Guests: Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Richard Socarides, Ed Rendell, Dr. Marco
Costa, Terry McAuliffe, Lanny Davis, Jack Rice, Todd Webster, Rep. Dennis
Kucinich, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Dr. William J. Cole
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight.
Breaking news tonight, Bill Clinton, former president of the United States, was admitted to the Columbia campus of New York Presbyterian Hospital this afternoon after having chest pains. He underwent a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries.
His spokesman says that he is in good spirits tonight.
It was back in 2004 President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries. His wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is said to be on her way to New York City, and his office says that through the recovery, he will continue to focus on his work in his foundation and his Haiti relief and long-term recovery efforts.
He is 63 years old, and in the hospital tonight. We are told by official—hospital officials that he called the hospital several days ago complaining of chest pains and set up an appointment. He was supposed to go in yesterday. That was canceled. He came in today under his own power.
And so that‘s what we know at this hour. And of course, joining me now is NBC chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman.
Dr. Snyderman, great to have you with us tonight.
DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN, NBC NEWS CHIEF MEDIAL EDITOR: Hi, Ed.
SCHULTZ: After having open heart surgery in 2004, and now we are here in the winter of 2010, is this pretty much a common path for many heart patients to end up having some stents put in later?
SNYDERMAN: It certainly underscores the fact that once you‘ve had extensive heart disease like President Clinton, you‘re always at risk for others. There was a lot of controversy in 2004 when he had so rather traditional bypass surgery as to whether he should have had some stents instead.
And many physicians believe that his disease was extensive enough that stents really wouldn‘t have been a very good treatment option, and that‘s why he had traditional surgery, but once you have vessel disease, you have plaque and you have narrowing, you are always at risk.
So I think the real message here is that the president wasn‘t feeling well, not feeling well enough to warrant a call to his physician. But then put off going in for 48 hours. I think there‘s a real message here for everyone is that once you‘ve had heart disease and you have any symptoms, like overwhelming exhaustion or just not feeling well, it really warrants being seen right away.
SCHULTZ: What kind of questions would the cardiologist, the heart doctor, have asked President Clinton a couple of days ago in that conversation? Shortness of breath, how do you feel?
SCHULTZ: Fatigue? All of that?
SNYDERMAN: Describe—describe not feeling well. Is it nausea? Light headedness? Have you been throwing up? Do you have pain or—on your chest? Do you feel like there is a heaviness at all? Are you short of breath? How many steps can you walk up?
Have you been good about your diet? How much sleep did you get in the last couple of days? I have seen you a lot in Haiti, what time zone are you on?
A lot of those questions. We know the president is a man with a very big global life and we know it is not feasible to ask some patients to sort of dial it back completely but it does go to that sort of core intuitive sense that most people will talk about after they have had a real brush with death, whether it‘s cancer, whether it‘s heart disease.
It‘s that wakeup call that we talk about and it‘s not a trite question to ask. Where in your sort of EQ do you think you are? And when most patients really step back and say, you know what? I really don‘t feel well and it‘s tough to type and I have this brooding sense that something is wrong.
You have to listen to those voices. You can‘t afford many times to turn those voices off.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Nancy Snyderman, with us here tonight THE ED SHOW.
If you just joined us, Bill Clinton is in the hospital tonight. He‘s had a couple of stents put in one artery.
What‘s the significance of that being in the same artery, Nancy?
SNYDERMAN: It just means really that there are two spots that they realized are narrowed. The cool thing about stents, Ed, is that they‘re scaffolding. So if you see a narrow area you can really sort of slip these things in and they push the walls, the blood vessel open, and that restores blood flow to the heart.
The heart is a fascinating organ because the muscle itself has its own blood supply. We tend to think of the heart as giving blood to the rest of the body but it gets its own blood supply and it‘s those coronary arteries when they get narrow that doesn‘t supply enough oxygen to the muscle. The muscle dies and that‘s what causes the pain of a heart attack.
But it underscores also that for especially a lot of men and women, waiting until you get crushing pain may be too late. For a lot of people, shortness of breath, nausea, phenomenal exhaustion that can‘t be explained with anything else, high cholesterol, family history. All those things cumulatively, you have to look at them and that has to be your ongoing scorecard.
SCHULTZ: One of the most visible men on the face of the globe, Bill Clinton.
SNYDERMAN: Yes, he is.
SCHULTZ: Teaching all of us a lesson tonight to pay attention to our health and the signs that our body shows us.
Now this procedure of the two stents, he probably wasn‘t sedated, is that correct? It‘s a procedure that you actually can watch on the screen depending on the severity. Take us through that.
SNYDERMAN: Usually the—a small needle is inserted into the groin, into the blood vessel, and a little guide wire is guided up the vein into the heart and a little spurt of dye is put into the blood vessels. And that tells you where there is narrowing in the blood vessel if anything. And then over that guide wire into the arteries that are causing problems, you can put this little bit of scaffolding or a stent.
