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Text: Phone Interview With Cheney
Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Following is the transcript of an interview with Republican vice presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney, who spoke with CNN's Larry King by telephone this evening.

KING: Let me hold you right there because we have made contact on the phone -- we invited him earlier today -- Dick Cheney from his hospital bed at George Washington University Hospital is joining us. How are you feeling, Dick?

CHENEY: Well, I feel pretty good, Larry.

KING: Well, you sound great.

CHENEY: Well, it's -- you've been through this procedure yourself, I'm sure...

KING: Yes.

CHENEY: ... but no, I feel good and everything's looking good. We did a stent today. But everything's fine, and the catheterization looked good, so I should be out of here in a day or two.

KING: Dr. P.K. Shah is in the studio. We just talked to him about this. He's director of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai. And I know you had it done at George Washington, which is where they did your surgery, right?

CHENEY: That's right. I did bypass here about 12 years ago and the docs here have taken some great care of me over the years.

KING: I know when it happened to me -- were you scared, Dick, this morning?

CHENEY: No, it's one of those things where I had learned, had drummed into me properly so over the years that any time you feel something that might be cardiac-related, you go check it out. And that's good advice for everybody, but especially anybody who has a history of coronary artery disease, as I do.

KING: And now, so they did the stent. I guess you get to watch that, don't you?

CHENEY: Yes...

KING: Kind of weird...

CHENEY: ... and the initial test when I first came in didn't show anything, any changes at all, but we decided to go ahead and do the stent anyway -- not the stent but the catheterization anyway -- and since I was already here. And that's when they discovered that I did have a blockage in one small artery and decided to go ahead and proceed to do the stent, made that decision actually while they were doing the test.

KING: Yes, they do it right there.

CHENEY: Right.

KING: Was the blockage in a new artery or in a graft?

CHENEY: No, it was a new artery, not in a graft. The grafts were fine, and there had been -- aside from this one location, there had been no progression of the disease over the last many years, which was good news.

KING: Does this mean, Dick, that you have to now take double the care and attention to yourself?

CHENEY: That's true, but you've got to do that anyway. And it's a healthy reminder of the importance of behaving yourself, getting plenty of sleep, watching what you eat, avoid all of those bad habits.

KING: And how about stress?

CHENEY: Well, I -- frankly, it may sound hard to believe, but I have not found this last couple of weeks as stressful, for example, as, say, the Gulf War. Really comparing the relative stress in different situations, my time in the Pentagon during the Gulf War was far more stressful.

KING: Is there a sort of a feeling now like -- with regard to the election, it's out of your hands?

CHENEY: Well, it's kind of felt that way for about two weeks. We've...

(LAUGHTER)

... and I can report that when they got in there today they didn't find any pregnant chads at all, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And Dick, is there -- if you assume this post -- and that's always a big if with the way this goes back and forth every day -- are you fully capable of doing any duties that the president may ask you to do, because the vice president's duties are encumbered on what the president asks him to do?

CHENEY: Sure, yes. No, there shouldn't be any problems of any kind like that. Obviously, I'd always follow my doctor's advice. In that kind of situation, it's the only fair way to proceed. But we don't anticipate any trouble.

KING: No doubt about you serving?

CHENEY: No doubt about my serving. All we have to do now is get elected.

KING: So you don't get Thanksgiving in McLean, though; you get it at the hospital?

CHENEY: I'm going to be here at GW tomorrow. They may bring me some turkey from home.

KING: Yes, you're allowed to eat that.

CHENEY: Well, Alma Powell, as a matter of fact, called this afternoon and offered to cook our turkey, so we've accepted that offer.

KING: Dick, be well. We'll see you in a few days.

CHENEY: All right. Good to talk to you, Larry.

KING: Thank you.

That's Dick Cheney, from his hospital bed at George Washington University Hospital.


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