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President-elect Bush Makes the Rounds in Washington, Promises Congressional Democrats an Open DoorAired December 18, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Bush jokes with congressional leaders about the disagreements they may face in the future.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: We'll focus on Mr. Bush in Washington: making the rounds and moving ahead with the transition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 25 votes for George W. Bush for president of the United States and 25 votes for Dick Cheney as vice president of the United States, Mr. Governor.
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WOODRUFF: Bush's victory is sealed in once-disputed Florida as electors there and across the nation cast their votes.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
WOODRUFF: Thanks for joining us.
After months and months of running as a Washington outsider, George W. Bush is here in the capital, laying the groundwork for his future as the city's No. 1 insider. Among Bush's stops, Capitol Hill, where he firstly reached out to some of his most important allies and potential adversaries.
Our senior White House correspondent John King is covering the Bush transition.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president-elect's pace was brisk, the meetings businesslike. His now-familiar motto, bipartisanship. Congressional Democrats were promised an open door.
BUSH: I hope they realize that this isn't a single photo opportunity, and then maybe we'll see each other and talk to each other in the future -- that's just not the way I do business, and I wanted to come and look them in the eye and say that.
KING: This bipartisan spirit will face many tests, just not yet.
SEN. THOMAS DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: It's an opportunity for us to wipe the slate clean, to begin anew, with a recognition that we have many, many challenges ahead.
KING: The Democrats, and even some Republicans, say there's no Congress will embrace the across-the-board tax cut Mr. Bush wants, and there are disagreements over education spending, just how to provide prescription drug coverage to the elderly, and more.
BUSH: But that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.
KING: In private, inside this Washington hotel, the president- elect and top aides were busy interviewing potential Cabinet members. Alcoa Chairman Paul O'Neill, seen here gaveling Wall Street to a close, is said by sources to be a leading contender for treasury secretary. Former Indiana Dan Coats tops the list for defense secretary. New Jersey governor Christie Whitman is being considered too, possibly as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
This meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was another of the pre-inaugural rituals, a chance for Mr. Bush to sell his tax cut to a powerful skeptic.
BUSH: We had a very strong decision about my confidence in his abilities.
KING: If there is an emerging theme to this transition, it is that with every look ahead comes a look back. The governor's father blamed Greenspan's tight monetary policy, at least in part, for his 1992 defeat, and on Tuesday, when Governor Bush retraces the steps taken eight years ago by then-President-elect Clinton, it will be hard to forget the tough language of this year's campaign.
BUSH: So when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not only uphold the laws of our land, I will swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God.
KING: The jokes were even more pointed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NBC "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
BUSH: Give the Oval Office one heck of a scrubbing. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: But top aides insist Mr. Clinton harbors no hard feelings and the president says a smooth transition is his top priority now.
KING: And it certainly is, to open the week, a very busy transition. Condoleezza Rice, who will be the national security adviser in the new administration, here at the White House today to meet with the current national security chief, Sandy Berger. We're told Colin Powell will stop by the State Department tomorrow to exchange notes with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. And of course, another big meeting we'll all be watching, Governor Bush, after wrapping up here at the White House tomorrow, will go pay a courtesy call on his defeated rival, Vice President Gore, at the Naval Observatory, or as Gore likes to call it these days, Dick Cheney's house -- Bernie.
SHAW: John, usually, as we cover diplomats when two different camps have sat down and talked, they come out before the cameras, microphones, reporters, and they say, "We had a frank exchange." Governor Bush said, "We had a very strong discussion." Parse that for us. Did both men indicate to each other where they stand on the idea of an across-the-board tax cut?
KING: Well, we know from congressional testimony that Chairman Greenspan favors debt reduction. He's not opposed to tax cuts, mind you, but he favors debt reduction. He believes that's the best way to go.
But let's have a little insight into how Governor Bush works. It seems very much like his father did. The man under consideration for treasury secretary, Mr. Paul O'Neill of Alcoa, we're told, is a very close friend of Chairman Alan Greenspan: so Mr. Bush trying to build coalitions with all of his picks, all of his choices, including his trip to Capitol Hill today.
The Bush camp knows he will not get the tax cut he campaigned on. But they also believe that if he were to indicate now that he knew that, he would get even less. So they will start by pushing an across-the-board tax cut and see how they can do in this divided Congress.
SHAW: Interesting. John King -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, with an unusual amount of fanfare, presidential electors nationwide officially are casting their votes for Bush and Al Gore today. After the Florida dispute, the process now seems more -- like more than the formality it's always been in the past. So far, Bush has secured 267 votes of the 271 that is expected to receive: one more than needed for victory.
We are joined by three of our correspondents, who have been following the electoral votes in Florida, Texas and Tennessee.
Let's go first to Susan Candiotti. She's in Tallahassee -- Susan.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy. In Florida, center stage for the final throes of election 2000. The president- elect's brother presided over the ceremony at which Florida's 25 electoral votes were cast.
GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I'm proud that you're my friends.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida Governor Jeb Bush met with electors before the vote to offer his thanks. The governor, relieved to see an end to a seemingly unending contentious election, in a state that was supposed to be an easy win for his brother.
J. BUSH: Please vote your ballots.
CANDIOTTI: First, an "x" in boxes for George Bush and Dick Cheney, then signatures on several more copies to certify their unanimous choice for president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As I went from paper to paper, my hands just got more shaky and the signature got more blurred because it was just so exciting.
CANDIOTTI: Florida electors nearly upstaged by the courts and GOP legislators, trying to make sure George W. was chosen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's hope we never have to go through this again, because this was not a pleasant experience, but today was wonderful.
CANDIOTTI: In the end, Florida delivered to the governor's brother.
J. BUSH: It was a little surreal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
CANDIOTTI: And a souvenir photo delivered to the electors who made it happen without defecting.
CANDIOTTI: Unity among electors, but not necessarily among the electorate. Now, Florida's governor faces perhaps an even tougher job: that is healing the deep divisions unearthed by a controversial election process -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Susan, so we're assuming that after what's happened in Florida the last month or so, that none of the Bush electors gave a thought to switching their vote?
