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Special Event

Bush Begins Planning for Administration

Aired November 10, 2000 - 3:03 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Fresh videotape from Austin, Texas. The Texas governor and several of his aides, Andrew Card, Clay Johnson, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Larry Lindsey, getting out of a limousine entering the Texas statehouse for a question-and-answer session with reporters this afternoon after a suggestion by William Daley that we choose our words carefully.

Here's George Bush.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... Secretary Cheney; Larry Lindsey, my chief economic adviser; Condy Rice, my national security adviser; Andy Carvey, Clay Johnson.

There was a count on election night, and there's been a re-count in Florida. And I understand there's still votes to be counted, but I'm in the process of planning in a responsible way a potential administration. There's been a series of ongoing meetings that the secretary and I have had on a variety of subjects so that, should the verdict that has been announced thus far be confirmed, we'll be ready. And I think that's what the country needs to know, that this administration will be ready to assume office and be prepared to lead.

Larry's -- in particular, is going to talk about the markets, and Condi is going to bring us up to date on a lot of matters. There's issues in Israel right now that I'm looking forward to hearing about. And these meeting will go on for a while. And then tomorrow the secretary and I are going to be up at the ranch. We'll have more meetings.

And any questions you have about what's happening in Florida I would ask you to refer those to James Baker. Secretary Baker is in charge of the process, he's doing a very good job down there, so I would ask that any questions you have about the politics of Florida, Mr. Baker can handle those questions.

QUESTION: Governor, generally, though, do you think it's time for Al Gore to give up?

BUSH: You know, I think each candidate and each team is going to have to do what they think is best -- in the best interests of the country.

And I think in the best interest of the county, it's in our country's best interest that we plan in a responsible way a possible administration. And there's been two votes, and we're pleased with the results of the two votes.

QUESTION: Governor, since you seem so sure that you will win, have you given thought to resigning early as governor of Texas to give your full attention...

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: I am mindful that there's still votes to be counted. And we're each -- I believe, as does Secretary Cheney, that the responsible course of action is to prepare, and that's what we're doing here in Austin, Texas. We're taking our time, in a very low-key manner, preparing for a possible administration.

But there's still votes outstanding. And I understand there's still votes outstanding.

QUESTION: Traditionally, Governor, though, when you're in a transition period you get the cooperation of the outgoing administration. Are you making any contact with the outgoing administration?

BUSH: I think that's a little early, Frank. Right now, you know, there's still votes to be counted.

QUESTION: What do you say to people who if you take office think you will be illegitimately taking office? What would you say to those people?

BUSH: Repeat the question, please?

QUESTION: Some people outside -- some of the protesters will say that it won't be a legitimate presidency because of how close it was. What would you say to those people?

BUSH: I would say we have a Constitution, and that's -- this is -- and I live by the Constitution.

We've had two vote counts already. And I'm pleased with what's happened. And I'm sure there's going to be some people disappointed that their man didn't get in, but there's also going to be a lot of people very happy.

And our job will be to unite the country. And I'm confident that the Bush-Cheney administration will be able to do so in a dignified way, in a way that...

QUESTION: You talked about bipartisanship (OFF-MIKE) what would be your first step to extend an olive branch (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: I think we've got to make this -- just put the election behind us and then we'll be glad to explain what our strategy will be. Right now, we're, obviously, planning in a way that I think Americans responsible, a responsible way. I think it's up to us to prepare the groundwork for an administration that will be ready to function on day one.

QUESTION: Would the cutoff day then be the tabulation of these absentee ballots? Would that be...

BUSH: I think you ought to be -- again, I -- Dean Reynolds, do you know something? It's been a long time since I've seen you, Dean. We haven't spent much quality time together.

(LAUGHTER)

It's good to see you.

It's good to see Sam Berman over there, too.

(LAUGHTER)

How quickly we forget.

(LAUGHTER)

You're Dean Reynolds? OK, I'm George W.

QUESTION: Nice to meet you.

BUSH: Yes, it is.

I beg your pardon. What was the question again? I forgot.

QUESTION: November 17th, when the tabulation of all the absentee ballots, is that the cutoff date? Is that when you will figure that the election is over and these court challenges and all that can go their way?

BUSH: Again, I refer you to Secretary Baker there in Florida.

QUESTION: Do you have any concerns about your ability to govern, given that Gore got the popular vote?

BUSH: I think they're still counting the popular vote. And, no, I don't at all. I'm looking forward to bringing this nation together. I've had a record of being somebody who can unite and reach across the partisan divide to get positive thing done.

QUESTION: Is Mr. Lindsey under consideration for a possible Treasury secretary job in a Bush administration?

BUSH: We're -- Mr. Lindsey has been a loyal friend and a person whose judgment I trust.

QUESTION: Governor, if you decide he's right, at what point do you think this dispute pressure can take on the (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: You know, it's hard to tell. I think -- it's certainly unprecedented in modern times. And more quickly this gets resolved, the better off it is for the nation.

And we believe that the responsible course of action is to be well-prepared. It's in our nation's best interest that -- that, should I assume the presidency, that this is an administration that is planned well and is prepared to assume the highest office of the land. And it will be. And we will be prepared.

And it's good to see you, Frank. It's my pleasure.

(LAUGHTER)

Excuse me. I beg your pardon, Dean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

BUSH: That's all -- thanks.

WATERS: George W. Bush in the Austin, Texas, statehouse schmoozing with reporters and essentially giving us the message that he is in the process of planning with his aides, who you saw seated with him around the room, in the process of planning a potential administration. He said that is the responsible course of action. If the decision in Florida is confirmed, says the Texas governor, we will be ready. However there's been no contact with the Clinton administration about a possible transition.

That's it from the CNN Center. I'm Lou Waters.

Now back to "TALKBACK LIVE."

More for you to consider there, Bobbie.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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