Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Bill Clinton Undergoes Heart Procedure; Iran a Nuclear Nation?
Aired February 11, 2010 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And it's basic plumbing. You don't want to belittle what it is. Obviously, it is an invasive procedure, but that is the goal, to simply get more blood flow to the heart.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: And, once that happens, do you think that this means that he is going to have to slow down his activities, his schedule? Is he going to be able to kind of participate in the kinds of things that he has to do, perhaps a return trip to Haiti at some point?
GUPTA: Well, yes, I think most heart doctors and most doctors in general will say, look, the goal of these procedures is to reduce the chest pain that he was having and to get them back to his normal way of life, back to the type of that activity he wants to do.
So my guess is that he is going to need some time to recover from all that has happened, but that he should be able to get back to doing the things that he was doing a few weeks ago, a few months ago. And that is the goal of these procedures.
Again, lifestyle decisions are going to have be more diligent. His medications may need to be aggressive, but, overall, I think that we will likely see him in the next few months possibly return to Haiti and other places around the world.
MALVEAUX: OK. Sanjay, thank you so much. Obviously, we are going to get back to you as soon as we can with more information.
But I want to bring in our own James Carville, obviously a very loyal and close friend to the Clintons, to Bill Clinton.
And I have to say, covering Bill Clinton, it was a -- that is a tough assignment, because this was a president who was so extremely active, especially when you traveled with him. He never slept, perhaps two hours at a time, but in actually just following him around, it was a press corps, we didn't get that much sleep either, because he was just that active, that engaged, as you mentioned before, always reading, always greeting people, clearly a people person if you will in every facet of the way.
Tell us a little bit about your friendship with Bill Clinton.
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we have been together since 1991. And he's a really fascinating guy to like spend time with. And it is amazing to see him the way he focuses on people. And just has this real sort of human touch about him. And anywhere you go in the world with him -- I have been in any -- I don't know how many different countries with President Clinton -- and people all around the world, they genuinely love this guy. When they come up, they want to touch him. They think that he cares about their lives. It is really remarkable, and I have heard stories when I was not with him like in Ireland, just the warmth that people have toward him.
And it is really kind of a refreshing thing to see how much of humanity just in general just really does feel a special bond with him. And, you know, what they are doing over at the Clinton Foundation and what they do at this Global Initiative is -- I think it's something like one-third or one-half of all the pediatric AIDS patients in the world get their medication through that.
So, he -- right, he would not know any other speed, but he doesn't have an accelerator. He has a switch, and that switch is on about 21 hours a day, and goes off about three hours. And it's got one speed, and that's full-speed ahead. But -- and that is just what he is, and everybody that comments on that is exactly right about that one aspect of him.
MALVEAUX: Do you think he can slow down?
CARVILLE: No. I don't think -- I mean, obviously, as you get older, I guess, at some point you have got to slow down some, but I don't think he wants to slow down. I am not sure, and I would have to ask Sanjay or people like Dr. Siegel (ph), people like that will know what -- he will have to probably make some adjustments.
I'm not a doctor, but it looks like these arteries that have sort of started this disease process again, but they know how to treat this stuff pretty effectively, so I guess I'm still a little shook up here. But I'm hopeful compared to where I was in the first phone call I got. And as the news comes in, it is more reassuring than not.
MALVEAUX: Sure. It is sounding a little bit more reassuring, James, but obviously those very close to Clintons, like yourself, a little bit shook up by this news.
I want to go to our CNN contributor, Alex Castellanos, who has a thought.
You have been listening. You have been watching here. And what are your impressions?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I hope we don't forget how important and politically relevant Bill Clinton still is today, as a leader of the Democratic Party.
You know, one of the things that has happened to this president is he stumbled a little bit in his first year certainly. And I'm being generous from a Republican point of view, but he has left a hole. He's gone to the left a little bit. And as David Brooks might say, he has represented the educated class, not the populist working American.
That is what a new Democrat was. Bill Clinton was Bubba. He was from Arkansas and he was more of a centrist Democrat. And we are seeing that wedge in the Democratic Party today. The last president to balance a budget was Bill Clinton. And you could see that a lot of Democrats in trouble next election, the guy they might want campaigning for them might be a Bill Clinton, who balanced those budgets, and also his experience in the White House.
Here is a president again who had a tough first year and bounced back and became a better president for it. So, I think that kind of advice and experience that he has to share with this administration I think has never been more valuable.
