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Special Event

President-Elect George W. Bush Announces Joseph Allbaugh as FEMA Director-Designate and Karl Rove as Senior Adviser to the President

Aired January 4, 2001 - 11:03 a.m. ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush speaking now from Austin, Texas. Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

PRES.-ELECT GEORGE W. BUSH: ... to a White House position, and that was Karen Hughes.

Today, it is my honor to report to the nation that the remainder of the "triangle" has agreed to serve in my administration. First, Joe Allbaugh: Joe has been a loyal, strong friend who has agreed to become the director of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA is an incredibly important part of a president's team. The person who runs FEMA is someone who must have the trust of the president, because the person who runs FEMA really is the first voice often times that someone whose lives have been turned upside down hears from.

I can't think of a better man to take the job than Joe Allbaugh. He's a well-organized individual. He cares a lot about his fellow man. He has been by my side during the natural disasters that took place, over the last six years. He's seen what an effective agency can mean to people, and I'm really pleased that Joe has agreed to take on the assignment. He's going to do a fabulous job.

Secondly, Karl Rove has agreed to serve as the senior adviser and assistant to the president. Karl has got a fantastic mind. He is one of the reasons why I was elected governor, and one of the reasons why I was elected the president. He comes to Washington with a wonderful sense of history, a great understanding of the presidency as an institution in America. He will bring good judgment, good humor and good advice to the White House.

And so it's a wonderful pleasure to announce the "triangle" has been completed, and that these two good men and their families will be joining us in Washington, D.C.

And I'd like to ask Joe Allbaugh to say a few remarks.

JOSEPH ALLBAUGH, FEMA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: Mr. President-elect, thank you so much. I am humbled by your nomination. I am touched by your confidence. I'm excited about being at FEMA. I can't think of a better place to help out fellow countrymen when they are in time of need. I look forward to joining the thousands of reservists, employees and volunteers that will continue in American tradition of assisting our American citizens when disaster strikes.

And lastly, I'd like to thank my family, for without their love and consideration, I would be incomplete.

Thank you, Mr. President-elect.

BUSH: Mr. Rove?

KARL ROVE, BUSH CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Thank you, Mr. President (sic). I'm honored by your call to service, and I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a lifetime very rewarded. Thank you, sir; appreciate it.

BUSH: Thank you all; we'll see you at the lunch hour.

KAGAN: That was a short announcement from President-elect George W. Bush, naming a few more men he would like to have serve with him in Washington. Joe Allbaugh, who will be heading up FEMA. Those are the folks you see if you are unfortunate enough to have a natural disaster come your way, as the federal government comes in to try to help victims of natural disaster.

Also, Karl Rove, who was George W. Bush's campaign manager, will be joining him as senior adviser to the president.

Let's bring back in Tony Clark, who I had to interrupt, I apologize for that, earlier to get that announcement in. What can you tell us about either of these men, Karl Rove probably better known, as he has been involved in campaign, but what about Joe Allbaugh?

CLARK: You know, Daryn, you make a good point because it is going to be quite a change I think from James Lee Witt, the current FEMA director. Joe Allbaugh is very much a behind-the-scenes kind of man. He has played key roles for the president-elect throughout his campaign. He was in Florida throughout the recount. In fact, he and I were visiting the other day. He said he had his meals all at his desk I think except for two times. And the night that the president- elect stood in the House Chamber here at the State Capitol in Austin and made his announcement, Joe said that it was still hard to believe that he had helped elect the president of the United States.

He grew up in on a farm in Oklahoma, a graduate of Oklahoma State University. As I say, very active in some 39 campaigns in various states around the country.

One of the things I asked him that night was whether or not, much like the movie "The Candidate," the only Robert Redford movie if, now that they had won the White House, if they knew what they were going to do. And Allbaugh telling me, we know exactly what we are going to do. He has always been very much a hands-on person, but very much a behind-the-scenes person for President-elect Bush. And so now it is going to be very interesting to see exactly what he does.

Karl Rove, on the other hand, has been much more high profile, doing the talk shows. He has always been known as the key strategist for President-elect Bush. As I was saying earlier, he goes back to 1978 congressional race that Bush made. He was very active in both of the gubernatorial races. He is thought of as a key adviser. He has been thought of as the brains of the Bush campaign. And so now, as the president-elect says, his iron triangle of advisers is complete; all of them following him to Washington for a Bush administration -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Tony Clark, in Austin, Texas, thank you very much.

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