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Former President Clinton Hospitalized
Aired February 11, 2010 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, GUEST HOST: Well, thanks, Rick.
We are now following...
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MALVEAUX: Thanks Rick.
We are now following breaking news that's developing just within the last 15 minutes or so. CNN following all developments.
Former President Bill Clinton taken to the hospital -- at least two sources confirming to CNN that he is taken to a New York hospital after experiencing what is called chest pains. We do not know anything beyond that. We don't know the condition of the president. But we do know that he was taken to New York's Presbyterian Hospital, that that is where he is now.
We also know that his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while we don't know where she is now, that she did have a regularly scheduled meeting with President Obama at the White House at 3:30.
Now, we are just getting all the information as you are. We're going to be sharing it as this story unfolds.
As we know, this is a president who has experienced previous heart problems in the past. It was just six years ago that he had underwent quadruple bypass surgery, in 2004.
That is where -- we're looking at pictures now of the New York Presbyterian Hospital, where the former president is now, where he is being treated. We hope to get some information from doctors or officials there, but we can confirm to you now that that is where the former president is.
And I've just been given a statement here by Douglas Band. He is counselor to President Bill Clinton. I want to read this to you. This was just handed to me.
It says: "Today, President Bill Clinton was admitted to the Columbia campus of New York Presbyterian Hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest. Following a visit to his cardiologist -- 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 and will continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti's relief and long-term recovery efforts. In 2004, President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries."
And this is a statement coming from Douglas Band. He is counselor to President Bill Clinton.
Now, you may recall, we have seen President Clinton very recently in -- in the weeks. He has been back and forth to Haiti, as you know, the special envoy for the United Nations to Haiti and actually helping the people there after the earthquake.
I had a chance to see President Bill Clinton just weeks ago at the White House. That is when he was there with former President George Bush -- the two of them in the Rose Garden, with President Obama -- a rare moment for those two former presidents to be with President Obama talking about the need to -- to bring attention to the situation -- to the crisis in Haiti.
We are now seeing pictures -- very recent pictures of the former president when he was in Haiti doing his work there; obviously, reaching out to the medical community, to the victims there, bringing national and international attention to that problem.
We are now looking at the pictures that I have referred to before. This very recent. I was in the Rose Garden. You can see there that he looks very healthy when we saw him there. He was in great spirits. He was very funny and, also, very serious in reaching out to people about the problems that were taking place there and, obviously, has remained a very active former president.
I want to go to our own John King, who has the very latest information.
You've been speaking to your sources about President Bill Clinton and his condition -- John, tell us what you know.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, the latest, of course, is that on the record statement from Doug Band, the president's counselor -- I'm on a train, excuse me for the background noise -- confirming what we have been told, that he experienced pain and then was taken to a hospital, where he saw doctors -- his long time doctors -- and now has had a stent inserted into his coronary arteries.
Remember that we went through this covering (INAUDIBLE) procedure (INAUDIBLE) arteries have been determined (INAUDIBLE).
MALVEAUX: We're having difficulty hearing John. I -- I want to -- I want to go back to John as soon as we can get a better connection. I understand he's traveling.
But I want to bring in our Brian Todd -- obviously, Brian, you were working and focusing on the medical history of the former president, Bill Clinton. And I covered Bill Clinton his last -- his last year or so in -- in office. And he had gone through a remarkable change, if you will. He -- he had been exercising. We knew he had been jogging. There were times, obviously, it had become a joke at certain times that he would run on his -- his daily run to the McDonald's there; that he had a history of kind of a struggle, like many Americans do, with his weight, with his cholesterol level and, obviously, with his heart. It became a lot more serious later on down the road.
Tell us what you know about his condition.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, as you mentioned, he had battled weight problems throughout his presidency. Toward the end of the presidency and just afterward, he was given a cholesterol lowering medication by his doctors and in recent years, had seemed to have lost a great deal of weight.
We know, of course, and it's well-documented, September 6, 2004, he underwent a four hour quadruple bypass surgery
Z facility where he has been checked in now, the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
That surgery obviously very successful. And since that time, he has been a very active president -- former president, we should say -- undertaking efforts to help tsunami victims in Asia; victims of Hurricane Katrina; obviously, we just reported and we've seen him recently in Haiti; and his Clinton Foundation to eradicate poverty and disease has taken him all over the world.
He has been extremely active. We do know that less than a year after that quadruple bypass surgery, March 10, 2005, he underwent surgery again
Z hospital to remove scar tissue and fluid that had built up after that September 2004 surgery. He was released a few days later.
So, you know, this has been kind of an ongoing issue where doctors have had to monitor his heart activity, but it certainly has not slowed Bill Clinton down at all. As you mentioned, he was in Haiti very recently. He travels a great deal. So, you know, no one really knows what kind of toll that may have taken and how that may have contributed to his current condition.
MALVEAUX: Certainly, we don't know that yet and it's a good question. Perhaps we can ask Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- our own Sanjay Gupta, who is in Haiti.
