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Inside Politics

Bush Meets With President Clinton, Vice President Gore

Aired December 19, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm here to listen, and if the president is kind enough to offer some advice, if he is, I will take it in.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: The ultimate transition photo-ops. We're going to look for the substance behind these smiles of Bush, Clinton and Gore.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Did the president-elect put a bug in Alan Greenspan's ear? We'll focus on the Fed's new moves and the economic future.



WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Just like newly married couples, new presidents need honeymoons. It helps get the relationship with the country off to a good start.


SHAW: Bill Schneider on Bush's new political marriage and why it may not be heavenly.

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

It was a day that had to come for George W. Bush. Even as he prepared to take over the presidency and make more Cabinet choices, Bush sat down with two of his most bitter political adversaries, the man he defeated and the man he will succeed.

Our senior White House correspondent, John King, is covering the Bush transition -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, let's turn first to what we expect to hear tomorrow from the governor, the president-elect back in Austin, Texas. He's en route now, and we're told in the morning there he will announce at least two, and perhaps more, additions, nominees for the Bush cabinet. No. 1 is his longtime friend Don Evans. Don Evans will be the nominee for secretary of commerce. He is the chairman of the Bush campaign. He's been Governor Bush's chief fund-raiser since 1978, helped raise $100 million for the Bush for president campaign. He's a chairman of the board of regents at the University of Texas and a man Governor Bush knows from his days in Midland, Texas, working in the oil business.

Again, he will be Bush's choice, we're told, by several Republican sources to be the next secretary of commerce. Also, tomorrow, the governor, the president-elect will announce his choice for housing secretary. He is Mel Martinez, currently the elected chairman of Orange County in Florida, a close ally of Governor Jeb Bush, the governor's brother.

He was born in Cuba, came to the United States in 1962. This, we're told, part of the governor's effort, the president-elect's effort -- we have to get used to that -- to bring diversity to his Cabinet, having a close ally of his brother from Florida.

Now, we're also told about some possibilities to watch in the days ahead. The governor of Montana, Marc Racicot, a Republican who had a high profile for the president-elect during the Florida recount effort, Mr. Racicot is on a plane to Austin at this hour. He will meet with the president-elect this evening.

He has told top advisers, according to sources, that he believes he is the leading candidate to be attorney general in the Bush administration. Other Bush allies, though, saying, whoa, he may be a leading candidate but it would be wrong to characterize him as the front-runner just yet.

Also, the president-elect met today here in Washington with the nation's longest-serving governor. He is Tommy Thompson, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, a pioneer in welfare reform, an abortion foe, and we're told a leading candidate for secretary of health and human services, although sources close to Thompson say he would prefer to be the transportation secretary. But he won't say no, we're told, if the governor, the president-elect, offers HHS.

Also, we're told by sources that President-elect Bush had hoped to announce his choice for treasury secretary tomorrow, and he hoped that announcement would be Paul O'Neill, the 65-year-old chairman of the Alcoa Corporation. However, that nomination on hold, at least for now, as the Bush political team tries to put out a bit of a controversy among conservatives.

Mr. O'Neill back in 1992, at an economic conference called by then President-elect Clinton, spoke out in favor of gas taxes. That has caused a bit of an uproar among conservatives. The Bush team now trying to calm that down and decide whether or not to proceed with the O'Neill nomination.

All this, the president-elect trying to build a Cabinet with substance on a day also full of much powerful symbolism. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): It is always a remarkable moment, even more so this time: Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, retracing the steps Mr. Clinton and another George Bush took just eight years ago: through the Rose Garden and into the Oval Office, a high-energy moment the new president-elect called it, all the talk polite.

BUSH: I look forward to the discussion. I'm here to listen. And if the president is kind enough to offer some advice, if he is, I will take it in.

KING: Mr. Clinton took issue, gently, with suggestions by Mr. Bush and his team that the economy might he headed for recession.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think 49 of the 50 blue chip forecasters think that growth will be 2.5 percent or better next year, and that will keep unemployment low.

KING: And the president is mulling a ground-breaking trip to North Korea if it agrees to scrap its missile program.

CLINTON: But this is something I want to consult with the president-elect and his team about, and we'll see what the facts are, and I'll try to do what's best for the country.

KING: International policy dominated their private talks, and sources in both camps said the discussions were remarkably pleasant, no reminders of the harsh back and forth of this year's campaign.


BUSH: Our current president embodied the potential of a generation: so many talents, so much charm, such great skill. But in the end, to what end?



CLINTON: I mean how bad could I be? I've been governor of Texas. My daddy was president. I owned a baseball team.


KING: The president-elect also called on his campaign rival. There were few words in public: according to aides a polite, conciliatory 15-minute chat in the privacy of the vice president's living room.


KING: Top advisers to the vice president telling CNN that in that brief chat Mr. Gore offered his services and the services of his staff to the incoming administration, and aides to President-elect bush, now on his way back to Austin, say the vice president was very gracious to the president-elect. They say don't read too much into the -- don't read too much into the fact the meeting was so short, that both had busy schedules to keep -- Judy, Bernie.

WOODRUFF: John, just how is President-elect Bush going about these Cabinet decisions? They seem to be coming pretty thick and fast at this point. Does that mean the decisions were really made in the days when we were all focused on Florida?

KING: Well, the lists were certainly narrowed even while we were still focused on the campaign itself. Clay Johnson, a top aide back in Texas, was building a list of prospective nominees while the campaign was unfolding. Dick Cheney, once the election was over -- and even during the Florida recount, you're right -- was narrowing down those lists.

Now, it's a matter of President-elect Bush looking these folks in the eye. And one thing he's doing very much like President-elect Clinton did back in '92, we're told that he has most of his choices made, but he won't finalize some of them until he makes the last decisions, because he very much wants a diversified Cabinet. This a president-elect very sensitive to the fact that he thought he would get a record percentage of African-American votes for a Republican and he didn't. He thought he would do much better among Hispanic voters.

So politics a major factor now as the president-elect builds a Cabinet, and they hope to have all of this wrapped up in the next week or two, although they say there might be one or two positions left unfilled until the new year.

WOODRUFF: All right. John King on a snowy evening at the White House, thanks -- Bernie.

SHAW: Following that presidential talk of a possible recession, the Federal Reserve took action, or rather inaction, in response to the slowing economy.

CNNfn's Myron Kandel joins us from New York -- Myron.

MYRON KANDEL, CNNFN FINANCIAL EDITOR: Well, Bernie, it was actually a little bit of both: no action and some action. The Fed left interest rates unchanged. Most everybody expected it to take that action, although a few people thought the Fed might cut interest rates. And what the Fed did do, however, was change its stance. They call that the bias.

