A Tough Guy's Toughest Fight

Lee Atwater battles a tumor

A political operative who specializes in bareknuckle campaigns, Lee Atwater is facing his roughest contest yet. The Republican National Committee chairman was hospitalized last week in Montefiore Medical Center in New York City for treatment of a brain tumor known as an upper-grade astrocytoma. Chief neurologist Dr. Paul Kornblith described it as "so aggressive, we had to go after it with hammer and tongs." Dr. William Shapiro of the Brain Tumor Cooperative Group, a nationwide research organization of neurosurgeons, estimates that Atwater, 39, has only a 10% chance of surviving more than five years.

Characteristically, Atwater is going all out against...