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President-Elect Bush Begins Transition; Can Sudden Surge of Bipartisanship Unify Congress and the Nation?Aired December 14, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush in transition -- the new president-elect faces the task ahead.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: In Washington, a "key" moment, as the Bush-Cheney team scrambles to build an administration -- fast
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: It's time for our nation...
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: ... to find areas where we can work together
REP. RICHARD ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: Start with a new beginning.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: We have important work ahead of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Can the sudden surge of bipartisanship actually unify Congress and a divided nation?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): In speeches like the ones we heard last night, what is said is important, but what isn't said could be just as important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider reads between the closing lines of election 2000.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Well, while many Americans still are savoring the fact that our long, national election nightmare finally is over, President-elect Bush doesn't have the luxury of kicking back and celebrating. He now has 37 days left until he is inaugurated, about half the usual transition time.
Our Candy Crowley joins us from Austin, Texas, with details on Bush's day, including the pause that he did take for prayer -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Judy, a couple of things that we've just learned here -- first of all, as you know, one of the biggest orders before George Bush is to somehow start to bring the country together after these past 36 days and indeed after the election. So we heard last night, of course, his speech about bipartisanship. There were some calls today about that from George Bush to members of the Democratic leadership.
And tomorrow, a little more of this, when Senator John Breaux of Louisiana will arrive in Texas, we're told, shortly after noon for a meeting with the governor, this, of course, puts out all kinds of tantalizing possibilities, nothing confirmed of course. We're told that they will be talking about a wide range of issues, but of course, John Breaux's name has been one of those put out there as a possible cabinet member, but all the Bush campaign will say is that he is coming out.
As you recall, John Breaux did indeed talk to George Bush over the past 36 days when this matter was still unsettled, now coming for a face-to-face meeting with him. Beyond that, we are also told that the governor may in fact have some sort of announcement on Saturday, again, no details, he will be at his ranch in Crawford. Sunday night, he is going to take off for Washington, D.C., and Monday have more meetings up on Capitol Hill, as well as some interviews with potential cabinet appointees.
He will, of course, then on Tuesday have a meeting with Gore and also they believe with President Clinton. During a transition news conference today, the vice presidential-elect -- Vice President-elect Cheney talked about the fact that during one such meeting in history, that between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, the two became friends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not making any predictions today, I'm saying it's a small fraternity of presidents and ex-presidents, and I'm sure that, you know, when the history books are written on this period of time, you will find that, that meeting next week between the two of them will be very important to healing the wounds, to moving on and getting the new administration in place ready to go. So it's a very important meeting, symbols are important in this business and this certainly has great symbolic significance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: As for the president-elect, his one public sighting today was at a prayer meeting at his church where he worships. The president-elect believes that at this point and for this day, the country still needs to have some quiet reflection as opposed to a blitz of announcements about who is going to serve in his cabinet, who's going to be on his senior staff.
But again, the governor also took a number of calls from foreign leaders from Mexico to South Africa, Argentina, Spain and Egypt, and also again, did talk to members of Capitol Hill and took a phone call from the Reverend Jesse Jackson who, as you know, has been quite critical of the results of this election, talking about the disenfranchisement of many African-American voters. During the talk, which the Bush team describes as gracious, which is one of the key words of yesterday and today, the governor did say that, in fact, he would like to sit down and talk to Jesse Jackson about the electoral process and about what went on at the ballot box and possibly look at some ways to fix what went on -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Candy, two questions in one: What jobs do you think they might be talking to John Breaux about, if any; and No. 2, what other Democrats are they talking to early on?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, we're reading tea leaves a little bit right now. Certainly, John Breaux's name has been out there for a couple of things, among them treasury secretary; but there's no, you know, definitive word that this is about any kind of cabinet position.
I wouldn't be surprised if the governor did, sort of, want to feel John Breaux out on this matter because, after all, if he really wanted to meet with John Breaux, he's coming to Washington Monday when he's going to talk to Senator Daschle and Congressman Gephardt, so there's no real reason that he couldn't have met with John Breaux on Monday.
