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Health Problems


Obama: Smoke-Free at Last
When he ran for the presidency in 2008, Obama was a young, active man who appeared to be in fine health despite being an on-again, off-again smoker. But by June 2008 he had admitted to taking up smoking again after several months clean. A physical in early 2010 found that President Obama was in "excellent health" — likely thanks to workouts six mornings a week — but that his cholesterol was inching up and he was still having a hard time quitting his 30-year cancer-stick habit. By December 2010, the Washington Post reported that the president had not touched a cigarette in nine months. A medical exam this past fall declared him officially "tobacco-free."

Romney: Back From the Dead
That's right, Romney was legally, though not at all technically, dead for a matter of minutes in the summer of 1968 while he was over in France proselytizing. Romney was driving a silver Citroen near the small town of Beaulac in southern France with a carload of other Mormon evangelists when a black Mercedes came around the bend and slammed into them at around 70 miles an hour, according to police and a truck driver who witnessed the crash. (Here's some twisted irony: The man driving the Mercedes was a Roman Catholic priest. Speculation at the time was that the prelate had been drunk.) One woman was killed and Romney was crushed between the steering column and the driver's side door, breaking his arm. The policeman who arrived at the scene found Romney in such a state unconscious and unresponsive that he wrote in his passport: "Il est mort." (For those of you who only took Spanish in high school, that's French for "He is dead.") Romney's family back in Bloomfield Hills, including girlfriend Ann, heard the horrible news and only set things straight after George Romney called his good friend Sargent Shriver, who was then ambassador to France. Romney seems to have remained in more or less one piece apart from that instance, though he was clearly in pretty shabby athletic state in high school, collapsing twice and finishing ten minutes after everyone else in a 2.5-mile race. It's Ann, Romney's wife, who has faced serious health scares: Multiple sclerosis in 1998 and early-stage breast cancer in 2008.


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