The bias has been worried about inflation. They shifted today. A lot of people thought they would shift to neutral, but instead of shifting to neutral, the Fed shifted its bias towards worry about a slowing economy.

So the Fed has now said the slowing economy is the more serious worry than inflation, and that was -- really took Wall Street by surprise. However, as we know, the market reacted in a negative way. Apparently, the stock market was expecting the Fed possibly to even cut rates. When that didn't happen, the market was disappointed -- Bernie. SHAW: Myron, is -- on the economy, is there a difference between the Fed's approach, President Clinton's, and President-elect Bush's?

KANDEL: Well, there sure is. As we heard just a moment ago, President Clinton says the economy is in pretty good shape. It's slowing, and indeed, that's what the Fed wanted the economy to do, was slow. President-elect Bush is -- and Dick Cheney -- worried about the possibility of a recession.

The Fed sort of met them halfway. They didn't cut rates, but they shifted its bias toward worry about a slowing economy. So the Fed is somewhere in between. That's where it, I think, likes to be, Bernie.

SHAW: For now.

KANDEL: For now.

SHAW: Myron Kandel, thank you -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, now, let's talk some more about the economy, the presidential transition and perhaps more with the current White House chief of staff, John Podesta.

John Podesta, let me ask you about what we were just talking about here. The Federal Reserve Board did meet. They decided not to do anything about interest rates now, but they did signal that they very well may lower them, almost certainly in fact, at the next meeting in January.

Does President Clinton agree with their reading of the economy?

JOHN PODESTA, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, Judy, I think we've done well by not commenting on the Fed actions over the last eight years, but I think, as the president said today, the economy is fundamentally in good shape. We're in the longest expansion, as you know, in U.S. economic history. And yet, we're looking at further growth next year. We're looking at low unemployment, low inflation. And as the private sector economists, the blue-chip forecasters have said, we're looking at some place above 2.5 percent economic growth.

So, that's a pretty good record.

WOODRUFF: Well, the president did flat-out say today that he does not think there will be a recession. How can be so confident?

PODESTA: Well, I think he's relying on the judgment of his economic team, and frankly, he's relying on the judgment of, as I said, the blue-chip forecasters, the private-sector forecasters, who are looking out at what's going on in the economy.

You know, we were experiencing 5 percent growth, high, very high productivity rates, and that was -- that was what I think might be described as really a booming economy at the end of the longest expansion -- or hopefully it's not the end -- but during the longest expansion in American history. So I think the Fed took action to slow the economy to some extent, but we're still looking at very good growth, very low up employment and very low inflation. So I think things are -- the fundamentals are in very good shape.

WOODRUFF: John Podesta, how did today's meeting go between the president and President-elect Bush?

PODESTA: I think -- I had a chance to briefly discuss that with the president afterwards. They met one-on-one, as you know, most of that time over lunch, and they met for a couple of hours. And it was, I think, a very full discussion of foreign policy. And they talked about the workings of the White House. I think the president was pleased. I think it was a -- it was an open conversation, and I think they covered a lot of ground.

WOODRUFF: Can you be any more specific? You say they talked about foreign policy, they talked about the workings of the White House. Can you tell us specifically what they talked about?

PODESTA: Well, it was a private conversation, Judy. I think that again they -- I think they probably touched on virtually all of the key foreign policy challenges facing the United States right now, and I think that, as I said, they had an open discussion.

With regard to the workings of the White House, I think the president probably gave the president-elect some of his views about things that work, things that didn't. Maybe gave him some advice on how to keep his chief of staff out of trouble.

WOODRUFF: We heard President Clinton mention President-elect Bush's father. Why did he do that?

PODESTA: I'm sorry, Judy. I didn't get the question.

WOODRUFF: At one point, the president mentioned President-elect Bush's father and conversations they had had.

PODESTA: Well, I think that the president after the 1992 election came in here, and I think he, President Bush at that time I think was generous with his advice and with his time with the president. And I think that that was the context in which President Clinton mentioned it today.

WOODRUFF: It seemed to some of us who were watching on television, John, as if there was a little bit of awkwardness there in the Oval Office. Am I reading something into it that wasn't there?

PODESTA: Well, I think, you know, again, the first -- this was their first meeting after the election, and they came in, and they sat down. Andy Card, the president-elect's chief of staff-designate, and I stayed for a moment. And then the two men kicked us both out of the room. We went and had our separate meeting, and they really got right down to business I think.

So I don't -- I think whatever the -- if there was any awkwardness at the beginning, I didn't sense it. But if there was any, it certainly wasn't there at the end of the meeting as they come down on the elevator from the residence where they had been having lunch. There were -- they seemed quite at ease with each other.

WOODRUFF: All right, John Podesta, White House chief of staff to President Clinton. We thank you very much for joining us.

PODESTA: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you, John -- Bernie.

SHAW: Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the next president's prospects for a honeymoon: Our Bill Schneider with some advice. Plus, Bill Press and Bob Novak on transitions, handshakes and politics.


WOODRUFF: During their meeting today, President-elect George W. Bush said he would listen to any advice President Clinton might offer. As our senior political analyst Bill Schneider joins us to explain, Mr. Clinton might have some words of wisdom on the topic of short presidential honeymoons -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Well, Judy, just like newly married couples, new presidents need honeymoons. It helps to get the relationship off to a good start. But President Bush is getting off to a somewhat rocky start, and he's going to have to spend a lot of his honeymoon patching up differences.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): This year, we have something different: a honeymoon without a wedding. A lot of people think George W. Bush eloped with the voters. Normally, a honeymoon gives a new president a big reservoir of goodwill that he can draw on to move his agenda.

Does Bush have that? Actually, he comes into office with a lot of goodwill: 59 percent have a favorable opinion of the president- elect; 36 percent unfavorable -- almost exactly the same numbers as Bill Clinton had just after he got elected, without a recount, in 1992.

A president's popularity is his political capital, and a honeymoon is when the romance with the voters is at its peak.

They swoon over the president's program.


RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our proposal is for a 10 percent across-the-board cut every year for three years in the tax rates for all individual income taxpayers, making a total cut in tax rates of 30 percent.


SCHNEIDER: When you're in love, everything seems possible.


CLINTON: Later this spring, after the first lady and the many good people who are helping her all across the country complete their work, I will deliver to Congress a comprehensive plan for health care reform.


SCHNEIDER: Of course, a president can spoil his honeymoon by bringing up unpleasant subjects, like ending the ban on gays in the military...


QUESTION: How quickly will you lift this ban, Mr. President?

CLINTON: I don't have anything else to say about it right now.


SCHNEIDER: ... or by looking at the wrong woman.


