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Bush Visits Reagan, Says He's Upbeat

July 17, 1985|Associated Press

BETHESDA, Md. — Vice President George Bush paid his first visit to the convalescing President Reagan today and said the chief executive is "running high and looking good" four days after having a cancerous growth removed from his colon.

Bush spent about 45 minutes, which he said was longer than he had expected, chatting with Reagan in his suite at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He said Reagan was "clearly read up" on the issues facing his Administration, including budget and farm problems.

"I got up there prepared to wait, and out came the President to greet me, walking, and sat in a straight-backed chair and looked very well indeed," Bush said.

Oil Business Slogan

"There's an expression in the oil business, 'running high and looking good,' when you're drilling a well, and that's the way he is, running high and looking good," said Bush, who made a fortune in the Texas oil fields before entering politics.

He said they discussed a breakfast meeting with Senate Finance Committee Republicans earlier in the day, at which Bush substituted for the President, and that Reagan "emphasized his interest in the budget deficit, which obviously still concerns him.

"He was very much concerned about the problems of agriculture and there were other subjects, too, but the main point is he was clearly read up and concerned about the various problems just as if he were sitting in the Oval Office," the vice president told reporters.

More Time Needed

Bush said Reagan "clearly needs some more time" to continue his recovery and added, "I think he hurts from time to time." But he said Reagan told him, "I feel fine right now," and Bush said he was "impressed with the recovery, his obvious strength."

He said they did not discuss how soon Reagan will leave the hospital. The White House says that will be over the weekend or early next week.

Bush said Reagan showed "no indication" of being depressed over his condition.

"The upbeat humor, unfailingly present in normal circumstances, is very much present today," he said. "We had a very good repartee, kidding and joking."

He said they did not discuss Reagan's unprecedented delegation of presidential power to him during the period he was under the anesthetic on Saturday.

"I assured him that things were functioning well," he said.

The White House said Reagan's doctors reported he had "the best night ever" and was not in any discomfort. Doctors removed a nasal tube used to draw out gas and fluid in the stomach. The President, who had complained of some irritation from the tube, quipped, "This is Christmas in July."

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