So there's something special about this meeting, beyond the message, it says, about reaching out across party lines.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley, thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: Now that the election is behind us, the Bush-Cheney transition got a federal stamp of approval today, and access to official headquarters here in Washington.
CNN's Eileen O'Connor has more on the handover and the hard work ahead.
EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They finally got the keys -- well, swipe card, really.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a smart card.
O'CONNOR: Vice President-elect Cheney relieved to be able to kick his transition efforts into high gear. Especially efforts to include a Democrat or two. CHENEY: The area, for example, of talking with those in the Democratic Party had been awkward while there was still a contest underway. So we're now -- those constraints are now off and we're able to begin to be much more aggressive in that regard.
O'CONNOR: In offices rented by the week, some of the 75 staffers here and dozens of volunteers work 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., pouring over 21,000 resumes received thus far, most online, categorizing them by areas of expertise -- not an easy task.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it looks like most folks are attaching their resume.
O'CONNOR: They have to fill over 1,100 presidential appointee jobs that require Senate confirmation and about another 500 similar part-time jobs. At the State Department alone, there are 212 assistant secretaries, undersecretaries, deputy secretaries and ambassadors.
And then there are more than 5,300 other jobs. At least 1/3 of these requiring FBI background checks and/or financial disclosures. Clay Johnson, the executive director of the transition, says the FBI is rising to the occasion.
CLAY JOHNSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BUSH-CHENEY TRANSITION TEAM: They've committed to attach additional resources to expedite this every way possible.
O'CONNOR: They say it won't be hard to move into the new space: taxpayer-provided downtown, which is nearly four times as big. Everything they have is rented or on discs, not paper.
As for announcements: soon.
CHENEY: We are going to do everything we can to get everybody named as quickly as possible, but I don't want to establish an artificial deadline and say that it's all going to be done a week from Friday.
O'CONNOR: Aside from the people, President-elect Bush says he wants to seize the moment on policy; so here staffers and volunteer experts look over old and current legislation on Social Security, patients' rights, education and tax cuts.
O'CONNOR: Aides say they're trying to find some common ground here on policy; they're hoping to use that as building blocks to get some bipartisan legislation passed. And despite all this talk about unity, that's something they still know won't be easy -- Bernie.
SHAW: Eileen, when do they get the transition cash?
O'CONNOR: Actually, they got it today -- $5.2 million. It's not really a check, Bernie; basically it's an account that they can draw on. And, by the way, they're working, they say, with the General Services Administration to, perhaps, get some of the expenses that they've been, you know, spending here on all this rented space and telephones and computers reimbursed.
They spent about $500,000 here, although they did get $3 million, as you know, in private donations for this transition effort -- Bernie.
SHAW: Eileen O'Connor, thank you -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And now to the man who had hoped to be in George W. Bush's shoes today. Less than 24 hours after his concession, Al Gore steered clear of cameras and reporters wanting to ask him what's next and what if.
CNN's John King has more on Gore the day after.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice president's exit from campaign 2000 drew near-universal praise. And it's clear some supporters relish the thought of a rematch.
But Mr. Gore gets much harsher grades for his overall campaign performance and strategy; and that scrutiny could, in time, shape his decision about whether to try again in four years. For now, the reviews are favorable, even from those likely to have a personal stake if the vice president were to run again.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Today the vice president can look back on 24 years of public service with great pride in his accomplishments, and he can look forward to the years ahead with great excitement about the unlimited opportunities that await him.
KING: Lieberman is among those eying a 2004 run, but most Democrats believe he would have to stay out if Mr. Gore gave it another try. House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt is another leading prospect for the next time around, not as likely to be swayed by what others decide.
GEPHARDT: Al Gore did a great job running this election. He is a great person. We have the highest regard and affection for him and his family.
KING: The vice president stayed out of the public eye, but did make a few thank you calls to supporters, sticking in private to the line he used in his public farewell speech.
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As for what I'll do next, I don't know the answer to that one yet.
KING: But while careful not to criticize in public, many Democrats are still wondering how Mr. Gore lost at home in Tennessee, in longtime Democratic strongholds like West Virginia, and how they lost their eight-year hold on the White House. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We gave America the best economy we've had in its 224-year history. We reduced the welfare rolls by half. We reduced crime in practically every major city in America.