CANDIOTTI: That's right, Judy. They had to sign a loyalty oath, and though they received hundreds, if not thousands, of phone calls and letters, even e-mails, all of these electors say they -- there was not a chance that they would change their mind.
WOODRUFF: All right, Susan Candiotti, thanks.
And now to a state where the outcome of today's electoral college vote never was in doubt. CNN's Tony Clark is in Bush's home state of Texas -- Tony.
TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Judy, there was that same kind of effort of e-mails, trying to turn electors who were supporting George W. Bush to Vice President Gore. But as the electors showed, they needn't look here.
CLARK (voice-over): In the splendor of the state capitol's Senate chamber, amid the sounds of patriotic songs sung by a girls' choir, Texas' Republican electors gathered to cast their ballots for George W. Bush.
ELTON BOMER, TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE: For the first time in history, we'll send our own governor, George W. Bush, to the White House. He'll fall in the footsteps of many other legendary Texans who have helped lead America to greater heights, including the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the man who will now be referred to, I suppose, as the first President Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush.
CLARK: Texas' electors include an oil man, an art dealer, a homemaker and an accountant, all walks of life. The thing that unites them all is their loyalty to the Republican Party and George W. Bush.
Even invocation was given by a Bush loyalist, President-elect Bush's choice for White House counsel, state Supreme Court Justice Al Gonzales.
JUSTICE AL GONZALEZ, TEXAS SUPREME COURT: Guide our president- elect and vice president-elect with wisdom and discernment, provide for their needs and those of their families. Bless their spirit and their bodies, and watch over them as they lead this great country forward.
CLARK: Texas' political parties have their electors sign an oath to vote for their nominee, and while there's no law requiring they live up to that oath, no one was going to switch horses in the middle of this stream.
BOMER: All Texans, regardless of political persuasion, can be proud of President-elect Bush because he comes into office at an incredible time in American history, a time in which innovation and integrity deserve equal attention in Washington, D.C.
CLARK: One of Texas' 32 electors had to be replaced. John Culberson was elected to Congress last month, so Nancy Palm was picked to stand in for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NANCY PALM, TEXAS ELECTOR: So help me God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLARK: George W. Bush won nearly 60 percent of the Texas vote last month. This day, he received 100 percent of the vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And George W. Bush.
CLARK: Electors said there was never any doubt about their loyalty to George W. Bush. One said Bush is the person we are pledged to, Bush is our president. Another saying, we tell people when we give our word we mean our word. We're loyal -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Tony Clark, thank you very much.
And now let's turn to Al Gore's home state of Tennessee, which is helping turn the final Electoral College tally against the vice president.
CNN's Ed Garsten joins us from Nashville -- Ed.
ED GARSTEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, indeed, Judy, Al Gore lost his home state by some 80,000 votes during the general election. That translated to about 4 percent of the vote.
And as it turns out, the 11 electoral votes that were available here in Tennessee would have been enough to put the Gore-Lieberman ticket over the top. It just didn't work out that way.
(voice-over): The ceremony took barely 20 minutes. Tennessee's 11 electors quickly filled out their ballots, then handed them to coordinator of elections Brooke Thompson. The tally, although never really in doubt, was greeted with a standing ovation.
Beyond giving the Bush-Cheney ticket 11 electoral votes, the exercise also put an exclamation point on the fact that Vice President Al Gore did not carry his home state.
GOV. DON SUNDQUIST (R), TENNESSEE: We had a great grassroots effort in Tennessee. Secondly, Al Gore the congressman, Al Gore the senator, campaigned and voted in a particular way that was acceptable and exciting to Tennesseans, and they were for him. He changed his views as a national candidate, and, therefore, lost a number of people.
GARSTEN: Despite receiving hundreds of letters from Democrats urging them to change their votes to Al Gore, all the electors we spoke with said the thought never entered their minds.
GARSTEN: Now during the voting ceremony, the phone of Governor Don Sundquist rang. On the other end of the line was Vice President- elect Dick Cheney. He was returning a call that Sundquist made over the weekend. The reason for the communication: Sundquist suggested to Vice President-elect Cheney that Fred Smith, the chairman of FedEx, which is headquartered here in Tennessee, be considered as a candidate for secretary of defense, because he's good at running a high-tech company and had once been a military pilot.
The vice president-elect was noncommittal. A spokesman for Mr. Smith said he would be honored to be considered for a Cabinet post but was dedicated to helping out his own company.
And that's it from here. Back to you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Ed Garsten reporting from Nashville -- Bernie.
SHAW: Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, making the switch to a Bush-Cheney administration. We're going to look at the vice president-elect's role and talk to members of past transitions about the obstacles and the politics.
WOODRUFF: In less than five weeks, George W. Bush will make his move to the White House official. In preparation, Vice President- elect Dick Cheney is focusing his efforts on the transition, and the candidates for positions in the Bush Cabinet.
Our Wolf Blitzer sat down with Dick Cheney to talk about those efforts. He joins us now -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Judy, the vice president was very, very firm in insisting that all these reports about in-fighting disputes between himself and the incoming secretary of state, General Colin Powell, that all of this was simply not true.
Specifically, I asked him during the course of our interview earlier today at the Madison Hotel, where he's been meeting with all sorts of officials, perhaps potential Cabinet members, about a report in today's "New York Times" suggesting that General Powell was pushing Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to become the Defense secretary and that he, Cheney, was pushing Paul Wolfowitz, who was a former aide of his over at the Defense Department, now a dean over at Johns Hopkins University.
But I've got to tell you that the vice president-elect, as you'll see in this clip, was very firm in trashing that report.
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RICHARD B. CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wolf, it's garbage, absolute garbage. Tom Ridge is not a candidate because he took himself out several weeks ago. BLITZER: To be defense secretary?
CHENEY: That's correct. Tom's made it very clear, publicly and privately, that he feels an obligation to fill out his term as the governor of Pennsylvania. He's got kids in school. He doesn't want to move them at this stage. So all of the speculations that's about, Colin is for Ridge or Cheney is for Wolfowitz or Coats, it's just garbage is all I can say. It's the kind of thing, I guess, that happens at transition time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The vice president-elect went on to say that he hopes for an inclusive Cabinet, with all sorts of views. And he also insisted on this issue of inclusiveness he had no problem with potential governors like Christine Todd Whitman or George Pataki who have different views on abortion rights, affirmative action, on gun control. He had no problem with them coming in if in fact that should happen.
