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Text: Clinton Creates Transition Coordinating Council
Monday, November 27, 2000

Following is the transcript of President Clinton's news conference on his executive order creating a transition coordinating council.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let me say, first of all, I called this Cabinet meeting in part just to thank publicly members of this Cabinet for eight extraordinary years of service. A number of them have been with me the whole way, and for all of them I am very grateful.

The policies we have worked on together have been very good for America. They have sparked the longest economic expansion in history. Our welfare rolls were cut in half. We have crime at a 28-year low. And more land has been protected in the lower 48 states than any time since Theodore Roosevelt's administration, almost a century ago. This is a record that all of them can be proud of and only a small fraction of the record that they established.

Our country is now moving forward. In the final weeks of this administration, we are committed to maintaining a steady course. That means providing a smooth transition to the next president whether it is Vice President Gore or Governor Bush. As you know, an appropriate legal process is now under way.

That process will take at least four days to play itself out. Our job is to do what we've done for eight years now, to focus on the business at hand.

That is why I'm signing today an executive order creating a transition coordinating council. The council will provide the president-elect's team with coordinated services, especially regarding personnel matters. This action and other efforts by the Cabinet will well ensure that we are as prepared as we can possibly be for an orderly transition to the new administration.

In the meanwhile, we'll be doing what we can to get ready when Congress comes back to town in a few days.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. President, do you think Governor Bush was presumptuous in declaring victory last night?

CLINTON: Well, I don't think I should comment on what he or the vice president says. There is an election challenge. Both of them are have litigation involved. There's at least one case involved in the U.S. Supreme Court. And the election challenge will play itself out.

I will say what I have said from the first day: In all this interplay, it is easy to lose what is really important, which is the integrity of the voter, every single vote.

On Election Day every person who voted had a vote that counted just as much as mine. And so, they have to sort that out in Florida, whose votes should be counted, can every vote be counted, if every vote can't be counted is there a good reason why they're not counting that vote?

And I think those are the things that will be resolved in this election challenge. And I think we just have to let--both sides are very well represented and they are both have litigation, and we'll just watch it play itself out.

QUESTION: Mr. President, so you don't accept Florida's certification of George Bush as the winner?

CLINTON: It's not up to me to accept and reject. There is a legal process here. And if both of them have filed lawsuits. And the Supreme Court of Florida, when they issued their opinion a couple of days ago or a few days ago, actually anticipated a challenge. And if you read the opinion, they exclusively acknowledge that it is almost a certainty.

So, you know, let's just watch this happen. It'll be over soon, and we'll be ready for the transition.

QUESTION: Mr. President, (inaudible) was anyone on the White House staff involved in the decision by the General Services Administration to withhold transition funding from the Bush-Cheney team?

I was not involved in it at all. And as far as I know, no one else here was.

But there is a procedure, if you actually went back and reviewed the congressional deliberations on this legislation. And I think the General Services Administration believes that it cannot offer transition assistance to both of them, which is what I would otherwise be inclined to do. And I think they're going with what they think the law requires.

But I personally--I can't answer for anyone else in the White House, but I was personally not involved in it. I think they're trying to do what they think the law requires while this election challenge plays itself out. It won't be long now.

STAFF: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Have you spoken to the vice president at all?

CLINTON: I talked to him on Thanksgiving. I called him to wish him and his family a happy Thanksgiving.


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