KING: The traditional post-election assessments have been on hold until the results were clear.
KING: But those reviews are now beginning in earnest, and the take on the vice president's overall campaign performance, especially here in official Washington, likely to be much harsher than the overwhelming positive embrace of last night's exit -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: John, there is one Democratic job a lot of people are looking at, and that is chair of the Democratic National Committee. Tell us about the jockeying there?
KING: Already some jockeying. The early front-runner, Terry McAuliffe. He most remembered here now for being President Clinton's big fund-raiser. He also raised money for Dick Gephardt in the past, and he is the favorite so far of the House Democratic leader, who obviously has his eyes first on 2002, but also on 2004.
Others, though, sending out feelers for the position include Bill Richardson, the current secretary of energy. Some opposition to him from Democrats in town because they believe he wants to run for governor or Senate. They don't want him being distracted. Alexis Herman, the current labor secretary, who was chief of staff at the DNC when Ron Brown was the chairman. She's also talked to a few friends about it.
Now, it's open. The president gets to pick the DNC chairman when there's a president. This time it's open. That's how Ron Brown got the job back when he was first elected. Paul Kirk before him. So, there could be a sleeper, an insider, somebody actually from the committee, a person not known much around the country. Don Sweitzer, a Democratic operative, he is a veteran DNC member, sending out some feelers to see if perhaps he could upset the big names in this race. The election is in January -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: John King, thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: Now, let's revisit last night's speeches that got us where we are today. Our Bill Schneider here now to read between the lines, Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Indeed, in speeches like the ones we heard last night, what is said is important. But what isn't said could be just as important.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Al Gore conceded defeat. That was important. But the reason he felt he had to concede was also important. GORE: And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.
SCHNEIDER: Gore didn't say, "I lost." He said he was conceding for the sake of the country. That's because he doesn't believe he lost. He believes he won Florida, but the Supreme Court won't let him prove it.
GORE: While I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it.
SCHNEIDER: At one point, Gore inserted a few revealing words in his text.
GORE: But in one of God's unforeseen paths, this belatedly broken impasse can point us all to a new common ground.
SCHNEIDER: "Belatedly broken impasse"? Sounds like the court did something illegitimate. While Gore called for unity, he may also have been sending a signal to his supporters: We was robbed. Gore defined himself as a fighter during the campaign. But some wonder whether he was fighting for a cause bigger than himself. He defined that cause in his concession speech.
GORE: I do have one regret: That I didn't get the chance to stay and fight for the American people over the next four years.
SCHNEIDER: Why weren't their voices heard? Because as far as Gore is concerned, their ballots weren't counted.
In his speech, George W. Bush made a clarion call for reconciliation.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation must rise above a house divided. Americans share hopes and goals and values far more important than any political disagreements.
SCHNEIDER: Conservatives were amazingly patient during the campaign. They didn't pressure Bush the way they pressured his father and Bob Dole. However, now that Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress for the first time in almost 50 years, conservatives may demand a pay-off. The message of Bush's speech: Don't expect too much.
BUSH: I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation.
SCHNEIDER: Bush's only gesture to conservatives came when he cited Thomas Jefferson as a model.
BUSH: I was guided by President Jefferson's sense of purpose: To stand for principle, to be reasonable in manner.
SCHNEIDER: Principled but still reasonable. Message to conservatives: I can make deals for you. Concern among conservatives: He could sell us out. (END VIDEOTAPE)
SCHNEIDER: The speeches said, it's over. Time to work together. Between the lines, however, the struggle goes on -- Bernie.
SHAW: Day after day, thank you.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, thank you -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And still ahead -- Bernie
SHAW: Sorry, I was still concentrating what Schneider was saying.
Still ahead here on INSIDE POLITICS, preparing for the next president. Will the spirit of bipartisanship prevail?
Plus, the vice president-elect's new duties as deal-maker in a divided Washington, as INSIDE POLITICS continues.
