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President-Elect Bush and Vice President Gore Hold a One-on-One Meeting

Aired December 19, 2000 - 4:01 p.m. ET

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

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: The transfer of power has taken another step, and so has what's called the healing. At the White House today, Governor Bush received the traditional briefing from the man that he will succeed as president. If there was any ill will, it was not apparent but given rancor we've seen it is significant that Mr. Bush went out of his way to hold a separate meeting today with the man he beat in a contest that ended after only several very difficult weeks.

CNN's Patty Davis starts us off with that much-anticipated face- to-face -- Patty.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, that much- anticipated face-to-face took place here at the vice president's official residence about an hour ago, that between Vice President Al Gore and President-Elect George W. Bush. The meeting began with a handshake between the two arch-rivals here for the past about a year and a half. It was their first meeting since their third debate.

Asked if he had any advice for the new president-elect, the vice president would only say we're going to have a private conversation. As for his message to the country, Mr. Gore said that he gave that Wednesday night when he conceded. Now President-Elect -- the Texas Governor George W. Bush is at Dulles airport right now. That's where he headed after this meeting with the vice president. He will be headed then back to Austin, Texas where he lives, of course. He's the governor of that state.

The message of this meeting, though, very clear, intended to send a signal that the rancor, as you said, is gone. Mr. Gore stands completely behind Mr. Bush; that a spirit of unity now rules.

Now Mr. Gore spent the last several days taking some rest and relaxation, a little vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was in St. Thomas. And it's interesting. he touched down at Andrews Air Force Base about one hour before this meeting took place, and rushed here to the vice president's residence to have that meeting -- Joie.

CHEN: Patty, was anybody in the room with these two men? Is it really a private, private face-to-face?

DAVIS: Well, we don't know because all we were able to see was what happened outside that exchange. And I have to say that that meeting only lasted 15 minutes. I don't know what you can read into that, but the exchange was very short between the two of these. Now, at the same time both of their chiefs of staffs were also meeting here at the official residence.

So, that was going on, but we don't know what transpired inside that meeting. The Bush campaign -- or I should say the president- elect's transition team now says that it will brief on the content of that meeting here in just a few minutes -- Joie.

All right. CNN's Patty Davis for us at the vice president's official residence.

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