QUESTION: Mr. President, how difficult was the Zoe Baird decision? How agonizing was it for you?

CLINTON: I was -- I'm sad about it.


SCHNEIDER: This time, the new president's going to have to woo the voters after he's won them. How? With unifying and conciliatory gestures. A little jewelry wouldn't hurt, like maybe a few important jobs for members of the other party.

Does the public believe Bush and congressional Democrats can put politics aside and work together? Let's get real here. Put politics aside? Come on, these guys are politicians.

Actually, Republicans believe bipartisanship is possible. Remember, they're on their honeymoon. Democrats are skeptical. They want to know how this marriage is going to work.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: I think the key is can you get to the middle and get the honest compromises on issues.

SCHNEIDER: Sooner or later in a honeymoon, reality sets in, and the reality is the American people are the ones who married them.

SEN. THOMAS DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: Bipartisanship isn't an option anymore. It is a requirement. The American people have divided responsibility for leadership right down the middle.

SCHNEIDER: There's one other way to build public support: create a sense of urgency. That can substitute for a honeymoon.

BUSH: I think that Vice President-elect Cheney was right in echoing concerns, my concerns about -- about a possible slowdown, and that's one of the reasons why I feel so strongly about the need to reduce the marginal rates in our tax code.

SCHNEIDER: Message: We'd better stick together, baby, because it's going to get rough out there.


SCHNEIDER: And maybe, if we just get through this, sooner or later we'll learn to love each other. And who knows? Four years from now, we can have a second honeymoon -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Who knows? Bill Schneider, thanks very much -- Bernie.

SHAW: Joining us now at the altar, the hosts of CNN's "CROSSFIRE," Bill Press and Bob Novak, gentlemen.

BILL PRESS, HOST, CNN "CROSSFIRE": Not on our honeymoon. I just want to make that clear.

SHAW: Smiles, handshakes in the Oval Office, a nice lunch, nice dessert with maple ice cream in the mansion. The stuff of substance, Bob?

ROBERT NOVAK, HOST, CNN "CROSSFIRE": Means zero. Absolutely zero. It's a nice ritual. We're a civilized country. We don't have coups. We have peaceful turnovers. We had a lot of bad spirit in this turnover, but this was a nice ritual and it means nothing as to the way the president -- the new president will govern.

What I was more interested in, Bernie, was how short the meeting was with Al Gore in his living room in vice president's residence. They said 15 minutes. My mind clock it was 10 minutes, and I can even spend more time talking to Press than they could talking to each other.

PRESS: Well, there's one thing...


SHAW: Well, there's one thing going through my mind and I'm going to ask John King about top of the hour, the meeting between Bush and Clinton went two hours, longer than expected, and I'm wondering if that impinged on the meeting between Bush and Gore. I'm going to ask John King about that. Sorry to interrupt.

PRESS: Well, no, I'm sure -- I'm sure if they had more to say to each other that both of them could have found more than 10 minutes or 15 minutes or whatever it was. But, you know, as painful as it is for me to agree with Bob, I have to say that I do agree. I mean, these meetings are very nice. They're very necessary. I think it's important that people see there is this smooth transition of power, but they really accomplish nothing.

SHAW: Bipartisanship, reaching out to Democrats, a two-way street?

PRESS: Well, to succeed it has to be two-way street. Bob and I, neither one of us want to see too much bipartisanship because we'd be out of business, I think, if it were. But I find that the problems that George Bush is encountering, the early ones, Bernie, are not coming so much from the Democrats as they are members from his own party. Conservatives who are saying, his appointments are too moderate, his agenda seems too moderate.

People on the hill, like Senator Grassley, chairman of the finance committee, is saying he's going to have to settle for less than he wants in his tax cut. Dennis Hastert and Trent Lott saying you're going to have to take it a little bit of a time. You can't have the whole big thing. Right now, the Democrats are talking about bipartisanship and the members of Congress are saying, we want an Article I government not an Article II government. Congress is going to run it.

NOVAK: Bipartisanship -- Tom DeLay, the House Republican whip, says the Democratic definition of bipartisanship is buy my partisanship. In other words, take the Democratic programs and we'll tweak them a little bit, but let's pass the program that Al Gore would have passed. That's just nonsense and it's really sickening to me when much news media talks about what a danger Tom DeLay is. What a danger Dick Armey is. What a danger Trent Lott and Don Nickles are in the Senate.

My idea of bipartisanship for a Republican was in 1981 when the Reagan tax cuts were passed, and budget cuts were passed in the House of Representatives, which was controlled by the Democrats, with big Democratic votes, 50, 60 Democratic votes. Now there are Republican programs that can be passed now with Democratic votes: repeal of estate tax, repeal of the marriage penalty and other things.

PRESS: I have to disagree, George Bush has the same problem that Al Gore would have had had he succeeded. And when this election is so close and the Senate tied and the House so close, there's not going to be the ability to deliver on everything he promised or that Al Gore would have promised.

NOVAK: Of course, not but the President-Elect Bush has to push for his program or he will be neutered from the beginning of his presidency.

SHAW: Back to what just ended. The news media wanting to count those ballots in Florida. Could this be a negative on the Bush presidency?

PRESS: That's about the silliest thing I have ever seen in my life. To be honest...


SHAW: My question or...

NOVAK: No. This -- this recount. All these organizations, all the way from Judicial Watch, which is a conservative organization, to "The Miami Herald" and they are going to disagree as much as the Republican judges. It isn't a matter of counting votes that we know. it's interpreting them, and the judges had a problem in Broward County interpreting them. And these people are going to have trouble interpreting them and they're doing to do all -- what is it? Sixty- seven counties of Florida? What nonsense.

PRESS: Here's the problem? Bob doesn't want to know the outcome. That's why he doesn't like this recount. Florida -- the state of Florida has the most open Sunshine Law. We all knew these ballots were going to be counted and now they are and they'll be counted two or three different ways. And you know what, Bernie? It could very well happen -- it might show that George Bush won Florida.

But it could also show that VNS was right and CNN and the other networks were right when they called Florida for Al Gore and if that happens, might I suggest, Bush is still the president, but in effect you've got a president who won neither the popular vote nor indeed deserved to win the electoral vote I think that casts a shadow -- will over his presidency. He's there. You can't get rid of him, but it's not going to be good news.

NOVAK: What do you do when five of the counting groups say yes, Bush carried the state and another five say no, Gore carried the state? Who's the -- who's the deciding entity? So to the Supreme Court on it?

PRESS: No you count them again.

SHAW: Gentlemen, I can count and we're out of time. Bill Press, Bob Novak, thank you.

PRESS: Thank you, Bernie.