WOODRUFF: During his visit to Washington next week, George W. Bush is scheduled to meet with Congressional leaders from both parties. When Bush takes office, Republicans will hold a slim majority in the House. The Senate will be tied 50-50.
As Chris Black reports, those realities make one concept very important on the Hill.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The talk is of bipartisanship.
DASCHLE: Bipartisanship isn't an option any more. It is a requirement.
BLACK: But making it work is another matter. An emerging consensus says the way to keep it together is to make nice with the other party, try to score right away, and take an incremental approach to things like tax cuts.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: You need to start out with a few good simple things to get done: trust, build trust, build bipartisanship, feeling that you can work across the aisle and people can get things done together.
BLACK: The Democratic vice presidential candidate, re-elected to the Senate last month, offered his help.
LIEBERMAN: As I have in the past, I fully intend to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and with President-elect Bush to find that constructive consensus without which we will not help the American people realize their potential.
BLACK: Yet President-elect Bush faces obstacles, the unremitting liberals and partisans in the Democratic Party still seething over this election, and the conservatives in his own.
GEPHARDT: President-elect Bush says he will bring a new spirit to Washington. There are still some Republicans in Washington who have not yet heard this message.
BLACK: A conservative ally from Texas says the right will have to defer to the Republican president.
SEN. PHIL GRAMM (R), TEXAS: Conservatives are going to have to remember that George Bush was elected president. So we may have our own agendas, but it's the Bush agenda that carried our candidate to the presidency.
BLACK: And the House speaker has a message for unhappy partisans in both parties.
HASTERT: There are some people that are particularly bitter about this, and will probably hold that for a while. But if you want to be effective in this town, you need to get over it and get things done.
BLACK: Another problem: independent-minded lawmakers like Senator John McCain, who is insisting on moving campaign finance reform right away, possibly derailing the bipartisan train at the very start of the new administration -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And let me ask you about that, Chris. What's the reaction of that from the Democrats and especially from the Bush team?
BLACK: The reaction to campaign finance reform?
BLACK: Well, the Republican leaders are already talking to John McCain, seeing if maybe they can vote on some form of campaign finance reform that will be less volatile than his proposal has been in the past. Those talks are still very preliminary and -- but John McCain has been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) He hasn't been here this week. He's been back in Phoenix, but everything we see indicates that he's going to go full ahead, because they have enough votes now to get -- I hate to say this word, closure, but they can shut off debate. So they have enough votes to move it if they want to.
WOODRUFF: It's OK with us if you say that. Chris Black, thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: Even as Vice President-elect Dick Cheney focuses on the transition efforts, he faces another responsibility in a Bush administration. Cheney will hold the tie-breaking vote in the Senate and will play a key role in brokering deals and fostering bipartisanship.
Our Kate Snow looks at Cheney's role on the Hill.
KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lunch with moderate Senate Republicans, walking the halls of the House, reaching out to Democrats. Dick Cheney finds himself with a unique role in a Congress where Republicans hold the majority by a thread.
CHENEY: I would think it's fair to say the reaching-out process has already begun.
SNOW: On several trips to Capitol Hill, Cheney hasn't talked as much as he's listened.
LOTT: We had a meeting just the other day and everybody came out and said "gosh, that was really a great meeting. He was so good." He listened to 20 senators ask questions or make a statement, and he said nothing.
SNOW: Cheney is no stranger here. For 10 years, he represented Wyoming in the House. Republicans say that's part of the reason he'll make congressional relations a priority.
KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think you're going to see Dick Cheney very much taking an active role in the House and in the Senate, as well as in the White House. So he's going to be wearing a number of hats.
SNOW: With the Senate divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, Cheney would be called on to break any tie vote.
SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: You bring him over, not when you are absolutely positive of a tie vote, but you bring him over when it's very close and you think it might get there.
SNOW: Perhaps more important: Cheney will likely play a role building consensus between the two parties.
LOTT: I don't think he'll be inclined to want to micromanage and get into every detail. I think he will rely on the people he knows in the Congress -- House and Senate, to do the details. But if we call on him for help, or if he sees the need to be directly involved, he will be very quick to do that, too.