But on one point, an additional point, he was insisting that that $1.3 trillion across-the-board tax cut, at least for now, is not worthy of compromise -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: We shall see.
Well the full interview with the vice president-elect will air tonight on the first edition, Wolf, of your new show, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Do you want to tell us a little about it?
BLITZER: Well we're going to try to have -- bring the news of the day as well as the newsmakers over the course of a half an hour and try to make sure that it's hard news, good in-depth interviews, something that is worthy of CNN's tradition over these past 20 year. So I'm looking forward to it. And I've got to tell you, Judy, I love the name of that new show.
WOODRUFF: Well if it's got the name Wolf Blitzer attached it's got to be good.
BLITZER: Thanks again.
WOODRUFF: Appreciate it -- Bernie.
SHAW: And Wolf, congratulations.
A short while ago, Judy told you that Texas presidential-elect George W. Bush had 267 votes en route to the magic 271. Nevada just moments ago, put Mr. Bush over the top.
Listen to the secretary of state for Nevada, Dean Hiller, make the announcement.
DEAN HILLER, NEVADA SECRETARY OF STATE: ... four votes that will determine the next president of the United States. I, Dean Hiller, the duly elected and qualified secretary of state of the state of Nevada do hereby certify and transmit to the president of the United States Senate, the results of Nevada's Electoral College vote, providing four electoral votes to presidential candidate George W. Bush and vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney and deem this election certified.
Thank you very much.
NELSON: Bush-Cheney over the top, 271 electoral votes.
Later on, before INSIDE POLITICS goes off the air, we're expecting California to weigh in with its 54 electoral votes. Those are almost certain to go to Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman. But it's official, the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush of Texas.
Now, to talk more about presidential transitions, two men who have seen the process very close-up: Mark Gearan, deputy director of the 1992 Clinton transition team, now president of Hobart and William Smith College; and Craig Fuller, a member of the Reagan administration, who served as transition co-chair for George Bush in 1986.
Craig, first to you: How much is it worth, having a Dick Cheney in the mix?
CRAIG FULLER, BUSH-QUAYLE TRANSITION TEAM: Well, it's unprecedented, and I think it's worth a great deal because you have someone who has served more than one president; you have somebody who was in the Cabinet; you have someone who has the total confidence of the president-elect; and frankly, someone who, for four years, I would hope eight years, actually has the chance to work side-by-side with the president and with his Cabinet.
So I think Dick Cheney's experience and judgment and his network of relationships is extraordinarily valuable. It is an unprecedented assignment for a vice president to receive.
MARK GEARAN, CLINTON-GORE TRANSITION TEAM: Well, I agree, certainly. These are ambitious timelines to begin with, for this abbreviated transition, certainly, that this new administration has. So bringing in that kind of experience, certainly -- and with Andy Card as the incoming chief of staff, I think they have good experience and they need to draw upon that, given the constricted timeline they're working under.
SHAW: Would an incumbent president have an easier transition?
GEARAN: Yes; I think, in a sense, this is more of a hostile takeover, if you will, certainly. And I think, had Vice President Gore actually been the ultimate victor, it would have been a little bit different for him, of course, because there would have been the opportunity for holdover Clinton-Gore administration appointees to serve. Understandably, President-elect Bush will want his own team.
So the timeline becomes more relevant, I think, in this instance, for his transition.
SHAW: Hostile takeover, that ought to raise your juices a little bit, Craig?
FULLER: Well, the burden is obviously greater. I mean, it was greater for President Reagan when he was came in after Carter -- greater than it was for President-elect Bush when he was following President Reagan.
But you still have, in either case, thousands of positions to fill. A new president wants to bring his people into office, into top spots; and in this case, the burden is still greater because of this tight, narrow margin on Capitol Hill. And so the actions that occurred today, I think, are a good sign that this president-elect, his vice president-elect and his administration want to go right to the hill and begin this process of sinking through what issues on which they can agree.
SHAW: How much is this protracted, 36-day period post-November 7 affected the transition? What have you seen that made you conclude, uh-oh?
GEARAN: Well, I think they've made important and good steps, certainly -- beginning the transition even before it was ultimately concluded by the Supreme Court, to start some initial planning effort. That was prudent, certainly.
I think underlying the whole thing and, perhaps, any silver lining that we might have out of this is that the system for presidential appointment is badly in need of reform. It's cumbersome, it's duplicative, it's burdensome to prospective appointees. And hopefully the Congress and the new administration will look at ways to make it easier to bring good, qualified men and women into government.
SHAW: Does it help having more FBI agents in, now, on the ground, working on background checks?
FULLER: Well, it certainly can speed the process along. And I think, you know, the commitment by the bureau to those kinds of resources is important.
It's very critical for President-elect Bush and his administration to be able to come into office right after the inauguration and begin working on these issues like tax reform, like education, like a prescription drug plan for the nation's seniors; those are issues he ran on. You can't do that without an HHS secretary and a full complement of people in some of these departments, or an education secretary or a treasury secretary.
So it's important that they have the time to move quickly, with people in those positions, ready to go to work in late January.
SHAW: How do you handle the whiners, the people who try to make end-runs around the president and vice president-elect -- the people who back-bite, the people who jockey, how do you handle those people? And you both have had experiences with those types, I know you have. FULLER: I think we both agree it comes with the territory. You know, I think that President-elect Bush deserves a lot of credit for blending, with these top appointments, people who have Washington experience and people who have been long associated with him in Texas who are coming here fresh with new ideas. I think that's exactly the kind of administration you want to form.
And I've heard some of the critics out there, but I don't think it's fair. I think you ought to give this new team time to get established, moved-in, and see what they can do on the hill.
GEARAN: I would agree; certainly, they need that time. And, certainly, the new administration is out to -- I think the initial steps that they've been taking, certainly -- particularly in the case of Andy Card as the new chief of staff. It's a very good sign; he was my counterpart when I worked on the transition for the incoming Clinton administration, he was serving in that capacity, assisting then-President Bush. And so these early signs are good ones, certainly.
