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Gov. Bush Holds Media AvailabilityAired December 8, 2000 - 11:38 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Take you now to Austin, Texas. Texas Governor George W. Bush meeting today with Andrew Card and Karen Hughes. Karen Hughes his campaign spokeswoman. Here now live pictures again. Excuse me, I'll back up. This is tape a short time ago. Governor Bush.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just had a long discussion with Secretary Cheney and Clay Johnson about potential Cabinet officers. I also had a good visit with Jimmy Baker today. The folks in Florida anticipate a decision, and they feel like our lawyers made a good, strong case. I think, you know, we are hopeful that we'll finally see finality when it comes to this election. It's time to get on with America's business. But we'll see what the courts decide today.
QUESTION: Governor, do you expect there to be finality today, and if there is a decisive ruling, do you think the person, the individual who loses, should concede by the end of the day?
BUSH: Well, we're prepared to, if need be, take our case back to the Supreme Court, but I hope that doesn't have to happen. I hope the Florida...
BUSH: Pardon me? Well, I believe there'd be a reason to. And, of course, if that need be, we'll explain the reason. I just hope that doesn't -- I hope that doesn't take place. I hope that -- obviously hope the justices in Florida rule in our favor. We'll see what they do.
QUESTION: Would there be a reason for the vice president to also go back to court...
BUSH: Each candidate's going to have to decide, you know, make the decision that is best for the country. And only thing I can tell you is what, you know, how I think. You'll have to ask the vice president how he thinks, depending on the outcome of the courts.
BUSH: Yes? QUESTION: At this point, do you have most of your Cabinet posts picked out?
BUSH: We've got...
But we're making pretty good progress. We've been somewhat hampered. It's hard to really be conducting a series of formal interviews with people until the election is over. But we're thinking, spending a lot of time thinking about different names, and we're doing some cursory background checks.
But I'd say, no, we're not in a position to...
QUESTION: Governor, have you finalized your White House staff? And are you looking at...
BUSH: I've decided on a couple of them. I don't know whether or not they can pass the background checks, if you know what I mean.
It shouldn't surprise you that I hope that some of my good friends will come up to Washington with me, should I end up being the president. These two characters to my right here have been great friends of mine for a long time. I trust them. I trust their judgment. But there will be an appropriate time to announce a White House staff, and now's not the time.
QUESTION: Have you spoken to any Cabinet members, potential Cabinet members yet? You said earlier in the week you haven't actually approached any of them formally.
BUSH: Well, I haven't made a formal offer, but yes, I have. One came to my ranch.
QUESTION: If the court decisions go your way and there is some finality, how quickly would you be able to start making these announcements?
BUSH: Pretty quick on the White House staff, and I think that's going to be important. And then we'll lay out a timetable for the Cabinet. And we got a lot of work to do on, you know, I presume the -- you know, we got a lot of work to do on background checks.
You watch very carefully what happens here at the mansion. There's not a lot of people coming through here right now, and of course, before anybody is named I anticipate sitting down with them and having a good long talk about my expectations for the job.
QUESTION: Governor, in your lifetime, white and black Americans died to make sure that African-Americans would have the right to vote. And yet, there are reports out of Florida that African-Americans were systematically denied the right to vote. Are you concerned about that? And, if president, what would you do about that?
BUSH: Well, of course, I'm concerned about anybody being denied the right to vote. The great thing about America is everybody should vote. Interestingly enough, I haven't analyzed all the results, but in the state of Florida, as I understand, the African-American turnout was huge. The increase was significant over previous years, and that's a positive development. People were going to the polls.
You know, obviously, anybody who is denied the right to vote is something that, you know, we got to be concerned about.
QUESTION: Does it compromise the election results?
BUSH: No, it does not. That's what the courts are now deciding.
QUESTION: Are you thinking at all about any new Cabinet level positions?
BUSH: If so, I'll tell you later.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.
HEMMER: Governor Bush in Austin at the Mansion there. Karen Hughes, Andy Card, Karl Rove at the table there, as well, in front of reporters. A couple of items there, talking about the appeal, if they lose this case in the state supreme court, Governor Bush indicating that he does not want to, but he will take the case, quote, "back to the U.S. Supreme Court." He also indicated before that that he believe it is time to get on with America's business. Also some talk about Cabinet positions, and the talk that continues to dribble out of Austin, Texas.
Back here in Tallahassee. I want to bring in David Cardwell here, our elections analyst. We have dubbed him the John Madden of election.
Good morning once again to you.
You heard Gov. Bush say they will go back to the U.S. Supreme Court, if need be. My question is this: If the state Supreme Court comes out and says: Go ahead and start counting ballots, does the U.S. Supreme Court function much like a lower court, where they can slap an injunction and say: Not yet. This case is in our hands, or no? CARDWELL: Well, they could, but they have got to get the case back before the U.S. Supreme Court. Right now, nothing is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. They do have a case pending in the 11th Circuit, where they did ask for an injunction to prevent any manual recounts from being done.
What could happen, if the Florida Supreme Court orders a recount done, manual counting of ballots, you will see that 11th Circuit case get reenergized, it is still sitting there, and they will go back in on their motion for an injunction and ask for an emergency injunction to prevent the Florida courts from going ahead with the recount.
HEMMER: What we do know is that there is no decision from the seven justices. And when I revert back to yesterday and think about the oral arguments that both of us heard, as we sat here, Justice Shaw said the following, when he was wondering about the findings of fact through Judge Sauls and not law. What was he looking for in that question?
CARDWELL: Well, appellate courts are used to reviewing questions of law. Was the statute properly interpreted or properly applied by the trial court? And they, they don't hesitate, if they think a mistake was made to reverse or to instruct the trial court on what they think the law is on that subject.
But when it comes to questions of fact, they will defer to the trial court. Trial court was there at the hearing. It saw the witnesses, it heard the testimony. And so that is why I think Justice Shaw was asking: Is this fact or law, because the different standards apply depending on which one it is.
HEMMER: All right, right now it is 14 minutes before noon here in Tallahassee. I am going to move our conversation away from the State Supreme Court and talk about that historic special session that will begin at high noon here in Tallahassee.
You've talked with a lot of people, and you understand that the rules -- there will be a vote anyway and the rules change at the very outset. What is happening on that front?
CARDWELL: I was talking to some legislators, freshman legislators last evening, and they were telling me, particularly the Democratic legislators, were telling me that one of the things that is going to happen, that they just know means that they will not be able to stop this, is that the rules of the House and the Senate will be amended to provide for this concurrent resolution to choose the electors. As they said, we have got enough votes that we could prevent a suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds vote. The Republicans have the majority, but they are just shy of two- thirds. But the Democrats said, we can't block them from amending the rules because a rule amendment only requires a majority vote.
HEMMER: And it is my understanding, there is no filibustering. This is not a case of getting up and talking and talking and talking to delay; correct? CARDWELL: That is right. There are time limits on how long you could speak. Now every member can try to speak, but it is also very likely that when the rules for debate are set that there may be a limit placed upon the total amount of debate.
HEMMER: All right, 13 minutes away now, as we continue to talk here, and we are also about 42 minute way from when two decisions will come down that could play critical in this race for the White House those being Martin County and Seminole County.
Now, we don't know what Judge Clark and Judge Terry Lewis will rule, but we do know that they got together and conferred on these matters. It should be important to point out, though, we are not sure what they talked about.
CARDWELL: That is right. It may have been nothing more than what time are you going to have your order ready? And what time I'll have mine ready. Or what are you doing for lunch after this is all over? We don't know what they conferred about, and they probably will never tell us.
HEMMER: All right, David Cardwell, thanks again, OK.
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