Feature

Cheney’s affairs of the heart

The former vice president has survived five heart attacks.

Despite his enemies’ claims to the contrary, Dick Cheney does have a heart, said Joseph Rago in The Wall Street Journal. Granted, it’s a shaky one: The former vice president, 70, has survived five heart attacks. The first came in 1978, when he was running for a House seat in Wyoming. “It significantly advanced my name identification,” he says, with a grin. “I got a lot of coverage. I even got sympathy donations.” His second came in 1984. “They always seemed to happen in campaign years,” he says. The third and most serious attack came in 1988, which led to quadruple bypass surgery. The fourth one came during the 2000 Florida recount, and his fifth came in February of last year.

Today, he’s kept alive by what he refers to as “the gear’’—a battery-powered computer that runs an implanted turbine, which pumps blood into his aorta. “I’m not running any footraces, but I’m able to do virtually anything I would want to do.” He’s even planning a fly-fishing trip to Montana. Doctors have attached just one proviso, given his dependence on electronic gear. “I can’t fall in,” Cheney says, grinning again. “Whatever you do, don’t fall in.”

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