And let's go to Sanjay, if we could, because one of the things that we know -- and -- and you've talked about it, Anderson Cooper has talked about it. A lot of people who have experienced what you've experienced and -- and that is getting sick in Haiti, in those conditions, breathing smoke and -- and all those kinds of things, could that have contributed in any way?
Was it a risk to begin with to have the former president, Bill Clinton, in Haiti, back and forth over those last couple of weeks after the earthquake? DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you always think about someone who's -- who's got a very busy schedule, for example, lots of air travel. And -- and sometimes, certainly, conditions can -- can exacerbate things, although, I mean I was -- I was up and down here off and on for about a month now. And -- and I saw the president when he was down here and the conditions that he was in.
And I think it might be a little bit tough to connect the dots there, saying his recent travel to Haiti could have led to chest pain. I think some time has passed, as well.
So, having said that, though, Suzanne, you know, certainly any time anybody has had a history of heart disease or certainly bypass surgery, if they have chest pain, it's going to raise a lot of concerns. And in his case, it -- there was concern about not enough blood getting to the heart, which is why these stents are -- are placed. And that's just usually a procedure because the coronary arteries start to close down at the time. It could have been around the site where he had his previous operation.
But these stents simply open up the arteries again to allow enough blood flow to get through.
MALVEAUX: Sanjay, in a very simple way, explain to us what this means here. Obviously, from this statement, they say that this procedure placed two stents in one of his coronary arteries.
What -- what does that mean?
Can you explain that to the viewers, what you're talking about?
MALVEAUX: What -- what is a stent and how does it work?
GUPTA: Yes. So -- so, first of all, when someone is having chest pain -- in this case, it could be a wide variety of things. We now know in -- in his case, it was simply because of the -- the heart muscle was demanding more oxygen than could be provided.
Why was it -- why was not the right amount of blood being provided?
Because there was blockages in some of the blood vessels. There were blockages. And, Suzanne, I don't know if you are looking at an animation there or not of -- of what a stent does, but basically, you have a -- you have a tube and it has a blockage in it. You put a stent into the tube and sort of open that tube back up and allow blood to get through again. And once that blood is getting through, in most cases, the chest pain goes away, because you're now getting enough oxygenated blood to the heart.
It's just basic -- in many ways, it's just basic plumbing, Suzanne -- a clogged pipe, if you will. Open that pipe back up.
MALVEAUX: How risky is a procedure like this, Sanjay?
GUPTA: That's a good question. And I think that, you know, certainly over the years, the procedure has become a lot less risky. But any time you're doing a procedure where you're -- you're involving putting a catheter through some of the blood vessels into the heart, you can sometimes knock plaque off. Some of that plaque can go to the brain and that can cause stroke-like symptoms. The stent itself may not work or may get dislodged in some ways and that can cause heart attack-like symptoms.
So there are risks to it. I think the risks overall are probably less than 5 percent. But I think no one goes into that lightly.
What -- what I was hearing, Suzanne -- I think maybe you're hearing the same thing, is that the chest pains that he was experiencing were just earlier today and he's already had stents placed. So this was a pretty -- this -- this sounds like it all happened quickly -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: And what does that tell you, the fact that that happened so quickly?
Was this an emergency situation?
Does this mean that this was very serious?
GUPTA: I -- I think it suggested it was very urgent in some ways. I mean, if someone goes in with chest pain, there's a battery of tests that are performed. At some point, someone said, well, look, I mean, we are convinced this has something to do with the heart. They probably did a -- a test where you -- you look at the heart blood vessels directly. That's called a heart catheterization. That -- you know, that's an invasive test. And based on that test, they went ahead and put the stents into -- into the coronary blood vessels.
So I -- I think it was -- it sounds like it was a pretty urgent situation.
MALVEAUX: I want to bring in one of your colleagues, Matt Sloan (ph), who is going to discuss a little bit more in detail what we're talking about here, placing those two stents.
And can you explain to us what this kind of procedure looks like and what is involved?
MATT SLOAN: Sure. Absolutely, Suzanne.
What we're looking at here is what we call the visible body model. And you're just looking at a human body. It's got the skeleton and the circulatory system. I'm going to go ahead and turn off the skeleton real quick. And all you're seeing here are the blood vessels.
Essentially, what happens when you do an angioplasty and put in one of these stents, you're taking a catheter and placing it in right here, in the femoral artery. And then you're running it all the way up into the heart, into the coronary arteries.
So let's take a closer look here at the heart. Turn that up there. And, basically, that catheter is going to come up into the heart through one of the blood vessels down here and go into one of the coronary arteries and just open it. So if the artery is locked down, they're going to make it a little bit wider. And, you know, it's -- it's a procedure that is done fairly frequently, you know, but, of course, it is a serious procedure, like any operation. But it is -- it's done through that artery in the -- in the leg. And, you know, having two at one time is not usually an un -- it's not really an unusual thing -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: OK. Matt Sloan, I really appreciate your time there.
We'll get back to you.
I want to bring in -- back our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
We've obviously taken a little bit of a look at what this -- what this potentially looks like -- Sanjay, the fact that these are two stents that are put in as opposed to one, what does that say to you?
