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Published: Saturday, 2/13/2010

Clinton recovering at home; aides doubt he'll slow down


CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Bill Clinton was back at his suburban home Friday, a day after undergoing a heart procedure at a Manhattan hospital.

The 63-year-old former president seemed to have returned to multitasking, just a day after having a clogged artery reopened and two stents inserted into his chest.

"I feel great. … I even did a couple miles on the treadmill today," Mr. Clinton said, speaking to reporters from the driveway. He said doctors advised him "not to jog but walk. Not to walk fast up steep hills for a week."

Aides said Mr. Clinton's second heart procedure in five years seemed unlikely to slow down his busy work schedule, which included two trips to Haiti, stumping for Senate candidate Martha Coakley, and attending an economic summit in Switzerland - all in just over a month.

"He's working as hard as he's ever worked. He's done it for 63 years and will do it for the next 63 years. He's never going to stop," said Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist who helped guide Mr. Clinton's first presidential bid in 1992.

But some other advisers said Mr. Clinton's brief hospitalization was a reminder that his health has become more fragile. They worried that he's running too hard.

"He's got to slow down," Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said on MSNBC yesterday. "He's got to slow down to a good, human schedule. He's had a superhuman schedule for a long while, and he's got to cut back. There's no question about it."

Advisers said the Haiti earthquake-relief effort has been Mr. Clinton's main focus, and he appeared to return to that cause yesterday.

Through his foundation, Mr. Clinton put out a statement marking the one-month observance of the quake and urging people to donate.

Mr. Clinton said he had been working long hours on the Haiti relief effort, including taking three overnight flights in a week. He said his first symptoms were about four days ago, when he felt "just a little bit of tingling, not pain."

Mr. Clinton had the procedure at New York Presbyterian Hospital, the same place where he underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2004.

Mr. Clinton returned home with his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, advisers said. Aides said Mrs. Clinton plans to leave today for the Persian Gulf.

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