Leading the Nation
Education Partners
· From 'acoustics' to 'zoology,' explore our online Dictionary of Science and Technology
· Learn about the U.S. with our online atlas
· Understand the phases of the moon
· Online Stanford writing assessment


bullet  Presidential play
bullet  Inaugural sneak peek
bullet  Teens in the Bush era
bullet  Assuming power
bullet  Presidential roles
bullet  The power of the media
bullet  Capital career changes
bullet  D.C. debriefings
bullet  Past inaugurals
bullet  Promises of unity
bullet  Views from the sidelines
bullet  Web resources
bullet  Glossary
bullet  allpolitics coverage
bullet  Webcast basics
bullet  Webcast schedule
bullet  Unit overview
bullet  Lesson plans
bullet  Discussion/activities
bullet  Backgrounders
bullet  Ask an expert
bullet  Web resources
bullet  allpolitics coverage
bullet  Latest news
bullet  Archives
bullet  Back to mainpage

Jason Bellini: They're 'excited about that moment when they'll ... claim the prize'

Jason Bellini  

January 19, 2001
Web posted at: 12:36 PM EST (1736 GMT)

Student News Archive

CNN NEWSROOM reporter Jason Bellini is in Washington covering the inauguration and transition of power from the Clinton to the Bush administrations. Bellini discusses the changes afoot with

CNNfyi: Are Bush staffers and supporters excited or weary of taking over the White House?

Jason Bellini: Everyone there is excited about that moment when they'll walk through that door and claim the prize.

A lot of them don't know what their role will be, but they couldn't be more excited. A lot of these people are coming to Washington for the very first time.

Wide-eyed staffers confront awe at taking White House
Jason Bellini on tight security in Washington for Bush's inauguration

In fact, I just interviewed a 21-year-old who is joining the administration. He's preparing himself for anything, but he has no idea what it will be like.

CNNfyi: Is there a lot of optimism?

Bellini: I think that the White House staff is very optimistic. They come in with a whole agenda they want to implement. And they know most presidents get a honeymoon period when they can get some meaningful things done.

Some of them, especially the newcomers, may not know what an ugly game politics can be. They come in wide-eyed and with a lot of optimism.

CNNfyi: Especially early in his tenure, the Clinton administration was thought of as young. Is this going to be a "young" or an "old" presidential administration?

Bellini: At the higher levels, certainly, a lot of the old guard -- from George W. Bush's father's staff -- is back in the White House. But all administrations are staffed at the lower levels by people who are willing to accept most any task, and many of those people are young.

One thing I'm curious about is what the young people are doing for the administration, personality wise. During the early days of the Clinton administration, they were treating the White House like a college campus. There was an air of informality. I sense there's going to be more formality in the George W. Bush White House.

CNNfyi: What's life like for an average White House staffer?

Bellini: The business of government isn't all glory. There are probably far more people that are doing the paper pushing than there are those who are conducting press conferences or making big policy decisions.

I have talked to a number of people who are now looking for houses they can afford to live in with their friends. The housing situation is really tight, and they can't afford to have their own private apartment. Plus they want to be in the city itself -- and to do that, on the typical White House salary -- they have to make some compromises in their lifestyle.

Norton, Ashcroft among Bush designees in new round of hearings
January 19, 2001
Bush celebrates as inauguration nears
January 19, 2001
Bush's to-do list: Set tone for next four years
January 18, 2001
Clinton, in farewell, says nation is in great shape
January 18, 2001
Protesters argue case for inaugural demonstrations
January 18, 2001
Education, tax cuts top Bush's Washington agenda
January 15, 2001

Bush-Cheney transition
White House
Presidential Inaugural Committee 2001

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

A join venture of Turner Learning
Privacy About Feedback Back to top
2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. | Read our privacy guidelines.