SHAW: Now let's talk candidly about politics. You have your administration up and running, then you just ram your program through? Is that going to happen, Mark Gearan?
GEARAN: I don't think so.
SHAW: Why not?
GEARAN: I think what you saw today was reaching out, certainly; and I think the leaders all spoke to that pretty clearly -- this is a time for listening. And, certainly, I think the opening position that President-elect Bush took today regarding his tax plan is appropriate after the election. I didn't expect anything different, but...
SHAW: Where do you see Armageddon? Where do you see it?
GEARAN: I think down the road you have to looked at the Senate, certainly. And this is a whole brave new world that we're in with this 50-50 Senate. And how that will shake out the different coalitions; the different partisan work, even within the Republican Party; what effect that will have in the various tugs and pulls.
A lot has been said and written, certainly, about bipartisanship, certainly, and that's important. How this will be affected within the Republican caucus, I think will also be a very good story for INSIDE POLITICS.
SHAW: Does Mr. Bush really have his work cut out for him when it comes to dealing with the conservative wing of his party, Craig Fuller?
FULLER: Oh, I think he does. But he really has his work cut out for him across the board with the Congress. And I think that, to be realistic, they're going to have to float several initiatives, but then land on one or two -- demonstrate that their president can get something done. He certainly did that as governor of Texas successfully.
And I think, with one or two initiatives this year, come back next year and you do a couple more. But to do that, you really have to align a broad-based coalition in the House and in the Senate.
SHAW: Very candidly: Will George W. Bush do to the conservative wing what his dad did when George Herbert Walker Bush was president? He just -- no, you tell me.
FULLER: You've heard the phrase before, the Republican Party is a big tent now. Vice President-elect Dick Cheney is somebody who's had a great deal of experience and good standing, longstanding relationships with conservatives in our party -- he is one. I think they will reach out to conservatives and try to bring them along. At some point the various factions of the Republican Party, whether they're out around the country or up on Capitol Hill, have to decide, do you want to accomplish one or two things? Is that important, going forward into 2002?
I suspect it is, and I suspect they will land on some initiatives that President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their administration will take to the hill.
SHAW: Mark Gearan, will the Senate Democrats, more so than the House Democrats, go overboard to help this new president in the interest of bipartisanship, really?
GEARAN: I don't know if it's overboard would be the right way. I think they're certainly...
SHAW: Will they go all out?
GEARAN: I think they will go all out to make sure that they're trying to do the people's business here. I think there's a political imperative at this point of time for both parties realizing that, I think, the level of tolerance for the kind of stalemate and gridlock and obstructions that has marked previous moments in our nation's history -- there's a political peril involved here. So I think it's, oddly, in everyone's interest to try to get some things done, so one could posit a pretty good...
FULLER: I couldn't agree more than that. And people say, well, come back in January, focusing they -- the Congress -- focusing on getting re-elected. But the fact is they're going to have to get a couple things done in order to get re-elected, and I think that's what will bring these parties together somewhat.
SHAW: These two gentlemen know what transitioning is all about; Craig Fuller, Mark Gearan, thanks very much.
FULLER: Thank you, Bernie.
SHAW: Quite welcome.
And there's much more ahead on this extended 90-minute edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come: (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First ballot.
CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They could look, but they couldn't touch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Charles Zewe on another round of ballot counting in Florida's Broward County.
Plus, why African American voters have a different view of this election and of the president-elect. Bill Schneider checks public opinion. And later, two for tea -- more signs of transition at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now, a look at some other top stories.
Doctors say former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is in serious condition following a heart attack. According to his former press secretary, the 54-year-old Republican complained of chest pains after his morning exercise today. Branstad has undergone a balloon angioplasty to reopen a blocked artery.
SHAW: Residents of north-central Alabama are still recovering from tornadoes that killed 12 people. And now, they're dealing with more adverse weather. The twister ripped a 12-mile path of destruction through Tuscaloosa, Alabama Saturday. Now, freezing rain is falling and more snow is forecast.
Meteorologists say the tornado was the strongest storm to grind the area in 50 years, with winds reaching as high as 260 miles an hour.
WOODRUFF: The upper Midwest, meanwhile, is being socked again today by another winter storm. And the forecast says there may be more to come. In parts of Minnesota, heavy snow combined with gusting winds to create deep drifts and dangerous wind chills. Another storm from Canada may be headed in that direction.
It will be a cold one for much of the nation tonight.
SHAW: Thank you, Jacqui, and coming up after the break, the news media get a chance to inspect dimpled ballots and hanging chads in Florida as the unofficial recount process begins.
SHAW: Today, all 25 electors in Florida cast their votes for President-elect George W. Bush, but many Americans are wondering whether Gore might have won had the recount continued. This morning, a number of groups began inspecting ballots in Florida as part of the process to put the matter to rest.
CNN's Charles Zewe has the story.
ZEWE (voice-over): They could look but they couldn't touch.
TOM FITTON, JUDICIAL WATCH: We're going to be here doing a sort of forensic accounting of the process, and finding out what it is about the ballots that made them disputed and then how were the votes assigned after the fact.
ZEWE: As the private ballot count began in Broward County, Larry Klayman, chairman of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, slammed the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
LARRY KLAYMAN, JUDICIAL WATCH: Interesting that Reverend Jackson makes so much noise about the results of this election, yet he didn't send any representatives here today. It reminds me of the expression of Mayor Jackson: He doesn't know how to run anything but his mouth.
ZEWE: The Associated Press, "The Washington Post" and "The Miami Herald" are among a handful of news organizations and public interest groups splitting the $300-an-hour cost to review 6,800 so-called "undervotes," ballots on which no vote for president was recorded.
MARK SEIBEL, "MIAMI HERALD": We set up a forum to try and understand where dimples, chads, clean votes appeared on the ballot, what the pattern was on the ballot, and then we'll actually do a computer analysis.
ZEWE: A hand count of undervotes in Broward included in the state's final election returns gave Vice President Al Gore a net gain of more than 500 votes. Fort Lauderdale residents Randy and Judy Cernick showed up and paid their share to look at the ballots, too. A veteran, Cernick said he was upset over the hundreds of overseas military ballots being thrown out because they were postmarked too late.
