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Interview with Former Vice President Dick Cheney

By This Week, This Week - July 29, 2012

By ABC News

Dick Cheney on His New Heart

JONATHAN KARL: How you feeling?

DICK CHENEY: Excellent.  I haven’t felt this good in years.

JONATHAN KARL: So this is– you’ve gone through this heart transplant.  You were– you were in end stage heart failure.

DICK CHENEY:  Right.  Two years ago this time I was– on a respirator, heavily sedated, just had had a pump, a left ventricular assist device installed on my heart ’cause my heart had gotten so weak after six heart attacks and 30-some years of heart disease that– it was, you know, it was at the end.   And the transplant is just– it’s– nothing short of a miracle what it does for you.

JONATHAN KARL: But when you go in for that surgery, you don’t know if you’re gonna come out alive.

DICK CHENEY:  Well– that’s one way to look at it. I’ve got– one scar, but I’ve had– three operations through that one scar, a bypass of ’88, the pump in 2010, and then this year– the transplant.  And the pump proposition, that was the toughest of all the surgeries.  I lost 40 pounds.  I was– heavily sedated in the intensive care unit for weeks afterwards.  I had pneumonia while I was in recovering from the– the surgery.  And– by the time I came out from under– I looked in a mirror and what I saw was my dad shortly before he died.

He was in his 80s…when I went in to do the transplant; I was only in the hospital nine days.  It was just four months ago.  There’s not been a single glitch, no sign of rejection.  Everything’s just gone perfectly.

JONATHAN KARL:  And– and you’re out, you’re fishing again?

DICK CHENEY:  Absolutely.

JONATHAN KARL:  Incredible.

DICK CHENEY:  Yep, every chance I get.

JONATHAN KARL Do you have any idea, do you know anything about the donor?

DICK CHENEY:  I don’t.  They deliberately– maintain anonymity, at least at the outset.  I think part of that has to do with the fact that it– it’s such a dramatically different situation.  From the standpoint of the recipient, obviously– it’s– it’s a tremendous gift.  And– I’ll always be grateful to the donor and the donor family for– for having made possible several additional years of life.

From the standpoint of the donor’s family at that point– they’d just been through a terrible tragedy and they’d lost a loved one, a family member.  And– so they don’t encourage contact at that point.  But there is a process– where you can go through a third party.  It’s– an organization that encourages transplants.  And they’ll be an intermediary to see if the other– party wants to– to– meet or exchange information or be in contact.  And– it’s something you can do down the road.

JONATHAN KARL: And will you do that?

DICK CHENEY:  At some point– I– would be, you know, certainly amenable to– contact with the family.  But– but we have not at this point exchanged any information.

JONATHAN KARL: What would you say to them?

DICK CHENEY:  Well– the main thing I’d say is thank you.  I’ve done it publicly not knowing precisely who it was or which family– every chance I get publicly is to express my gratitude for what’s a magnificent gift.  I can’t think of– of a more magnificent gift than to be given additional years of life.  And that’s what it is. The transplant then, you know, gives you– all of a sudden– the– expectation of several years of additional life that I never thought I’d have.  I can’t think of a more– magnificent or generous gift.

JONATHAN KARL: So what are you gonna do with those additional years?

DICK CHENEY: Well– I’m– spending time with my family…  I don’t have full-time work – if that’s what you’re asking.  This summer we’re enjoying very much being at home here in– in Wyoming. So I’m, I’m sort of back to normal life I guess would be the– the best way to describe it.  And– you know, there are all kinds of possibilities out there.  Maybe write another book– certainly plan to fish a lot and– probably do some speaking.

 

Advice for Mitt Romney and Why McCain Picking Sarah Palin Was “A Mistake”

JONATHAN KARL: Beth Myers– told me that she called you– for some advice on handling the vice-presidential search which she’s doing for Romney of course.  What– what– what is your advice to Mitt Romney as he makes this decision?

DICK CHENEY: Well, that’s the kind of thing– in terms of any specifics– it’s valuable if I give it to him but in confidence and don’t talk to others about what I said to him.  I can talk generally about the way I think about the–

(OVERTALK)

JONATHAN KARL: Let me put it this way.  How– how important is it for him to do this in a way that is different than the way John McCain handled his vice-presidential search?

DICK CHENEY: Pretty important.  That one I don’t think was well handled.  And–

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