Bush's Former Surgeon General Blasts Administration

The Gavel:

The Oversight Committee is currently holding a hearing, "The Surgeon General's Vital Mission: Challenges for the Future." The hearing is focusing on the importance of the Surgeon General's Office, the need to preserve the Surgeon General's independence, and recent limitations on the Surgeon General's ability to carry out its public health education mission. Richard Carmona, who resigned as Surgeon General in 2006, will testify about what he viewed as political and partisan pressure.


Richard Carmona: During my first year as Surgeon General I was still quite politically naive in the ways of the Beltway. As I witnessed partisanship and political manipulation I was astounded but also unsure of what I was witnessing. I had no reference point. I asked myself whether this was just happening to me as a new Surgeon General, or whether this was the norm for all Surgeon Generals.

Much of the discussion was being driven by theology, ideology, pre-conceived beliefs that were scientifically incorrect. So I thought this is a perfect example of the Surgeon General being able to step forward, educate the American public as well as elected and appointed officials so that we can have, if you will, informed consent on an issue to the American public to make better decisions. I was blocked at every turn. I was told the decision had already been made. Stand down, don't talk about it. In speeches where initially that information was put in speeches it was removed from my speeches...


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