Now the real limiting factor a lot of times is that the—if the narrowing is longer than the stent you‘re putting in, it doesn‘t necessarily work well. And sometimes, the blood vessels themselves are small enough that the diameter of the stent and the diameter of the blood vessel don‘t coincide.
That‘s more of a problem for women than it is for men because our arteries just aren‘t as big and the walls aren‘t as muscular than the arteries in men.
Usually, mild sedation but not a general anesthetic. Patients are very comfortable. And then afterwards, the little guide wire and the needle are just drawn out through the groin, a little pressure dressing is put on and a patient is kept on his or her back just to minimize any problem with bleeding at the site.
It is so safe these days and it has become so routine that I think many times we sort of slough it off, oh, well, it‘s no big deal. But in a person like President Clinton who has such extensive underlying disease, and who has already had four vessels bypassed, now two more stents, it really goes to how much of an issue heart disease is.
And how once you have it, you have to be in tune to all the signs, no matter how nuanced they are, and be ready to address the fact if you‘re not feeling well, you have to make that call and frankly, you have to get in.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Nancy Snyderman with us, another upside to all of this, not only is he feeling well tonight and in good spirits and they caught it, but they also get a look at the rest of the heart, do they not, through this procedure?
They will actually see how the rest of the heart is doing and not just the troubled spot where he‘s having pain.
SNYDERMAN: They do. And look, he‘s going back to the physicians who know him well. They know his heart as well as anyone‘s. And there‘s no reason to think that Bill Clinton hasn‘t been a very good patient. He dropped weight. He‘s changed his diet. He‘s never been a cigarette smoker.
You can may still address the fact that he—has a lot of stress in his life and he‘s perhaps always in the wrong time zone, but there is no reason to think that he hasn‘t been a compliant patient. But sometimes no matter how compliant with the obvious things, you still have to remember the things like watching your cholesterol and all those other blood markers.
And frankly, really listening to your body. That ability to listen to your body is an acquired skill for a lot of people and I would hasten to say a real acquired skill for a lot of men.
SCHULTZ: And when you are a heart patient it‘s a wakeup call and it is also a lifestyle change, and Bill Clinton has been a hard-charger. He‘s a guys that‘s always wanted to be in the action, being an unselfish human being, someone who‘s always wanted to help.
If he couldn‘t help, he would certainly trial. He‘s one of the most unselfish people I know. The Clinton Foundation and the work he has done with that is absolutely unparalleled. The man has raised billions of dollars to help people all over the globe.
The work with the tsunami and the Clinton Foundation and of course, his work in Haiti. He has a very intense schedule.
And Dr. Nancy, he is also a type A kind of guy, Bill Clinton. Competitive, doesn‘t like to lose. And that also is a tough personality to have when you have a heart condition.
SNYDERMAN: Well, one of the most fun things about Bill Clinton is that the person you see is the person who‘s really there. He loves pressing the flesh. He always has. I‘ve known him for a very long time and he is one of the most gregarious, hard-pressing people around.
There are times you still have to dial it back, and I‘m sure one of the conversations in his family now is the fact that there is a big wedding in this family next summer. He has to stay healthy. He has a lot to look forward to.
So there will be physicians with velvet-lined gloves around him for the next few months and there is no reason on earth, I think, for him not to be a very compliant person. He‘s smart guy. He gets it. This is a little speed bump and he is going to listen to everybody. He‘ll take it all n.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Nancy Snyderman, and thanks for your professional insight on all of this tonight. I appreciate it so much.
SNYDERMAN: You bet, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
SNYDERMAN: You bet.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, I‘ll talk to some of the folks who know Bill Clinton well, former special assistant to President Bill Clinton, Richard Socarides, and also Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell.
If you‘re just joining us, Bill Clinton in the hospital tonight with a couple of stents put in. He‘s OK, that‘s the good news. We‘ll talk more about it here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us. You‘re watching MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: And coming up on THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC, we‘ll visit with some of the closest friends of Bill Clinton, the lifestyle of Bill Clinton. The hard-charging, unselfish former president is in the hospital tonight after a heart procedure where he received two stents.
We‘ll tell you all about it when we come back. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Good evening and welcome back to THE ED SHOW tonight.
Thanks for watching.
Bill Clinton in the hospital tonight here in New York City after having two stents put in. Mr. Clinton called the doctor a few days ago, set up an appointment, saying that he was having chest pains. He was supposed to go in yesterday. For some reason that didn‘t happen.
He did go in today under his own power. And of course he had an invasive procedure where two stents were put into one artery.
Joining me now is former special assistant to Bill Clinton, Richard Socarides.
Mr. Socarides, it‘s nice to have you with us tonight. I think you can speak to the personality of Bill Clinton that both before and after his open heart surgery in September of 2004 he is the kind of guy you just can‘t keep on the porch. He‘s just going to keep on running, isn‘t he?
RICHARD SOCARIDES, FMR. SPECIAL ASST. TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, you certainly can‘t keep him down. And I thought Dr. Snyderman‘s report that you just had on was really terrific.
I mean we‘re very relieved that he‘s going to be OK. And I think what she said was right, that he‘s been a very compliant, terrific patient. I mean I saw him just a couple of months ago.
