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CNN Today

The Florida Vote: Both Campaigns Focus on Possible Transitions to White House

Aired November 30, 2000 - 2:22 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 man rumored to be the likely secretary of state in a Bush administration is meeting with the Texas governor right now. Colin Powell traveled to Bush's ranch for discussions.

We get the latest on that from CNN's Jeanne Meserve in Austin.

They certainly didn't let anyone know specifically what they'll be talking about or offering up there at the ranch, Jeanne?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, you're right. Discussions underway right now between the governor, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell -- Colin Powell, of course, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. He's been an adviser to the Bush campaign; he campaigned with Governor Bush and he has been widely rumored to be Bush's pick for secretary of state.

Today he responded to the question, have you been asked and would you serve?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, FORMER JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I have not yet been asked, and if that question should be posed to me I think I should answer it directly to the governor at that time before answering it to anyone else.

QUESTION: Have you let it be known that you're concerned about being named secretary of state before Al Gore concedes or the legal wrangling is through?

POWELL: No; I've been reading that in the newspaper, but I have had no such conversation with the governor of with Secretary Cheney or anyone else. I'm not sure where that came from, but it's always been my understanding in my earlier conversations with the governor that he would not move in that direction and begin appointing members of a cabinet until all of this matter is behind us and resolved.

Obviously, he has appointed members of his transition team and those who have to get to work now so that we don't lose too much time during the transition period.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MESERVE: Many of the questions today, of course, for Governor Bush. He was asked, specifically, about the recommendation by a committee of the Florida legislature to recommend a special session. He was asked if this was a partisan power play to short circuit the courts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here's my view: I've won three counts and I think it's time to get some finality to the process. I've felt like we won on election night. And then there was a recount in all Florida counties and then there was a selected recount in additional Florida counties, and each time Dick Cheney and I ended up on top. And I'm -- and the reason why we're moving forward with our discussions and our -- and the transition, is because when the counting finally stops we want to be prepared to lead this nation. That's what we were elected to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: Note that phraseology, "that's what we were elected to do." Nothing ambiguous about the language or the governor's action.

Transition talks will continue; tomorrow he meets with Andy Card, his pick to be White House chief of staff if there is a Bush White House. And Dick Cheney, the head of his transition team, expected to stay at the ranch until Saturday -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right; Jeanne Meserve in Austin.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And the Gore camp continues fighting tooth and nail. The vice president is in Washington, where he's also been doing some transition planning.

More on the vice president's day, now, from CNN's Eileen O'Connor.

Eileen, what's going on?

EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, it also here is about projecting that image of moving forward; and as you said he -- the vice president -- was at the White House today, also involved in planning a presidential transition to keep that image that this is all very, very possible and that the vice president -- that this election isn't over. That a winner hasn't been decided.

And the vice president was meeting with some of the advisers he met with yesterday and also with Senator Joseph Lieberman, his running mate. Of course, the two of them and the Gore camp very upset with the decision by the Florida state legislature to hold a special session and to talk about electing a slate of electors through the Florida state legislature. The Gore campaign, saying that this is unprecedented, that it is a partisan political move and that it is tantamount to the legislature overturning the will of the people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We bring it to the courts for independent judgment; and to take it back to the political body, a legislative body with a clear partisan majority there takes us down a road that, regardless of which side we're on in this election, America ought not to want to go down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'CONNOR: For the Gore campaign, it should be decided in the court. What they want the courts to decide -- and they've gone to Florida state Supreme Court today to get them to rule that these ballots should -- the process of counting those ballots, the under- counted ballots in Miami-Dade, the so-called under-votes -- that those votes should be counted now and that the Florida state Supreme Court could, in fact, set a standard themselves for counting those votes.

They know, and they want to, they say, bring this to a finality; and the best way to do that is to get the votes counted as quickly as possible. The Gore campaign also knowing that the public's patience only goes so far, so they would like to move this along. And, of course, they do have that December 12 deadline looming -- Lou.

WATERS: All right; Eileen O'Connor at the vice president's residence in Washington.

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