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Special Event

Donald Evans Sworn in as Commerce Secretary

Aired February 5, 2001 - 2:30 p.m. ET

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

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter so help me God.

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congratulations.

EVANS: Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Mr. Vice President

And it's great to be here with members of the Congress. Thank you all for coming.

Senator, thank you, sir.

Two members of the Texas delegation are here and we appreciate it very much for coming.

I want to thank you all for giving the vice president and me a chance to come and see the swearing in of a really good man, who married, by the way, a person with whom I went through first through seventh grade...

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: ... with, at Sam Houston Elementary School in Midland, Texas, and San Jacinto Junior High. And when we were on safety patrol...

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: ... little did she ever imagine I'd be president.

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: I want to thank all the good folks who work in this department. You don't know Don yet, but you're going to love him like I do.

I also want to thank you for your service to the country. I appreciate your hard work on behalf of America and the American citizens.

Don has taken an oath to serve this country and I know he'll be true to that oath in every way, because in 25 years I have never known him to break his word or forget a promise. Don's the kind of man you can trust without reservation and turn to without hesitation. He's a good man. I trust and admire him a great deal.

Since we first met in West Texas, I have turned to Don many times for help and advice. I've never been disappointed. We were together in Midland, Texas, when we set out in the oil business with big dreams for ourselves and our families.

We were together in Austin, Texas, seven years ago when I began serving the people of Texas. He was there on our journey that led to the presidency.

At every turn, Don has always been a wise and strong and steady influence. I thank him for taking this assignment. I'm proud to call him my secretary of commerce. I'm honored to call him my friend.

He has his work cut out for him. We came to Washington with a bold agenda, and we don't intend to waste any time.

Don shares with me a conviction that open trade is a powerful force for good in the world. In all of our dealings abroad, we must stand for free markets and for the principles of democracy. We must stand for free and open trade without favoritism and without barriers.

We have set a great goal, a world that trades in freedom, and that goal will take all of our commitment.

Secretary Evans has a mission to represent America's interest in the world. Many American industries and our farmers have met with unfair practices as they try to export their goods to foreign markets. In Don, they'll have an advocate who carries with him knowledge of trade, proven skill as a negotiator and the full support of the president.

It helps, too, that the new secretary of commerce has a background in energy.

Our nation's economy depends on the fossil fuels that keep our engines running. And we must be less dependent on foreign suppliers.

Along with my secretary of energy, Spence Abraham, Don will help me in pursuing a strategy of increased domestic production and energy independence.

Don is a key part of my economic team. We're going to make the case for broad, fair and responsible tax reductions. We're going to respect and reward the spirit of entrepreneurship in our country, helping small businesses as they expand and provide employment. We're going to make sure that American workers can find quality jobs in our American landscape.

I can't think of a better background for a commerce secretary than a West Texan with a creed of hard work and independence and enterprise. Don has always represented those qualities for me, and now he'll represent those qualities for America.

Mr. Secretary

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Evans, the new commerce secretary of the United States, and you saw rather a beaming look on President Bush's face today as he watched the swearing in of a very old friend of his. He noted Donald Evans is a life-long friend of his. He was Mr. Bush's campaign chair and as well, Mr. Evans' wife is a close friend of Mr. Bush. The president reminding us that he has known Mrs. Evans since they were in the first grade together. They were even on the school safety patrol in elementary school as well.

The job of commerce secretary is one which will promote U.S. businesses and international trade relations, and so he's called on his old friend to do that and help him in that role. Donald Evans, one of the first people named as a member of Mr. Bush's Cabinet; one of last to be sworn in but that as been done today in Washington.

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