SNOW: In the '80s, Cheney was known for his conservative positions, but he also developed a reputation as a deal broker. That could help, but it could also hurt.
STEPHEN HESS, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The members of Congress are very prickly about sort of having a member of the executive looking over their shoulder and lobbying them up close and personal. So, he's going to have to be very careful about how he goes about his work.
SNOW (on camera): Cheney has already begun reaching out to Democrats as well as Republicans. He made a phone call to his former rival, Senator Joe Lieberman, a man he may now run into in the halls of Congress.
Kate Snow, CNN, Capitol Hill.
SHAW: And there is much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, including a look at the next president's ability to reach across the aisle. Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle will give us their views.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Electoral reform to come is one thing, but right now there are more immediate concerns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Bill Delaney on possible recounts and reforms as Florida examines its electoral faults.
And later: who will lead in 2002? Charlie Cook looks to the future and the next round of elections.
WOODRUFF: The dust has hardly settled from the presidential election, but there is already talk about its affect on the congressional elections in 2002.
And joining us with his take on all this, Charlie Cook of "The National Journal." It's good to see you.
CHARLIE COOK, "THE NATIONAL JOURNAL": Thanks for having me on.
WOODRUFF: The conventional wisdom is that when the president takes over the White House, his party is hurt in the elections two years later. What is your sense of what we're looking at in two years?
COOK: Well, the history tells us that in every election except two since the Civil War, the party holding the White House has lost seats in mid-term elections, 1934 and then 1998, and usually that's for a number of reasons.
One is that it's a referendum on the new president -- usually presidents tend to get bumpy starts -- but part of it also is that the new president usually brings in a bunch of seats, and so they're overexposed. And that's one where Democrats have picked up seats in three straight elections, but they only picked up one seat, net, in this one.
So it's kind of a mix, where we don't know whether that sort of seemingly iron-clad law of history is going to go or not, but certainly President Bush has his work cut out for him.
WOODRUFF: How much bearing is it, Charlie, in all of this, that it was such a close presidential election, that the Senate's 50-50, that the House is so close?
COOK: You'd be hard-pressed to find a president taking office under these kinds of circumstances, where -- under a bit of a cloud, just barely elected; 50-50 Senate, 51-49 House, with the deck really stacked against him.
And there are going to be a lot of people who'll say, he's a lame duck from day one. But, you know, two years is a lifetime, four years is an eternity in politics -- we'll see.
But he's got his work cut out for him, that's for sure.
WOODRUFF: All right, you say he's got his work cut out for him -- what are the kinds of things that would make a difference? What would happen the Republicans in two years?
COOK: Well, let me kind of do it the other way around. I think, when Congressman DeLay, the House majority whip mentioned that, you know, we won everything -- this is our election, we're in charge of everything for the first time since the Eisenhower administration.
That had to send a chill up President-elect Bush's spine because it -- I mean, this was as close to a tie election as you will ever, ever have. And the only way anything's going to get done, I think, in the next Congress is absolutely symmetrical: for every Republican on a bill, there's a Democrat on the bill, and just build it from the center out.
And if either party thinks they're really in control, boy, they're delusional.
WOODRUFF: But if it's all going to be 50-50, Charlie, why should either party gain or benefit from that?
COOK: Well, the thing is, bid-term elections are a referendum on the president. The president's either succeeded at things or he hasn't; and having to face a Congress that's just absolutely split down the country -- down the middle -- in a country that's split straight down the middle, that's a tough situation for a new president to come in.
WOODRUFF: So what -- if you're in George W. Bush's shoes going into office in January, what is it that you're looking for if you want to help your party -- at least not lose seats in two years?
COOK: I think the most important thing for him to do is to succeed and for people to think, well, this seems to be working out pretty well. And if I were him I would be spending an absolute enormous amount of time getting to know every single member in the House of Representatives, one by one...
WOODRUFF: Both parties? COOK: Both parties, and bond with them and try to build some chemistry like he did in Austin.
Now, you know, obviously Austin was not nearly as partisan a place -- or is not as partisan a place as Washington is. But if he does this, it's going to be by sheer pure chemistry, personal relationships; and that's probably his strongest skill set.
