For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 28, 2002
Remarks by the President Upon Departure for Camp David
The South Lawn
4:00 P.M. EDT
Q Mr. President, what's the story?
THE PRESIDENT: Hold on, I'll tell you.
As you know, I've been recommending that Americans take precautionary measures for their health and that people should be screened on a regular basis, particularly those of us over 50. And tomorrow, I'm going to have a colonoscopy at Camp David. It is the third such procedure I've had. The doctor has recommended I have another one because, the last time, they found some benign polyps. And so this is kind of a routine physical examination that will be done at Camp David.
I'm going -- I'm going to be sedated for a period of time and will transfer power to the Vice President during that time. And I look forward to exercising tomorrow afternoon, after the procedure takes place.
Q Do you know how long it's going to be, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's -- you know, the last time I did this, it wasn't very long. I mean, the definition of long -- the docs will be briefing here pretty soon. But, you know, it shouldn't take too long to --
Q Is there anything that triggered this?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all, John. I feel great. This is a part of the ongoing -- you know, it's a kind of part of the annual physical. And so I just decided to do it at this time, it fit in with my schedule. And I feel great. No signs, no symptoms.
The last time we did one of these colonoscopies, they found benign polyps and they recommended that -- I think it was two years ago and they recommended they take another look and see if there's anything in there.
Q Should we read anything into the fact that you are going to transfer the power, the length of time of this?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. It's just that I made the decision. We looked at the precedent. I'm the first President to have done so under this type of procedure and/or physical examination. I did so because we're at war and I just want to be super -- you know, super cautious.
And I informed the Vice President of this and he's fully prepared to -- he's standing by. He'll realize he's not going to be President that long. (Laughter.)
Q Is he back in Washington, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: He is. Yes, he is.
Q What time will you be doing this tomorrow?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the time is -- you know, I really don't want to put out a time, and I hope you understand why.
Q Where's the Vice President, here?
THE PRESIDENT: He'll be -- I'm not sure where he'll be.
MR. FLEISCHER: We'll hold a briefing. We'll fill you in.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I need to find out where he's --
Q Any family history of colon cancer?
THE PRESIDENT: Let's see, not really. Well, my brother -- yes, I had a brother who had colitis. And so there's some history there.
I do recommend and urge that people take -- get these precautionary tests and take a look. I had my first 'scope, as we say in the business, I think maybe five or six years ago, they discovered polyps for the first time. And it gets your attention a little bit. Fortunately, they were benign. And I think it's important to continue to get good checkups. And that's what this is about.
So, anyway, I'm glad to be able to share that with you. (Laughter.) Thank you all very much.
Q Thank you.
END 4:04 P.M. EDT