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Administration officials say presidential contest still unresolved

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Following Florida's certification of the election results and Texas Governor George W. Bush's declaration of victory, the White House signaled it believed the presidential contest was still unresolved.

"We recognize that legal challenges are still pending on both sides," a senior administration official told CNN.

In the meantime, the official said that John Podesta, White House chief of staff, would continue spearheading the administration's efforts "to provide for an orderly transition" into the next administration.

Podesta will continue meeting with relevant officials, including the General Services Administration, "to determine what steps are appropriate" to take to prepare for the transition, said the senior official.

A GSA spokeswoman told CNN Sunday the agency would not yet provide money or office space to either Democrat Al Gore or Republican George W. Bush for a transition into the presidency.

The GSA will not provide funds "until the results are clear, and as long as both sides are going to court, the results are not clear yet," GSA spokeswoman Beth Newberger told CNN.

Under the 1963 Transition Act, Newberger said, it is the GSA administrator, not the sitting president, who decides which candidate may receive the transition resources.

White House officials said Podesta has already asked every federal agency to prepare for the eventual transition by putting together lists of major decisions, outstanding issues and pending personnel matters.

During a cabinet meeting Monday afternoon, President Clinton is expected to remind all agency chiefs to do everything they can to gear up for the transition, White House officials said.

The president did not answer reporters' questions about the Florida vote certification when he arrived Sunday night, along with his wife and daughter, back at the White House following a holiday weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland.

He last spoke about the Florida recount Friday when, during a golf outing, he told reporters he believed that everyone's vote should be counted.


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Monday, November 27, 2000


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