WOODRUFF: All right; Charlie Cook, we appreciate it, thanks a lot.
COOK: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We'll see a lot more of you in the near future.
Well, as the president-elect does call for bipartisanship, Republican leaders on the hill are echoing that theme. In interviews with CNN today, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Majority Leader Dick Armey talked about some of the possible issues on the legislative agenda. Likely to top the list: election reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOTT: I think that that would be something that Governor George W. Bush, President-elect Bush, might want us to do; and we ought to think about that because we want to do it while it's fresh on people's minds and while the American people say there's something that we need to do to do this better. And we might want to look at doing that early -- right out of the gate. Maybe not the first day, but within the first month, say.
ARMEY: We have legislation -- if it has good standing with the American people, such as repealing the death penalty, repealing the marriage penalty -- things of this nature. Things we can do for prescription medicines, for senior citizens, improving our education.
We do these jobs right. We'll get good bipartisan support and we have an opportunity to work together. George Bush is a person who reaches out across the aisle. He'll be a good example before us; he'll be a good encouragement to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Well, and to pursue that subject, joining us now, the Democratic leaders of Congress: Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt.
Gentlemen, thank you for being with us.
DASCHLE: Glad to be here.
WOODRUFF: Senator Daschle, I understand -- and Congressman Gephardt, I understand both of you spoke today, or tried to get in touch with President-elect Bush. Were either of you successful?
DASCHLE: Well, we called before, I guess earlier in the morning and then he called me back shortly after that. We had a very good conversation. He indicated that he's coming to Washington as early as Monday and indicated an interest in getting together with us. So we look forward to that meeting and many more like it.
WOODRUFF: What tone did he strike?
DASCHLE: I thought it was a very conciliatory tone; a very friendly approach. He expressed his desire to work with us closely and to try to find ways with which to work together. He recognized the difficult with which he's taken on this position and, I think, was very forthcoming and I was appreciative of the tone that he demonstrated in the conversation this morning.
WOODRUFF: Representative Gephardt, did you speak with him today?
GEPHARDT: I did and got the same impression that I think Tom got, and we look forward to meeting with him on Monday morning. This will be a time to get to know him and to start talking about the issues that we can make progress on early in the year, if we can all reach the compromises that I think we hopefully can.
WOODRUFF: Representative Gephardt, let me ask you, last night in that speech in the Texas state House of Representatives there was a clear effort on Governor Bush's part to put forward an image of -- that he has worked with Democrats in Texas. To what extent does that experience in Texas translate here in Washington? Is it the same thing?
GEPHARDT: Well, every situation is a little different. Obviously, we can do what he was able to do in Texas here. I think the key is, can you get to the middle and get the honest compromises on issues that we, frankly, were able to get over the last two years. We were able to get campaign reform and a lot of these issues done with bipartisan majorities. It seems to me we could start with those and get some of those done and then build on that with some of the things that he wants to get done.
WOODRUFF: Senator Daschle?
DASCHLE: I think Dick is exactly right. There are a lot of things for which there is already a bipartisan consensus, I don't know how we decide which ones come first, but we ought to take those for which there is already a majority of support in both the House and the Senate. We probably even have bigger majorities for them today, campaign finance reform and the patients' bill of rights, and there is a real opportunity in education, perhaps even on prescription drugs. Those issues have a great deal of support already and I think with some leadership, we could deal with them early in the session.
WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about some specifics, Senator Daschle, but let me first ask you about John Breaux, your colleague from Louisiana, a Democrat, going to meet with Governor Bush tomorrow. What would you think if John Breaux were asked to be and agreed to serve in a Bush administration?
DASCHLE: Well, I would want equal time. I'd -- I think I have had enough conversation with John to know that it's unlikely that he'll take a position. He is a very valued member of leadership here in the Senate. He has put in a great deal of time, and has some very important positions on both the Congress and the finance committees, so I think that he has a good role to play here and I hope he plays it as successful as he has in the past. I think it is good that the president-elect is reaching out, as he is with John and others, and I hope that dialogue continues.