He looks really in better shape than he‘s looked when he was president. I mean, you know, he‘s trim and he looks vigorous and he is sharp as a tack. So this comes as surprise to all of us.
And you know when you hear the news it‘s like it‘s very frightening but quickly we learn from the statement from Doug Bend, his principal deputy, that—sounds like he‘s going to be OK and we‘re, you know, all obviously very relieved.
SCHULTZ: Was it hard for him back in 2004 to turn the tables on his life and slow down and realize what had happened? I know you knew him well or know him well and it seems that you not only have to go through a lifestyle change, his personality had to be drawn back for a while, but it wasn‘t long after that that he was out on the campaign trail for John Kerry just before the election.
SOCARIDES: Yes, I don‘t think—I think a lot of us didn‘t think he‘s slowed down that much, although he obviously had—you know he had a very difficult—two very difficult procedures and he had a long recovery but he was—seemed to be back pretty fast.
And—but I think we all knew that he was very careful for the first time about what he ate and about getting the right kind of exercise. But you know he is a guy who is so dedicated and feels such a sense of duty, duty to the country.
You know he did—I worked for him first when he was governor, during the first campaign, and even back then, before he was president he knew that he was doing this to help people and he—you see this in Haiti and with Katrina.
I mean this is a man who‘s so driven by wanting to help people, to move the ball forward, so it‘s hard for him to slow down, but at least in terms of how he looks and eating right and getting the proper exercise, he‘s been doing pretty well.
SCHULTZ: Now back in the days of the White House and maybe back when he was the governor of Arkansas, but when he was in the White House, Bill Clinton would leave the White House with one security guard and go across the street and he would wolf down a couple of hot dogs, wouldn‘t he?
SCHULTZ: Or a big polish sausage, because he‘s from Arkansas and that‘s just how the folks there eat and that‘s how he grew up and that‘s what he would do.
SOCARIDES: Yes. He‘s not doing much of that—he hasn‘t been doing much of that recently. I mean I spent a couple of days with him in September at the Clinton Global Initiative, you know, this big event where he has leaders from all over the world, from business and government here in New York.
At the same time the U.N. is having their big general assembly and he is very careful about what he eats. And he takes really good care of himself, but he does drive himself.
SCHULTZ: He definitely works a long day. He plays a lot of golf. You know if he jogs a lot now? Does he still get his running in the way he used to?
SOCARIDES: You know, he told me that he jogs. He told me that he exercises. I actually don‘t seem to witness it but, you know, it was really—it was surprising this afternoon when we first started to hear this because he seems in so much better health than he ever was.
I mean, you know, when you look at him, he‘s thin, he‘s in good shape, he exercises, he takes care of himself. I mean they had such a scare. And when you hear news like this you worry, you know, what‘s happening, you want to know who to call.
And obviously, everybody you could possibly are the people who were there in the middle of it, so you don‘t want to disturb them. But you think also of Mrs. Clinton and obviously the secretary of state and their daughter, Chelsea.
And I understand from some of the news report that the secretary of state was with the president when they heard. And you just think that, you know, what goes through her mind when you hear that and to be in that setting where they obviously both lived and worked for so many years, to be there.
I mean these people, President Clinton, but obviously Secretary Clinton, too, have been so central to our experience as a nation.
SOCARIDES: In the political environment for so long that when anything like this happens it really sort of --
SCHULTZ: No doubt.
SOCARIDES: Throws you.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Socarides, it‘s great to have you with us tonight.
Thank you for joining us.
SOCARIDES: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now on the phone from Pennsylvania, Governor Ed Rendell.
Governor Rendell, nice to have you with us tonight. What did you think when you heard the news that Bill Clinton was in the hospital having a procedure?
GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA (via phone): Yes. Pretty much the same as Richard said. You know, Bill Clinton, I think, is by far is the greatest ex-president we‘ve had in my lifetime and we had some good ones. Jimmy Carter and the first President Bush.
But Bill Clinton does so much all around the world and in America and he is just constitutionally unable, Ed, to say no to a good cause, to say no to a good candidate. He just wants to do everything and touch as many people as he can, and change as much as he can. And the answer is he‘s got to slow down.
I mean, you know, he‘s got to slow down to a good human schedule. He‘s had a super human schedule for a long while and he‘s got to cut back, and there‘s no question about it.
I mean he‘s—as Richard said, he‘s done all the right things health-wise and diet-wise but the stress of trying to do all that he does and go everywhere and keep on the go, keep moving, he just can‘t say no to any good cause.
SCHULTZ: Governor Ed Rendell from Pennsylvania, with us here on the line tonight.
Former President Bill Clinton in the hospital here in New York City tonight after two stents being put in his artery.
Now, you said something interesting there, Governor Rendell. He‘s going to have to slow down. Can Bill Clinton slow down? The guy has got a heart of gold. He loves being in the action. He loves being in the mix. He loves people.
I have been to fundraisers where he was the rock star and he couldn‘t get enough of it because he just wants to interact and hold court with everybody. I—can Bill Clinton slow down?
