Rep. Morris K. Udall (D-Ariz.) yesterday pronounced himself medically fit and said he may go after the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination if he can recover from his "terminal indecision."
Udall, an unsuccessful 1976 presidential contender and senior statesman of the party's liberal wing, said he will announce his decision "in a matter of weeks."
The congressman, 60, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, told a news conference he was seriously considering such a race in light of Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's withdrawal from contention earlier in the week.
"I don't want to be a spoiler, but if I can be the one to put it together, I want to be there and give it a shot," Udall said.
Udall said he considers himself fit for the rigors of a campaign and for the duties of the presidency.
"I take my medicine regularly. I find I'm in good shape." he said. "My doctor tells me I should be in good health for the next 12 to 15 years."
Aides distributed packets of medical information on Udall's condition describing his affliction as a mild form of the disease.
"My physicians, especially the noted Parkinson authority, Dr. Tom Chase, of the National Institutes of Health, tell me I have many active and productive years ahead of me," Udall said in a statement included in the packet.
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative nervous condition characterized by muscular tremor and rigidity. One million Americans have the disease, which usually affects the elderly.
Joked Udall: "I am authorizing an exploratory committee to investigate whether I should think about running in case there is a spontaneous draft."
However, aides said Udall had not reached the point of authorizing such a committee.