WOODRUFF: Representative Gephardt, let me ask you about some of the -- some specifics we're hearing from Republicans just quickly -- total elimination of the estate tax, as you know, they call it the death tax. Are they going to get it?
GEPHARDT: Well, I think we need changes in the estate tax and we had alternatives that I think largely met most people's needs, 98 percent of the people's needs there.
WOODRUFF: But they are not satisfied with what the Democrats are willing to do.
GEPHARDT: Again, the way you get things done is to work with people, try to reach an honest compromise, you can never get everything you want. But we can settle successfully on most of the issues that we've talked about in the last two years and the issues that Governor Bush talked about in his campaign if we'll simply not take the my way or the highway attitude on everything, but try to reach an honest compromise where you get some of what you want, you don't get everything, but it's a fair compromise and you move forward.
WOODRUFF: Senator Daschle, what about campaign finance reform? Not only are we hearing from John McCain, that he wants to get it moved in the first few months, some of your Democratic colleagues agree. Are you prepared to move forward on that in the next few months?
DASCHLE: Absolutely. I would like to see it moved very quickly. Again, there is another example of where we already know we've got more than a majority in the Senate, and if we can agree on language, if we can agree on a time frame with whom which to take it up, I don't think there is any question we could put it on the president's desk by spring. We ought to do that. There is a good deal of interest in it, there ought to be even more momentum behind it given this last election, so I am hopeful we can do it soon.
WOODRUFF: And finally, Representative Gephardt, do you see any reason why that wouldn't happen?
GEPHARDT: I think it will happen. Again, we had a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate for the McCain-Feingold bill. I think it could be done early in the year, and if George Bush would sign that bill, we could show the American people that we can work together on that important issue right away.
WOODRUFF: All right, House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, we thank you very much, both of you. Good to see you -- Bernie. SHAW: We have this programming note: House Majority leader Dick Armey will be Wolf Blitzer's guest tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.
Ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: Amid angry calls for voter reform in Florida, Bill Delaney reports on steps that might be taken to ease the pain of those who say they were treated unfairly Election Day.
SHAW: You know, despite the seriousness of last night's speeches by Al Gore and George W. Bush, some people in this town paused for a little humor. It was delivered in the form of the annual funniest celebrity competition. Guess what? Our Brooks Jackson took part with a routine on some of the recent unusual remarks of the now president- elect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Said families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.
JACKSON: He said that. Wings take dream. What is that?
JACKSON: There's more. Oh, I'm on a roll now. OK, here's more. Actual quotes from George W. Bush. Oh, this is going to be a great presidency. They misunderestimated me.
JACKSON: Well, I guess so. It's your money, you paid for it. He's talking about foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas. Who knew?
JACKSON: These are -- look, I'm not making this up. He was trying to kiss up with John McCain. He says, I think we agree the past is over.
JACKSON: This guy, he's the Yogi Berra of American politics. But remember what Yogi Berra actually said. He said, "It ain't over until it it's over." And thank goodness, ladies and gentlemen, it's finally over. Listen, thank you. Vote for Brooks Jackson and if I don't win, forget the recount.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Well, our Brooks did not win, but he did place fourth. The top prize went to syndicated columnist, Arianna Huffington.
WOODRUFF: I wish I could've heard that.
SHAW: There is still more of INSIDE POLITICS just ahead.
WOODRUFF: I still think Brooks was good. In the next 30 minutes -- not the past: The presidential race and its impact on the economy. Did the stock market react to the outcome?
SHAW: What lies ahead for the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
And a look at the history of presidents healing partisan wounds. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: A belated victory is marked across the nation and around the globe. Now, the presidential transition officially begins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING (voice-over): His first steps could set the tone for his entire term, and George W. Bush is looking to send a signal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: John King looks at the president-elect's next challenge. Plus...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE H. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people await action. They didn't send us here to bicker. They ask us to rise above the merely partisan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Like his father and some other past presidents, Bush talks of unity. Does history suggest he will follow through?
