Bush, Gore continue transition planning as Supreme Court hears case
CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- Republican George W. Bush quietly worked on his transition strategy at his Texas ranch Friday, as his lawyers argued before the Supreme Court over the disputed presidential election in Florida.
Both Bush and Democratic rival Al Gore are plunging ahead with planning their new presidential administrations as the legal teams for both sides continue to wrangle over the disbursement of Florida's 25 electoral votes in a number of court venues.
Republican vice presidential candidate and transition chief Dick Cheney told reporters Friday that the Texas governor wants a broad Cabinet that emphasizes diversity as well as experience.
"What we've done and will do, I'm sure, in part, is reach out for some experienced hands, but we also are going to want new talent, we're going to want to emphasize diversity and we're going to want a broad Cabinet," Cheney told reporters.
Bush's message of "compassionate conservatism" didn't provide his candidacy with a substantial boost in support from African-American, Hispanic or female voters over past GOP candidacies -- a fact not lost on transition planners.
"The closeness of the election underscores the importance of the next president to unite rather than divide and to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to accomplish the goals put forward in the campaign," said Bush spokesman Ray Sullivan.
Campaign sources have said the appointment of two African-Americans is likely to be announced as soon as possible if Bush is declared president-elect: retired Gen. Colin Powell as secretary of state and former Reagan and Bush administration aide Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser.
Bush to meet with GOP congressional leaders
Republicans close to the Bush campaign say the Texas governor also is looking at Rep. Henry Bonilla of Texas and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman as possible GOP appointees to his Cabinet.
Three Wall Street veterans are on the early list of potential candidates for treasury secretary -- an appointment Bush could use to send a reassuring signal to investors worried about recent turmoil in financial markets.
GOP sources described the process as in its early stages, but said that names under consideration included: Walter Shipley, chairman and chief executive officer of The Chase Manhattan Corp; Don Marron, chairman and CEO of PaineWebber; and John M. Hennessey, chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston.
Bush has scheduled a Saturday meeting with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, at his ranch house. A Bush campaign aide said the Texas governor would avoid contacting congressional Democrats until Florida's final vote is decided.
"Out of respect for them (Democrats who support Gore), we are leaving that alone for now," the aide said.
Gore would ask Clinton Cabinet members to remain temporarily
If he ultimately wins the White House, Gore has discussed the likelihood of asking several Clinton administration Cabinet members to stay at their posts temporarily because of expected delays in Senate confirmation proceedings.
Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta are widely mentioned as likely holdovers if there is a Gore administration. A Democratic source involved in transition planning told CNN on Friday that several others might be asked to stay on for a period "of a month to three or four months."
Another Democratic source said that Gore's transition team is mainly preoccupied with "three or four picks that (Gore) would need and would want to make to send the right signals." Those include positions atop the Treasury and State departments, and perhaps Defense as well.
Gore was said to have already formulated clear thoughts about appointees for most major Cabinet positions, but also realized that the nearly even split between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate would likely bog down the confirmation hearings.
More detailed transition planning would commence "if necessary" based on legal decisions expected over the next several days.
CNN Senior White House Correspondent John King andReuters contributed to this report.