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Patients over party

<p>Campaign "trackers" are just part of the process, at least in recent years.</p>
Patients over party
Patients over party

Campaign "trackers" are just part of the process, at least in recent years. The idea is, someone is tasked with following a candidate around, literally everywhere in public, recording his or her comments, hoping to capture something damaging. It's an effective tactic, used by both sides.

Not surprisingly, candidates and their staffs are generally not at all fond of trackers -- remember "macaca" in 2006? -- and make an effort to either block them, avoid them, or lose them.

But not always.

The Hippocratic Oath has triumphed over politics in Arizona.Democratic Senate candidate and former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona evidently still believes in it. Carmona performed an impromptu medical exam Wednesday on a campaign tracker, who has been following Carmona at public events with a camera, in the apparent hopes of catching the candidate doing or saying something that could be used against him.

The young man was concerned about a bump on his leg, so Carmona did his duty -- not as a Senate candidate but as a physician. The Democrat did a brief exam, told the tracker he probably has a hematoma in need of draining, and encouraged him to get in touch with his own doctor.

As Carmona noted afterwards, "When I was a trauma surgeon, nobody asked for an R or D doc, they just wanted help. Glad that's still true."

Carmona, it's worth noting, was the surgeon general under President George W. Bush, and was a Special Forces medic during his decorated military career. Recent polls show him trailing Rep. Jeff Flake (R) in Arizona's U.S. Senate race.

For the record, we don't know who the tracker is or who's paying him to follow Carmona around.