SHAW: You are welcome. And there's much more ahead on this extended edition 60-minute edition -- 90-minute edition, I should say, of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come, the political future of Governor Jeb Bush.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The question is will voters hold him accountable for how quickly and how well he addresses the Election 2000 nightmare?


SHAW: Susan Candiotti on mending fences with minority voters.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REV. EUGENE RIVERS, TEN POINT COALITION: They led their electorate into putting 97 percent of their eggs in one basket, the basket got knocked on the floor, and so now there must be a new conversation.


SHAW: African-American leaders prepare to work with a new Republican administration.

And later, considering the next chapter. What does the future hold for President William Jefferson Clinton?


WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.

American mediators have re-opened peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians at Bolling Air Force Base, southeast of Washington. The State Department calls it a hopeful first step toward settlement. However, an Israeli source says negotiations will depend on an end to the current violence in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. More than 330 people have died in the latest conflicts.

SHAW: The British parliament has approved using stem cells from cloned human embryos for research. While this issue has divided public opinion, the draft passed by more than two to one. Prime Minister Tony Blair is a strong supporter of the research, which scientists say could help uncover treatments for devastating disease.

WOODRUFF: There's no apparent connection between cell phones and brain cancer. That is according to a study published by the American Health Foundation and partially funded by the cell phone industry. The research focused on analog phones. Researchers caution more study is needed on digital phones as well as the effect of long-term use.

SHAW: In Mexico, the volcano known as Popo erupted again today, and many Mexicans took it as a powerful omen. Some 50,000 people have fled the mountain's strongest eruptions in decades. Legend has linked past eruptions of Popo to events as important as the arrival of the Spanish and more recently, the 1994 collapse of the peso.

WOODRUFF: A lot of weather to keep track of on the East Coast of the United States this day, and for latest on that let's go to Jacqui Jeras in Atlanta -- Jacqui.


SHAW: Thank you, Jacqui. Some African-American leaders are getting ready to work with a new Republican administration. That's just ahead on this expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: One person cannot heal a nation. All of us must refocus the terrific energy that Florida is by ensuring that we rebuild our political and electoral structures so that no one feels disenfranchised; so that all of us feel confidence in our system of elections; so that we can move beyond politics to possibilities of a better and brighter future.


SHAW: Well, with the election battle in Florida over, Governor Jeb Bush, the president-elect's brother, is already beginning the process of political fence-mending. But could the weeks-long controversy over ballots in Florida affect the governor's own political future?

CNN's Susan Candiotti has an inside view.


J. BUSH: Counting is part of education, But I'd rather be talking about Algebra.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Good-natured ribbing about the ballot counting breakdown hard to avoid as Florida Governor Jeb Bush gets back to the routine of running his state. But post-election fallout is on everyone's mind.

MARK SILVA, "THE MIAMI HERALD": Democrats identify him as one of the people who kept the votes from being counted in the end, as they put it, and I think initially there will be quite a lot of vengeance brought to bear on Jeb Bush.

CANDIOTTI: Mindful of a potential backlash, the governor has already unveiled a blue-ribbon panel to come up with a fix to Florida's much-criticized election code.

J. BUSH: Make sure that people know that their voice is heard, and that they do get a chance to participate, and that their vote counts and their participation in the political process irrespective of their views matters a lot.


CROWD: Count our votes! Count our votes!


CANDIOTTI: Political analysts suggest the governor may have to work extra hard to convince African-American voters the process is not stacked against them. The governor's approval rating among blacks now taking a beating because of allegations some blacks were disenfranchised election day.

REV. MACK KING CARTER, MT. OLIVE BAPTIST CHURCH: President-Elect Bush will only be in office four years, and of course his brother only has two more. J. BUSH: For the achieving students.

CANDIOTTI: At this postelection event promoting a college prep program for the economically disadvantaged, Bush said he can take the heat.

J. BUSH: When you're a target, that temporarily those things can happen. But that's not going to deter me from doing what I think is right, and I'll going to keep on doing it.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): As Governor Bush put it, no one can say Floridians are apathetic about the election process. That may be. The question is, will voters hold him accountable for how quickly and how well he addresses the Election 2000 nightmare?

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Tallahassee, Florida.


WOODRUFF: Well, Governor Bush's brother, President-Elect Bush is reaching out to ministers this week, both black and white, in an effort to move ahead with the compassionate conservative message of his campaign.

I spoke a little earlier with the Reverend Eugene Rivers of the Ten Point Coalition, who is going to that meeting tomorrow and Robert Woodson of The National Center for Neighbor Enterprise, and began by asking how the meeting came about.


REV. EUGENE RIVERS, TEN POINT COALITION: I'll tell you what I know. I received a call last Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. from some of the Bush staff in Austin, Texas, extending an invitation to me to join them for a discussion of the ways and in which faith-based communities could develop productive partnerships with law enforcement and, you know, the government to address social problems and so I was..


WOODRUFF: And when you got that call, what was your reaction?

RIVERS: I was frankly surprised. I was very surprised and gratified at the opportunity to come to Austin to listen and learn and then share any thoughts that they would be interested in hearing about how we move forward and promote some vision of reconciliation between the black community and the new administration. And so, it's a privilege and an honor.


WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask, if you don't mind, Robert Woodson, let me ask you, now that you know that this meeting is taking place, do you think it's a good idea? ROBERT WOODSON, NATIONAL CENTER FOR NEIGHBORHOOD ENTERPRISE: Yes, I do. Some of us who supported Governor Bush who are a bit concerned when he took Jesse Jackson's call along with world leaders, somebody who has demonized him in the press, and we were surprised when Jesse Jackson then said that he was going to meet with Governor Bush; that some of us expressed a little outrage and said to him and others on his staff that Jesse Jackson represents one small element of the black communities.

It's important for him to talk to a broad expanse of the black community, and don't assume that you have to walk through a civil rights door in order to enter into the black community, where Jesse Jackson, Kweisi Mfume and Al Sharpton are the gatekeepers, that he needs to speak directly to the people experiencing the problem.

WOODRUFF: Reverend Rivers, how much support did Governor Bush get in your community, do you believe?

RIVERS: He probably got about the standard 5 percent that most of us know.

WOODRUFF: It was 9 percent nationwide.

RIVERS: OK. So I'd say anywhere between 9 to 5 percent.

WOODRUFF: And therefore, when -- when you hear reverend -- when you hear Bob Woodson say he doesn't think it's a good idea for the governor to go through the traditional, I think as he put it, the civil rights gatekeepers, you don't consider yourself one of those?