RUDY CERNICK, FLORIDA RESIDENT: I don't think that those people should have not been allowed to vote because of some technicality about a postmark.
ZEWE (on camera): In a familiar refrain, Republicans are criticizing the private recount much in the same way as they did the official recount, saying it lacks standards. Judge President-elect Bush, they say, not so much on the outcome of this recount as on what he does as president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And not by some abstract or totally subjective standard that somebody might use to try to count these ballots.
ZEWE: Organizations doing the count estimate an inspection of ballots in all of Florida's 67 counties could take four months to determine who they think, at least, really won Florida.
Charles Zewe, CNN, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
WOODRUFF: And you're looking at those numbers in the lower right-hand corner of your screen, showing where the electoral vote stands now. As Bernie told you a little while ago, George W. Bush now over-the-top, enough electors having cast their votes for him.
But we want to show you the scene in the state of California just a short while ago, where Al Gore picked up some electoral votes.
Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen of the electoral college of California, it is with a great deal of honor and distinction that we cast our votes for a great American, the vice president of the United States, 54 votes for Al Gore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The biggest pot of gold, if you will, among the electoral votes, still not enough to push Vice President Gore over the top.
Coming up, President-elect George W. Bush putting together a diverse staff, but how is he being seen by minorities?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: I also want to pay tribute to so many people who helped me reach this position in life, African-Americans who came before me who never could have risen to this position because the conditions were not there, and we had to fight to change those conditions. For me, this isn't history. It's my lifetime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER-DESIGNATE: There's very often a lot said about whether we've made any progress as one America. I think that you will see in the presidency of George W. Bush recognition of how important it is that we continue the last 30- plus years of progress toward one America, that he will have an administration that is inclusive, an administration that is bipartisan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Secretary of state nominee Colin Powell and Bush national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, both remarking on their race, and the message behind George W. Bush's staff and Cabinet choices.
Our Bill Schneider joins us now to take a closer look at how the president-elect fares in these latest polls.
Bill, how serious a problem does Bush have with African-American voters?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Bernie, start with the fact that only 9 percent of African-Americans voted for Bush on November 7th. Bush got 54 percent of the white vote, and that was before the recount controversy, which made the problem worse. Why? Because most African-Americans saw a racial component to the controversy that was not apparent to most whites.
Two-thirds of African-Americans we interviewed over the weekend said they believed black voters were less likely than whites to have their votes counted fairly in Florida. Only 30 percent of whites saw racial discrimination in that recount.
As a result, blacks and whites have fundamentally different views of the election outcome. Most whites believe Bush won the election fair and square. Just 14 percent of whites think Bush stole the election. With blacks, it's a different story. Only 7 percent believe Bush won the election fair and square. Half of black Americans believe Bush stole the election, which is why, when asked to describe their reaction to Bush's victory, most blacks said they feel "cheated" -- not angry, not bitter, just cheated -- whereas the prevailing reaction among whites is relieved.
SHAW: Do most blacks accept Bush as legitimate?
SCHNEIDER: Well, now, that is one piece of good news for the president-elect: 86 percent of whites accept Bush as the legitimate president, but so do 58 percent of blacks. Last week, Al Gore told his supporters he accepted the outcome even if he didn't agree with it, and that seems to have sent a strong signal to his supporters, who echo that sentiment.
SHAW: Has George Bush scored points with blacks by naming Rice and Powell to his administration?
SCHNEIDER: Well, Bernie, he has scored points with whites but not with blacks. Two-thirds of whites believe Bush will work hard to represent the interests of African-Americans, but 70 percent of blacks do not believe that. Powell and Rice notwithstanding, blacks just don't see Bush as likely to do very much for them. He's too closely linked to the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
Now, Colin Powell certainly doesn't hurt. Two-thirds of blacks have a positive opinion of Powell, but Powell is more popular with whites than with blacks. He draws a whopping 87 percent favorable rating with whites. What Bush really needs is someone who has high credibility with whites but even higher credibility with blacks.
SHAW: Thinking about this story a little further, two questions to ask you combined into one. When you report that Powell is more popular with whites, enjoying an 87 percent favorable rating, what does that mean?
SCHNEIDER: Well, that means that whites see him as a figure who is -- who has not come about his position of leadership as a racial leader, as a civil rights leader. He's come about it because of his qualifications, because of his experience and because of his leadership. He is respected because of his personal qualities, although, of course, race has a lot to do with it, because he's seen as someone who has overcome significant odds to get to where he has gotten.
SHAW: And when you report that blacks have viewed Governor Bush as being too to the conservative wing of his party, what about the aspect of the question about the actual, physical voting process in Florida?
SCHNEIDER: Well, that certainly is part of it. That has -- blacks see a racial discrimination element in that process. They believe that black votes were more likely than white votes to -- not to be counted fairly. But keep in mind that only 9 percent of blacks voted for Bush in the first place. Bush did worse among African- Americans than his father did in '88 and '92. He did worse than Bob Dole did in 1996. He did just as badly as Ronald Reagan did, and Ronald Reagan was very unpopular with African-Americans.
So that -- you can say that Bush had a problem with African- Americans even before the recount controversy.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, thank you -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And still ahead, the next first lady makes a stop at her next residence as INSIDE POLITICS continues.
WOODRUFF: As we reported a little bit earlier, a news media recount of the ballots in Broward County, Florida, is under way. And among the sponsors of the recount, "The Miami Herald" newspaper. And joining us now, Mark Seibel. He's assistant manager editor of "The Herald."
Mark Seibel, first of all, why is the newspaper doing this? We know that you and at least two other organizations, the Associated Press and I believe it is "The Washington Post." Why do you want access to those ballots?
MARK SEIBEL, "THE MIAMI HERALD": Well, we'd like to see what the ballots look like, for one. Two, under Florida's very liberal, open records act, we are entitled to look at the ballots. And it's something, you know, whenever there's a government decision or a public policy issue, we try look at the documents. So that's another thing. And obviously, we're like everybody else. We'd like to see if there's something in there that tells us something different than how the election was ultimately called.
WOODRUFF: How exactly are you going about this? Are you trying to look at all the disputed ballots in the state of Florida or in certain counties or what?
