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Text: Bush News Conference
Tuesday, December 8, 2000

Following is the transcript of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's news conference.

BUSH: Just had a long discussion with Secretary Cheney and Clay Johnson about potential Cabinet officers. I also had a good visit with Jimmy Baker today. The folks in Florida anticipate a decision, and they feel like our lawyers made a good, strong case. I think, you know, we are hopeful that we'll finally see finality when it comes to this election. It's time to get on with America's business. But we'll see what the courts decide today.

QUESTION: Governor, do you expect there to be finality today, and if there is a decisive ruling, do you think the person, the individual who loses, should concede by the end of the day?

BUSH: Well, we're prepared to, if need be, take our case back to the Supreme Court, but I hope that doesn't have to happen. I hope the Florida...

Pardon me? Well, I believe there'd be a reason to. And, of course, if that need be, we'll explain the reason. I just hope that doesn't--I hope that doesn't take place. I hope that--obviously hope the justices in Florida rule in our favor. We'll see what they do.

QUESTION: Would there be a reason for the vice president to also go back to court...

BUSH: Each candidate's going to have to decide, you know, make the decision that is best for the country. And only thing I can tell you is what, you know, how I think. You'll have to ask the vice president how he thinks, depending on the outcome of the courts.

QUESTION: Governor?

BUSH: Yes?

QUESTION: At this point, do you have most of your Cabinet posts picked out?

BUSH: We've got...

(AUDIO GAP)

BUSH: No.

(LAUGHTER)

But we're making pretty good progress. We've been somewhat hampered. It's hard to really be conducting a series of formal interviews with people until the election is over. But we're thinking, spending a lot of time thinking about different names, and we're doing some cursory background checks.

But I'd say, no, we're not in a position to...

QUESTION: Governor, have you finalized your White House staff? And are you looking at...

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: I've decided on a couple of them. I don't know whether or not they can pass the background checks, if you know what I mean.

(LAUGHTER)

It shouldn't surprise you that I hope that some of my good friends will come up to Washington with me, should I end up being the president. These two characters to my right here have been great friends of mine for a long time. I trust them. I trust their judgment. But there will be an appropriate time to announce a White House staff, and now's not the time.

QUESTION: Have you spoken to any Cabinet members, potential Cabinet members yet? You said earlier in the week you haven't actually approached any of them formally.

BUSH: Well, I haven't made a formal offer, but yes, I have. One came to my ranch.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: If the court decisions go your way and there is some finality, how quickly would you be able to start making these announcements?

BUSH: Pretty quick on the White House staff, and I think that's going to be important. And then we'll lay out a timetable for the Cabinet. And we got a lot of work to do on, you know, I presume the--you know, we got a lot of work to do on background checks.

You watch very carefully what happens here at the mansion. There's not a lot of people coming through here right now, and of course, before anybody is named I anticipate sitting down with them and having a good long talk about my expectations for the job.

QUESTION: Governor, in your lifetime, white and black Americans died to make sure that African-Americans would have the right to vote. And yet, there are reports out of Florida that African-Americans were systematically denied the right to vote. Are you concerned about that? And, if president, what would you do about that?

BUSH: Well, of course, I'm concerned about anybody being denied the right to vote. The great thing about America is everybody should vote. Interestingly enough, I haven't analyzed all the results, but in the state of Florida, as I understand, the African-American turnout was huge. The increase was significant over previous years, and that's a positive development. People were going to the polls.

You know, obviously, anybody who is denied the right to vote is something that, you know, we got to be concerned about.

Yes?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Does it compromise the election results?

BUSH: No, it does not. That's what the courts are now deciding.

QUESTION: Are you thinking at all about any new Cabinet level positions?

BUSH: If so, I'll tell you later.

Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.


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