RIVERS: No. Well, No. 1, I think Bob has a very important point that needs to be stressed. No. 1, Bob is correct that we are incorrect in assuming that Jesse Jackson speaks for all of black America. He doesn't speak for all black clergy, all black churches, not to mention black America.

I think that what is important, as Bob has said, is that there needs to be a broader conversation that does not exclude anyone who can make a claim to being a representative leader of some element of the black community. But he's correct.

The civil rights industry leadership now has to confront the fact that they led their electorate into putting 97 percent of their eggs in one basket. The basket got knocked on the floor. And so now there must be a new conversation in the black community to -- that says we now must come to terms with a political fact of life, which is Governor-elect George Bush, and we need to have a new conversation which transcends the Shaka Zulu rhetoric that challenges the legitimacy of the election. It doesn't make sense.

WOODRUFF: Bob Woodson -- Bob Woodson, what can a meeting like tomorrow's accomplish, do you think, when so many in the African- American community did not vote for Governor Bush?

WOODSON: First of all, you have -- what it can do is to help Governor Bush to understand that 700,000 blacks did not vote, and others were looking for an alternative but didn't receive it.

Hopefully, what the -- because he's also meeting with some grassroots leaders. Cordelia Taylor (ph) from Milwaukee is one of those people.

Hopefully, what they'll say to him, that we represent a broad cross-section of the American black community, and therefore, we are concerned about what our strategies to elevate the least of these.

And if Governor Bush begins to put in place policies that addresses the crises that are facing large numbers of the black community, then I think as a consequence he'll receive more support.

So they can begin to help him to understand that the black community is not a monolith and that -- and there are leaders in the grassroots communities that have found solutions. He just needs to link up to them.

WOODRUFF: Reverend Rivers, just quickly: Did you support Governor Bush? Did you vote for him?

RIVERS: No, I didn't. In fact, let me answer that directly. I'm an independent who voted for a Democrat who looks forward to working with a Republican who is now the president.

One last quick point on this: You see, tomorrow is a great opportunity to build a new dialogue which transcends the old civil rights rhetoric. Bob is right. Governor -- Governor-elect Bush -- President-elect Bush has a strategic opportunity to build bridges that transcend the limitations of the authorized leadership, who frequently dominate the discourse, and don't allow new and fresh voices to emerge.

WOODSON: They engage in a kind of gag rule that demonizes any blacks who break with traditional thinking and traditional actions.

RIVERS: Absolutely. That's absolutely true.

WOODSON: And so it's important for the governor to understand that, and that hopefully he'll learn from it and begin to reach out.

After all, the black community is in a -- in a -- in a terrible situation where Democrats can conclude that they can't win with the black vote and Republicans can say that they don't need the black vote.

WOODRUFF: Well, we're going to have to leave it there, gentlemen. Of course, this is a story we will continue to keep an eye on.

Robert Woodson of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, and the Reverend Eugene Rivers of the Ten Point Coalition in Boston.

Thank you both for joining us.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: And when we return, what to do after eight years in the White House? We'll talk to two Washington reporters about the next stop for President Clinton.


SHAW: The countdown, the countdown to the beginning of the Bush- Cheney administration is also a countdown to the end of the Clinton years. The question: What lies ahead for the soon-to-be former president?

Well, joining us, John Harris of "The Washington Post" in the city room there here in D.C., and Carl Leubsdorf, the Washington bureau chief for "The Dallas Morning News."

John Harris, how is Bill Clinton going to make it in the outside world?

JOHN HARRIS, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, it depends if you mean, is he going to make it financially? I don't expect that's going to be a problem. He's going to quickly, I think, make a lot of money with his own book deal, just like Hillary Clinton did, probably get on boards and so forth.

To me, the more interesting question is, how is he going to make it emotionally and psychically? This is his somebody who, for all the tumult of his presidency, I think he's really emotionally invested in his job and has loved it: loved the policy, loved the politics, loved the applause. And so making that transition I think is going to be a little rough for him.

SHAW: Carl?

CARL LEUBSDORF, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "DALLAS MORNING NEWS": That's a problem for all presidents, Bernie. You know, we've heard about President Bush, got beaten, and it took him nearly a year to get accustomed. But I agree with John that for President Clinton it's going to be especially difficult, and you see him up to almost the last minute, as he promised, keeping busy, trying to do things, and as if, you know, he doesn't want it to end.

SHAW: Well, back to your point, John, about emotionally and psychically adjusting. His guy, Terry McAuliffe now, is numero uno to head the Democratic National Committee, a man who raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Clinton and Gore. Isn't that a problem for Al Gore, if Bill Clinton is vamping on the sidelines? How much is that going to trammel on Al Gore?

HARRIS: I do think there is a fair amount of significance to that McAuliffe appointment, because, I'm told anyway -- people close to McAuliffe -- that Terry was quite critical of the way Al Gore ran his campaign in 2000. And of course, as we have all reported, he is very close personally to Dick Gephardt, another person who's talked about in 2004.

So I would think that you wouldn't expect any help from the DNC if you were Al Gore thinking about making another stab at this in 2004. And it's going to have -- Clinton will have an influence, both because of his own prominence, his closeness to Terry, the fact that he's a sentimental favorite for many people in the Democratic Party.

LEUBSDORF: Bernie, I think it signifies that he's the No. 1 Democrat in the country.

SHAW: Bill Clinton is?

LEUBSDORF: Bill Clinton is. And you know, when Terry McAuliffe wants to raise money next year, he's going to want Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, because they're the biggest draws in the party and they can attract the most money, and that's a problem for Al Gore. But he's going to be looking ahead, Terry McAuliffe is, to the future of the Democratic Party, not the past of Al Gore.

SHAW: So what you two men are signaling is a battle royale for control of the Democratic Party?

HARRIS: That may overstate it a little bit. I would also, just to just differ a little bit -- only a matter of degree from what Carl's -- what Carl is saying -- is I don't think that beyond fund raising that Bill Clinton is going to be this dominant, overpowering factor in Democratic politics. Because I think politics -- and just, I have to quote Bill Clinton on this subject. Politics is forward- looking. It is not backwards-looking.

So power and prominence inevitably is going to gravitate to people who have the positions in-hand now -- Dick Gephardt -- or the people who emerge as candidates for 2004.

Clinton can't hang onto this. It's a perishable commodity.

LEUBSDORF: He can't hang onto that, but he's still one of the shrewdest strategists in the Democratic Party. And if I'm running for president in 2004, I want Bill Clinton on my side helping to plan my campaign. I mean, he was very helpful, from all the reports, to Mrs. Clinton in her Senate race, did a lot of the strategizing for that. And he's just going to be engaged in some way. I agree, not as the front man, not as the candidate.

SHAW: Quickly, before we go, there's talk of a possible talk- show deal. What do you hear about that?