RENDELL: Well, I think he can. When I say slow down, I‘m talking about comparatively slowing down.
RENDELL: So on a given day when he‘s in the U.S., he‘s got to make five steps instead of seven. When we were in the Pennsylvania primary, Ed, the reason—one of the reasons we‘d, you know, had a 10-point victory over President Obama was because there were Clintons every where.
Hillary was tireless. Chelsea was a great campaigner and Bill Clinton wanted to do—push me. We would schedule him and have him in five different places from 9:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night and he‘d say, oh, I‘m finishing up at 8:00. I can do one more. I can do one more.
So what he‘s got to do is scale back to a very good schedule, four or five events a day, as opposed to that six and seven. And he‘s got to do that. And he‘s got to do a little less foreign travel.
I know he cares so deeply about what‘s going on in the world and righting some of the wrongs that are out there, and bringing water to people who need it and helping to stop the AIDS epidemic.
And those are great things that‘s made him, as I said, by far, the greatest ex-president in my lifetime. But we can‘t lose him. He‘s too important for us as a country. He‘s too important for the world. And all of his friends and people like myself.
RENDELL: We‘ve got to tell him scale it back. That doesn‘t mean you stop, that doesn‘t mean you stop going to events and stop doing things and stop pushing for change, but scale it back a little.
SCHULTZ: Governor Rendell, put into perspective the kind of impact that Bill Clinton has had when it comes to affecting people‘s lives for the better. I mean this man and the Clinton Foundation, he has raised billions of dollars. Globally. It‘s just astounding what he‘s been able to do.
RENDELL: It‘s extraordinary the impact he‘s had globally and it‘s also extraordinary what the world thinks of him. I mean he is beloved virtually everywhere he goes—Ireland, Africa, Europe, Asia. People look to him as really the --
SCHULTZ: Why is that? Is it his personality? What do you think it is?
RENDELL: Well, it‘s a combination of things. One, it‘s is his personality. I don‘t care what your politics are, you get in a room with Bill Clinton it‘s pretty hard not to like him, that‘s number one. Number two, is now that he‘s out of the partisan political arena—and he gets in it once in a while because he helps Democratic candidates.
But most of his work is out of the arena. The things that he‘s doing, the things that drive him, are so patently good things that virtually everyone agrees on that, you know, he‘s become a truly beloved international figure and it‘s amazing.
I asked our Democratic state committee, we had our recent fundraiser, the one—we have one a year. I asked if I can get anybody for you, who do you want? And Bill Clinton came in even ahead of Barack Obama.
RENDELL: Who‘s very much admired by the Democrats in Pennsylvania.
SCHULTZ: Governor Rendell, great to have you with us tonight.
RENDELL: Great to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: I appreciate your insight. Thanks so much for joining --
RENDELL: We will him the best of luck, of course. All Americans do.
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. Thanks so much. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell with us on THE ED SHOW.
And of course, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was at the White House this afternoon when she got word. She is on her way to New York City to be with her husband.
Coming up, a man who knows Bill Clinton better than anyone. Terry McAuliffe joins me next here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Terry McAuliffe, one of Bill Clinton‘s best friends, will be joining me in just a moment. But first, I want to bring in Dr. Marco Costa, a cardiologist from the University Hospital‘s Case Medical Center in Cleveland.
Dr. Costa, the condition that President Clinton is in right now with two stents being put in one artery tonight, what will they be watching tonight? What are the possible hazards at this point?
DR. MARCO COSTA, CARDIOLOGIST: Well, good evening. I think the—from what I heard, I don‘t have the details of his condition—he‘s doing well. He‘s in good spirit. The most danger that we have at this phase, one which is usually overlooked is the access.
We have to get through an artery in the leg and that usually may develop a hematoma. So those are usually benign problems.
SCHULTZ: And the chances of that happening are very slim, is that correct?
COSTA: Yes. Ninety-eight percent of patients do not have any problems. So it‘s very small.
SCHULTZ: And does this give doctors a good chance to take another look at the heart, going through this procedure, not just the area in which you are putting the stents in?
COSTA: Absolutely. When we do a heart cauterization, we look at all the different arteries.
SCHULTZ: So they will know a heck of a lot more about Bill Clinton tonight than they did yesterday because of this procedure. And what are the chances of possibly more stents that have to go in normally for patients, six years, five years after open heart?
COSTA: Well, what we know is about 20 percent of bypassed grafts patients that have multiple bypass like he had may actually close over the first year. So by 10 years, 50 percent of those grafts might close. So the chances are the disease will not stopped and we have to be, you know, watchful waiting kind of period for this phase and look carefully what we have seen today in the coronary angiogram to define his risk need to have further procedures in the near future.
But this disease continues.
COSTA: It‘s not a disease that‘s going to stop today.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Costa, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much for that tremendous insight.
COSTA: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former Clinton adviser, Terry McAuliffe.
Terry, great to have you with us tonight. I‘m sure you were shocked to hear this news today. Your response?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, FMR. CLINTON ADVISOR (via phone): Yes, I was shocked, Ed. I had just spoke with the president yesterday, but let me say, I just talked to Doug who was up there with the president in the recovery room. He is fine. They will keep him overnight for, you know, just to do some observations. He‘ll probably get out tomorrow but he is fine.
