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Election 2000: Bush in Austin, Taking World Leaders' Calls of Congratulation

Aired December 14, 2000 - 1:01 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: Well, the first Texas governor ever to reach the presidency is enjoying one of the perks of that position today, taking calls of congratulation from world leaders.

CNN's Kelly Wallace joins us now from Austin -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's exactly right, Natalie. President-elect Bush is likely to hear from a number of world leaders today.

So far, we understand, the first to call, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

We also know countries such as Israel and Japan released statements congratulating the president-elect. The world community, as well as people in the U.S., certainly followed the past five weeks very closely to see who would become the 43rd president of the United States.

Now, on his first day as president-elect, George W. Bush received a national security briefing. He is also expected to spend a good part of the day meeting with senior advisers. He may also head to the transition headquarters here in Austin to thank the volunteers and staffers and, also, hold some more meetings. We do not expect to get any Cabinet appointments...

(TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES)

... White House staff.

Obviously, the president-elect and his team working quickly to fill an administration, just about five weeks before inauguration day. But really, from the Bush team, they wanted to keep this day pretty much publicly focused on unity and reconciliation, and that is why the first outing for Mr. Bush on this day, his first day as president- elect, he and his wife, Laura, attended that prayer service.

And in just days, Natalie, President-elect Bush will head to Washington, D.C., where he will meet with Vice President Gore to -- in the Bush team's words -- to work on healing any wounds left over from the election. Mr. Bush will also meet with President Clinton and other members of Congress, one of the leaders, the Senate Democratic leader, saying today bipartisanship is no longer an opposition, it is a requirement.

So big challenges ahead -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Big changes for him. I didn't hear you talk about any workout schedules. It looks like he's going to be really busy the next few days -- and a few years.

Thanks, Kelly Wallace, in Austin.

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