Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says the quadruple heart bypass surgery performed last month on her husband has had a profound effect on the former president.
"He's just more into everyday life than I have ever seen him," the New York senator told Primetime Live's Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.
"He feels like it's a bonus now doing the work of his foundation, you know trying to help people, whether it's people with HIV/AIDS in Africa or small business people," she said. "He cares about what happens in the election, he cares about the consequences for our country."
But the former first lady said the surgery has also left intact everything she loves about her husband. "Even though he's had his heart repaired, he still has the biggest heart I've ever known," she said.
'Typical Bill Clinton'
Sen. Clinton recounted for Sawyer the moment in September when her husband first told her about his diagnosis.
"He was keeping up a really good front," she said.
She said her husband looked at the bright side of things, telling her, " 'Well, we dodged a big bullet. This is actually really good news.' "
"It was typical Bill Clinton," his wife said. " 'We're going to be very positive about this.' Meanwhile, I'm just dying on in the inside."
She said her husband did his best to assure her. "He just kept saying over and over again, 'I know this is going to be fine, but I don't want you to worry.' "
She also said she didn't contemplate the possibility that something might go wrong.
"I have a lot of confidence in doctors and I also still view him as indestructible, even after this operation, so I never allowed myself to think that."
However, she does say she prayed more than usual, and talked to a few close friends, but she didn't voice her worries to her husband,
"I wanted him to remain positive and upbeat and feel that it was going to be fine," the senator said.
A Memory to Keep
The Clintons and daughter Chelsea were able to spend time together as a family before the former president went under the knife, Hillary Clinton said.
"We just told each other how much we loved each other and that, you know, we were there for each other in every way," she said.
And when the former president came out of surgery in good spirits, his wife got a memory to treasure forever.
"He kept holding Chelsea's and my hands and telling us how much he loved us and he kept saying, 'It wasn't bad, it really wasn't bad. It's going to be fine,' " she said. "We were so relieved."