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Mitch Perry Report for 9.28.16 — Our bodies, our politicians

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

During the first half-hour or so of Monday night’s presidential debate, there was plenty of chatter on Twitter on what appeared to be a case of the sniffles being suffered by Donald J. Trump. Former Vermont governor and NBC News commentator Howard Dean speculated it might have to do with cocaine use.

“Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?” he tweeted, which has now gotten him into a lot of hot water.

Now, I’m not going to spin a few words about the dangers of social media and how one should be careful, especially in the high-energy mindset that people get on Twitter trying to outwit one another watching the debate live.

No, I want to go to what Dean said about why he made such a diagnosis from afar.

“He sniffs during the presentation, which is something that users do. He also has grandiosity, which is something that accompanies that problem. He has delusions,” Dean said. “He has trouble with pressured speech. He interrupted … Hillary Clinton 29 times. He couldn’t keep himself together.”

Maybe some of that problem with “pressured speech” is what we know about Trump’s habits. He supposedly doesn’t get more than four hours a sleep at night, eats poorly and doesn’t get any exercise.

Clinton told People magazine in 2014 that yoga and water aerobics were her exercises of choice, and sometimes brisk walks. Her recent health issues have become an issue over the past month, certainly.

I would suggest this stuff actually matters. Trump is 70, and Clinton will be 69 next month. Because they’re roughly around the same age, the issue hasn’t been mentioned as often as it has when similarly aged people ran for the White House.

Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was elected president in 1980, and though I didn’t follow that election cycle that closely, I do remember his age was always an issue. And it certainly was in 2008, when a 47-year-old Barack Obama took on a 71-year-old John McCain. There was lots of talk about McCain’s age, though in retrospect that was unfair, as the now 77 -year-old McCain is running for another six-year term in the U.S. Senate.

I’m always amazed at how many Americans don’t work out on a regular basis. Statistics show this to be a fact; I also ask basically anybody I ever get to know well if they work out (it comes from being somebody who has run six days a week since I was in high school).

Should this be mentioned more often? I’m not sure. But if we’re going to spend another day talking about Trump fat-shaming a former Miss Universe winner, maybe we ought to look closer at the health habits of the two people who will end up leading our great nation over the next four years.

In other news …

In Monday night’s debate, Hillary Clinton took Donald Trump to task for “stiffing” people who worked for him. Two of those folks she mentioned hailed from Florida. 

There were a lot of TV and digital ads released yesterday.

The Democratic House Majority PAC went after David Jolly and his record on abortion rights. Hours later, a Jolly super PAC released an ad featuring a reporter questioning Charlie Crist’s credibility.

The Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County blasted Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark for conducting voter registration events at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the county.

HD 68 Democrat Ben Diamond put up his first television ad of the general election season.

After Donald Trump said he had a “winning temperament” in Monday night’s debate, the super PAC backing Hillary Clinton, Priorities USA, released an ad questioning that statement.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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