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Election 2000: Cheney HospitalizedAired November 22, 2000 - 10:02 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: The Bush campaign says that Dick Cheney was hospitalized as a precaution last night. Doctors are observing him at George Washington University hospital in the nation's capital at this moment.
Our national correspondent Bob Franken is there right now. He has got more on Cheney's condition -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the hospital is not giving out many details, but they do tell us that the initial tests, the ones that would have determined some sort of problem have shown up good for the vice presidential possible nominee. Dick Cheney this morning, we're told, sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. was brought to the hospital after complaining of what is variously described as chest and shoulder pain or discomfort.
This is the hospital where, in 1988, he had bypass surgery after he had had his third heart attack. The first one came at age 37, in 1978. In fact, his cardiologist is still here, Doctor Gary Malacoff (ph). We are expecting that the hospital is going to conduct a briefing for camera and reporters later this morning, probably after they have more information on the condition of Mr. Cheney.
Now he had his bypass surgery 12 years ago, and some medical specialists will say that you have to continuously monitor that, as apparently Cheney has, to make sure that over a period of time surgery does not need what has been called refurbishing. Much of that is preliminary of course. Cheney, as you said, is supposed to be resting comfortably.
One other thing I will point out to people who hear the term George Washington University hospital and it strikes a chord, this is the hospital where in 1981 President Reagan had been taken after he had been shot, and of course, fully recovered. Again, it is in the news, this time for treatment of Dick Cheney -- Leon.
HARRIS: All right, thanks much, Bob Franken reporting live from George Washington University Hospital -- Kyra.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Dick Cheney's first heart problems surfaced in 1978 at age 37. A heavy smoker then, Cheney suffered a mild heart attack, the first of three. And he has since quit smoking, but he had quadruple bypass heart surgery in August in 1988 to clear his blockages in his arteries. Now, for a medical perspective on the situation, we bring in Dr. David Pearle from Washington. He is the director of the Coronary Care Unit at Georgetown University Hospital.
Good morning, doctor.
DR. DAVID PEARLE, GEORGETOWN UNIV. HOSPITAL: Good morning.
PHILLIPS: Considering the history of the heart problems that Cheney has had, is this normal what happened today?
PEARLE: Well, normal. There are a lot of causes of chest pain that have nothing to do with the heart, that are of course much less serious in their implications, problems with the stomach, with the esophagus, even a pulled muscle. So certainly I think the hope is that this is not a heart problem at all.
If it is a heart problem that is a more worrisome thing.
PHILLIPS: Now, in the past, well, within the past year, when he was nominated for this position, when George W. Bush picked him for this position, he had passed all the stress tests. Could you explain what a stress test is? and what he went through?
PEARLE: The concern is that there is blockage in the arteries going to his heart muscle, or that the grafts, which are now 12 years old, have began to block off again. And the usual screening test we do that is a kind of an exercise test, and what that shows is that there is no immediate problem. But there still is a risk that something suddenly could happen. In fact, that's usually what happens as the grafts start to deteriorate, if they are going to deteriorate.
So the tests, several months ago, were reassuring. But certainly anyone with his history, who has chest pain, would be advised to get in to the hospital right away.
PHILLIPS: My last question: Chest and shoulder pain, he said he was experiencing. What's the connection here?
PEARLE: There are a lot of ways pain arising from the heart can present itself. Most typically, it is in the left arm and in the front of the chest. But very frequently it will go into the neck and the shoulder. So that's not particularly worrisome that he had the shoulder pain as well. He's going to need the appropriate test to see if this is a heart problem. It is reassuring that the initial test, the cardiac enzymes, were negative. But I am sure he will be headed for an exercise test again or a cardiac catheterization.
PHILLIPS: You bring good and positive insight. Thank you, Dr. David Pearle, we appreciate you joining with us at the last minute.
PEARLE: Thank you.
HARRIS; I tell you, with these events in Washington and the events in Florida, the past 24 hours have been rather hectic for the Bush campaign.
CNN's Tony Clark is in Austin, Texas this morning. We go to him now for the very latest -- Tony.
TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon.
Governor George W. Bush was informed about Dick Cheney being in hospital shortly after 5:00 a.m. local time this morning. He then called him a short time later and said that the -- found Cheney to be in very good spirits at the time.
He said that he plans to make some sort of statements. In fact, we're right across from the Governor's Mansion. The governor's Suburban standing by across the street. He is expected to go over to the capital, and then about an hour and a half from now, he would make some comments about Cheney and his condition.
But, as we've heard throughout the morning, that his conditions are -- his condition, initial test, are very good, and they are very optimistic. It is just, Leon, another difficult time for the Bush campaign in what has been a very, very difficult time -- Leon.
HARRIS: And no change in the governor's plan that you're aware of for an announcement at 11:30 this morning Eastern time?
CLARK: Right, he'll be making a talk about Cheney around 11:30 from the capital this morning. And I think what we might expect something to be reassuring, he may talk a little bit about his conversation with Dick Cheney this morning.
And one of the campaign aides said that both Cheney and the governor seem to be in good spirits. There are no plans, according to one aide at this point, for him to go to Washington. You know, Cheney left over the weekend to go to Washington to spend the holidays with his family. He lives in McLean, Virginia.
As we heard earlier this morning, there were medical tests when he was named as George Bush's running mate. Those gave him a bill -- a clean bill of health. And he's campaigned very vigorously. And so this comes somewhat as a surprise. But, as I say, the initial tests look good and we plan to hear a little bit more about that from Governor Bush about an hour and a half from now -- Leon.
HARRIS: OK, great, great. Good deal, Tony. Thanks much. We'll get back to you then.
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