He is in great spirits. These are one of the things that just happened. And the president is in great shape. He eats very well, as you know. He watches everything that he eats. He works very hard. But, you know, that‘s what he drives upon in helping other people and out there fighting. He‘s been working very hard on Haiti and some many other things.
But Ed, let me just say this to all your viewers, he is in great shape. He‘s in great spirits, and you know, he‘ll have a couple days recovery, and he will be back to himself out there fighting to help the folks in Haiti and all over the world.
SCHULTZ: Did he mention to you yesterday that he had a doctor‘s appointment, he was having some discomfort in his chest?
MCAULIFFE: No. I spoke with him yesterday and the day before, and just general conversation, and no, he had not. And from what we know, you know, these things do happen. And he went in, it was taken care of. He was dealing with Haiti literally until the time he went into the operating room. Doug had to literally take the cell phone out of his hand.
But you know, he‘s got a great outlook on life, and he‘s going to probably have to have a couple days of rest, but he‘ll be back to his old self, working as he does around the clock, helping other people. And you know, that‘s what he loves doing.
SCHULTZ: Terry, you know him as well as anybody on the planet. Can Bill Clinton slow down?
MCAULIFFE: Of course not. And you know, this is what he thrives on, helping people. And I‘m not saying because of this he has to slow down. These things happen, Ed, but this is not going to change President Clinton at all. He‘s going to keep out there fighting.
And you know, I had just traveled overseas with him about two weeks ago. He was over in Davos, working people to get people helping in Haiti. He is so passionate on this issue. And he‘s not going to rest, and you know, maybe a tough day today, but he will remind you, think of all the people in Haiti today. Their homes are gone. They don‘t have food. They don‘t have electricity. They don‘t have the basic needs. So as tough as things may be for Bill Clinton, it‘s always about the other person. And it may be tough today for him, but you know what? People‘s lives are a lot tougher and...
SCHULTZ: Terry, has he been taking care of himself, I mean, you know, since the operation back in September 2004? He‘s always on the go. He‘s always in the mix. But has he been taking care of himself?
MCAULIFFE: He really has. And I‘ve been watching some of the news today. I get such a kick, a lot of people out there saying things that—you know, I spend a lot of time with him. He eats very healthy. Everything that he eats is very healthy. He exercises every single day.
If you look at him, he‘s in great shape. Could he use some more sleep? Sure. But you know what? For President Clinton, you know, any hour of sleep is sort of a waste of time that he can‘t be out helping people. You‘re not going to change him on that, and that‘s what we love about Bill Clinton.
SCHULTZ: OK, so the latest news is that you have just gotten off the phone with Doug, his personal assistant, and he‘s doing just great tonight.
MCAULIFFE: He is doing great. He‘s fine. They‘ll keep him for tests or—I mean, overnight, just to make sure everything‘s good. Hopefully, he‘ll be out tomorrow, and a couple days of rest and he will be back being president Clinton and out there fighting for people who need help today. And that‘s what—that‘s what keeps him going and that‘s what keeps him happy and thriving, helping other people.
And you know, listen, you spend time with him, you know, he just exudes energy and optimism, and doing things to help other people is what keeps him going. So he is not going to change at all, and all these people with all these different theories and all that—Bill Clinton is Bill Clinton. He gets out of bed every single day trying, Ed, to figure out...
SCHULTZ: You bet.
MCAULIFFE: ... how does he help someone else?
SCHULTZ: All right, Terry McAuliffe, thank you so much for joining us here on THE ED SHOW tonight. And if the former president is watching right now, you can tell him that you‘re not going to give him any strokes on the golf course. I‘ll let you say that.
MCAULIFFE: Neither you nor I are going to do that!
MCAULIFFE: Listen, he doesn‘t need strokes. He‘ll beat both of us.
SCHULTZ: All right, thanks, Terry.
MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Appreciate your time tonight.
SCHULTZ: So that is the best news that we have heard personally from the president‘s bedside, from Doug to Terry McAuliffe here on THE ED SHOW.
Coming up, a man who saw President Clinton through some of the most stressful years of his life and his heart, former White House special counsel Lanny Davis. Stay with us.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We have some new details about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s plans. The secretary is headed here to New York City right now and will be with her husband, but she will make her scheduled trip to Qatar and also Saudi Arabia. That trip is still on, according to the State Department.
Joining me now is former special counsel to President Clinton, Lanny Davis. Lanny, good to have you with us tonight on the line.
LANNY DAVIS, FMR. SPECIAL COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON (via telephone): Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Your impressions when you heard this news today that President Clinton hospitalized and having a heart procedure with two stents being put in?
DAVIS: Well, I guess knowing him for 40 years is a long time, Ed. That‘s older than I think you are. (INAUDIBLE) I‘m only kidding, of course. The first thought was...
SCHULTZ: No, you can keep going, Lanny. That‘s OK!