And you -- you had just previously said that you thought because it happened so quickly, that there was a sense of urgency here?
GUPTA: Yes. I think so. And I -- I don't know if you -- if Matt is still at the magic wall or if you can see him still. But there are several coronary blood vessels -- lots of blood vessels on top of the heart. My understanding was -- and you can correct me if I'm wrong -- back in September of 2004, I think he had four -- four blood vessels bypassed. So there was blockages in those blood vessels and they had -- they needed to do a bypass around those blockages.
Typically -- or sometimes, those -- those areas that were bypassed can be blocked themselves and stents might be placed in the coronary vessels. If more than one area is blocked you, you have to put in more than one stent. And that's essentially what's happening there. And, again, I don't know if you're looking at those images of the heart still with Matt.
But if you look at the heart specifically, you'll see how many various blood vessels sit on top of the heart. And, Matt, if you can show, there's lots of different blood vessels and sometimes you have bypasses around several. When they do the tests they did today, they find out, well, there are new blockages today -- at least two that they could probably see that needed to be treated. And that's where the two stents come from.
MALVEAUX: (INAUDIBLE) Sanjay, when you see like once -- once somebody has a heart problem -- obviously, he went through quadruple bypass surgery before, six years ago. Now he's experiencing troubles again.
Is it safe to say, as we've seen with the former vice president, Dick Cheney, that if you've got heart problems, essentially, you're going to deal with heart problems for the rest of your life, that there will be complications and things that will continue to be a challenge to this president?
GUPTA: Well, you know, I think once you're a -- you're a heart patient and you've had bypass surgery, you're always going to be a heart patient in so many ways. But there are a lot of patients who have heart bypass surgery and, you know, go 20, 25 years nowadays without any -- any sort of problem.
Now having said that, if someone who has had heart bypass surgery ever said they had chest pain, it's of really heightened concern. Anybody who has chest pain -- men and women alike who have chest pain should be evaluated. But certainly, to your point, Suzanne, if you've had some sort of history of heart disease, you've had bypass surgery and now have you have chest pain, you need to get it checked out right away.
So he's always going to have to think about this, for sure. I don't know that he's going to need more procedures down the road, if he's going to need more operations or -- or anything else will really change after today. But -- but he's certainly always going to be thinking about it.
MALVEAUX: OK, Sanjay.
Thank you so much.
Stay with us.
Hang on if you would.
I want to bring in another guest here, Dr. Jonathan Reiner of George Washington Hospital. And he is actually the cardiologist for the former vice president, Dick Cheney.
Thank you for joining us here. Obviously, you've heard the news here about President Clinton.
What does this operation -- this procedure -- tell you about his circumstance, knowing, in your own experience with Vice President Cheney, these kinds of procedures and -- and -- and how they -- how this develops?
DR. JONATHAN REINER, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Well, it sounds like either the former president came to Columbia with either symptoms that were very typical of new onset of heart pain -- angina -- or there was some other objective evidence of what we call heart muscle ischemia -- the heart muscle not getting enough blood.
Either the -- well, the president's EKG was abnormal or the muscle enzyme test that we use to -- to test for any damage to the muscle were abnormal.
So either it was -- there was some objective evidence or simply the president's symptoms were so typical that the physicians at Columbia decided to image his heart and -- and define his anatomy.
MALVEAUX: I know you don't treat him and you were not seeing him, but knowing what we know, does this sound like he experienced a heart attack?
REINER: No. There's nothing in the news that would -- that would -- that would suggest that. It -- what it does sound like is the president had new symptoms suggestive of a blockage in one of his arteries or a blockage in one of his bypass, perhaps, which is, frankly, more likely. And the physicians at Columbia, you know, appropriately went right to the -- you know, right to the heart of the matter, no pun intended.
MALVEAUX: And I know that you're very familiar with this in dealing with former Vice President Dick Cheney's own conditions here.
Does it sound like this is the kind of thing -- is this is typical, is this atypical of someone who has heart problems, that he would go in and have this kind of pain, that he would experience these kind of complications and challenges?
REINER: Well, you know, following bypass surgery, there -- bypass grafts don't always have an indefinite longevity, particularly vein grafts -- the grafts that are harvested from the leg. These grafts can have a more limited longevity.
And although the president's surgery was, you know, less than five years ago, it would -- it's not uncommon for a bypass graft to have a problem years out after surgery. And this is a consequence of -- of the natural history of, you know, atherosclerotic disease.
So it's -- it's not surprising that a person who has had bypass surgery, you know, presents with -- with symptoms consistent with -- with angina. And it sounds like the president was very well treated and treated in a very timely -- timely fashion.
MALVEAUX: OK. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, thank you so much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
I want to go to our own Gloria Borger, who has some new information from senior administration officials that you've been speaking with.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I just spoke with one senior administration official who e-mailed somebody who's actually with President Clinton right now in New York. That person e- mailed this person back and said the president is actually doing very well and that they're very pleased with his progress.
