President Bush has regained executive powers after briefly transferring that authority during a medical test. Vice President Dick Cheney was chief executive for more than two hours Saturday, while Mr. Bush had a routine examination of his colon.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said doctors found no polyps or abnormalities in the president's colon.
"The president said he feels great and he has already resumed his normal routine at Camp David. In fact, he is working out at the gym as we speak," Mr. Fleischer announced
The spokesman said the president transferred power shortly after 7 am local time. The president's doctor, Air Force Colonel Richard Tubb, said Mr. Bush was heavily sedated for the procedure, which was completed in less than half-an-hour.
"The president woke up within 30-60 seconds after discontinuation of the anesthesia. He was in good spirits. He was asking questions, made a couple phone calls," Dr. Tubb explained. " He was monitored in the recovery room for approximately 30 minutes following the anesthesia, as would be standard operating protocol."
Following the procedure, the president was examined again by Dr. Tubb. He telephoned vice president Cheney, played ball with his dogs and had breakfast with Mrs. Bush, before resuming executive authority about 9:30 am.
Vice president Cheney was at the White House during his brief time as acting chief executive. He received his usual round of intelligence briefings, and met with staff. Mr. Fleischer says nothing happened that required Mr. Cheney to use presidential power.
Mr. Bush decided to transfer authority because the nation is at war and he wanted to be "super cautious."
While the temporary transfer of power went smoothly, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez says there is no reason to conclude that the president will choose to do the same thing for medical tests in the future.
"In this particular case, he looked at all the circumstances: the length of the procedure, the relationship with the vice president, things going on domestically and internationally, and made the decision that it was the right thing to do for this country," explained Mr. Gonzales. "And, I think, the American people should be reassured that we have a process in place, so that when the president is unable to discharge his powers and duties, that the presidency is not disabled."
The colonoscopy was a follow-up to a similar procedure two years ago that found several benign polyps.
Dr. Tubb says the 55-year-old president is in "good health," with no sign of hypertension, diabetes, or heart disease. He has mild high frequency hearing loss and some sports-related injuries, including lower-back pain, caused by weightlifting.