SCHULTZ: You‘ve known Bill Clinton for a long time...
DAVIS: Forty years.
SCHULTZ: It‘s in his make-up to be a hard charger.
DAVIS: Well, he‘ll be—he‘ll be looking at his watch—if he‘s watching you, which I think he often does, Ed, he‘s probably looking at his watch thinking, How quickly can I get out of here and head for Africa or Haiti or somewhere else where he can help people or just be active, because as long as I‘ve known him, he‘s always been energetic and ready to roll to the next activity, and that‘s what he‘s thinking tonight.
SCHULTZ: How has he taken care of himself since his open heart surgery in September of 2004? Have you seen any changes at all, or is this the same Bill Clinton that you knew and have known for years?
DAVIS: No, a fantastic change, to such an extent that he‘s lecturing me when he sees me that I‘m not eating well and I‘m not treating myself right. He really revolutionized his way of eating and his way of taking care of himself, and he became a great preacher, really, on wholesome food and avoiding junk food.
And of course, prior to his bypass surgery, he was inclined, let us say, to eat junk food. So I think he should be taking care of himself, and the stent really isn‘t a sign that he hasn‘t been.
DAVIS: It‘s often the case after a bypass that a stent is needed.
And that‘s what I think...
DAVIS: ... he‘s going to be fine.
SCHULTZ: You have been with Bill Clinton through the good times and the tough times. Speak to his mental toughness in the face of adversity or a job that‘s got to be done. He is a guy who has got tremendous focus, who can focus in, and a guy who has been able to weather a lot of storms and a lot of, you know, personal controversies in his life, but he seems to be a guy who has got tremendous intestinal fortitude.
DAVIS: Well, first of all, I love the man, and have since the first day I met him back in new Haven, Connecticut, in 1970. And of all the people I‘ve ever met in my life—maybe his wife, Hillary, rivals him, but those two above anybody else I‘ve ever met have the ability to carry on, no matter what the adversity, and have the ability to compartmentalize difficulty, with focus at the task at hand. I‘ve never met anybody better at that than Bill Clinton.
SCHULTZ: What is it in his life, in his—you know, he is one of the most unselfish people I‘ve ever known, and he just keeps giving. He just keeps trying to be the best he can possibly be. And with all that he went through, is this really going to be his legacy?
DAVIS: The answer is yes. And you have it quite insightful, Ed. When he uses the expression “I feel your pain,” he‘s been spoofed about that, but it‘s for real. As long as I‘ve known him, his pain when he sees somebody else in pain is for real. He is the ultimate empathetic human being. He‘s got his strengths and he‘s got his weaknesses, as we all have.
DAVIS: But when he travels to Africa to help people with AIDS—and the relationship that he developed with President Bush 1 was quite remarkable—father, son, close friend. They, in the tsunami effort, really, really bonded. I happen to know that he feels that way towards President Bush 2, and the two of them are going to do great things for Haiti.
So he does have the ability to reach across great divides, ideological, personal. In all the years that I‘ve known him, I think he‘s been misread by his political opposition. He really has a very big heart, and let‘s hope it‘s a healthy heart.
SCHULTZ: Do you think that he has helped President Obama through this tough unemployment numbers and job creation? Has he been a real good ear to the president and also a very solid voice? What do you know?
DAVIS: Well, I know that they have become close. I know that they have mutual respect. And I know, absolutely know, that Bill Clinton is dedicated to helping Barack Obama become a successful president.
One quality that Bill Clinton has that sometimes is missed is he‘s a very, very loyal friend, loyal political friend, loyal ally. And when he got out of his hospital bed after his bypass and went to Philadelphia at great risk to campaign for John Kerry, it‘s because he cared about John Kerry and his election. And he cares about Barack Obama to the same extent.
SCHULTZ: How would you describe his political moxie? Is it as good as anybody you‘ve ever seen in politics?
DAVIS: I would say only his wife compares, and the two of them are so above anyone I‘ve ever met in terms of having strong political convictions, backbones—and again, you always seem to find the best words, Ed—moxie, and I‘d say spirit are. The two of them, as a couple, since law school days, when her name was Rodham and his name was Clinton had—the light that came into a room when either one of them was present. And Bill Clinton still has it today.
And all I can say is by tomorrow morning, he‘s going to be looking at his watch, if he isn‘t already looking at it, saying, When do I to get out of here?
SCHULTZ: Is he making calls tonight, or did they take the phone from him? What do you think?
DAVIS: I‘ll bet you he‘s watching your program.
SCHULTZ: Well, I hope so.
DAVIS: So hello, President Clinton! But—no, he needs to get a little rest tonight. And as I said, I‘m praying for him. He‘s a great friend, a great, great president. And everybody, Republican, Democrat, doesn‘t matter, he‘s done great things for the world and for people who are suffering around the world.
SCHULTZ: Lanny Davis, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
DAVIS: Thanks, Ed. Take care.
SCHULTZ: Great personal friend and former special assistant to Bill Clinton, Lanny Davis, with us here on THE ED SHOW to think about what Bill Clinton has done. Since he has left the Oval Office, the man has raised billions of dollars for people all over the world in his global effort, the Clinton Foundation.