Now, I also spoke with a close friend of the president, who said, look, you know, this is someone who it's impossible to tell him to slow down. This is a man who was just in Haiti, as you were reporting, who continues to live large; who, yes, has lost some weight, but doesn't always stick with the prescribed diet that you're supposed to stick to when you're a heart patient. So it's clear that the president did the right thing. He understood his symptoms and went in and, according to someone that's with him now, doing very well. I asked whether the president has spoken with President Clinton yet and the answer was not yet.
MALVEAUX: And do we know where secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, his wife, is?
BORGER: Hillary Clinton has a trip planned to the Middle East. But right now, she's on her way to New York.
Great. Covering Clinton, we know he's unstoppable. Somebody that does not sit still and clearly, whether or not he's gone on runs whether or not he's gone corrected his diet and always been very active. We've seen him out on the town, not only in New York. But here in Washington, part of the scene.
BORGER: Well, exactly. And we've just gotten in some reporting from Jessica Yellin, in New York and who spoke with a close Clinton friend and effectively said the same thing that I did which is "He still works long days and stays up very, very late. He has gone from a frenetic pace to what most people would consider a frenetic pace." In other words, he just never stops. So he hasn't let his heart condition slow him down any since he had his original procedure done in 2004.
MALVEAUX: OK, Gloria.
Thank you so much for those details.
I want to bring in our senior political analyst, David Gergen. Spent many, many years with both the Clintons, working with him and personal level.
Tell us you've seen President Bill Clinton quite often, quite frequently.
What is impression about how active he's been, how -- how his health has been, how he's been doing?
GERGEN: Well, Suzanne, the -- the most encouraging thing about what we've heard so far today is that this does not seem to be life- threatening. And I think no -- both the information we've got plus the circumstantial evidence underscores that. And that's very encouraging.
But President Clinton has had always led, in an all time I've known him, which goes back now some 20 years, he's led a hectic life. He's led a -- you know, he's -- he's sort of like there ought to be two Bill Clintons in order to keep up the pace that he does.
But I think it's been especially relentless in the last few months. You know, he had the Clinton Global Initiative gathering in the fall and that always -- it takes a lot out of him. He throws himself into it. Along came Haiti. And then two weeks ago, he was in Switzerland speaking to the World Economic Forum. He was a large presence there. He talked about the financial instability in the world and other things that were happening.
He also said -- and this was the quote that came out of that speech -- "This is a good time to be alive."
Even so -- that's his approach to life. Now, that was two weeks ago.
A week ago, he came back from Haiti. And now we've learned -- the "L.A. Times" is reporting that two days ago, he was telling people he was not feeling well.
So it's understandable. We don't know the circumstances. I'm not a doctor, to be sure. It -- but it's understandable, given the way he has lived life. He has embraced it so fully that -- and -- and with the heart problems he's had, it's understandable. We are what we are. But thank goodness he does not -- it does not seem to be threatening with his life.
MALVEAUX: When was the last time you saw him?
GERGEN: Well, I was supposed to see him in Davos, to be honest with you. I was supposed to spend some time there with him just two weeks ago. And then I had to cancel because of the -- the State of the Union speech was that Wednesday night.
I have not seen him in a while. I'm trying to remember just when the last time I had a long conversation. It's been a while.
MALVEAUX: David, thank you.
I want to remind our viewers where we are in this story. This is news that was just developing over the last hour or so. Former President Bill Clinton -- you see pictures there. That is Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. That is where he was taken earlier today, after experiencing chest pains.
I want to read to you the statement from Douglas Band. He's counselor to the president. He gives us a -- a good sense of what is happening and the condition right now of former President Bill Clinton. He says that: "Today, President Bill Clinton was admitted to the Columbia campus of New York 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 conary -- coronary arteries. President Clinton is in good spirits and will continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti's relief and long-term recovery efforts. In 2004, President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries."
So the former president there in Presbyterian -- Columbia Presbyterian Hospital right now.
We have also learned through reports, through our CNN correspondents, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now on her way to New York to visit, clearly, with her husband. We also know that the White House has been informed about this situation with former President Bill Clinton so that senior administration officials, the president, all of them clearly aware of what has developed and what we have found out just over the last hour or so.
I'm going to take a quick break now. But please stay with us. On the other end, we'll have more details about the status and the condition of the former president.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MALVEAUX: CNN has been following this story and all developments within the last hour or so. Former President Bill Clinton is hospitalized. He is taken to a New York hospital, Columbia Presbyterian, earlier today, after experiencing what sources say were chest pains. And he has undergone a procedure. A spokesman by -- a statement -- Douglas Band, counselor to the president, said that he was taken to the Columbia campus of New York Presbyterian Hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest. That is where he remains. You're seeing pictures of that hospital.
This statement saying that today, "President Bill Clinton admitted to the Columbia campus of New York 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 conary -- coronary, rather, arteries. President Clinton is in good spirits," he tells us, "and will continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti's relief and long-term recovery efforts."
Now, it was in 2004 that President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries.
