(12/04) Bush on U.S. Supreme Court Decision

Monday, December 4, 2000

Following is the transcript of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's reaction to the Supreme Court decision to send his case back to the Florida Supreme Court.

QUESTION: What's your reaction to the Supreme Court decision to vacate the Florida Supreme Court's deadline extension, Governor?

BUSH: Well, we were pleased. And I think America ought to be comforted to know that the Supreme Court is going to make sure that the outcome of this election is fair. And we were very pleased, and I'm grateful for their decision.

QUESTION: Governor, do you wish the Supreme Court had gone a little bit further and given you a certified victory?

BUSH: Well, we're pleased with the decision. And I think America ought to be comforted to know that the highest court of our land is going to make sure that the outcome of this election is a fair outcome. And, again, I'm grateful that the court made the decision that it made.

Remember, it wasn't all that long ago that a lot of people boldly predicted that the court wouldn't even hear our case, and now they're involved in making sure the outcome of the election is fair.

QUESTION: Governor, yesterday Secretary Cheney suggested that it's time for the vice president to concede. Are you prepared to articulate that yourself?

BUSH: No, I'm not. I think each of us is going to have to, you know--that's a very difficult decision for anybody to make, and I understand that.

I do believe I have won this election. I believe that I won it on the first count and on the second count and on the third count. But the vice president's going to have to make the decisions that he thinks are necessary.

And I know that he'll put--the interests of the country will be important in his decision-making, just like it would be in mine.

QUESTION: Sir, are you saying you don't agree with Cheney's view...

BUSH: I think the vice president [Cheney] is entitled to his view. But I do agree with this, that he's going to make a great vice president.

QUESTION: Have we reached the point where the national interests are now in jeopardy because of this protracted process, Governor?

BUSH: I wouldn't take it necessarily that far. I will tell you, though, it's important for us to, at least as far as I'm concerned, it's important for our team to move forward.

Tomorrow, the vice president [Cheney], at my request, is going to go up to Capitol Hill to further our discussions with the leadership and members of Congress, because we've got a very strong agenda. And it's an agenda that I strongly believe has put me in the position I'm in.

It's an agenda to strengthen the military to keep the peace; it's an education agenda. There are some warning signs about our economy that I think we ought to take seriously. And I talked to the leadership about that at the ranch over the weekend. And those--which argue for a tax relief package, and it's a tax relief package that I campaigned on.

And we need Social Security reform. And one of the benefits of Social Security reform is not only to make sure there's a Social Security system for the elderly today and for younger workers coming up, but under my vision of Social Security reform, it will help with capital accumulation, which will help the economic growth.

QUESTION: Have you spoken to any more Democrats? And will Secretary Cheney be speaking to any tomorrow on the Hill?

BUSH: I think the understanding with the secretary is that he'll be meeting with Republican leaders tomorrow, and Republican members, and no, I am not, since I talked to you on Saturday.

QUESTION: Governor, are you looking to have a Democrat as Treasury secretary?

BUSH: Well, I'm not ruling anything out. I know there's a lot of speculation going on, but I haven't made any decisions yet, and if I did, I probably wouldn't tell you.

QUESTION: Do you think the Florida legislature should go ahead and meet and vote on a slate...

BUSH: Well, I think we ought to take this process one day at a time. And today's the day, evidently, the judiciary's going to make some strong statements. And I felt like the Supreme Court of the United States made a very positive statement on our behalf.

The sentiment I want to convey is this, that I am comforted by the fact that the highest court of our land heard our case and will make sure this election is fair. I think that's very important for our citizenry to hear. And as far as what the legislature does in Florida, that's going to be up to the leadership in the legislature.

QUESTION: Governor, people are criticizing you for speaking about the judiciary affairs...

BUSH: When was that now?

QUESTION: When you talked about the court issuing legal...

BUSH: Oh, you mean the Florida Supreme Court?


BUSH: I felt like their decision was not a fair decision at the time. And I felt like they had rewritten the law and haven't--so therefore...

QUESTION: Are you saying you will abide by the rulings of any and all courts in this matter?

BUSH: Well, I think the court system is very important in the country. But I felt, like in the case of the Florida Supreme Court, like I said in my statement, and like Secretary Baker said in his statement, that they changed the rules. And the Supreme Court reviewed that.

And remember, many of the experts were saying, "Well, the Bush team has no chance to get their case heard by the Supreme Court." Not only was the case heard, but the Supreme Court acted in a way that I think is positive for our campaign.