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Saturday, September 04, 2004

BBC > Clinton awaiting heart operation

Former US President Bill Clinton is to have a heart bypass operation early next week, his wife Senator Hillary Clinton has told reporters.
Mr Clinton was admitted to hospital on Friday a day after complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath.
Mr Clinton, 58, served two terms as president, during which he became known for his love of fast food and jogging.
He may now have to scale down his role in the Democrat campaign for November's elections, say correspondents.
During his own presidency, Mr Clinton showed no signs of heart problems during rigorous health examinations that were made public.
In recent months, Mr Clinton has appeared trim and well - which he attributed to following the "South Beach Diet" of lean meat and unprocessed food.
'In great humour'
A smiling and apparently relaxed Mrs Clinton appeared on Friday evening outside the top New York Presbyterian Hospital (also known as the Columbia Presbyterian).
Mrs Clinton and the couple's daughter, Chelsea, are at Mr Clinton's bedside.
"My husband is doing very well," she said.
"He is in great humour. He's beating all of us at cards and the rest of the games we're playing.
"He will having surgery early in the week. There will no be further information between now and then."
She said Mr Clinton was "extremely grateful for the outpouring of concern. I'm just pleased he's in such good spirits. He's going to be fine. He's going to be back in fighting form before very long."
Some reports have suggested the former president may need a quadruple bypass, but this has not been confirmed.
Bypass operations, in which sections of the patient's own blood vessels are grafted to bridge over blockages in the heart's arteries, have become a common and usually successful procedure in recent years.
Mrs Clinton said she was grateful she and her husband had good health insurance.
"I hope some day everybody will be able to say the same thing."
President George W Bush and Democratic presidential contender John Kerry, both busy on the campaign trail ahead of November's elections, sent messages of condolence.
I want you all to let a cheer out and clap that he [Mr Clinton] can hear all the way to New York
John Kerry
Democrat presidential candidate
"He's going to be fine," Mr Kerry told cheering supporters in Newark, Ohio.
"But every single one of us wants to extend to him our best wishes, our prayers and our thoughts, and I want you all to let a cheer out and clap that he can hear all the way to New York," he said.
In Wisconsin, President Bush sent Mr Clinton "best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery".
"He is in our thoughts and our prayers," he said.
Kerry effect
Correspondents say Mr Clinton's health problems may have an effect on the ongoing presidential campaign.
The BBC's Jeremy Cooke in New York says the former president had promised to be a loyal "foot soldier" in Mr Kerry's drive to win the White House, but his involvement may now be limited.
Mr Clinton has already cancelled a two-day campaign trip across New York State.
Known as a formidable campaigner, Mr Clinton's speech to the Democratic Party convention in Boston in July was seen as one of the highlights.
Observers say his natural flair among crowds could have been used to boost the campaign of Mr Kerry, who is regarded as somewhat aloof.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas /3625994.stm




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