That coming from Douglas Band, counselor to the former president.
Clearly, President Bill Clinton has been very active, not only in his eight years of his administration, but afterwards -- his work in Haiti, traveling back and forth recently after the earthquake.
Also, we just saw him at the White House, just a couple of weeks ago, with former President George Bush, as well as the current president, President Obama, to talk about the need for raising funds and awareness for Haiti's victims in the long-term.
Now, I want to bring in our own correspondent, Jill Dougherty, who was at the White House earlier today.
She's on the phone -- and, clearly, Jill, you've covered many different aspects of this president. You and I both had a chance to cover Bill Clinton when he was president. He is a very active man -- an active leader; recently in Haiti. You also follow the -- his -- his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
What can you tell us about where she is, how she found out and what is taking place this afternoon?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, what we know so far is coming from a State Department official, who says that Secretary Clinton is now on her way to New York, obviously, to be with her husband. She was at the State Department for some of the day today and then went over to the White House. She has a weekly meeting with President Obama and we're told that she did attend that meeting and then left for New York.
One of the questions that is left hanging at this point -- and we don't know what will happen -- is her schedule for tomorrow included a trip. She was going on a five day trip to Saudi Arabia and to Qatar. She was going to be speaking at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum.
We do not know, at this point, whether that Mideast trip is still on or whether it will be canceled. I presume we will hear that pretty soon. But at this point, we can tell you that Secretary Clinton is on her way to New York.
MALVEAUX: Jill, do we know if she found out while she was at the White House, meeting with the president?
Or do we have a sense of when she actually knew what was happening here?
DOUGHERTY: At this point, we -- we don't. But you'd have to surmise, you know, that -- that she left after the -- the visit with the president. And that would just be a guess. But that is a weekly meeting and -- and perhaps could have been postponed, but we don't know precisely when she met -- when she learned that information.
MALVEAUX: OK, Jill.
Thank you so much.
Appreciate the update.
Obviously, if have you more information, we'll get right back to you.
I want -- I want to bring in our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is in Haiti -- and, Sanjay, the -- the president was here. He was in Haiti
Z time. He was back and forth.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.
MALVEAUX: He's very, very active. You've had a chance to see what -- see him recently. You've spoken to him often.
What is your sense of -- of how active he's been and -- and what he has been like very recently?
GUPTA: Well, there's no question, I mean he -- he is a very -- he's a very busy guy. He was here. I saw him, interviewed him while he was here. You know, to the casual observer which I was, I couldn't detect any problems. He was getting around quite a bit. Walking long distances. Hay didn't seem to have any shortness of breath or anything like that. You know, I don't think that there were any clues really at least when I saw him more than a week ago that there was any problem here. Certainly, as you mentioned, and he does have a very active lifestyle and as -- has been on move quite a bit.
From what I understand, had read the same statement that I did, he started to develop chest pains today. Those symptoms came on today. And got an evaluation, including lots of different tests. There was enough of a concern about the fact this was related to the heart that he probably underwent a test reaction to inject dye into the blood vessels and into the heart. And showed blockages. At least two, I guess. He had would stents placed and that's a pretty typical force for someone that has chest pains due to blockage of blood vessels. It sounds like this was all in -- happened fairly, fairly quick fashion over a short time.
MALVEAUX: Sanjay, tell us looking forward here, what's that mean? He has two stents put in. What's the prognosis of moving forward here? What kind of complications and challenges does one face after this kind of procedure?
GUPTA: Well, you know, once you are someone that had heart disease and in this case heart bypass, it is always glove to be something he has to be concerned about. Having said that, there are people that have heart bypass operations and go 25 years without having any problems whatsoever. He is always going to be cognizant and may need to be on different medications, certain drug thinners so you don't develop clots around those stents. Blood pressure medication, as I think was discussed earlier, cholesterol lowering medications. You know, it is going to be one of those things. Any time he has chest pain if he ever has chest pain again, he will get this checked out immediately. That's something that anybody should get checked out. Certainly more heightened concern, if you will, somebody that had this sort of history now.
MALVEAUX: One last question here before I let you go here. What's this mean in terms of the president's level of activity? Moving forward. Will he able do the same kinds of things that he has been doing? Traveling to foreign countries, areas that -- where his health might be compromised?
GUPTA: You know, it is -- with these types of procedures, what most cardiologists will tell their patients, the goal of this procedure is to get you back to a normal way of life. The goal is so he can function back at the level he wants to function. So I think he will be able to do these types of things and travel to foreign countries, as you mentioned. You know, with the president and as with anybody who has a history of heart disease and you have to be more cognizant and good medical care in the area where you are traveling and get medications if you need them. Those types of things. That's true of anybody. I think that -- I don't foresee necessarily a reduction in his travel schedule. What we are hearing again is he is in good spirits. Sounds like the procedure went well. He probably will be able to recover fairly quickly. Within a few weeks. MALVEAUX: We will have you stand by for a moment. Wane to bring in Candy Crowley who is anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION." She has been working her sources and talking to people and has new information. What do we know?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First we know that Chelsea Clinton, obviously, former president Clinton's daughter is at the hospital with him. Probably helps with the good spirits he is reported to have now. We also know that Mrs. Clinton on her way. So Chelsea lives and works in New York. Obviously she's getting married and we believe sometime this summer. They have been working on that, the family, trying to put that together. We do know that Chelsea Clinton is at the hospital with her dad.
