Gupta reported that the Bush campaign was concerned enough about Cheney's health before Bush picked him as his VP choice that the campaign staff asked Cooley about it. Cooley, a member of Modern Healthcare's Hall of Fame, reportedly gave his opinion after speaking with Cheney's cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, but without examining Cheney.
Gupta said to Cheney that Cooley's statement about normal cardiac function wasn't true. Cheney said: “I'm not responsible for that. I didn't know what took place between the doctors.”
Gupta: “But sir, you saw it.”
Cheney: Listen to me, I think the bottom line is: Was I up to the task of being vice president? And there's no question. I think based upon the fact that I did it for eight years they were right.”
Several months later, during the Bush-Gore election recount, Cheney had another heart attack and needed a stent to keep a clogged artery open.
And right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Reiner received results of a Cheney blood test showing dangerously high levels of potassium, a condition called hyperkalemia, which can be fatal.
On 60 Minutes Sunday night, Reiner told Gupta: “Yeah, I laid awake that night, you know, watching the replays of the towers come down and now thinking that, 'Oh great, the vice president's gonna die tonight from hyperkalemia.' ”
Gupta also asked Cheney about the state of his cognitive health related to his cardiovascular disease when he was making decisions about war and peace.
Gupta: “Did you worry about your physical health impacting your judgment and your cognition?”
Gupta: “Did they talk at all about potential side effects because of limited blood flow to the brain, on cognition, on judgment?...
Gupta: … “You weren't worried about it?”
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