WILMINGTON, DEL. (DelawareOnline.com) -- Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden has made few
public appearances since being hospitalized at a Texas cancer center in
August. So when he took his place in the audience for the governor's
State of the State speech last month, many people attending got their
first look at him in months.
What they saw was a rail-thin man
with a long, curving scar on the side of his head, visible because Biden
- known for Kennedyesque hair parted on the side and carefully combed -
now has a flat-top style with the sides shaved.
"He looks worn
and drawn, much more than he did in November," said Republican state
Sen. Greg Lavelle, who last encountered Biden at a Veterans Day
function. "He looks like he's getting medical treatment for something.
Everybody thinks there's something wrong with him, clearly."
his hospitalization, the second-term attorney general and those in his
inner circle, including his father, Vice President Joe Biden, have
steadfastly refused to discuss his medical condition.
Friday, a doctor on Beau Biden's medical team released a statement
saying the attorney general had surgery to remove a "small lesion" on
Aug. 20 and now has "a clean bill of health."
Delaware House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf said he has seen Biden a
handful of times since he sought care at three hospitals in three states
within a week in August, including the University of Texas M.D.
Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
"He looks a little gaunt or a little like he could put a little weight on, but I do think he is fine," Schwartzkopf said.
said Biden's silence about his personal health issues is
understandable. But his visible weight loss, head scar, buzz cut and low
public profile have only fueled speculation that he has been undergoing
some medical treatment.
Delaware Treasurer Chip Flowers, who sat
next to Biden during Gov. Jack Markell's State of the State speech, said
Delaware voters would not think less of Biden if he revealed his
medical condition or any treatment he has undergone.
percent of the voting public, I think the fundamental question people
are going to ask themselves is, 'Is he still capable of doing this
job?'" Flowers said.
One of Biden's doctors, Dr. W.K. Alfred Yung,
chairman of M.D. Anderson's Department of Neuro-oncology, released a
statement saying a hospital team "saw Beau Biden to remove a small
lesion" on Aug. 20.
"The procedure went flawlessly and the entire
lesion was removed. He was discharged 36 hours later, with no
restrictions on his activities," Yung's statement read.
He said he conducted a follow-up exam Nov. 11 and gave Biden a "clean bill of health."
the hospital and Biden's office would provide no other information,
including more description of the lesion, what his prognosis is, and
whether he will be under continued supervision or require additional
Since his hospitalization, Biden has declined more than
a dozen interview requests, not only about his health but also about
his political future and criminal justice matters.
He was characteristically evasive when approached Wednesday at Legislative Hall in Dover.
told you, I'm all good. I got very lucky," Biden said. "I'm seeing my
doctors every now and then, but it's all good. I'm doing my job. And
I've been doing that."
Biden said he has actually been gaining weight and taking regular 4-mile runs.
questions come at a critical time in Biden's political career. Biden,
who has made a name for himself nationally as a proud ambassador for his
father and Obama administration policies, has amassed more than $1
million in campaign cash. He is up for re-election this year and is
considered a contender for the 2016 race for governor.
"I have options going forward," Biden said last week. "There are a lot of options."
considered a 2010 run for the U.S. Senate seat held by his father for
36 years, but opted out of that race to seek a second term as attorney
general, which he won without Republican opposition.
before that election, he suffered what doctors called a "mild stroke."
He was rushed to the hospital after being overcome by a headache,
numbness and some paralysis. He returned home after a week, issuing a
news release declaring: "I'm feeling great." His doctor described his
neurological status at the time as "perfect in all arenas including
motor skills, language function, and cognitive assessment."
the next three years Biden said often that he had no lingering effects
from the stroke. But on Aug. 1, rescue crews were sent to Joe Biden's
house in Greenville to respond to a 911 call about someone suffering a
Beau Biden was living then at his father's home
while renovating a nearby home he had bought. While the Bidens have not
revealed who fell ill that night, sources have confirmed it was Beau
Biden. The call for the ambulance was canceled soon after crews were
Thirteen days later while vacationing in Indiana,
Biden checked into Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago after
feeling "weak and disoriented." He next went to Philadelphia's Thomas
Jefferson University Hospital before flying to Houston's M.D. Anderson
on Aug. 19, where he stayed for several days, meeting with doctors,
undergoing tests and completing what his father said was a "successful
Biden filmed a video interview with The News Journal on
Sept. 10 and showed no signs of weight loss. He sported his customary
full head of hair without any signs of the large scar that now is
apparent, stretching from the front of his ear, rising up the side and
curving sharply around toward the top of his hairline.
and newly shaved side of his head were apparent when Biden met in
November with state budget officials in Dover. He also appeared somewhat
Questions about Biden's health and his August surgery haven't gone away.
One prominent donor who requested anonymity is concerned that the attorney general is "noticeably defensive" on the topic.
Lavelle, the Republican state senator, urged Biden to end the mystery and speculation about his medical condition.
important to the state," the lawmaker said. "He should be able to talk
about whatever is going on. It doesn't have to be in great detail, but
it is in the public interest."
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