Haitian earthquake survivors, ambitious young interns, Harlem restaurateurs, and centrist Democrats can all breathe easy this morning: William Jefferson Clinton, America's first black president, was released from the hospital this morning after a successful procedure to clear a blocked artery. "He's out of the hospital and in the car back enroute to his home,'' former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe told CBS this morning. "And if I know President Clinton, he'll be on the phone ... calling people asking for more help for Haiti and where he can get pickup trucks so they can deliver food or generators. If I know Bill Clinton, he'll be raring to go in about 35 minutes.'' Chappaqua, lock up your daughters, Bubba's back in the saddle!
Clinton, 63, who has a history of heart trouble, began complaining of chest pains earlier this week, but missed a scheduled cardiology appointment Wednesday because of the snow storm. He arrived around noon yesterday at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, where he had quadruple bypass surgery more than five years ago. There's no evidence he had a heart attack, but one hospital source tells the Daily News, "He would have had a heart attack at some point," if he didn't get an angioplasty soon.
The relatively routine procedure involved doctors threading a tube through a blood vessel in the groin to a blocked coronary artery and inflating a balloon to flatten the clog. They then inserted two stents (collapsible tubes made of metal mesh) to prop the vessel open. One source tells the Times that Clinton "was talking about Haiti on a cellphone with his wife’s chief of staff, Cheryl D. Mills, even as he was being wheeled into the operating room, and only reluctantly gave up the phone." He was reportedly up and walking again two hours after the procedure.
Secretary of State Clinton learned of her husband’s procedure shortly before her weekly meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, but went through with the meeting anyway. She then returned to New York and joined him in the hospital with their daughter Chelsea. Secretary Clinton even postponed her departure for the Persian Gulf to Saturday from Friday so she could be with her husband, but unfortunately the famous power couple will be oceans apart on Valentine's Day.