HARRIS: I have heard that chatter, and Clinton in his interview with another network that was released today didn't exactly shoot the idea down. That would really diminish his prominence, I think, as the next president, being reduced to one more talking head out there. I'd be very skeptical if it comes through.

SHAW: What -- was that Dan Rather's "60 Minutes II" interview?

HARRIS: That's the one. I didn't know if you wanted to mention it or not.

SHAW: Well, of course, he's a competitor, but he's a friend, too.

Carl, what have you heard?

LEUBSDORF: Well, it's been in the trade press, but you know, I think one thing President Clinton has not totally figured out, I'm sure, is exactly how he's going to divide his time and what enterprises he'll be involved in.

He's going to work on his library obviously and get that finished and write his memoirs, make a lot of money. But I think the long-term role he has for maybe a full-time job or a most-time job is something that, you know, if he's decided on it, we don't know about it, and I don't think it's as a talk-show host. I agree with John.

SHAW: Well, certainly, we're going to be watching whatever the soon-to-be former president does.

Carl Leubsdorf, the Washington bureau chief for "The Dallas Morning News," and John Harris of "The Washington Post."

Gentlemen, thank you very much.

LEUBSDORF: Thanks, Bernie.


SHAW: And to you.

Even as he looks to the future, Mr. Clinton is savoring his final Christmas at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We're going to check out one of those holiday moments when we return.


WOODRUFF: After meeting with George W. Bush today, President Clinton was faced with yet another reminder that his days in the White House are numbered. Presumably this one was more enjoyable.

We have a snippet from his final performance of a holiday ritual.


CLINTON: It was the night before...


CLINTON: ... when all through the...


CLINTON: Not a creature was...


CLINTON: ... not even a...


CLINTON: The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be...


CLINTON: The children were nestled all snug in their...


CLINTON: ... while visions of sugar plums danced in their...



WOODRUFF: Well, momma in her kerchief and I in my cap -- and we'll leave it there: 70 children from Washington elementary schools joined the president and Mrs. Clinton for his eighth reading at the White House of "It Was the Night Before Christmas."

SHAW: Very nice.

WOODRUFF: And still, much more INSIDE POLITICS ahead.

SHAW: In the next 30 minutes, the latest names in the Bush Cabinet and the president-elect's future with the news media, as our extended coverage continues.


WOODRUFF: George W. Bush visits his future home and chats with the current occupant as he moves ahead with his presidential transition and prepares to name more names.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don Evans is the millionaire CEO of a successful energy company, and more important, George W. Bush trusted confidante and sounding board.


SHAW: Eileen O'Connor on the man who, according to sources, is poised to be tapped for commerce secretary.

WOODRUFF: Plus media coverage of the next president. Will Bush have as rough a time as his predecessor?


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I want to talk to him, not you. He can talk about that. I waited eight years to say that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: And welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS. George W. Bush's meeting with President Clinton today was something of a prelude to the official passing of the baton. That meeting, and his one-on-one with Al Gore, capped Bush's debut here in Washington as the president-elect. Now, Mr. Bush is returning to Texas and the business of naming his choices for key jobs in his administration.

Let's talk more about Bush's day and what's next, once again with our senior White House correspondent John King.

John, can we expect the pace of appointments, the announcements thereof to increase?

KING: We certainly can, Bernie, and that quicker pace will come beginning tomorrow morning in Austin, Texas. As you mentioned, the president-elect on his way home. Let's talk first about two definites. CNN is told by senior Republican sources and Bush advisers that tomorrow there will be at least two announcements relating to the Bush Cabinet.

One is Don Evans. He is 54 years old, the chairman of the Bush campaign. More importantly, early on in that campaign the chief fund raisers. He's raised money for Governor Bush since 1978. Raised a record $100 million for the Bush presidential campaign. He's also chairman of the board of regents of the University of Texas and a man Governor Bush knows well from their days in the oil business together in Midland, Texas. He is the choice for commerce secretary. That will be announced tomorrow in Austin.

Also definite to be announced, we are told by Republican sources, the appointment or the nomination, anyway, of Mel Martinez for secretary of housing and urban development. He is the current elected chairman of Orange County, Florida -- that includes the Orlando area. He was born in Cuba, came to the United States in 1962. A rising star in Florida Republican politics and a close ally of the president- elect's brother, Governor Jeb Bush.

Now let's discuss some possibilities. CNN is told that Montana Governor Marc Racicot is on his way to Austin to meet with the president-elect tonight, maybe first thing in the morning but most likely tonight. His aides say privately that he believes he is the leading candidate for attorney general, although some in the Bush campaign say, whoa, not so fast. He is a candidate for attorney general and the president-elect not ready to make that decision just yet.

Also meeting with the president-elect today, the nation's longest serving governor, Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin. In office now for 14 years, the Longest serving governor in Wisconsin history. He is know as a pioneer in the area of welfare reform. Also a firm opponent of abortion. Under consideration and the leading candidate, we are told, to lead the department of health and human services, although we're also told by close friends Mr. Thompson -- Governor Thompson would prefer to be transportation secretary, but is unlikely to say no if offered the HHS position.

And finally, Governor Bush -- President-Elect Bush had hoped to appoint tomorrow, nominate Paul O'Neill, the chairman of Alcoa Corporation, as his choice for treasury secretary. He was a deputy director of the office of management and budget in prior Republican administrations; 65 years old; a man well-known in both Washington and on Wall Street. There were plans to make that announcement tomorrow in Austin.

We're now told it might come tomorrow, but perhaps might have to wait a bit. Some rankling in conservative ranks about comments back in 1992 Mr. O'Neill made in favor of gas tax increases, excuse me. Top Bush political advisers working the phones now trying to see just how concerned those conservatives are and whether they can quit that criticism as President-Elect Bush looks to get his team off to a smooth start.

Also look , Bernie, tomorrow in Austin for several senior Bush Campaign aides to be named joining here the senior White House staff that will take power in just a month.

SHAW: John, let's go inside the Oval Office now for a moment. The president-elect sitting down with the president of the United States and later with Vice President Gore. Any contrast, ironies in this afternoon?

KING: Well, certainly. Having been here eight years ago when then-Governor Clinton walked the very same steps with then-President Bush, it was very strange to see the role reversal. President Clinton escorting another George Bush, the son, George W. Bush, through the White House and also eight years ago, the media was not allowed into the Oval Office. There was no give and take with reported in the Oval Office. President Bush would not allow that eight years ago.

So, it was remarkable to see these two men sitting next to each other, and we're told privately that the conversation was remarkably upbeat and pleasant, most of it focused on international affairs. No bad blood at least evidenced in the meeting, from the very hard words these two men had about each other in the past campaign.

