Text: Bush News Conference
Tuesday, December 8,
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
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
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: At this point,
do you have most of your Cabinet posts picked out?
BUSH: We've got...
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...
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.
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.
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
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
Thank you all very much.
Thank you. Thank you.