Newsletter: Essential Politics: The doctors have spoken


I’m Christina Bellantoni, this is Essential Politics, and we start today with some numbers that have surfaced on the campaign trail.

Hillary Clinton’s cholesterol: 189.

Clinton’s blueprint to provide mental health care: 13 pages.

After Nov. 8 has come and gone, what number will matter more?


The Democratic nominee’s total cholesterol, as reported Wednesday by her doctor, falls in the under 200 “desirable” category.

Donald Trump’s physician hasn’t released his cholesterol figure, but the Republican nominee taped a show with Dr. Oz airing today that could answer the question. A promo suggested he walked through a series of tests taken last week and confessed his doctor wants him to lose 15 or 20 pounds.

It took a while, but health has suddenly vaulted to prominence in the race between the oldest pair of presidential nominees in history, Noah Bierman and Evan Halper report for today’s front page. And both nominees reacted as they typically do — Trump with the misdirection, flair and controversy of a reality-television reveal, and Clinton with a document release Wednesday after days of growing demands. Neither has circulated the type of detailed and extensive medical records that voters have come to expect in a modern campaign.


Amid this news, we also explored how Clinton has enough policy to fill a book (including those 13 pages of mental health plans), while Trump has presented the barest of outlines for most of his governing agenda.

What will voters care about most when it comes time to make a choice?


Bill and Chelsea Clinton would step down from the Clinton Foundation’s flagship health project if Hillary Clinton is elected, the group announced Wednesday.


Bill Clinton’s record stumping for his wife has been mixed, and sometimes he’s generated more controversy than votes. But the former president came in handy this week when Hillary Clinton was sidelined by pneumonia. He flew to Los Angeles to attend fundraisers on her behalf, and he received the full celebrity treatment on Tuesday at a trendy coffee shop.

The candidate’s husband was in the Las Vegas area on Wednesday, filling in at a community college where she was scheduled to speak. Chris Megerian reports that he brushed off dust-ups that have dogged her campaign and urged voters to abandon the “road rage” that he said has made Trump seem appealing.

Many of the students at the school are black or Latino. Although not all of them were enthusiastic about voting for the Democratic nominee, a few said they viewed Trump as dangerous.


Get the latest from the campaign trail on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics. Check our daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll at the top of the politics page.


Should porn actors be forced to wear condoms when they shoot sex scenes? Per the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll conducted by SurveyMonkey, 55% of voters would back Proposition 60, while 32% said they would vote against the statewide measure and 13% had no answer, Javier Panzar reports. The measure is the work of Michael Weinstein of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation. It is opposed by both state Republican and Democratic parties as well as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Interested in the 17 ballot measures? We’re covering them closely on our Essential Politics news feed.


As California prepares its application asking the federal government to allow immigrants in the country illegally to purchase health insurance through a state exchange, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) was in Washington to meet with federal officials, including Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation, to drum up support for the idea, Sarah Wire reports.

If approved, California would be the first state in the country to ask for a waiver to the section of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that prohibits people not in the country legally from purchasing insurance on the exchanges.



The Los Angeles Times is hosting another debate watch party, and this one will be our biggest yet. Join us on Sept. 26 at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Tickets are $13. RSVP here.


Time flies! Essential Politics is celebrating its first birthday. We launched on Sept. 14, 2015, with a look at some new polling and a peek ahead at the second Republican presidential debate about to be held at the Reagan Library.

Thanks to David Lauter, John Myers and occasional fill-in Mark Z. Barabak for their efforts, and thank you for your readership. If you like this newsletter, please ask a friend to sign up.

Hope you’ve had as much fun as we have over the last year.


Tim Kaine, meanwhile, needs more Vitamin D.

— The vice-chair of California’s Republican Party wants the FBI to make public the names of donors involved in the campaign money laundering case that is sending the father of Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) to jail.

— Who’s ready for a lame-duck session of the California Legislature after election day? A coalition of more than three dozen local government and industry groups, who on Wednesday urged lawmakers to go back to Sacramento and strike a deal on funding the state’s transportation needs.

— A week after signing legislation to extend the state’s landmark climate goals, Gov. Jerry Brown inked other laws to spend $900 million on programs to reduce climate change and dedicate more resources to low-income communities.

— Dog kennels and pet hotels will have to comply with new rules after Brown signed a bill Wednesday to regulate animal-boarding facilities.

— George Skelton weighs in on Prop. 54 and legislative transparency.

— Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talked about making community college tuition free at an appearance with Jill Biden on Wednesday.

— California Democrats joined House colleagues in calling for a vote on gun control legislation … again.

— Clinton next week will meet with the Egyptian and Ukrainian presidents.

— Dramatic video shows a 69-year-old woman on oxygen being punched at a Trump rally this week in Asheville, N.C.

— Former Secretary of State Colin Powell had harsh words for both Trump and Clinton in private emails that were suddenly thrust into the public thanks to a hack this week.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.


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