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Breaking News

V.P. Candidate Dick Cheney Hospitalized with Chest and Shoulder Pains

Aired November 22, 2000 - 7:52 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We have confirmed word that vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney has been hospitalized because of chest and shoulder pains.

We now go by telephone CNN's producer Mike Roselli, who is standing by in Austin, Texas.

Mike, I understand you have more recent information about how Dick Cheney is doing?

MIKE ROSELLI, CNN PRODUCER: Yes. I just talked to the governor's press secretary, communications director Karen Hughes, and she says that Secretary Cheney is now free of discomfort at George Washington Hospital in downtown Washington. He was admitted overnight, complaining of chest and shoulder discomfort, but many of the tests that they gave him showed that his EKG showed no change, and that some blood work came back normal.

So he is still in the hospital, but he is free of discomfort at this hour.

LIN: Mike, did Karen indicate to you that any sort of explanation, has he been under a lot of stress because of the recount in Florida?

ROSELLI: No, she didn't indicate that, but you know one could assume that that could lead to those stress problems. He has had a history of very serious heart problems.

LIN: Could you tell us a little bit more about that history, Mike, and remind us?

ROSELLI: I don't want to tell you too much because I don't have it all in front of me, but I know he has had several open heart surgeries, he has had heart attacks, and he did have a lot of stress during the Gulf War. But before he was named as a vice presidential candidate, they did a lot of tests, and all of his doctors said everything was A-OK.

LIN: That's right. He got a clean bill of health.

ROSELLI: That's correct. LIN: Mike, how do you think this is going to affect the Bush campaign's strategy in terms of how aggressive they are in fighting this issue of the dimpled ballots and also taking the Florida Supreme Court ruling and taking it to the Florida state legislature to get them to change the rules back?

ROSELLI: Well, that is sort of hard to tell. I do know recently that Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney have been working on other matters and leaving a lot of the legal discussions to Secretary Baker in Florida. I know Cheney has been involved with those talks, but I am not sure to what degree they discuss dimpled ballots and such.

LIN: Why did he go back to Washington and is not in Austin, Texas with George W. Bush?

ROSELLI: Most of his family lives in the Washington area, it is Thanksgiving, and he was going to spend the weekend, Thanksgiving weekend with his family up in the Washington area.

LIN: All right, thank you very much, Mike Roselli, our CNN Washington producer, standing by an Austin, Texas with George W. Bush's campaign people -- Linda.

LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: And again, just to update you, Secretary Dick Cheney in the hospital in the Washington area. He had chest and shoulder discomfort, but is now said to be comfortable.

We want to bring in Tony Clark right now. He is an Austin, Texas with the Bush campaign.

Tony, what are folks there saying?

TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As Mike said, Karen Hughes described him as being free of discomfort at this point, and I think that is the most encouraging thing. And I think we would expect to hear some additional comments throughout the morning about his condition.

You know, it was -- it is Dick Cheney that Governor Bush has named to oversee the transition. So he has that kind of stress on him. There is the potential for stress because of the court battles that have been going on, the uncertainty about whether he will be part of the new administration or not.

And even though the Gore, or rather, the Bush campaign has tried to present an air of normalcy, a business as usual, there is, I think everyone would imagine, a great amount of stress that is underneath it at this point. And so I think this simply is just another sign of the kinds of pressure that these candidates are under while they wait for the results of Florida -- Linda.

STOUFFER: And Tony, if you could talk about this for a moment. Obviously, Governor George W. Bush knew about Dick Cheney's past medical problems when he chose him as a running mate, any thoughts on that? CLARK: Yes. In fact, you know, that was one of the thoughts that came up early on was because of his past history of heart problems. But he also had a check up before he was named the vice presidential running mate. He was given a clean bill of health. He has campaigned very vigorously over the past months with no signs of any problems. So this is really the first time during the campaign that I know of that we have seen any kind of a medical problem come up.

And again, I think it is important to stress what Karen Hughes told Mike Roselli, our producer, earlier this morning that the tests came back good, the cardiac enzymes were normal, the EKG showed no change, and that Dick Cheney is free from discomfort, although he is remaining in the hospital. Obviously they want to keep a close eye on him because any time you have chest and shoulder pains, and a history of heart problems, as he does, they want to watch him very closely. But I think the thing that is, as I say, important to stress is that he currently, according to Karen Hughes, is free of discomfort at this point -- Linda.

STOUFFER: Absolutely, Tony, that part of it is good news. A lot of folks there, no doubt, thinking about him and his wife and family today -- Carol.

LIN: And we just want to do a quick recap for our audience. In case you're just tuning ins, breaking news here, vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney, suffering from chest and shoulder pains, has been admitted to George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He is resting comfortably. And so far all of the initial and, frankly, the most critical tests indicating whether he had a heart attack or not are all coming back showing very normal signs, including his blood work.

We will have much more on the story as we continue our coverage of the status of vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney in the next hour of EARLY EDITION. But I want to thank Linda for joining me. Leon Harris is going to come on set in just a few minutes.

STOUFFER: Good to be here. Have a good day.

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