Mr. Clinton, of course, had harsh words for then-President Bush eight years ago, perhaps mindful of that as he played gracious host today to a man who had some very unkind things to say about not only this president but the administration.

SHAW: And what about Gore?

KING: A very brief meeting, 15 minutes. Both sides saying don't read too much into that, that these two men, obviously, they fought -- had a hard-fought campaign. Not too much to say. It was in the vice president's living room, 15 minutes in all. The vice president, we're told, offered his services to new administration. Governor Bush told top aides as he left the vice president was very gracious. No substance there, though. That very much a symbolic courtesy call designed by both men to show that despite the hard-fought campaign, despite the differences of opinion over that Supreme Court decision that shut down the Florida recount, that the vice president now recognizes Governor Bush as the president-elect. Time to move on was the message from both men today.

SHAW: And before you turn into Frosty the Snowman out there on the Northwest lawn, I want to ask you about subtle substance. Obviously, President Clinton does not want to hear the word recession and he pointed out that he expects a 2.5 percent growth rate next year. He cited the blue-chip forecasters.

KING: Yes, he did. Not at all subtle, there, Bernie. Polite, but not subtle. The president not too happy that the president- elect's team, including the president-elect, trying to suggest that if there is a recession down the road that it somehow began in this administration; that it would be President Clinton's fault. President Clinton saying no, no. The technical definition of recession, playing economist for a moment, is two quarters in a row of negative growth.

The president said that will not happen. Perhaps not 5 percent growth, as has been throughout this administration, but predicting growth continuing at least in the first year of the administration of the new president, the Republican president. A little jousting there over the issue that won Mr. Clinton the White House in the first place.

SHAW: John King, the White House. Thank you -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And he is starting to look a little like Frosty the Snowman.

SHAW: Yes, he is.

WOODRUFF: It's a good thing we let him go.

Well, now, a closer look at the man expected to be tapped by Bush as his commerce secretary.

CNN's Eileen O'Connor continues our transition coverage with a profile of Don Evans.


O'CONNOR (voice-over): Don Evans is the millionaire CEO of a successful energy company, a native Texan and more importantly, George W. Bush's trusted confidant and sounding board, a role he downplays.

DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY NOMINEE: He does have a kitchen cabinet. It's the American people.

QUESTION: Are you part of that, though?

EVANS: I am part of the American people.

O'CONNOR: Evans met Bush in 1969 through his wife, Susie, who went to grade school with George W. in Midland, Texas.

EVANS: Said he was pretty cute in elementary school. The girls liked him. He was the leader on the playground.

O'CONNOR: Their friendship grew when both were oil men in Midland. Evans ran Bush's unsuccessful run for Congress in 1978 and then raised millions for his gubernatorial runs. Bush likens Evans' honesty and loyalty to that of his wife, Laura's. He and Bush were in bible study together. Evans encouraged Bush to run for president.

EVANS: When it was time to go out across America, I didn't know what to expect, but found an incredible amount of energy and starvation for leadership.

O'CONNOR: Evans also found a lot of people willing to give money. He says 265,000 people, who helped him raise over $96 million -- a record.

EVANS: One way to be helpful in a campaign is to make that kind of contribution, and we've had contributions from people from all across America from all walks of life.

O'CONNOR: Which is why campaign reform advocates say commerce is the perfect place for Evans.

CHUCK LEWIS, CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY: You put people at commerce who helped you get elected, either the former chairman of the party or the biggest fund-raiser that helped get the money that you needed to obtain power or they have some other reason you are rewarding them.

O'CONNOR: It's traditionally a payback job in other ways as well, a way for Evans to pay back donors.

LEWIS: He will be a facilitator between captains of industries, as it were, and the federal government, and so what does that really mean? It means keeping the troops loyal who have sponsored your candidacy financially.

O'CONNOR: And a way to keep a trusted adviser and friend within earshot.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And now, a job update on the Democratic side. Outgoing DNC National Chairman Joe Andrew has agreed, at President Clinton's request, to serve as chairman of the party's 2004 convention. That further smoothes the way for Andrew to be replaced as party chief by Clinton fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe. The DNC national chair traditionally names a convention chairman. But, rather than have Andrew appoint himself, President Clinton filled the role, acting as de facto head of the party.

SHAW: As the nation readies itself for a new president, we're going to find out how the rest of the world is reacting to a Bush administration. Two international journalists who covered the election join us when INSIDE POLITICS returns.


WOODRUFF: Question: What is the reaction overseas to the upcoming Bush presidency? Well, joining us now for part of the answer, Richard Wolffe, a Washington correspondent for the British newspaper "The Financial Times." and Stefan Simons, the Washington bureau chief for the German news magazine "Der Spiegel."

Let me turn to you first, Stefan Simons. What is the reaction in Germany? I realize I can't ask you to speak for everyone in your country, but what are you hearing?

STEFAN SIMONS, "DER SPIEGEL": Well, I think it's very much a reaction like here in the United States. People are skeptical. Bush the junior is very much of an unknown quantity for us, so people are just wait-and-see. We've seen the first decisions on his team coming up, but still, people are reluctant to have a judgment on his perspective. So far, it was very much dominated by the election campaign. We'll have to see how much these promises will now translate into complete policies.

WOODRUFF: Richard Wolffe, what about in Great Britain?

RICHARD WOLFFE, "THE FINANCIAL TIMES": I think at times like this you see a collective outbreak of neurosis spreading. People wonder where they stand in the world, what it's going to mean for them, and really the first reaction about George W. Bush has been about his inexperience in foreign travel, in particular.

We saw his aides talk about him making a dozen trips that we never knew about before the weekend and there's also been some concern about some of the early comments made by advisers like Condi Rice about possible withdrawal of U.S. troops in the Balkans. SO there is still a lot uncertainty out there.

WOODRUFF: Is there concern about that?

SIMONS: Absolutely, Judy. I think you're -- what he says is absolutely right. I think when he first came in you always said the governor of Texas, you know, does not need to have a lot of foreign experience. And then the answer to this challenge was always, well, he's going to have a great team and his going to be working as a player with a lot of people around him.

And we've had Colin Powell and Condi Rice making some controversial statements and, of course, one of them was an interview with "The New York Times" when she mentioned that, you know, possible pull out from the Balkans, from Yugoslavia. And then secondly, Powell's very strong statements in his five Q&A press conference when he was nominated. I think that kind of upset the Europeans.

WOODRUFF: What was the concern there? WOLFFE: I think what you've seen is a lot of concerns about national missile defense, for a start. In Europe, that's seen as being quite destabilizing. It's important domestically, of course, here but there are concerns about U.S.-Russian relationships. How the -- will the ABM Treaty be opened up for renegotiations.