He is in the hospital tonight in New York City after having a scheduled appointment yesterday which was skipped, and he went in today, complaining of chest pains a few days ago, when he had a conversation with the doctor. And he has had two stents put in one artery tonight. We just heard from Terry McAuliffe a few moments ago, telling us that he just got off the line with his personal assistant, Doug, that the president is definitely in good spirits. He‘s feeling great. He can‘t wait to get out of there. And he‘s going to be just fine.
Joining us is now Todd Webster, who is Democratic strategist tonight, and also Jack Rice, former CIA special agent. Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight.
JACK RICE, FORMER CIA SPECIAL AGENT: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Jack, you first. Your impressions of what Bill Clinton—what makes him go. I mean, actually, he has the worst personality for somebody who‘s got a bad heart! Let‘s put it that way.
RICE: You know, I totally agree with you. I actually remember back at the DNC in Denver, right, and I still remember watching him take the stage. And when you watched him, this guy loved this so much, and you watched the crowd respond to him, and I thought to myself, You know what? He could almost be doing this again. It is an extraordinary thing that he does.
By the way, I‘m leaving for Haiti this weekend, and one of the things that this man has done since he left the presidency is he is reaching into places like Haiti and Africa, where I‘ve also been as a journalist covering this, to really look at what‘s going on and to really make a difference. And that is extraordinary. I don‘t care where you are politically, left or right. What he is doing in places like Haiti right now is truly extraordinary.
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, once a public servant, always a public servant. It‘s in your blood, and I don‘t think there‘s anybody on the face of the earth that has more of it in his blood than this man when you look at what he has done and how unselfish he has been with the Clinton Foundation, raising billions since leaving the Oval Office. Put it in perspective for us, Todd.
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I think he‘s probably sitting in his hospital bed, wondering, you know, that it‘s no big deal, that, you know, he‘s ready to get up and get out and keep fighting. But you know, he did leave the Oval Office as one of the youngest ex-presidents in our history, and he could have gone and served on corporate boards and given speeches and made lots of money and played golf and faded into the limelight.
Instead, he recommitted himself to doing important global work under -
you know, not fancy or exciting or sexy work, but poverty and HIV/AIDS and the work in Haiti, so tough, grinding issues that are not—you know, that are not fun to deal with. But he‘s committed himself. As you said, he‘s raised billions of dollars going around the world, being an unselfish servant and trying to make a difference in people‘s lives.
It‘s what he did for eight years as president, trying to advance an agenda and try to make a difference, and he‘s continued to do that in his post-presidency. And I think everybody is hoping that he‘ll weather this latest storm and be right back out there.
SCHULTZ: It is one of the innate qualities of Bill Clinton to be able to talk to anybody anywhere. And Jack Rice, I think one thing about the Clinton years that many people don‘t pay enough attention to is his tireless effort for peace. Throughout his years in the White House and the years leaving the White House, he has always tried to make a difference when it comes to peace in the world, to find a solution, to work things out. And I think that that is something that I think a lot of people -- you know, we talk about the Clinton Foundation, the money that is raised and how visible he is, but he really has been a merchant of peace over time.
RICE: Yes, I agree with that. It‘s interesting when we look at what it is he‘s tried to accomplish, and we think about the peace issue, about the humanitarian issues. But again, as a former CIA officer, the one thing that has become clear, if it wasn‘t clear before 9/11, is that there is a connection between security, national security, and stability and peace and dealing with poverty and dealing with humanitarian issues.
All of a sudden, somebody who can be poor in a place where things are happening in Afghanistan—we care about it. Now the same thing is true in places like Somalia, it‘s true in places like Congo, it‘s in other parts of the world, too. And the fact that President Clinton understands that, is reaching out, and you realize he‘s doing it for the right reasons, but the good things that come out of it aren‘t just about saving a child. It‘s about protecting the country, too. And he‘s doing that.
SCHULTZ: A tremendous resource for the United States, Bill Clinton, former president Bill Clinton in a New York hospital tonight after having a heart procedure. He had two stents put in his heart today in the same artery. And he is resting well tonight. We are told that he‘s in good spirits and is expected to recovery and will be released possibly as early as tomorrow.
Todd Webster, Jack Rice, thanks for your time tonight.
Coming up here on THE ED SHOW, Congressman Dennis Kucinich will join us on a number of different issues.
You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We‘re following the developments of former president Bill Clinton, who is in a New York hospital tonight after getting two stents put in his heart. Joining me now is Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Gentlemen, thanks for joining us tonight.
It‘s when we get news like this in the news business that we start wondering, Gosh, you know, what about us, you know? It could have happened to anybody. It‘s really a very positive thing that the president is in great shape tonight, but it‘s also a wakeup call to many Americans. But it also makes us stop and realize how much Bill Clinton has contributed to the United States, to the world, and what a great resource he has been since not only being president but since leaving the Oval Office.
