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Former US Surgeon General Complains of Political Pressure


President Bush's former chief public health educator has told members of Congress he was repeatedly pressured to adhere to the administration's political agenda.

Richard Carmona, U.S. Surgeon General from 2002 to 2006, told a congressional committee Tuesday that he was not allowed to speak out on stem-cell research, sex education and other issues. He said anything he tried to say that didn't fit the administration's political agenda was ignored, marginalized, or simply buried.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said later Tuesday it disagrees with Carmona's statements.

Carmona's testimony came two days before the confirmation hearing of President Bush's new surgeon general nominee, James Holsinger.

Carmona testified alongside former Surgeons General C. Everett Koop, who served under President Reagan, and David Satcher, who served under President Clinton and briefly under the first President Bush.

All three said they were pressured to avoid certain controversial issues. Carmona said some of his predecessors told him the pressure on him seemed higher than it ever had in the past.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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