, and will have to have periodic planned and unplanned analyses via hair roots in the future?

NO DOUBLE STANDARDS.... come on, Obama, MAN UP as John Mc Cain has done!

Posted by: Steve | May 23, 2008 8:01 PM

In all seriousness, no matter what the Mayo doctors say, an invasive malignant melanoma has definitely seeded metastases elsewhere in the body. It's only a matter of time before a tumor pops up in some other organ. We had better be darn sure whoever he picks for VP will be a suitable president, also...

Posted by: JohnR | May 23, 2008 7:44 PM

sorry, but the guy is just TOO OLD. TOO OLD, folks.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2008 7:39 PM

This is is for Joe Obama basher - I do not believe every single American is patriotic only because he serves in armed forces of his country or in a war - there are other things people do and can still be patriotic. Is Bush considered unpatriotic according to you? Please don't be biased!

Posted by: Hill | May 23, 2008 7:36 PM

For Gods sake "get a life" leave John alone. There is two other candidates who really could use a hell-of-lot more justifiable scrutiny. John has wings and a halo compaired to the two wackos!

Posted by: Okie in Pa | May 23, 2008 7:23 PM

He looks human. He looks conscious. Were there any other requirements?

Posted by: 7pines | May 23, 2008 7:22 PM

did that guy really just say "non-flag believer"?

Posted by: jim | May 23, 2008 7:22 PM

Just think, this guy was fightin' back hunger pains, standing true to our good ole' Stars and Stripes and American way of life, during his 148th week of solitaire confinement in a North-Vietnamese prison camp while Barack Obama's mom was signing up for welfare(and another free college semester) and caught the eye of a visitor from Kenya Africa.

Funny how Americans bite the hand that feeds them.

Posted by: Joe | May 23, 2008 7:18 PM

They did not only removed the cancer but also a part of his brain. If McCain becomes President of US than there will be cancer all over US and the Dark side will have won and God may have mercy upon us!
I hope people come to their senses and select Obama or Hillary as their President and vote for peace and diplomacy and not WAR and McCain...

Posted by: Behrouz | May 23, 2008 7:17 PM

So, have we put an antennae in his head yet? And if not, how come? I find this very disturbing. What if we lose President elect McCain? How will we find him? GPS! That is how. So, never mind the melanoma in his jaw, where is the antennae in his head?

Free Desktop Strippers

Posted by: The Morning Woody | May 23, 2008 7:08 PM

This guy is gonna have Obama-Flakes for breakfast if the press succeeds in setting Barack (throw your spiritual advisor of 20 years from the train) Obama as the Dem. Candidate.

When John McCain sneezes, it's 1000 times more patriotic than Obama the non-flag believer.

Posted by: David | May 23, 2008 7:07 PM

I am more concerned with what is going on inside that what the outside looks like. As far as the comb-over--grass never grows on a busy street.

Posted by: Mike | May 23, 2008 6:59 PM

'...No, we can not expain the "Comb-Over" haircut in a medical report, but there is no "gapping hole" under it as speculated.'

Posted by: Sally | May 23, 2008 6:29 PM

"Old People near death look this way..."

Posted by: Franky | May 23, 2008 6:27 PM

That was already explained in the five-page summary released this morning. Didn't the WaPo have a doctor review the 400 pages, and where is THAT report?

Posted by: JakeD | May 23, 2008 6:05 PM

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