Also just talking to on -- e-mail, actually, with some of the former president's friends, they repeat what the kind -- kind of thematically what other friends are saying which is that it is hard to slow him down. I had a friend that said particularly Haiti has been a real physical bruiser. Long hours. Obviously not great conditions. Also, there's sort of an emotional tie the Clintons have to Haiti. That may have also played into how he felt being down there, Clintons won't a honeymoon down there and heard the former president talk a lot about the hotel where they stayed had been destroyed. They talk about a bruising punishing schedule which, by the way, he invites and enjoys. But there were friends worried about him.
Bottom line here is that right now, we are hearing he's in good spirits and he's had these stents and his daughter, Chelsea, is with him. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton on her way.
MALVEAUX: Candy, one thing that struck me about what you said was that the former President Clinton, when he was in the rose garden, just a couple of weeks ago, asking for people to pay attention to Haiti, he said a lot of people he sat down and had dinner with had died in that earthquake and it really struck him on a very personal note and a very personal level. You just had a chance to speak with his wife, Hillary Clinton, "STATE OF THE UNION," just last week. What's your impression of this active family, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton?
CROWLEY: Both working, by the way, on Haiti. Sometimes together. She said that he basically talked to others at the state department who were solely focused on Haiti. But she, too, mentioned their ties to the country. She, too, mentioned that the state department had been working very hard towards trying to stabilize and empower the Haitian government, even before the earthquake came. They recognized certainly through some of his reports but certainly because everyone has for some time recognized the Haitian government needed to be bolstered and strengthened. The state department had been working on that. She did talk about working with her husband on that or her husband working on that. And saying he was very involved in it. And, obviously, it was a project of the heart and as well as just a project again that is a bruiser. Conditions down there, Sanjay has been telling us for weeks telling us what it has been like that. Even if you are say staying at a hotel and access to a shower, it is a tough environment to work in. Particularly when like the former president, you are a night owl and don't get much sleep. He's who he is. That's -- his metabolism and tough to suddenly adjust just because your friends are saying to you slow down.
MALVEAUX: Certainly. We are going to talk to you in a little bit. Obviously, as you continue to talk to folks who are very close to the Clintons, on the other side of the break as well, we will talk to James Carville. One of the former president's closest advisers for many years. And he will give us his insight and impressions on how the president is doing. How he has been doing very recently. Last couple of weeks in his travels. Stay with us
MALVEAUX: Latest developments now, former President Bill Clinton taken to a New York hospital. Hospitalized there, undergoing a procedure this afternoon.
I want to show you these are pictures of where the former president is right now. This is Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. That is where he was taken earlier this afternoon. His counselor, Douglas Band, released a statement essentially talking about what had occurred and his current status now that the president was admitted to the hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest. And following a visit to his cardiologist underwent a procedure to mace two stents in one of his coronary arteries. President Clinton is in good spirits. He is going to continue to focus on the work of his foundation and Haiti's relief and long-term recovery efforts. He goes on to explain that in 2004, President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries. This is a president who was active for eight years in his presidency certainly kept it up and in the years afterwards.
I want to bring in Dr. Stephen Siegel. He's with the New York University Medical Center to explain this procedure. What has happened to the former president with the two stents placed and what does that actually mean moving forward, the condition of President Bill Clinton.
DR. STEPHEN SIEGEL, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: I don't have any privileged information regarding directly what happened. Going strictly what I'm hearing from you guys. But essentially what happens when you do an angiogram, that was discussed earlier, inject dye into the arteries of the heart. You are able to see where there are blockages. And from that you are able to insert tubes with balloons in them. And you are able to dilate and enlarge those obstructions. Clear them out. And then usually they put a stent which is sort of a metallic ring that is used to support the opening.
MALVEAUX: The fact that they placed two stents, what does that say to you? Was this -- rather severe situation?
SIEGEL: Not necessarily. I mean, if -- it wouldn't be done if it wasn't a severe blockage. So you don't do this for a mild blockage or moderate blockage. It is only if there is a severe blockage. It does not necessarily imply the president's condition was severe or critical at that time. Reason for using one stent versus two stents, this really is a technical issue depending upon how the artery is blocked and in what location.
MALVEAUX: His spokesman says he is in good spirits. Is that surprising?
SIEGEL: Not at all. Usually people who have this procedure, first of all, given light sedation. Happy pills. And so that helps keep people in good spirits. It is not a painful procedure. And usually after it is done, when somebody tells you your arteries are now open, it is easy to be in good spirits.
