Clinton in health mystery

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 September, 1996, 12:00am

What is Bill Clinton trying to hide? That is the question a growing number of Americans are beginning to ask themselves after a spate of recent articles devoted to the President's health.

Although Mr Clinton makes public the results of his annual check-ups, he never releases the actual tests and cardiograms, as does his 73-year-old Republican rival Bob Dole, and that has led to speculation over why an outwardly healthy 50-year-old would not want to trumpet his good condition against a senior-citizen opponent.

More fuel was added to the growing 'Healthgate' mystery after Mr Clinton, who recently had a benign cyst removed from his neck, was seen to be popping an array of pills at a golf outing.

American Spectator magazine said a reporter who played with him noticed that Mr Clinton's valet handed him five 'colourful and mysterious-looking pills that looked like George Jetson's dinner', which the President looked at 'as if they would have to be inserted somewhere other than orally'. And when he hesitated, the magazine said, his doctor appeared and shouted: 'Just take them!' - which he dutifully did.

But as the magazine asks: 'Why would a healthy man have to take five big vitamin pills in the middle of the day under doctor's orders?' Adding even more intrigue is Mr Clinton's 'Rudolph-like' nose. Sherry Rowlands, the prostitute who brought down White House adviser Dick Morris, remembers that her customer even remarked on the nose as they watched Mr Clinton on TV.

According to Time magazine, the President has been taking medication for it, but Star magazine, which broke the Morris story, says the nose problem is part of a larger skin disorder.

Mr Clinton, who had cancerous lesions removed from his face last year, is also the first leader since Jimmy Carter not to grant The New York Times an interview on his health.