Former Vice President Cheney Hits the Road for First Public Events Since July Heart Surgery

By Josh

Oct 11, 2010 10:35am

 ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: Former Vice President Cheney is starting to emerge in public again after spending the summer recuperating from heart surgery. Over the weekend Cheney participated in an event at the Bakersfield (CA) Business Conference where he took questions from his wife, Lynne. “She's been my nurse, my negotiator with the medical community, and in return for all of that great help she's given me, today I've agreed to let her interview me," the vice president said according to news reports. The former vice president appeared “frail” according to reports from the event and in pictures he appeared noticeably thinner than his White House days. Cheney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Cheney has been on the mend since early July when he underwent a procedure to implant a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) into his heart to treat his recurring heart disease. He said at the time that it became clear that he was "entering a new phase of the disease" when he began to "experience increasing congestive heart failure." "After a series of recent tests and discussions with my doctors, I decided to take advantage of one of the new technologies available,” he said of the cardiac pump. The former vice president was in the hospital until August 9. Except for a few statements from his office over the summer with updates on his health, Cheney has been off the radar. The California event was Cheney’s second appearance this month – last week he spoke at a closed press event for the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers in Colorado Springs. Cheney has a long history of heart problems. He has had five heart attacks, the first in 1978 when he was just 37 years old, and the most recent in February. That winter hospital stay forced the former vice president to miss a breakfast in Washington with his former boss, George W. Bush, and hundreds of former White House and campaign staffers. The event, sponsored by the Bush-Cheney Alumni Association, was to be the first time the two met in person since they left office in January 2009. Instead, Bush dropped by to visit Cheney at his home in Virginia on Feb. 25. Cheney and Bush, both sporting dark suits, shook hands and exchanged grins on the steps of Cheney's residence in McLean, Va., before turning to wave to the ABC News camera. When Bush told Cheney he was “lookin’ good,” the former vice president wryly noted, “Could be worse.” In the first year after he left the White House, Cheney stayed firmly in the public spotlight, selectively choosing interviews and appearances to deliver stinging rebukes of the Obama Administration. In February of 2009, the former vice president predicted that Obama will be a "one-term president." After the thwarted Christmas Day bomb plot last year, Cheney said that Obama was "trying to pretend we are not at war" with terrorists. But since then, the former vice president’s health issues have kept him largely out of the public eye.

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