MALVEAUX: He is obviously somebody who brought the Democrats really to the center, more to the moderates. This is something that in some ways frustrated and angered his own party, but was appealing to Republicans at the time.
CASTELLANOS: Well, there is that hole in the center now, and it appealed to Republicans, it appealed to Democrats. But that hole in the center now is going to be filled either by new Republicans, either our party -- and James has made this point before -- is going to get its act together and explain how our principles are the best way to grow the economy and create jobs and prosperity, or else the new Democrats I think have a tremendous opening here, too.
And that is Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. So, this president is still a powerful political force. And the other thing is I think all of us who are in our 50s have had either parents or issues with heart issues ourselves, you know, when you have heart issues in your 50s, I think doctors will tell you, look, you better change, because you are more likely to have more trouble than say someone later on in life.
And, so, that is also something I would also be curious what Dr. Gupta and others might say. You know, this -- he is only 63, and this only happened, what, about five or six years ago. So, it is something to keep an eye on. He has got a long and productive career ahead.
MALVEAUX: OK. Alex, thank you so much.
I want to bring back in James Carville real quickly here.
James, we have heard a lot about how hard Bill Clinton has worked. What does he like to do on his downtime, in his off time?
CARVILLE: Well, while we glorified him with the Republicans, maybe I have missed this, but they literally tried to run him out of office, OK? I haven't forgot that. I guess a lot of people have, but just to mention that fact. But, look, he's a very, very active guy. And there's -- and I don't know, you know, how he will have to -- how he will have to change his schedule, whatever, but when he had his open-heart surgery, I didn't see much difference between the post-open-heart surgery President Clinton than I did the pre-open-heart surgery. He got up and running pretty quickly there.
MALVEAUX: What does he like to do on his off-time, his downtime?
CARVILLE: He likes to play golf. He, you know, he likes to play a card game called, I guess on TV, because it is a G-rated network, oh, heck.
MALVEAUX: Thank you, James, for cleaning it up a little.
CARVILLE: He spends a -- yes, he does not have a lot of -- he is not a guy that looks for a lot of downtime. He has a lot of friends. There's people that go with him usually when he travels. He has a pretty large group of people who like to travel with him. He enjoys people. He enjoys people's company.
You know, it's like anybody else. He is a big sports fan. He loves sports. He was fired up about the Super Bowl. He comes on my radio show every year. And he is our resident bracketologist. He picks the kind of brackets in the NCAA basketball tournament for us, and he works hard at it. It is like anything he does. He does not take things frivolously. He really works hard at things.
MALVEAUX: All right, James, we're going to get a little bit more of your impressions. But I want to take a quick break.
And on the other end of the break, we will go live to the hospital where the former President Bill Clinton is being treated. Stay with us.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MALVEAUX: Following this breaking news story, former President Bill Clinton hospitalized earlier this afternoon, taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. That is where sources say he experienced chest pains earlier in the afternoon and two stents were placed in his coronary arteries.
This is the very latest development, a spokesman telling CNN that: "Today, President Bill Clinton was admitted to the Columbia campus of New York's Presbyterian Hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest following a visit to his cardiologist. He underwent a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries. President Clinton is in good spirits, will continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti's relief and long-term recovery efforts." He reminds us that, in 2004, President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries, clearly a history of heart problems and challenges for this president, but he is described as in good spirits this afternoon.
And we understand that his wife, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, she is on her way to New York, to the hospital, to be with her husband. We also know that his daughter, Chelsea, is by his side. She is there in the hospital with him. And we will have the latest updates on this breaking news story, the very latest on the former President Bill Clinton hospitalized in New York City after chest pains.
MALVEAUX: Obviously, CNN following the breaking news, former President Bill Clinton, who has been hospitalized in New York after experiencing chest pains. He has undergone a procedure, and we are told that he is now in good spirits. His wife, Hillary Clinton, is on her way to New York. Chelsea, his daughter, is by his side.
And, obviously, as we get more information on that breaking news story, we are going to bring you, all of the details.
In the meantime, there is other news out of Iran, big news out of Iran, the president of Iran claiming that now he is the head of a nuclear nation -- much more when we come back.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MALVEAUX: Former President Bill Clinton hospitalized earlier this afternoon. He is at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York.
That is where, earlier today, we are told that he experienced chest pains. You are looking at pictures of the hospital now there -- chest pains. And he had undergone a procedure after meeting with his cardiologist, a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries, we are told.