Now, to balance that, you know, Condi Rice and Colin Powell are very well-known, they're very well-respected around the world, that really does offset the kind of fears and uncertainty, but people are still waiting to see just what shape foreign policy will be.

WOODRUFF: And Stefan Simon, you talk about a governor coming to office expected, four of the last five American presidents have been governors without a great deal of international experience.

SIMONS: Absolutely right, and certainly that was true for when Clinton came in as well. But throughout the transition people, I think Americans and for that matter Europeans, too, were a little bit upset by this kind of hands-off approach of Bush.

Obviously, you know, we in Europe talk about this like the baseball presidency. He's sitting in the owner's box and looking on at his team to do the work. Now we wonder if that's going to be enough for, you know, ruling the world from the Oval Office. And so far we have seen this Bush approach as rather being a hands-off approach, and that to some degree might a little bit frighten Europeans.

WOODRUFF: Any thoughts about the name that's been floated, I guess, most prominently for secretary of defense is the former senator from the state of Indiana, Dan Coats? And particularly impressions of him?

WOLFFE: I think there are -- obviously, he's known as a social conservative. I think he is fairly well-known to kind of diplomatic circles for his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee. You know, he's known, but I think people expect the calls to be made elsewhere in the administration -- Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and we've seen a lot of moves by foreign powers to try to build a relationship there with those people.

I do think, though, it's a kind of -- it's a bit of a European caricature to suggest that somehow President-Elect Bush is going to be ignorant about foreign policy. He's, in conversations I've had him, he's been very curious. very engaged and that's certainly something his advisers have said as well.

WOODRUFF: What about you, Stefan? Have you had a chance to talk with him?

SIMONS: I once spent about an hour with him on the campaign and on the plane and I was amazed that some focused apart, there was in my feeling a lack of intellectual curiosity. Certainly, his exposure to the outside world has not been very great. I think the longest travel he's made was in China when his dad was an ambassador there. But that aside, I think we'll still have to see how the team effort is going to work out. And certainly, when about a year ago Bush made first foreign statement over in California, laid out his plans for foreign policy, I think what he stressed more was consultation. And if that happens, if he goes out, makes a tour in Europe or has people sent around, I think we're going to know to get him better and at that point we'll see how things develop.

WOODRUFF: We will certainly see that. Stefan Simon with "Der Spiegel," Richard Wolffe with "The Financial Times," we thank you both. We appreciate you coming by. Thanks a lot.

And up next, new presidents, media strategies and learning curves. Howard Kurtz on the lessons ahead for George W. Bush.



G. BUSH: I am humbled and honored, and I can't thank the president for his hospitality. He didn't need to do this.

HELEN THOMAS, JOURNALIST: Yes, he did. It's protocol.

G. BUSH: I haven't quite finished yet.


SHAW: President-Elect George W. Bush got a taste of the White House press corps today when Helen Thomas corrected him during his appearance with President Clinton.

Joining us now to talk more about news media strategies and White House transitions, Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" and "The Washington Post."

Howie, can the White House press corps expect a different relationship with a Bush White House than a Clinton?

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN "RELIABLE SOURCES": Well, if the transition is any indication, Bernie, probably so. The Bush team, at least until now, has been fairly wary of the press, unlike the Clinton spin machine, which operates 24-hours-a-day, fast-paced, uses leaks to generate good news and damage control techniques to cushion the bad news.

During this transition, a reporter for "The New York Daily News" told me he was not able find out what the president-elect had for lunch; it was part of his story. And a "L.A. Times" reporter was reduced to slipping a note to the 13-year-old son of Communications Director Karen Hughes, asking her to call him. he didn't get a call back.

So, I think the arm's length relationship, at least with the staff, not necessarily with President-Elect Bush, is very different from what the Clinton White House has had. SHAW: Well, what kind of press secretary would you expect? Curiously, Karen Hughes not going to be the press secretary.

KURTZ: She has opted out of the daily battle and dueling with reporters, I think recognizing that that is not her great strength. I think it's widely expected that Ari Fleischer, a veteran Washington spokesman, will be the press secretary.

But still, you have a lot of members of the Bush team who, just to -- unlike the president-elect himself who famously during the campaign charmed reporters and gave them nicknames and sometimes pinched a few cheeks, members of the team are really into what is called in the business message discipline, and I think their attitude will change -- indeed, it will have to change once they have control of the White House because the White House press corps is there every day, Helen Thomas and the rest.

They buy ink by the barrel. They have access to precious air time and you may as well feed the media beast. If they're reporting stories all the time, they might as well contain some of your spin.

SHAW: On a point that Judy raised with the "Der Spiegel" Washington bureau chief Stefan Simons, he said at one point that Europeans are concerned about Mr. Bush's seeming hands-off leadership style. Will Bush's work ethic be under intense scrutiny by the White House press corps?

KURTZ: Just about everything about the new president will be under intense scrutiny, and I think we'll have get used to a different style. I mean, President Clinton was on TV it seems all the time. He was on MTV talking about his underwear. I think George W. Bush will not be as much of a media president and that the press corp will have to adjust.

SHAW: Can a president charm White House reporters into good coverage?

KURTZ: Well, it doesn't hurt to try. Presidents have over the years, Ronald Reagan was famous for this, had favorite columnists who they would call and generate some opinion pieces on their behalf. Certainly, George W. Bush is a man of immense charm. Whether he chooses to use that on reporters or not is an interesting question.

While he, as I said, when I was on the Bush campaign plane he certainly was very effective at that at 40,000 feet. He also gets disappointed when reporters who he believes he has befriended writes things that he doesn't like. I certainly think that, you know, Bush will use not only his charm, but all the media apparatus at his disposal. The president, of course, a big news maker, celebrity-in- chief, can be covered anytime he wants.

I think it'll take them awhile to figure out how to do that, but I think they would be foolish, frankly, to ignore the media opportunities that a new president has, particularly a new president who's going to be so much in the news in the beginning.

SHAW: Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" and "The Washington Post." Thanks very much.

KURTZ: Thank you.

SHAW: You're quite welcome. Very, very interesting.

WOODRUFF: Sure is.

SHAW: Well, that's all for this expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS, but, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's

WOODRUFF: And this programming note: Author Barbara Olson and Mort Zuckerman of "The New York Daily News" will be in the "CROSSFIRE" discussing Senator-Elect Hillary Rodham Clinton. That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Wolf Blitzer will have the second part of his interview with Vice President-Elect Dick Cheney, followed by "THE POINT," with Greta Van Susteren. I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw. The "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.



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