Dick Cheney
News Conference From Hospital

November 24, 2000

DICK CHENEY: I'm going to review my exercise program: Diet, nutrition and so forth. It's a reminder of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and doing all of those things that a prudent man would do given the fact that I have a long history of coronary artery disease. But that's the bulk of it. But in terms of work, in terms of the kinds of activities I can engage in professionally, there are no restrictions.

REPORTER: Including the Vice Presidency, was that specifically discussed?

DICK CHENEY: That's correct. I had discussed all of that with them before I signed on last July, and nothing has happened subsequent to that that changes their judgment with respect to my ability to be able to perform the responsibilities of that office.

REPORTER: Can you run over for us the sequence of events that led to you being admitted?


REPORTER: Did you wake up with chest pains? We don't know....

DICK CHENEY: Well, when people say "pain," I think lots of time they think, boy, that's really, really intense pain. That's not what it is. For someone like myself who has a history of coronary artery disease it's more a matter of a sensation that something is going on that might be cardiac related. I woke up about 3:30 in the morning. I had a sensation that there was perhaps something going on there - sometimes it's confused with indigestion. Sometimes it's confused with other types of discomfort. It lasted long enough, it was steady enough, it didn't change when I breathed deeply or moved around, so I became increasingly convinced that it might be cardiac related. I got my wife up, got the agents to drive us to the hospital. We were here with -- less than an hour from the onset of the first sensation. Again I want to emphasize it's not intense pain. It's just somebody who has had heart attacks in the past and who has a history of coronary artery disease, it's a matter of knowing there was some discomfort on the left side of the chest, it can take different forms. The first time I had a heart attack twenty some years ago, it was in little fingers of my left hand. So as somebody who is sensitive to it, and I would urge if there is a message in all of this, anybody who has ever had any reason to believe that they're having a cardiac event, go check it out. It's the safe way to go. So that's why we came into the hospital. The first step always is to do an electro cardiogram. They did. It showed no change. I carry a card with me that has my old cardiograms on it, but also they have got all my records here at GW anyway. They also then draw blood and run what's called an enzyme test to see if any enzymes related to a heart attack have been released into the bloodstream. That first set of exams also showed no change. I talked to Governor Bush after that and gave him... told him I was in the hospital, reported on the early results of the test. So that's what he knew during the day. Later on, the doctors came back in. The question was what by way of follow-up tests should we do? I had had a treadmill in July. It hadn't shown anything. Doing another treadmill was one option. But it probably wasn't totally satisfactory. The one sure way to proceed to know with certainty that we knew everything was going on in there was to go do an angiogram.

REPORTER: Do you think that the stress related to the recount played any role in this health problem?

DICK CHENEY: I don't think so but, you know, that would be speculation on my part. I've been in much more stressful situations in my public career. I mentioned the Gulf War, for example, as sort of the ultimate stress for a public official. I have not found this situation to be nearly as stressful as that was.

REPORTER: Secretary, other than modifications in your lifestyle, will there be any follow-up treatment that you'll need to have, specific kinds of treatment?

DICK CHENEY: No, continued medication to lower cholesterol and so forth that I've been on, on a regular basis; minor modifications in the medications that I'm taking. You take something called plavix, for about 30 days that reduces the likelihood of any problems developing around the site where the stent was inserted, things like that, but basically say - as Dr. Reiner said this morning - his statement that's been issued - I should be able to return to a full, normal, active life.

REPORTER: Did you give any thought at any time during this ordeal to asking Governor Bush replace you on the ticket?

DICK CHENEY: No. Not yet. (laughing) Thank you. Good to see you.