We are also told by a spokesman that he is at that hospital now and that he is in good spirits, that he will continue with his work in Haiti, as well as the Clinton Global Initiative, the important work that he does.
We know that his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she is on her way to New York, to that hospital, to be with her husband. We also know that his daughter, Chelsea, is by his side. This is not very far from where he has an office in Harlem, in New York City, but the president described as in good spirits at this time.
I want to bring in several of our correspondents from many different places who have a bit of information and bits and pieces on what we know, and how this is developed and how this is developing, our own Jill Dougherty, foreign affairs correspondent, who is working her sources and her angle.
What do we know about the secretary of state and what do we know about how she found out and how her day has gone?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, of course, the most important thing is that she is on the way to New York, joining her husband and Chelsea.
And as far as her day today, you know, she was at the State Department. The State Department really has been shut down because of the snow, but she was there working. And then she went over to the White House in the afternoon for a meeting. That is her weekly meeting with President Obama, attended that meeting. And then she left for New York.
And the question that's still not clear is whether or not she will take the trip that she was going to begin tomorrow, in fact, Friday, going to the Mideast. That was to Saudi Arabia and to Qatar, and we have not heard that it has been canceled, so we are standing by for word, trying to figure out what her next move will be on that trip.
It was an important one, Mideast peace obviously a big issue for the this administration. And she was going to be speaking at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, so it is, I'm sure, a trip she would not want to miss, but, after all, it is important for her to be with Bill Clinton.
MALVEAUX: Jill, thank you very much. Appreciate that.
I want to go very quickly. We are getting a statement here. This is from the spokesman from former President George W. Bush. You may recall we just got a chance to see President Clinton and President Bush together with President Obama. This was just a couple of weeks ago. This was in the Rose Garden. I had a chance to see all three of them together there.
Obviously, President Clinton as well as President Bush, they were named to participate in a global initiative to try to get attention, call attention, long-term attention to the situation in Haiti and the crisis there following the earthquake, both those men working very closely.
This statement is from David Sherzer. He is the spokesman for former President George W. Bush.
And he says: "President Bush spoke to Chelsea Clinton today and was glad to hear that her father is doing well and that his spirits. President Bush looks forward to continuing to work with his friend on Haiti relief and rebuilding. President and Mrs. Bush send their prayers for a speedy recovery" -- this from the former President George W. Bush, who was just with President Clinton a couple of ago.
Joining me now, Paul Begala.
Obviously, you are very close to the Clintons. How did you about this? When was the last time you actually got a chance to see and speak with him?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I saw him I guess a couple months ago. I had dinner with him.
I heard from the media, just like everybody else, but since then, I have talked to people who are close to him, near him. And all the reporting that we have is accurate. He is in good spirits, didn't need a general anesthetic, so he wasn't knocked out.
He's feeling better. It's a serious thing, but his spirits are good. And he's very focused on this work in Haiti. If you noticed, even the statement that Doug Band, his counselor, put out, in that very statement, he reminds people of the work that we all need to do to try heal the folks in Haiti.
BEGALA: And I think that is typical of President Clinton.
MALVEAUX: Do you have any idea where he was or what led him to seek medical help?
BEGALA: No, I heard the same thing as you, which is he was at his office in Harlem, felt, you know, some chest pains and went right away, and, you know, it looks -- it does look like that he's certainly in good spirits and certainly going to stay in the hospital tonight. I didn't get any better read as to when he might be able to come home, but I certainly was told he would certainly be there the night.
MALVEAUX: I can't imagine he's going to stay seated very long.
BEGALA: No, that's the just the way he is.
MALVEAUX: You know him very well.
BEGALA: Yes. And I can tell you his diet and his exercise are a whole lot better than when I first met him 18 years ago.
MALVEAUX: He was eating cheeseburgers when I covered him.
BEGALA: Right. And he is in much better shape now, but he still has been a heart patient now for six years I guess it's been since he had that quadruple bypass.
BEGALA: But he exercises more. He eats less. He's in better shape, but he is really committed to the work. And I have to say, at 63 or so, 63--
MALVEAUX: -- 64 in August. At 63, he works a lot harder than I do, and I'm a lot younger than that.
MALVEAUX: All right. Paul, we are going to get back to you in just a minute.
But I want to go to our own Sanjay Gupta, because, Sanjay, there are lot of people who have been asking essentially the same question, and they're all turning to you to try to get the answer on this one.
But what does this mean in terms of what he might be able to do in the future? Does he have to slow down? Is he going to be able to kind of maintain the type of schedule that he has, whether it is traveling in Haiti or the Global Initiative, all the kinds of things that he is involved in?
GUPTA: Well, he's probably going to have to slow down for a period of time, Suzanne, because of just having had this procedure. He's probably going to need to have some of his medications, my guess is, adjusted. He may have been on blood thinners already after his bypass operation in 2004.
And those blood thinner medications may need to be adjusted as well. He has had the bypass operation six years ago and now this stenting procedure. I am sure his doctors are talking to him right now about his lifestyle overall, particularly with diet and exercise, although he has done a pretty good job with that. He may need to do even better.
But to your question, I think that the goal of these procedures is to reduce his symptoms that he was having of chest pain and to try to get him back to being able do all the activities that he wants to do. So, my guess is that after he recovers from this, he is probably going to be able to travel back to Haiti maybe in a couple of months or so, and a lot of other places around the world as well, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Sanjay, thank you. I want you the hold on there for a minute.
And a real quick question for you, Paul. Out of all these things that the president has been engaged in, I know it is probably going to be tough for him to let go of any one particular thing. Where is his heart now, the work that he does?
BEGALA: Very much in Haiti right now. He has a 35-year commitment to that country. I think he went there even on his honeymoon.
MALVEAUX: He did.
BEGALA: And he loves that place, and, of course, had a lot of involvement with Haiti when he was president. America and Haiti had some really tough, tough times and tough days his presidency. His foundation was actively engaged in there ever since he has left the White House, and then now in the last year, General-Secretary Ban at the U.N. has asked him to take on as a special U.N. envoy. So, I think that's really telling. In fact, this afternoon, I got an e-mail from the foundation asking everybody -- and I'm going to do this -- to wear red and blue tomorrow, in honor of Haiti to help us to remember.
And I have to say this network has done a great job of sustaining over time the commitment to that story. And his foundation has, too. And he is asking people to wear red and blue in solidarity with the people of Haiti tomorrow, so we don't forget, even as we go back to our normal lives.
And I -- you do think he works so doggone hard. And he has had a heart condition, but he works so hard. And that Haitian project is so central to what he is all about.
MALVEAUX: OK, Paul, thanks so much for your perspective.
Obviously, we are going to bring you more information as the story develops about the condition of President Bill Clinton.
There is very another big story as well. That is what is taking place in Iran, Iran's president today calling his country a nuclear nation.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MALVEAUX: We have the very latest.
Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized. He's at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. That's in New York City. He experienced chest pains earlier this afternoon, we are told, and through a spokesperson we are told that he underwent a procedure, two stents that were put in one of his coronary arteries.
And we are told -- there you are taking a look. You see pictures of the hospital where he is being treated now. He is in good spirits -- that is according to his spokesman, Douglas Band -- he is a counselor to Bill Clinton -- and that he is going to continue to focus on the work that he does Haiti relief, as well as the Global Initiative.
And we know now that his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she is on her way to New York to be by her husband's side. We also know that his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, she is there with the former president, giving him comfort. Obviously, this is something that happened earlier in the afternoon. We learned about it. It happened very suddenly.
After a visit with his cardiologist, he has been treated and is now in good spirits. So, we will bring you all of the latest developments as we learn more details.
In the meantime, we do have another very big story and that is about Iran. The Iranian government wants to control everything that you see, as the country marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. But the government itself is now threatened by a passionate and persistent opposition that's demanding reform in spite of this deadly government crackdown.
Now there are official images that we want to show you of the celebration -- hundreds of thousands of people gathering in one of Teheran's main squares, celebrating the overthrow of the Shah and the founding of the Islamic Republic.
Now there are images, as well, the Iranian government does not want you to see -- that is military and paramilitary guards beating -- that is that's beating anti-government protesters.
Our CNN's Tom Foreman -- he is here with more. And there are other images that we're seeing out of Teheran.
What can you tell us about them?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, let's look at from...
MALVEAUX: What do they show?
FOREMAN: -- from the big space here. This will give us a sense of what we're talking about. That area they're talking about -- Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran here. As we move in, the area that the government wants us to focus on is this one. It's called Azadi Square. This was originally built to honor the long, long, long history of Persia when, in the late '70s, after the revolution, it was renamed Azadi Square, which means Freedom Square.
And this has been very important because some of the kid -- critical moments in the revolution itself came around this area. And last summer, when the initial protests over this election were happening, many of those centered also in this are.
This is a normal picture of it. Now, I want to show you a new image we have from GeoEye of what's going on today.
Look at this as I bring it in, that's what it's like today -- filled, filled, filled with people, all there as part of this government rally, in effect, to show support. And this goes a long way -- these roads that spoke off from here in different directions, I want you to watch them and just follow along with this one.
This goes more than three miles, packed with people all down this way. And in many cases, you can see them branching off into other squares, other avenues in different directions. So this is what GeoEye saw.
What we can't necessarily see on here, though, is the degree of the opposition, because we can't tell where those street clashes are happening. What we do know is that there have been issues in the past and there have been calls on the Internet to rally for some of the protesters at places like the universities here; also, up at Evin Prison up here, more to the north side. We do know that, also, some of the clashes in the past happened to the north of this area.
So, what we know, Suzanne, is that this is the image that the government really wants you to see, which is this massive outpouring of people -- clearly, many, many, we don't have a count of them -- filling into the square. We also know that this square is also very important, ultimately, for the protesters, because they want to show that their movement has the same momentum as the revolution itself had back in the late '70s -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Tom, thank you very much.
Interesting pictures from on high of just what is developing on the ground there inside of Iran.
We are following all of the latest developments out of Teheran.
Our CNN's Ivan Watson, he's been manning our desk at the CNN Center in Atlanta -- and, Ivan, tell us what -- what are you picking up?
What do we understand is actually going on on the ground?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the fact was is the government succeeded in bringing in hundreds of thousands of supporters -- flag-waving supporters to this square. They were given free food and --and drink, we are told. And there, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he gave a long speech praising the accomplishments of the Islamic Republic of Iran over the past 31 years.
He said despite a lot of opposition from Western governments, that Iran had achieved a major accomplishment, becoming he called a nuclear nation. He declared that Iran had successfully enriched a small amount of uranium to a level of 20 percent for the first time.
The White House has already cast doubt on whether Iran really has the scientific capability to have done that in just the period of just a few days since it announced its intent to do that.
Now what we did not see on Iranian state TV -- let's take a look at some of these images right now, Suzanne, that were smuggled out through the Internet, through opposition activists really risking their lives to do this. These are images from Esfahan, a city to the south of Iran -- Teheran, where people tried to gather and mount an opposition rally.
It was not easy to do. There were massive numbers of security forces throughout the Iranian capital of Teheran -- riot police in large numbers moving around, a very intimidating sight. We have some other images of these riot police moving through with helmets, with Billy clubs. And they have shown their willingness in the past and they showed it again today, to crush any dissent, to make sure that this holiday was not interrupted by opposition activists.
Take a look at this video that came out -- pretty brutal images of a man being clubbed, being pushed to the ground, knocked around at this stage by these security forces. And pretty intimidating to try to organize and go out into the streets when -- when this is the kind of opposition that you'd face from the security forces, Suzanne
And, in fact, the leaders of the opposition movement, the Green Movement, the wife of one of the key leaders, a former prime minister, she was clubbed, we're hearing from opposition Web sites. We spoke to the family of another opposition leader, a former speaker of parliament who ran for president last June. That former candidate was tear gassed. One of his sons was arrested today.
We are also speaking to some of the ordinary activists and they are -- they do seem demoralized and disappointed that there weren't as many of them out there in the streets as they thought there would be. And, also, it appeared they were pretty disorganized. They didn't know where to go and whether to show themselves at which times during this rally -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: And, Ivan, in -- in looking at all of the pictures that you've seen, the people that you've talked to in covering this story, what is your sense, when you walk away from this historic day, this anniversary, who is in charge?
Who is the -- who has the greatest leverage, if you will?
Who is stronger, the opposition or the government, now?
WATSON: Oh, the government, without question, has the monopoly on power. It has the monopoly when it comes to media and getting the message out and was very effective at clamping down on any dissent in the official media, on clamping down on the Internet, on phones. It was preparing months ahead of time for this.
And though you have a determined corps of opposition protesters, thousands of these people have been arrested over the past eight months, Suzanne. Two of them were executed two weeks ago, accused of being enemies of God. There are at least 10 more on death row right now.
Some very, very dangerous obstacles to go up against if you want to show your opposition to this government. You had competing narratives today on this anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. But it's very clear that the dissenting view is not allowed to exist -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Ivan, thank you so much for bringing us those very important pictures and, obviously, a very important story.
Thank you very much, Ivan.
And once again, we'll bring you the very latest details about former president, Bill Clinton, hospitalized in New York after some heart troubles -- his latest condition. We'll take you live to the hospital after this quick break.
MALVEAUX: Former President Bill Clinton hospitalized in New York City at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. That is where he was treated after sources say he experienced some chest pains.
I want to go straight to our own Mary Snow, who is on the ground outside of the hospital there live to give us the very latest -- all the information and the updates that you have on his condition and how this unfolded -- hey, Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Suzanne.
I'll set the scene for you outside the hospital. We're just going to pan over and show you how many cameras are set up here outside the entrance to the hospital. And here at Columbia Presbyterian, the information -- the hospital has really released very little information, only to confirm that President Clinton is here.
The information that we've been getting, of course, has come from President Clinton's office. They say that he had discomfort in his chest and then after -- that after he went to visit his cardiologist, that he had two stents in one of his arteries.
This is also the hospital, Suzanne, where President Clinton came in 2004 to have his bypass surgery. In 2005, he had to have some scar tissue and fluid removed that had built up after that surgery.
In terms of his daughter, Chelsea, a spokesperson for Chelsea Clinton is saying that she is, in fact, with her father. And we know from a State Department official that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is coming to New York City.
And as far as President Clinton, all we know from his office is that he is said to be in good spirits -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thank you very much, Mary, for the latest.
I want to go to Terry McAuliffe, obviously, a very close friend of Bill Clinton, a former campaign chair, a former DNC chair, as well.
Terry, you spoke with Bill Clinton, did you not?
You spoke with him just -- just the last couple of days?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Oh, I spoke to him yesterday. I spoke to him the day before. And he was in great spirits. We talked about the Super Bowl. He called me on my birthday. So -- in fact, I just talked to the -- the recovery room a few minutes ago. I just spoke to Doug Mann, who is with the president right now. Chelsea is there and Hillary is on her way.
The president is in great spirits. They'll keep him overnight for observation and hopefully he'll be out tomorrow and he will be back to his old self.
He is in great shape. These -- you know, these things happen. There's nothing you can do about it. And they went in and they did the procedure and Bill Clinton will be back fighting for people, helping in Haiti and doing everything that he's done.
So he is in very good spirits. And, you know, our prayers and everything...
MCAULIFFE: -- he is great shape and he's going to, you know, be back to his old self in just a couple of days.
MALVEAUX: Terry, where are you now?
Did you say you were in the recovery room?
MCAULIFFE: No, I just talked to the recovery room up there. I...
MCAULIFFE: I'm actually in McLean, Virginia right now.
MALVEAUX: OK. And...
MCAULIFFE: I just called up there and spoke to Doug Mann, who is with the president right now.
MALVEAUX: And what did he tell you?
Is -- is Bill Clinton in the recovery room?
Can you tell us about that conversation?
MCAULIFFE: Yes, he -- he's in great spirits and, you know, he's -- they'll keep him overnight for some observation and hopefully he'll be released tomorrow. But Doug said the president is in great shape and in great spirits. And, you know, listen, the president wants to -- you know, you know Bill Clinton, he wants to get back to work helping folks in Haiti. You know, he has been passionate about that. And (INAUDIBLE)...
MALVEAUX: What did...
MALVEAUX: What is he doing now?
You -- you spoke -- he's in -- he's obviously -- is he talking to people?
Is he making phone calls?
MCAULIFFE: No, no, no, no, no, no.
MALVEAUX: Is he reaching out to people?
MCAULIFFE: I don't think they're letting him do that, as much as he'd like to. But I do know that he was on a conference call on Haiti as they were wheeling him into the operating room. And -- and Doug literally had to take the phone out of his hand and say, Mr. President, that's enough. But I think they've kept the phone out of his hands right now. But, you know, he was working up to the -- right to the last second. But, you know, that's who Bill Clinton is.
MALVEAUX: And I understand, too, that he did not have to be put under -- under anesthesia...
MALVEAUX: Is that correct?
MALVEAUX: Is that what you've learned?
MCAULIFFE: I believe so. I don't know. I did not ask that question. But it's a procedure -- you know, it -- you know, the president is in very good shape. First of all, you know, since he had the occurrences before, you know, he has been an absolute health nut. He exercises everyday. He eats the right foods. He has taken very good care of himself. And, you know, he works very hard. And -- but that's what keeps him going. You know, he loves life and he loves helping people and, you know, through his Clinton Global Initiative and all these things he has going.
MCAULIFFE: He's traveled consistently throughout the world.
But what Bill Clinton thrives upon is, you know, helping other people. And it may be a tough day tonight and he's now through it, but, you know, what Bill Clinton thinks about is all those people in Haiti today that, you know...
MCAULIFFE: -- they've lost loved ones and they don't have food and they don't have power. And, you know, life is tough for a lot of people. And that's what he thinks about.
MALVEAUX: Sure. Terry, let me -- let me ask you, do you know who's in the room with him?
Is -- it's Doug, it's his daughter Chelsea?
It there anybody else there?
Is it a small group, a big group?
MCAULIFFE: No, I think Chelsea -- of course, Chelsea is there. And I think Hillary is on her way up. And I think Doug and a few of his staff are probably up there.
But, you know, listen, when we first heard it, I mean everybody -- you know, I said a -- a quick rosary. Everybody, our thoughts and prayers went out, because, you know, Bill Clinton has meant so much to so many of us.
But I was so relieved when I did finally speak to Doug and he said, Terry, he's fine and he's in very good spirits.
And so we're all relieved. And, you know, he will, you know, spend a little time recovering. But if you know Bill Clinton, Suzanne, he'll be right back at it fighting for other people. You know, this isn't about him, it's about other people and he's going to get out there trying to help people.
MALVEAUX: All right, Terry.
Yes, we -- we certainly know. He is -- he's a go-getter there and...
MCAULIFFE: He is resilient and he's a fighter.
MALVEAUX: He definitely is.
MCAULIFFE: You bet.
MALVEAUX: All right, thank you so much, Terry.
MCAULIFFE: Thank you very much.
MALVEAUX: Terry McAuliffe.
We want to take a quick break and then we'll get back with more details on former President Bill Clinton and his condition as he recovers.
MALVEAUX: Former President Bill Clinton hospitalized at Columbia Presbyterian in New York City. We have learned from Terry McAuliffe, who was speaking with the president's spokesman inside the recovery room there, that the president is in good spirits after a procedure. He was complaining of chest pains, completed that procedure. We -- we learned that the president was on a conference call regarding Haiti, being wheeled into the -- into the surgery. And his aide had to take the phone away from him so that he could stop his work and start the business of getting better and getting well.
We'll have more of those details coming up. But, obviously, there is more news, as well, big, big stories happening out of Iran and other places.
Our own Lisa Sylvester, she's monitoring all those other stories that -- that we have been following over the last couple of hours.
What do you have -- Lisa?
SYLVESTER: Hi there, Suzanne. Well, five American soldiers are wounded in Eastern Afghanistan after a suicide bomber somehow got onto a U.S. base and blew himself up. The Afghan official says the attacker struck in a sleeping area of the base, which is located in the Paktika Province. Early investigations show the bomber was wearing an Afghan border police uniform.
And 20 years ago today, Nelson Mandela was freed from a South America prison. The 91-year-old freedom fighter marked the occasion by making a rare public appearance in front of the nation's parliament. Mandela became a living symbol of racial injustice and South Africa's apartheid system during his 27 years in prison. And he went on to become the nation's first black president in 1994.
World-renowned fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, is dead at the age of 40. His body was found at his London home today, but police say his death is not considered suspicious. McQueen's flamboyant collections made him a favorite among Hollywood A-listers. And just yesterday, Lady Gaga raved about the designer to our own Alina Cho.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LADY GAGA, SINGER: I love Alexander McQueen. I am a huge Alexander McQueen fan. He, for me, is like the ultimate of all the designers.
LADY GAGE: He's so -- he's -- he's on his own planet.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, right.
LADY GAGA: He's -- he doesn't need to respond to trends or what anyone else is doing. It's so pure and from within. And I -- he general -- he just genuinely inspires me in a way that -- and I -- and I love when I can wear his clothes and sort of synthesize for my fans what it means to me, because I want them to escape through his clothing the way that I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SYLVESTER: McQueen's death comes just a week before the opening of the famed London Fashion Week -- and, Suzanne, I was wondering if that outfit that she was wearing, if that might have been a McQueen outfit creation. I know that he used to go -- to get very creative there.
MALVEAUX: Yes, maybe so. She's obviously a very big fan of the designer, so -- and -- and she's very creative, as well, so, we can see.
Also, obviously, very big breaking news stories that Lisa has been following, as well as the status of former President Bill Clinton. We'll have more details on that coming up, as well as the trial of the 10 American missionaries who are charged with child trafficking. That live report out of Haiti after this very quick break.
MALVEAUX: Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized.
He's in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
And that is where we understand he experienced chest pains earlier today, underwent a procedure, two stents in one of the coronary arteries. And he is now reported in good spirits. Chelsea Clinton, his daughter, by his side, and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on her way to -- to be with her husband.
Clearly, this has been a story that has been developing and breaking over the last couple of hours -- a lot of new information that's come in -- Joe, you were in Haiti, you were in Haiti just a -- a week ago or so with the former president.
Tell us about it.
What did he look like?
What did it seem like?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, last Friday, it was hot -- it was hot. It was humid. It was dusty. It was Port-au-Prince. And I was reminded a little bit of when you and I went together with President Clinton to Africa. It was the same kind of vibe -- very sort of overwhelming -- people all over him, wanting to shake his hand.
Ironically, he was actually at a hospital when I got to see him last week and talk with him just a little bit. And there's been a lot made during your coverage this afternoon about how busy he was in Haiti, how much the mission there sort of consuming him.
And we talked, the former president and I did, just a little bit about what he was there to do.
So let's have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: My responsibilities are, number one, to make sure the U.N. system back in New York works as well as possible to support what they're doing here on the ground. They're doing a great job here, I think.
Number two, to make sure the donors honor the pledges they make and to raise more money if it needs to be.
Number three, to get private investors and local Haitian investors involved here.
Number four, to begin to immobilize the -- the NGO community, which is numerous, to work in greater harmony with its plan. We are making greater progress with that.
Number five, to give the Haitian diaspora in the U.S. Canada, France and elsewhere the maximum possible opportunities to participate in this. Keep in mind, one of the most important things that -- that happened right before the earthquake hit, was that the first step of the two step constitutional process to giving dual citizenship to the Haitians had been completed, which means any Haitian anywhere in the world that then files for dual citizenship can automatically get it, become an investor, become a businessperson, become a voter, become a participant in the life of Haiti.
They know that's coming as soon as a new parliament can reconstitute itself so the -- and, finally, I'm supposed to try to keep this in the eye of the public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: So in all sincerity, I think he was sweating less than I was. He walked all over that hospital. He shook hands for what seemed like more than an hour. And you know and I know the former president's ability to sort of turn what was supposed to be a photo-op into a full-fledged fact-finding mission.
MALVEAUX: Oh, absolutely.
JOHNS: And that was sort of what he did that day.
MALVEAUX: And you -- you've reminded me of that experience we had when we were in Akraghana (ph) and there was that crush of people -- there were like thousands of people that were trying to get to him and they were pushed up against him. And he...
JOHNS: It was amazing.
MALVEAUX: -- and he was so emotional. And he started like pulling people out of the crowd...
MALVEAUX: -- and trying to push them back a little bit to make sure that no one was hurt.
MALVEAUX: That was really an amazing moment. He was very passionate when -- when he traveled and speaking to people.
JOHNS: And that's what you're seeing here. That's what you're seeing with -- with Haiti and this -- this is a president who actually sent the United States military, in 1994, to this country to try to reinstall President Aristide, as you remember.
So now, he's back once again working on a project that started during his administration. And he's very passing -- passionate about this.
MALVEAUX: Joe, thank you so much.
I -- I want to, obviously, go back to a place that really had his heart -- captured his heart. That is the work that is being done in Haiti. And news out of Haiti now. Ten American missionaries charged with kidnapping in Haiti are waiting to learn their fate right now.
Our CNN's Karl Penhaul, he's in Port-au-Prince -- and, Karl, tell us, what is the latest in this case?
What kind of news do we have?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, it looks, certainly, that those missionaries will spend more nights in jail -- certainly through the weekend and probably at least until Monday, because the judge -- the examining judge in the case today passed the case file across to the attorney general's office -- only, though, for -- for him to examine a bail application.
Now there was word that there could be a ruling on the bail application as early as this afternoon. That did not come. And then, as it got to around 5:00 local time, the attorney general's office said no, there's no way that we can produce a ruling on this until at least Monday.
Now, there is a proviso there, because there is political pressure on in this case, according to a Haiti official. They could make them work over the weekend.
But he says, really, in his estimate, Monday at the earliest for a ruling on the Americans' bail application -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thank you.
Karl Penhaul reporting live from Haiti.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MALVEAUX: We are following breaking news. Bill Clinton is hospitalized after experiencing chest pains.