Dennis Kucinich, give us your perspective on the president‘s contributions.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: Well, the one thing that he did was to personalize the presidency in a way of reaching out to people in an extraordinary way. I mean, in Cleveland, Ohio, where I‘m from, he made so many trips to Cleveland that he was on a first-name basis with just about every level of leadership in the community. And it‘s that personal touch that really characterized him and added to the charisma which Bill Clinton already has.
And it should be said, Ed, that all of us are wishing a speedy recovery to President Clinton and to Chelsea and to Hillary Clinton. We send a lot of love at this trying time.
But he‘s someone who the nation still has great love and affection for. He appeared before a Democratic caucus a couple of weeks ago and he received loud and long cheers because people really connect with him in such a deep personal way. They really love him.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Van Hollen, what does Bill Clinton mean to candidates out on the trail? How much of an impact has he had since leaving the White House?
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Well, he‘s had an enormous impact. He is criss-crossing the country in every election, supporting Democrats in the last election, the 2008 election, obviously, after the primary, went on to support now President Obama. But he was also all over the country in our congressional races both in 2008 and 2006.
And he has not lost one bit of that pizzazz for life. And as Dennis said, he appeared before a Democratic caucus just about three weeks ago and brought down the house, talking about all the issues that continue to face the American people from the economy, health care. And as you know, he has an encyclopedic knowledge.
SCHULTZ: You know, that‘s what I wanted to bring up with you, Chris. I mean, the guy is just—he‘s a walking encyclopedia. He‘s one of the most worldly figures when it comes to knowing an awful lot about a lot of things.
VAN HOLLEN: Well, that‘s right, whether it was foreign policy or domestic policy, he could both, you know, talk about the sort of grand strategy, but he could also tell you every detailed fact. When he came before the House caucus just a little while ago, he talked about what he was doing in Haiti. But before he did that, he essentially recited the entire history of Haiti and put that—what‘s happening there in a larger context. And I‘ve got to say, people were always impressed with Bill Clinton, but he hasn‘t lost it one bit.
SCHULTZ: And quickly, from what you know, Congressman Kucinich, this won‘t slow down Bill Clinton a bit, will it?
KUCINICH: Well, he‘s known all over the world. He‘s someone who has tremendous charismatic powers. When you can go into a Democratic caucus, as he did, with some of the most hardened politicians in the country, people who have seen just about everything, and you bring people to their feet because of his quality of heart—you know, that‘s something to think about. You know, here he‘s getting his heart repaired, but it‘s his heart that causes people to love him so much because he connects with people heart to heart.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Kucinich, Congressman Van Hollen, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it so much.
Joining me now is Dr. William Cole, a cardiologist at NYU Medical Center. Dr. Cole, great to have you on tonight. Tell us the dangers of putting stents in and what the former president would have gone through today.
DR. WILLIAM J. COLE, CARDIOLOGIST, NYU MEDICAL CENTER: Well, stents are very routine these days, and the safety of putting them in is very, very hard (ph). The probability of having a problem in the short term is way less than 1 percent.
SCHULTZ: And how much information would they take away from this procedure that would guide the former president through his life from this point on?
COLE: Oh, they would obtain a huge amount of information. They‘d know the status of all of the bypass grafts that were put in at the time of surgery. They‘d know the status of the arteries that—whether he‘s had any progression, and they‘ll be able to guide his therapy much better knowing this.
SCHULTZ: Now, are the stents—have they changed over the years, the texture of them? Are they better today? Are they more durable? Tell us about that.
COLE: The stents are much better than they initially were. Before stents were available, patients would renarrow these arteries after angioplasty about 30 percent of the time. These new stents are coated with a special medicine that prevents that, and it‘s probably 5 percent of the time, patients will need to have a repeat procedure within with the first six months.
SCHULTZ: And Dr. Cole, what‘s the significance of it being in the same artery?
COLE: Well, the problem he had was not necessarily the artery this time, it was the bypass vessel that they used in surgery closed. So it left him with the diseased artery that he had had at the time of surgery. So they went back and they repaired that. So the problem he had was not necessarily with the arteries in his heart, anything new there, it was the fact that one of his grafts had closed.
SCHULTZ: Will he have to experience much more of a lifestyle change from this point on?
COLE: I think what happens when a patient has an event like this, you reassess everything you‘re doing to the patient. You look at all the medicines they‘re talking. You look at all of the various blood tests, and you try to knock it up a notch in terms of trying to decrease all the risk of this happening again.
SCHULTZ: And if we can say this—we haven‘t said it tonight—sleep definitely is important, is it not, Doctor?
COLE: Sleep? Well, getting a good night‘s sleep tonight would be good. But I think in terms of changing your lifestyle, I think—he looks as if he‘s really done a terrific job in becoming more active, losing weight. And I think he can continue to do all the work that he‘s doing without any major limitations in the long run.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Cole, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it so much.
COLE: You‘re welcome.
SCHULTZ: That‘s our coverage on THE ED SHOW tonight. Again, recapping, stay with MSNBC for the updates on former president Clinton‘s condition. Chris Matthews has more on a live edition of “HARDBALL” starting right now here on MSNBC.
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