SEIBEL: Well, the basic idea is to look at all of the undervotes throughout all 67 of Florida's counties. And we think that's about anywhere from 45,000-60,000 ballots. And the idea is that we will go through -- we've hired -- "The Miami Herald" and Knight Ridder, which is the corporation that owns "The Miami Herald" -- we've hired a public accounting firm, BDOCdman (ph) to actually look at the ballots, to describe the ballots so that our reports aren't sitting there trying to divine the intent of the voter, we're just looking for a description.
And then we will use computer sorts to try and arrive at various totals, depending on what your standards are for judging the ballots.
WOODRUFF: Now explain what you mean by that. In other words, do I understand you to say that you'll count -- if you count dimples, the total would be this for Bush and this for Gore, and if you count one hanging chad, two hanging chad, and so on down the line?
SEIBEL: Well, that's exactly what we're trying to do is that we have a worksheet that our accountants are working with. And it describes a ballot, the conditions one might find on a ballot, a dimple, a pin prick, detached chad by one corner, two corner, three corner, no vote, there are no markings at all or one that is just a perfectly clear and clean vote.
And they're -- they've been asked to just go through and mark where that occurrence takes place. Is it the No. 3 position, the No. 4 position. the No. 5 position, whether it's a dimple or a chad.
And then we have another category, where we are looking at the other races on the ballot and whether there were dimples, hanging chads, clean punches in those races.
And then we're hoping that we can manipulate the information in a computer program to tell us if you were using the Palm Beach standard which required not just a dimple but a pattern of dimples on other races in the ballot, if you did that, well, what would the outcome be? If you did that with the Broward standard, which didn't require the patterning of the other dimples, what would the outcome have been?
People are always asking us, what's our standard going to be? And we've been given basically two standards, and so we're going to try to use both of them.
WOODRUFF: So in other words there will be one result if you're going by one standard and another result if you're going by -- one perhaps looser standard and one tighter or stricter standard? SEIBEL: Well that's the assumption, of course. Since nobody's done that, actually I guess I shouldn't say that we're expecting two different numbers. We're expecting whatever it is we find. But the truth is, yes, we will -- we will use the information in two different ways.
WOODRUFF: And when you have it, you'll report it, one assumes.
SEIBEL: That's what we will do. We're going to try to not to release numbers until we've counted the complete state.
WOODRUFF: How long do you think it'll take?
SEIBEL: Well, longer than I thought yesterday before we actually started. I think we're looking at several weeks anyway.
WOODRUFF: Mark Seibel, let me ask you about the criticism of some who say -- not criticism of "The Herald" specifically, but some academics, some Republican figures, New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman one of them, has been quoted as saying this is not the right thing to do. In her words, she said that those ballots are so subject to interpretation, you don't know what standards are going to be used. Now you've answered that in part, but what about the arguments of those who just say, let's let sleeping dogs lie. Why are we looking at these ballots.
SEIBEL: Well, I don't know. As a journalist -- I don't know how you feel about it. As a journalist, I rarely want to leave sleeping dogs lying. I think we have an issue of public policy here, just as in many, many other kinds of questions we try to look at the documents to see if they can enlighten us or illuminate the situation in any way.
You know, I think a lot of people like to say, well, we shouldn't look at the ballots or we shouldn't count them or we shouldn't review them in any way. But I can't see how we're damaged by looking for an answer. We may not come up with one. That's quite possible. Or we may come up with something that confirms the result the system selected. Or we may come up with something completely different. But I don't see how having that information damages anyone.
WOODRUFF: All right, indeed, Mark Seibel with "The Miami Herald." We thank you very much and good luck with the counting.
SEIBEL: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We'll want to talk with you, by the way, when it's all done.
SHAW: And we also want to wake up all those sleeping dogs.
WOODRUFF: No doubt.
SHAW: There is -- after you. WOODRUFF: Thank you.
Still much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.
SHAW: In the next 30 minutes, taking campaign promises to the Hill: More on the president-elect's first visit with congressional leaders.
WOODRUFF: Bernie's pledge for bipartisanship. Bernie talks to Ron Brownstein on why Democrats may not agree with the Bush definition.
All that and more, as INSIDE POLITICS continues.
SHAW: George W. Bush makes his debut on Capitol Hill as president-elect. Are there any cracks in this picture of bipartisanship?
WOODRUFF: Al Gore may have lost the presidency, but is he having any success in the post-election public relations battle? Plus...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's traditional if not always pleasant. Do these odd meetings matter?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Bruce Morton on presidents welcoming their successors. A scene-setter for tomorrow's Clinton-Bush meeting.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS. As presidential electors around the nation officially cast their votes today and confirmed George W. Bush's narrow victory.
It underscored the difficult task ahead for the president-elect, and it underscored why Bush was on Capitol Hill today, delivering his pitch for bipartisanship.
CNN congressional correspondent Chris Black offers her take on Bush's meeting with congressional leaders.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On his first visit to Capitol Hill as president-elect, a picture-perfect shot of bipartisanship.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as I'm concerned, this is the beginning of relationships. I hope they realize that this isn't a single photo opportunity.
BLACK: George W. Bush said he is not compromising on his $1.3 trillion tax cut.
BUSH: I believe I'm standing here because I campaigned on issues that people heard, and one of those issues is tax relief.
BLACK: Democrats say a tax cut of that magnitude is a nonstarter.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: It's not centrist because it doesn't enjoy any support on the Democratic side. There are a lot of tax policies that do. We have advocated tax cuts of a magnitude of $500 billion.
BLACK: But Democratic leaders told Mr. Bush they will join him if he governs from the center.
REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: We will be there coming 50 percent of the way, sometimes even a little further, to the middle to get things done for the people that sent us here and hired us.
BLACK: Some Democrats tell their leaders they cannot get past the election.
DASCHLE: There are still some deeply held feelings and some disappointment that is very evident as you talk to my colleagues. But I do think it's the only approach that will get us to where we need to go. We've got to recognize that the election is behind us.
BLACK: Mr. Bush says he wants to replicate the friendships he had with Texas Democrats, including the late Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock. A veteran of Austin and Washington says it will not be easy.
