Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President-Elect George W. Bush

December 19, 2000

Advice for the President-Elect

Q. What's your best advice——

President Clinton. Get a good team and do what he thinks is right.

National Economy

Q. Mr. President-elect, you've spoken about the economy, about problems with the economy. Are you going to inherit a recession from President Clinton? And President Clinton, what are your thoughts about that?

President-elect Bush. I really don't have any comments. I look forward to talking to the President. I'm so honored that he extended his hospitality to me and my wife yesterday. He didn't need to do this, and I'm most grateful that he would do so.

Q. [Inaudible]—what do you think about a recession?

President Clinton. Well, a recession is two quarters in a row of negative growth. I don't think we're going to have that. But we couldn't keep up 5 percent growth a year forever. 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. But I think there will be things to be managed. He'll have economic challenges, and you ought to give him a chance to meet them, if not try to figure it all out in advance.

Advice for the President-Elect

Q. Are you going to——

Q. What advice do you have for him, Mr. President?

Q. [Inaudible].

President Clinton. My only advice to anybody in this is just to get a good team and do what you think is right.

North Korea

Q. Are you going to North Korea?

President Clinton. No decision has been made on that. We've been talking, our people have, about what we've attempted to do in North Korea. It's interesting, when I had this meeting 8 years ago with the President-elect's father, he told me that the biggest problem that we were facing was the nuclear program in North Korea. And we were able to build on the work they had done and put an end to that.

And now the big problem there is the missile program. We may have a chance to put an end to it, and if we can, I think we should. But this is something that 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.

Q. Governor, I understand that you're not against him going. Is that right?

President-elect Bush. I haven't had a chance to talk to the President yet, Helen [Helen Thomas, Hearst Newspapers].

President Clinton. We've got to talk about this.

Discussion With the President-Elect

Q. What will you tell him is the biggest problem, Mr. President?

President Clinton. I want to talk to him, not you. [Laughter] He can talk about that. I waited 8 years to say that. [Laughter]

The White House

Q. Governor, how different is it to come to this house in your position now than what it was as a family member?

President-elect Bush. It's vastly different. It's such a huge honor to come as the Presidentelect. I don't think I'll really fully realize the impact until I swear-in. I suspect the President would say the same thing. I am humbled and honored, and I can't thank the President enough for his hospitality. He didn't need to do this.

Q. Yes, he did. [Laughter] It's protocol.

President-elect Bush. I hadn't quite finished yet. [Laughter]

Q. Go ahead and finish.

President-elect Bush. And I'm grateful. And 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.

Q. Are there questions you have for the President, sir?

President-elect Bush. If there are, I'm going to ask it in private—and afterwards not share them with you.

NOTE: The exchange began at 11:27 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President-Elect George W. Bush Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives