Bradley: Might invoke 25th Amendment for heart procedure if needed
From Jeanne Meserve and Beth Fouhy/CNN
January 29, 2000
Web posted at: 8:24 p.m. EST (0124 GMT)
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Officials with the Bill Bradley presidential campaign on Saturday confirmed a
New York Times report that Bradley might invoke the 25th Amendment if he
required a cardioversion for his irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation.
Cardioversion is a medical procedure where the heart is electrically jolted
back to regular rhythm while the patient is placed under general anesthesia.
The 25th amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the president to
make a written declaration to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House if he is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his
office." At that point, the Vice President would assume the President's
Bradley Communications Director Anita Dunn says the candidate had not
considered the question until it was posed by the New York Times reporter,
Lawrence Altman, who filed a lengthy piece on Bradley's health and heart
condition in the Sunday edition of the Times. Bradley asked Altman what
contingencies President George Bush had made, since he had also suffered
periodic episodes of irregular heartbeat while in office. According to Dunn,
when Altman told Bradley Bush had planned to invoke the 25th Amendment if
necessary, Bradley said it was a reasonable idea.
When asked why Bradley had not given the matter thought before Altman raised
the question, Dunn likened it to the fact that he had not considered at great
length who he might pick as a running mate.
Bradley's condition was first disclosed December 10, 1999 when a flare-up
caused him to cancel several campaign appearances in California. Medical
records released by the campaign at the time revealed that Bradley had first
been diagnosed in 1996 and was taking medication to control the condition. The
records also disclosed that Bradley had undergone three cardioversions since
1996 but none since taking his current medication.
During the December 10 episode, Bradley was taken to the hospital to
undergo a cardioversion, but his heart returned to normal rhythm on its own and
did not require treatment.
Since then, Bradley has acknowledged several recurrences of the
condition, the latest being January 22. Each one was brief and did not require
Dunn repeatedly pointed out that Bradley is in excellent health. The proof
of that, says Dunn, is his campaign schedule which today took him north to the
town of Berlin.
Another Bradley official insisted it was not damaging to have the story
released just days before the New Hampshire primary. He said he didn't think
Bradley's health was of any concern to voters.