Clinton jabs Republicans on election; Bush spokesman calls for
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With less than two weeks remaining in his presidential term, President Clinton is taking a few shots at the man who will succeed him, but a spokesman for President-elect George W. Bush suggested Wednesday that Clinton ought to cool it.
For the second time in two days, Clinton Wednesday returned to the November election and jabbed Republicans for their handling of the presidential recount in Florida.
Apparently smarting from his comments the day before, a spokesman for Bush called on Clinton to show some respect for his successor.
Speaking at a fund raiser for Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, Clinton referred
to the election of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, which was also very close and
required a recount. "An unusual system in Washington state, they actually
count all the votes," Clinton said sarcastically.
In Chicago Tuesday night, the president spoke before a crowd of
supporters and sounded a similar tone in lauding the efforts of Chicago native
and Gore campaign chairman William Daley.
"Listen, we were way behind when Daley took over," Clinton said. "They
thought the election was over, the Republicans did. The time it was over, our
candidate had won the popular vote, and the only way they could win the
election was to stop the voting in Florida."
Bush won Florida's electoral votes -- and with them, the White House --
after an unprecedented five-week, post-election battle during which Vice
President Al Gore called for the hand count of thousands of disputed ballots.
Bush opposed that effort, and Gore conceded only after the U.S. Supreme Court
closed the door to the counts.
Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer declined to criticize Clinton directly about
his comments, but said there is a tradition "of presidents leaving office with
respect for their successors. I'm certain that President Clinton will want to
But Jake Siewert, White House press secretary, defended the president's
comments and said there are "strong feelings" about the aftermath of the
"The president has met with President-elect Bush and wished him well, and
given him advice," Siewert said. "He's instructed all of us to cooperate in the
transition. At the same time, he made perfectly clear he disagreed with that
The president attended three events Wednesday. The first was the
dedication of a new statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a wheelchair at the
monument to the late president. The Baucus fund raiser was second and the
third was a luncheon reception with the National Council of Negro Women.