MALVEAUX: Thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
We want to go straight to Jessica Yellin who is in New York. She has been talking with some of the president's close associates and friends. What are you learning, Jessica?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What I hear from his close friends is that the president, former president, is continuing -- has in recent years continued to live vim and vigor is what they say. That he keep exceptionally late hours jetting around, as you know, going from one country to another, having golf outings, eating heartily and sleeping only on the plane sometimes. They describe it as a man who wants to enjoy life. Another person I spoke to said it seems he's a man that's trying to suck the marrow out of life and enjoy every moment. And they say he has changed his behavior and habits since his heart attack. He even talks about trying to eat fish and eats fish. But he does -- nibble when he wants to on other things. French fries, steak, et cetera. This is a man, they say, that's conscious of having to change his habits but does not want to live a sedentary life in any way and say, look, his -- his pace before was so exceptionally frenetic, compared to anyone else, what he is living now is a frenetic lifestyle. But friends and associates say that this is a man that is still at this age very hard to keep up with. And enjoying his life very much. So we -- whether this is what the doctors recommend, they say that's not foremost on his mind. He wants to be doing what he can to contribute in the ways he can and enjoying himself. And that's -- the Bill Clinton they know. That's the Bill Clinton they love.
MALVEAUX: Jessica, thanks.
I want to take the opportunity to bring in James Carville. Obviously was with the Clintons for many, many years as campaign manager and adviser, close adviser. James, I remember in covering President Clinton, one of the fun things back that -- on air force one, always go to the back of the plane, and he would talk your ear off. It would be off the record but would talk your ear off and he was very engaged and loved to engage reporters all the time. To the point where people used to pretend they were falling asleep. So that he would go back to the front of the plane because he was just -- he was that interested and fascinated in so many different topics. You worked with him and you are a close friend. What is it like to be around Bill Clinton?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Just -- you know, I mean, I don't know of anybody in the world I ever met that's so knowledgeable on such a wide range of subjects. Mine, anything that you talk about, he has -- you know, ream kind of history, real perspective. Some of the best times hi in my life, spent walking the streets in a city with him. I talked to him Sunday. You know, three, four hours, before kickoff of the super bowl. He was all fired up about the game. The secretary state was in Chappaqua. They were going to watch the game together. And go to Washington. He was, you know -- unfortunately missed his call yesterday. I know he wanted to talk about the game and what was going on and everything. This is -- this is -- what's the word I'm trying to think of the word, discombobulating. My phone rang today, sort of caught me off guard, if you will.
MALVEAUX: Took it hard.
MALVEAUX: Well -- I mean, I'm -- you know, the news now seems to be somewhat better than I feared. But it still, you know, still, man said open heart surgery. You know, some kind of procedure. I'm sitting by the phone like everybody else. You know, I know he is getting great care. The doctor said -- what he said was reassuring. Wait ask see. He is going to be happy. I mean, there's -- no doubt about that. I think most people would -- with heart disease tell you they remain pretty doggone active, pretty good. The Haiti thing was -- enormously stressful to him. He was really, really into that. He was doing a lot of work. They had to -- that foundation, they -- during the economic downturn, keeping their program going and keep it up. I know to people around him and -- they are working hard. I know this is a stressful time for them, too. It seems like he will be fine.
MALVEAUX: Does he still call you late at night?
CARVILLE: He doesn't call me too much late at night. We have a common six hours a day. We are up at the same time. Certain people he stays up late and plays cards with. I'm not one of them. Generally when I travel I go to sleep and I was looking forward to -- I think he was going to be out west in less than two weeks. I was going to try to get out there and meet him.
MALVEAUX: Where was he going out?
CARVILLE: You know what, going out west. I will leave it at that.
CARVILLE: I hope he -- who knows, he -- you know, I don't know how these things work out but I hope he does and hope to get a chance to spend time with him. It was very -- very enthusiastic and remember very charged up about the football game and he knew how much I was pulling for the Saints.
MALVEAUX: Was he rooting for the Saints? Did he root for the Saints?
CARVILLE: I suspect -- he loves this city so much. I don't -- I hate to do anything to Indianapolis but I suspect that he probably -- everything he went through, I'm going to go ahead and declare he was for the saints. He didn't - I didn't exactly hear him say that. He certainly gave me that impression which is prone do. He has a way of letting you hear what you want to hear.
MALVEAUX: All right. We will get back to you soon. Want to bring in David Gergen. Former counsel to the president. You spent many, many years advising Bill Clinton. Tell us, you know, what kind of person is he?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER CLINTON W.H. ADVISER: He's -- he's unique, I think. One of the larger figures in American public life. I mean, in his schedule reminded me of Teddy Roosevelt. Both of them shared this enormous enthusiasm for life, curiosity. They soaked up information. You know, the man is a voracious reader. First time I met him was in the early '80s. I was thinking about it. He was governor of Arkansas. He was reading a book about Japanese quality circles. Wanted to talk about that and how they achieved so much productivity versus American workers.