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: There are no Bob Bullocks in Washington. It's a very different agenda in Washington than we had in Texas.
BLACK: Privately, Mr. Bush and the Republican House and Senate leaders talked about his agenda, cutting taxes and increasing energy supplies, education reform, more defense spending, and fewer overseas mission for the U.S. military. In the spirit of the holiday season, Democrats echoed Bush's conciliatory words.
DASCHLE: Work with us. That was my message.
BLACK: During his meeting with Republican Senate leaders, Mr. Bush was sitting beneath the portrait of his father, President Bush, when 98-year-old Strom Thurmond, the oldest member of the Senate, gave him some advice. He said, "Work as hard as you can" -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Chris, we understand that some of the Senate leaders, when they spoke with the president-elect, expressed some concern about how closely he was going to be watching what's going on in the Senate. What did he have to say about that?
BLACK: Well, it was more in the context, Judy, of how to reach his goals. And the impression that senators tell me they came away with is that he has no interest in micromanaging the Senate. It's basically the CEO model here, just like other places. He's basically setting the goals and saying, you guys get there whatever way you can, which does suggest that there is an opening, for example, a more incremental approach on tax cuts, which all the insiders up here say is the only way to go.
And as a final bipartisan note, Judy, there's a Christmas party going on this evening in Speaker Dennis Hastert's office. And among the guests are Democratic leader Dick Gephardt and John Podesta, the White House chief of staff, suggesting it really is a new day.
WOODRUFF: Well, if that's the case, maybe things really are changing over there. Chris Black, thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thanks, Judy. Now, we're joined by Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times."
Back to the president-elect's desire to have a $1.3 trillion tax cut across the board. In Chris' piece, we just heard the leader of the Senate Democrats, Tom Daschle, say -- quote -- "It doesn't enjoy any support on the Democratic side."
My question: Is Mr. Bush realistic in thinking that he can get what he wants?
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, you've got a 50/50 Senate, and the reality is it's going to be very difficult for Bush to simply push through any of his agenda items without Democratic support. And the question I think Democrats are asking now, and perhaps Republicans as well, is the hard line that Bush is taking on policy since Election Day more of a negotiating posture or more of a sense of where he really wants to end up? Because he's really been operating on sending out almost over stereo, Bernie.
On the style side, he's talked about bipartisanship constantly, and he's made genuine efforts to sort of reach out personally to Democrats. On the other hand, when talking about policy, whether it's tax cut, whether the voucher component of his education reform, missile defense with Colin Powell on Saturday, at no point has he signaled any give on policy issues.
In fact, Dick Cheney on Sunday, yesterday, rather emphatically said it's silly, it's a silly notion that because the election is so close we ought to revise our agenda.
So again, very different signals going out. And the question is whether this is the opening gambit, sort of the way, the first bid, or whether this, in fact, does signal a desire to build a center-right coalition, issue by issue, peeling away a few Democrats, trying to pass things without really moving deeply into a compromise with Democrats. SHAW: Now, in your Monday. today, "Los Angeles Times" piece, you write that education offers Bush the chance to pull off a political coup. How?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, education is different from most of the other items he emphasized in the campaign in that there already is substantial bipartisan agreement on what a reform package might look like. On taxes, Senator Daschle said, big disagreement. Social Security reform, for privatization, partial privatization, three of the four Senate Democrats who supported it are gone. You're really down to one Senate Democrat, very difficult.
Education, on the other hand, there was a bill sponsored by Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman, who happened to be Al Gore's running mate, that was very similar in its broad outlines to many of the ideas that Bush ran on. And if he gave some ground, you can imagine a Bush- Lieberman initiative on education.
Now, could there be a better way for Bush to start an administration, to deal with some of the wounds of the post-election period, than to reach out to Lieberman, who is actually quite close to him on a number of education issues, if Bush is willing to give some ground?
SHAW: What about vouchers, though?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, vouchers is clearly the stickiest sticking point, and it is going to be the most difficult thing, not only for moderate Democrats, but even moderate Republicans. You've got to remember how vouchers work, though, in the Bush plan. You saw it as part of his accountability mechanism.
The idea was, if a school failed to improve performance for three years, at the end of the three years the federal government would mandate that the Title I money -- the money for poor kids -- would be converted into a voucher those parents could use. He would also mandate that the state match that money.
That latter part is going to be especially difficult to sell after a year in which vouchers failed again to pass in two different referenda this year. So I think Bush is going to have to look for some ways to narrow down the voucher proposal, maybe to make it optional, maybe to make it optional for states, perhaps to put in more help for failing schools before you go to the voucher.
Those are the kinds of things that might bring a few Democrats along. But if he insists on it, there's no question there'll be a lot fewer Democrats voting for the final package than there would be if vouchers weren't part of it.
SHAW: Already in this town, especially among party leaders, both sides of the aisles, people are looking to 2002. The off-year elections which really, really will determine the balance of power in the Senate, in the House. With that as a backdrop, do you really think that these Democrats or these Republicans, for that matter, are going to go over the cliff in the interest of bipartisanship? BROWNSTEIN: No, they won't go over the cliff.
But the situation that Bush faces and, perhaps the situation that his party faces, is very similar, I think, to what Clinton had when he took office in '92. After that first election his goal was to expand the Democratic Party base; but, in fact, in that first election what he really did was win by consolidating the traditional voters of his party.
He came into office facing a fundamental choice: did he speak to the base that elected him or did he try to reach out to people in the Senate who had resisted him in that first election? They chose a base-consolidation strategy; they worked very closely with Mitchell and Gephardt. They pursued a rather partisan agenda most of the time in the first two years.
And they polarized Washington, they polarized the country and they got flattened in the election of '94. The question Bush has to face is whether, by focusing his agenda, as he seems to be doing so far, on unifying Republicans to the maximum extent possible, does he run the same risk of alienating the center, reproducing a very partisan atmosphere in Washington and thus risking losses in 2002 after a campaign in which his overriding promise was to change the tone in Washington?
So I think there are risks there for 2002 if they can't find a way to get things done here and to sort of fulfill that promise of changing the tone in Washington.
SHAW: So in sum, briefly, given all that's at stake, how bipartisan are these Democrats and Republicans likely to become?
