Pretzel Chokes, Fells President Bush

updated 01/14/2002 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/14/2002 10:00AM

President George W. Bush set off a White House scare on Sunday when he fell off a sofa after passing out briefly from having choked on a pretzel while watching a National Football League playoff game on TV, White House physician Dr. Richard Tubb told the Associated Press. The physician, an Air Force colonel, said that the chief executive quickly recovered and was doing well. "He fainted due to a temporary decrease in heart rate brought on by swallowing a pretzel," Tubb told the AP. "I do not find any reason that this would happen again." The incident did leave its mark: Bush, 55, suffered a bruise on his left cheek the size of a half-dollar and one on his lower lip, the AP reports. Bush said he had been feeling under the weather over the weekend. "He had not been feeling well the last couple of days," said Tubb, although Bush had exercised rigorously Saturday and had a lighter workout Sunday. Tubb said Bush has felt "a little off his game," as if he was coming down with a head cold. Tubb said that the incident does not appear to be stress-related, he told the AP, noting that this was the first health scare for the President. As for the NFL game, the Baltimore Ravens dominated the Miami Dolphins, 20-3.

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