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Text: Bush Meets With Cheney, Rice
Wednesday, December 6, 2000

Following is the transcript of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's press conference on his meeting with Richard B. Cheney and Condoleezza Rice.

TEXAS GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Back in Austin, Condi, as you know, during the course of the campaign, advised me on national security matters. I value her advice a lot.

Today, we spent a lot of time talking about how to seize what I believe is a very unique moment in American history to promote a foreign policy that is bipartisan. A great tradition of America has been that foreign policy has been bipartisan. That is, as they used to say, partisanship, when it comes to foreign policy, stops at the water's edge.

And Condi and I are in discussion obviously with others, like Colin Powell, about how best to promote the U.S. interests and at the same time promote peace. And so, we talked about trade, we talked about setting priorities, including making sure our friends know that we're friends.

So it's great to welcome her here. I appreciate you coming.

We'll be glad to answer a question or two.

QUESTION: Governor, do you sense that, during this period of uncertainty about the American election, enemies might use this to take advantage...

BUSH: First of all, I would warn them not to. I have all the confidence in the world that the Clinton administration and the next administration, which I hope is the Bush administration, will do whatever it takes to send a chilling signal to terrorists that we'll protect our property and our people. The warning ought to be that, as we decide this election, people should not try to take advantage of our nation.

QUESTION: Governor, there is every real possibility that the situation in the Middle East, which is deteriorating rapidly, will continue in that direction just as you take office. Is that a concern to you?

BUSH: I'm aware of the responsibilities that the United States must play in the Middle East, and General Powell and I discussed the Middle East. Condi and I are in constant discussion about the Middle East. And what concerns me is peace.

I understand the important role the United States can play, but the United States must not set artificial timetables. We've got to be patient, firm and patient.

But anytime there is a potential outbreak in hostilities, it will concern me. I'm very aware of what you're talking about.

QUESTION: Governor, once this election issue is settled, how long would it take you to start naming Cabinet appointees?

BUSH: Oh, I imagine I could name a few folks pretty quickly, if I so choose to do so. I'm spending a lot of time thinking about the Cabinet. I can tell you this, that when it comes to a White House staff, I've pretty well made up my mind on who should serve. Hopefully, there will be an appropriate moment to share that information with the people.

QUESTION: Why not now?

BUSH: Right now? Well, I know you're anxious for news, but I think there's an appropriate moment.

QUESTION: Have you contacted those potential appointees?

BUSH: For the Cabinet, I have not. I mean, I've obviously--some of the potential Cabinet members are friends of mine. I made no formal offer.

In terms of the White House staff, I've spoken fairly directly to people about possible service in the White House. And there will be an appropriate moment to name those people, and Condi Rice is on the list.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: Governor, do you see an end to this soon?

BUSH: To the election?

QUESTION: No, the holiday season.

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: That's right. Very good.

Been here a little too long, have you?

I hope so. I hope so. It seems like all the different court suits are working their way into finality, and I hope we can get this over with quickly. And there's a lot of work to be done.

QUESTION: Any comments on what's happening in Seminole County today?

BUSH: I haven't really watched the tube yet. I'd refer you to James Baker. I did talk to Jim this morning. And, you know, they're watching all these legal matters pretty closely, and they feel like the law is on our side.

QUESTION: Are you concerned the Republicans might have sent in applications that are...

BUSH: No. As I've said, the people who have analyzed this from a legal perspective are absolutely confident the law is on our side.

STAFF: Thank you all very much.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: What do you think of his chances?

BUSH: Who's that?

QUESTION: The vice president says he remains...

BUSH: His chances?

QUESTION: ... optimistic about his...

BUSH: Well, I always felt all along, from day one, that I had a good chance of winning the election. And I've won it three times, and I'm hoping to win it the fourth.

STAFF: Thanks a lot.

QUESTION: Thank you all.


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