The following is from the March 26, 2008, edition of The Dallas Morning News. SMU Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

Candidates promise openness,
then drag feet on releasing records

The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON All three remaining major presidential candidates have promised more openness in government than has been seen under the Bush administration.

Yet in each case the campaigns have held off at least temporarily the release of potentially damaging information.

On Tuesday, the campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama traded barbs over openness, each claiming the other has only nebulous promises. . .

Sen. John McCain, who would be the oldest president ever elected, hasn't released recent medical records or tax returns, though his campaign pledges to do so. . .

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said that political foot-dragging is often less damaging than the information that sometimes comes out as a result of such inquiries.

"For major-league skullduggery, you always have a cost," he said. "But simply playing politics and holding information back? Voters don't change their mind on unresolved issues."

Dr. Jillson said that he doubts there's much in Mr. McCain's medical records that could prove problematic short of renewed concerns about his "relatively manageable" form of skin cancer.

"A lot of Americans understand how devastating cancer can be," Dr. Jillson said. "If cancer concerns became more prominent, that could do him a lot of damage."

Read the full story.

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