BROWNSTEIN: Each side, I think -- look, the overwhelming sentiment of the past decade has been away from bipartisanship; it's been centrifugal forces, not centripedal in Washington. Each side has had their own reasons.
Bush, I think, has the maximum incentive to find common ground. Democrats, a lot of them still believe if they can keep things from getting done they can run against a do-nothing Congress. A lot of Republicans are still resistant to compromise. But the fact is, the parties have been left in a position where they simply can't achieve almost anything without compromising; not only because the Congress is so closely divided, but because the country behind it is so closely divided.
And one thing we've learned throughout the Clinton era is when either side tries to pursue a very ideological agenda in this environment -- whether the Clinton health care plan or the Republican budget plan of '95 -- they lose the center and they get whacked by the electorate.
So I think the lesson is clear. The question is whether the parties will take it.
SHAW: And the people are watching. BROWNSTEIN: They are absolutely watching. I mean, they're probably watching a lot more than they were before November 7. This extraordinary postelection period has put a lot more focus on Washington and on this new team that will be operating here.
SHAW: That's good, isn't it?
BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. I mean, you know -- I mean, look, this was an election that a lot of people thought was not particularly memorable until it went into overtime, at which point it became unforgettable.
So I think we are now in a situation where there can be a lot on the table for both of these -- for both the Democrats and the Republicans, but also for the leadership of Congress above all, I think.
SHAW: Ron Brownstein, "The Los Angeles Times," thank you.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, Bernie.
SHAW: Quite welcome.
And up next here on INSIDE POLITICS, looking at Al Gore's image now that the election fight is over. Plus, the political passing of the baton -- looking at the history of transitions at this beautiful home of the people, the White House in Washington.
WOODRUFF: We know you've been waiting anxiously; the latest poll numbers are in. The topic? America's opinion of Vice President Al Gore and whether he is considered a man of principle or a sore loser.
For more we go to our own Bill Schneider.
So Bill, has his public image suffered as a result of all this postelection business?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The answer is yes and no, in that order.
Two weeks ago, when the public was losing patience with the recount controversy, Gore's image did suffer. For the first time ever, a majority of Americans expressed a negative opinion of the vice president. The sore loser charge started to take hold.
But with a concession speech universally acclaimed as gracious, Gore got back into the good graces of the American public -- 57 to 40 percent favorable, which is about the same as President-elect George W. Bush.
WOODRUFF: So what about the "sore loser" label?
SCHNEIDER: Oh, it doesn't apply right now. I mean, by better than two to one the public now sees Gore as a man of principle who fought for what he believed in, rather than a sore loser who should have conceded earlier.
In this race, to paraphrase a Mr. Shakespeare, nothing became Gore like the leaving it. And that presents a problem for President- elect Bush. Bush would like Gore to, well, disappear. Every time Gore shows his face in public, it reminds voters that there's a shadow over the Bush presidency.
In fact, our poll asked registered voters whom they would vote for now between Bush and Gore. And the result? A clear victory for Gore, 50 to 41 percent. How about that?
WOODRUFF: How about that? Bill Schneider, thank you very much.
SCHNEIDER: OK, sure.
WOODRUFF: Fascinating stuff -- Bernie.
SHAW: It sure is fascinating.
Well, here in this great capital today, the current and future first ladies participated in a longstanding tradition, Hillary Rodham Clinton welcoming her successor, Laura Bush, first lady of Texas to the White House. After greeting reporters, the two headed inside for tea and a tour of the second and the third floors of the first family's residence.
Mrs. Clinton's office says they talked about how the Clintons have used the staff and the rooms. A spokeswoman calls the one-hour visit quote, "a very friendly meeting."
WOODRUFF: And we heard that the door on Mrs. Bush's limousine was stuck and it took her a few minutes to get out of the car so she could speak to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In any event, still to come, memorable meetings: What happens when U.S. presidents meet their replacements?
SHAW: You know, there comes a time when every president-elect must come face to face with the person that president will be replacing. For President-elect George W. Bush, that time comes tomorrow.
CNN's Bruce Morton offers a preview and a look back at similar meetings.
MORTON (voice-over): It's traditional, if not always pleasant. President Herbert Hoover wanted President-elect Franklin Roosevelt to sign-off on a Hoover plan to fight the Great Depression. Roosevelt wouldn't.
President Harry Truman said the advice he offered President-elect Dwight Eisenhower went in one ear and out the other. Do these odd meetings matter?
RICHARD SHENKMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: They matter symbolically, because for the president of the United States to meet with his successor gives to the country a sense that there's continuity, there's stability and there's legitimacy. So they're important for that. They're not important for what these guys actually say to each other.
MORTON: President Eisenhower met twice with John Kennedy and put some of Kennedy's transition people on the federal payroll. There was no formal transition budget back then. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter met and became good friends. Carter met Ronald Reagan in November of 1980 for an hour and a half, way more than was scheduled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)
JIMMY CARTER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've outlined to Governor Reagan some of the issues that I faced as president that will be shared with him in the transition period.
GOV. RONALD REAGAN (R), CALIFORNIA: He has been most gracious and most cooperative, he and his people with regard to this transition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: Carter complained later Reagan seemed inattentive during their meeting.
Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, eight years later, all smiles, of course. And then Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton in November of 1992.
Clinton later called it a terrific meeting, but not much was said at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just decided there would be no questions here. He's going to be available to the press, I'm sure, before he leaves Washington, but we didn't want to get into a full-scale press conference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: And now, of course, the same Clinton and a brand new Bush. It's a tradition that they meet.
Often it's an awkward meeting. I can imagine that the Bush- Clinton meeting's going to be awkward. It was Bush's father after all in '92 who referred to Bill Clinton and Al Gore as those two bozos.
MORTON (on camera): Eight years ago, then-President Bush complained that the transition, which lasted two weeks was too long, too ungenerous and too long. Thanks to Florida, Bill Clinton won't make that complaint. Inauguration Day is just about one month away.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
SHAW: And that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's Allpolitics.com.
WOODRUFF: And be sure to tune in tonight for our primetime lineup, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, with the debut of "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS," followed by "THE POINT," with Greta Van Susteren.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: And I'm Bernard Shaw. "THE MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.
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