Kelly Wallace details the view from the Clinton administration
White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace is traveling with President Clinton,
who was in Kearney, Nebraska, on Friday to give an international policy speech. With
the trip to Nebraska, Clinton has now traveled to all 50 states. Wallace spoke
to CNN.com about the Clinton aides' take on the election.
Q: What are Clinton administration officials saying about the ongoing election
WALLACE: Publicly, the Clinton administration is not saying much. The
president and his aides are basically saying that the process should play out,
that the American people should relax, take a deep breath and let this
matter be resolved in the courts.
Privately, Clinton officials definitely support Vice President Al Gore fighting
on to see that the votes in Florida are counted. They won't elaborate as to
how far they think the vice president should take this fight, but they are
saying behind the scenes they fully support Gore and his team in pressing
this matter to the fullest.
Q: Is there any acrimony between the Clinton and Gore camps?
WALLACE: No. The White House, publicly and privately, is trying to do the
best job it can in saying that this matter is being conducted by the Gore legal
team and not the White House.
When asked and pressed if the president himself is getting involved in terms
of calling up Democrats and trying to shore up support, the administration
says the president might discuss the matter in his normal conversations
with Democrats, but that he and his White House team are in no way leading
a charge to unify Democrats behind the vice president.
Aides do say that the president fully believes that if all the votes were
counted in Florida, the vice president would come out on top. So, the
administration and the president are certainly supporting the vice president
in his efforts to get those votes counted.
Q: How should Americans read the Clinton administration's decision to begin
giving security briefings to the Bush camp this week?
WALLACE: Basically, since this is an unusual situation, the administration felt
that it was appropriate for Texas Gov. George W. Bush and his running mate
Dick Cheney to receive the normal security briefings that a president-elect
The vice president obviously receives intelligence briefings every day; if Bush
happened to be named president-elect, he would be getting those daily
briefings and so the Clinton administration believed it was an appropriate
action to start moving forward with.
The administration, though, says nothing should be read into that. Because
this is such an unusual election circumstance, the administration felt that it
was appropriate to give the governor and his running mate the same
intelligence briefings that the vice president gets every day as a member of
the current administration.
The White House says this is pretty much standard procedure. Again, the
White House says nothing should be read into it -- that these are just unusual
times and it is doing what it feels is appropriate.
Q: Are Clinton aides talking about the Gore campaign at all and the wish that
President Clinton had been used more on the campaign trail?
WALLACE: They are mum on that point right now, both publicly and privately.
Right now, their focus is on backing the vice president and trying to make
the case that there is no crisis: That there will be a president on January 20.