He just -- he -- I think James Carville is right. This man has a sponge-like mind. He -- he wants to live life completely and fully and he's the largest presence wherever he is. It was -- it was always exciting to be around him. Remains to be exciting. He's the -- the best spontaneous ex speaker in American life. When we -- and when we all know how relentless -- what we are how relentless, but what we are learning more about, Suzanne, he apparently did come back from Haiti, exhausted. He had a cold, and it has been reported now that a couple of days ago he was not feeling well and he called his cardiologist a couple of days ago and apparently by reports, he had an appointment yesterday and postponed to today when he went in. So this issue has been with him for a couple of days. It is interesting that the cardiologist had him go into surgery right away and Sanjay Gupta and others can address that. I think that all of us ought to have a lot of respect for, he is a very unusual individual, and he has the flaws as we all know, and he has the great strengths. I think that there are some people in life who are larger than life, and you sort of see them like Lyndon Johnson and people who worked around him, and you know, they have never forgotten and I will never forget working for Bill Clinton.
MALVEAUX: Well, David, we will get back to you shortly as well as James Carville and after this quick break, we will take live pictures to the hospital after the former President Bill Clinton, and there is going to be a report from the hospital on his condition, so please stay with us.
MALVEAUX: Former President Bill Clinton hospitalized in a New York hospital. That is a New York Columbia Presbyterian hospital where he experienced earlier chest pains this afternoon and underwent a procedure, two stents that were put in one of his coronary arteries, it is reported now from a spokesman that he is in good spirits. I want to go live to where the former president is being treated. That is Presbyterian Columbia hospital, and that is where our own Mary Snow is and can give us the latest on what is happening outside. Mary? MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, the hospital officials have confirmed that President Clinton is here at the hospital, and a spokesman for Chelsea Clinton confirms she is with her father. Let me set the scene for you here. There are cameras set up outside of the hospital, and helicopters of local TV stations flying overhead and the people on the streets gathering to find out what is going on. We are waiting to see if the hospital will come out to give us more information, but for right now all of the information about the president's condition has come from his office, as you stated earlier about the procedure where he had two stents. This is also the same hospital, Suzanne, where the president had his heart surgery back in 2004. It is north Manhattan, north of his offices in Harlem where the foundation offices are located.
MALVEAUX: Okay. Mary, thank you very much. When we get more information, we will be live outside of the hospital.
I want to read a statement on the condition of former President Bill Clinton coming from Douglas Band, his counselor. He says that today, Bill Clinton was admitted to the campus of Columbia campus of New York 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 and he continues 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 understood went a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries.
I want to bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Haiti who spent time with the former president, and this is a week ago, Sanjay, that you interviewed him and what was the sense when you saw him and spent time with him and you got a chance to really be with him.
GUPTA: I'm sorry, Suzanne, someone is in my ear. I think I caught part of what you said there. You were talking about him in Haiti, and I did see him in Haiti not long ago and he was traveling around Haiti quite a bit. He was walking through a long distance of the airport. It was quite a warm day outside and he was with his daughter, Chelsea, at that time. Then he traveled to one of the big public hospitals as well. You could see him walking through as well over there. To the casual observer, he did not look to have any problems whatsoever, and certainly did not appear to be ill and shortness of breath and not complaining of anything. I heard David Gergen say when he got home from Haiti, he was tired and had a cold, and a lot of people may experience that after being here, but nothing related to the heart down here in Haiti.
MALVEAUX: And Sanjay, you have had a chance to cover many of the medical situations with President Clinton and all of the surgeries and the heart complications he has had over the years. Explain to us what his medical history has been like.
GUPTA: This is somebody who, you know, obviously, received executive-level health care the entire time he was president, and that is well known. He was checked quite frequently while president, and then in 2004, he had this bypass operation, four vessel bypass and surprising to a lot of people at that time that so soon after leaving the white house that he need a operation like that given how diligent he was about the health care and getting checkups and everything like that as president. After that, he changed a lot of his habits, as has been pretty well known, Suzanne. He was exercising with the diet changing. I traveled with him to Africa to Tanzania and we were, a few of us were having dinner and I made a comment about his selection that night which was a salad. So, he changed a lot of things. Having said all of that, he obviously has had blockages again in some of the blood vessels in his heart, either his own coronary blood vessels or the bypass blood vessels that he had put back in 2004. That has been taken care of with the stents, but the message to him clearly from the doctors is, look, the blockages have happened again and there is probably a redoubling of the medical efforts in terms of being diligent about medications, and also, lifestyle efforts as well. That is a message that is given to him in the hospital now by his doctors.
MALVEAUX: Sanjay, explain to us as best you can the procedure what he underwent this afternoon.
GUPTA: Yeah, this is a standard procedure. And to clarify terms, no one is saying a heart attack. A heart attack is when the heart muscle dies, and no one is saying that happened. He did have chest pains which is a red flag, if you will, for the heart simply not getting enough blood flow. Think of basic plumbing. You have blood getting to the art, and if the blood vessels get blocked, you have chest pains and the symptoms he was having. And if they are blocked up, then the doctors will say, they will put stents in and think of them as titanium little tubes, and they go into the blood vessel and sort of open up the blood vessel and hold it open to allow more blood to get to the heart. It's basic plumbing.