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Election 2000: Bush Considers Cabinet Appointments with Chief of StaffAired November 28, 2000 - 1:19 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The court cases notwithstanding, the Bush team is moving full steam ahead with the privately funded transition.
Let's check in now with CNN's Eileen O'Connor.
She is in Austin -- Eileen.
EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, Governor Bush is back at his -- at the governor's mansion right now, and later on today, he will be going to his ranch, we're being told, in Crawford, Texas. He will also, perhaps, be joined there by Andrew Card, his chief of staff, who is been also meeting with him all morning.
They have been discussing, as they call it, a varied list of Cabinet appointments. They are not speculating, they say, on any names thus far, but they are, as one Republican strategist said, you know joining in the imagery: This is a governor who is moving forward to transition, and basically, he is preparing, as they say, it would be irresponsible for him not to prepare for this transition.
So now, as you know already, Andrew Card came out this morning. He did say that they're looking at people from all walks of life, as Secretary Cheney has already said. Aides to Governor Bush say that they will also -- that he is a bipartisan, that he has a history of bipartisanship, the governor -- and that, clearly, he'll be looking at even some Democrats who are -- who are perhaps -- could be -- have the likewise agenda, a likewise opinions, like the governor's.
And they do believe that, Secretary Cheney has said, given the closeness of this race, given what's happening in Florida, that they do have to have a government that can reach out and try to unify the country.
But, again, they are not going to talk or have any appointments announced while this contesting is going on. But again, the imagery is important, because this does go along with a public relations campaign that this is Governor Bush who has had the certified result and it is the vice president, Al Gore, who is trying to overturn those certified results -- Natalie.
ALLEN: And yesterday, saying about -- talking about the limited time they have in their transition mode, that they're continuing in, to hire and to fill some hundreds of jobs. And here Bush is going now to his ranch. Is the Bush team saying how connected he is with Cheney, how often they're talking during this process?
O'CONNOR: Well, as we understand it, in fact, Secretary Cheney will be coming here at some point later this week to go to the ranch in Crawford, and that is where they will, basically, be poring over these lists of names. As you said, there's 600 jobs that need Senate confirmation, and there's also 3,000 jobs within the administration that are important. And, of course, given that he is a Republican and has to come in to take over a Democratic legislation, it's the entire executive branch that he has to replace.
So they already work from kind of a disadvantage than the vice president. They have floated a few names, but these haven't been names that have been long been floated. They're not floating them now. These are names that we've known about even before the election day.
Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser. She has a foreign policy history. She was very helpful to the governor on the campaign trail, reaching out to women voters.
Of course, General Colin Powell. Now, Governor Bush has said, on the campaign trail that he could see Colin Powell doing a great job in any Cabinet position, but he has long been thought as the most likely pick for secretary of state.
Interestingly, Sam Nunn is a name that hadn't really been talked about as defense secretary. It is being talked about in Republican circles, but I'm being told by Bush aides that that's really wild speculation. It's likely speculation, though, because he is a conservative southern Democrat. He has a long history on Senate defense committees, and he is a well-known defense expert. And as a Democrat, ironically, he'd be replacing a Republican in a Democratic administration. As you know, William Cohen was a Republican senator that the Clinton administration picked.
And then also, you have for attorney general, long name -- name that's long been mentioned: Oklahoma governor Frank Keating. A friend of Governor Bush's, he's known him as a governor.
And now moving up and on the list is Marc Racicot, who we've seen, in recent days, coming out in defense of the Bush campaign's position on recounts, that they are not counting, but casting ballots. He is seen still, though, as a moderate Republican, and he also has some experience. He was a very experienced prosecutor, losing only two cases in 12 years.
So these are all people, as I said, that are not exactly new names, they're just being floated out there and, again, the Bush campaign itself very careful not to talk specifically about names. They don't want to be seen as too presumptive -- Natalie.
ALLEN: And finally, as we mentioned, we're about to hear from Al Gore -- will we hear from George W. Bush today? O'CONNOR: We are not sure. I just made phone calls to the Bush campaign, and, in fact, some of them hadn't known that the vice president was coming out. They are, obviously, monitoring all these events. But they have been focused on the transition and what's going on there. Some of them are even going to be moving to Washington to be dealing with that.
So we do not know if Governor Bush will be coming out, although I think that is probably unlikely, unless this is some kind of dramatic announcement -- Natalie.
ALLEN: All right, Eileen O'Connor, thanks so much, in Austin.
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