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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Specter comment sparks conjecture

July 29, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) ignited a new round of speculation about his health when he remarked that his eyes and nose were running as a side effect of chemotherapy.

A spokeswoman said Specter, 79, has not had a relapse of cancer nor undergone chemotherapy in more than a year.

He made the comment during the Senate Judiciary Committee's deliberations on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court.

"If you see me dab at my eyes, I'm not sad," he said. "It's chemotherapy, and I've made the Kleenex industry wealthy."

Some cancer treatments can cause long-lasting eye effects, including dry eye or excess tear production.

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