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: And welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS. On his first full day as president-elect, George W. Bush has been working the phones, accepting congratulations and promoting bipartisanship. The unity theme is an echo of his victory speech last night in Texas and of the message he's planning to deliver in person here in the capital next week.
Our John King looks at what Bush hopes to accomplish in the coming days.
PETE LANEY (D), TEXAS HOUSE SPEAKER: The president-elect of the United States, the Honorable George W. Bush.
KING (voice-over): His first steps could set the tone for his entire term, and George W. Bush is looking to send a signal.
BUSH: Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your interests and I will work to earn your respect.
KING: The election was November 7th. The result uncertain for more than a month. The inauguration now little more than a month away and the burden squarely on Mr. Bush to seize the moment.
Consider the challenge. The country and then the courts divided in the fight for the White House. The Congress evenly divided, too.
GEOFF GARIN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: The election was close for a reason, is that the electorate is closely divided is closely divided in its own mind about what a president should do, that this is not an electorate that is looking for radical or extreme measures from George W. Bush, and I think that whether he is accepted or not as president depends very much on his performance.
KING: Al Gore lost the election but won more votes. Democrats will be looking for olive branches.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Does that mean building a bipartisan Cabinet? Probably. Does that mean telling the extreme wing of the your party hey, hold on? Probably. Does that mean having to work together to get any kinds of legislation passed? Definitely.
KING: Meetings with President Clinton and the vice president are in the works, designed to signal both closure and conciliation.
LEE HAMILTON (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: There are bound to be a lot of people disgruntled with the result, but if a majority of the American people accept the results, as I think they will, the next president will be able to govern and we will not have a crisis of legitimacy.
KING: But the middle-of-the-road approach has its risks. Eight years of Democratic rule has Republicans in a restless mood, and President-elect Bush owes them, too.
MARSHALL WHITMAN, HUDSON INSTITUTE: We have to wait to see who fills some of those key slots that are of importance to social conservatives, such as attorney general and Health and Human Services secretary because if there are not pro-lifers in those positions, the Bush administration could have some problems on its right.
KING: It is, in the words of one top aide, the ultimate high- wire act, a period of intense pressure and scrutiny even before Mr. Bush takes the oath of office. (END VIDEOTAPE)
KING: And so far leaders in both parties saying Mr. Bush appears to understand the very difficult and delicate balance ahead. They praise his offer of bipartisanship and, most of all, they praise his promise and his request to those who voted against him to at least give him a chance -- Bernie.
SHAW: John, please stand by for a moment as we bring in Candy Crowley, covering the president-elect in Austin.
What's new, Candy?
CROWLEY: Well, what's new, Bernie, is the business of going about bipartisanship will continue tomorrow in a very visible way.
John Breaux, the Democrat from Louisiana is flying here to Texas. He has a meeting, we are told, in the afternoon with the president- elect. A lot could be read into this meeting but, by and large, what the Bush camp obviously hopes to get out of it is just picture-proof of a reaching out.
The governor -- pardon me, the president-elect and the senator have talked to each other before in the latter part of the court phase of the election. John Breaux could be very useful to George Bush up on Capitol Hill. He is a moderate Democrat. There is a lot of talk about, perhaps, John Breaux as a cabinet member; that seems pretty unlikely, given that a Republican governor would probably appoint his replacement, and Democrats might not talk to John Breaux for very long after that.
But this is another sort of reaching out by George Bush, a visible picture of what he wants to do. George Bush also took a phone call today from Jesse Jackson who, you know, has been quite critical of the way this election ended, and said to the Reverend Jackson that he would, of course, sit down and have a meeting with him at some point to talk about the balloting and what can be done to improve access to the ballot box by everybody.
SHAW: And I might add that in Judy's interview with the Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, when she mentioned the fact that Breaux will be where you are tomorrow, he had -- not a strong smile on his face, but he said, I hope I get equal time, meaning, I'd want to try to talk him out of joining a Bush cabinet.
I want to ask you about something that potentially -- you and John -- something that, potentially, is very, very sensitive. We know that there is always friction, tension between the staff of the vice president and the president of the United States.
Vice President-Elect Cheney is a 900-pound elephant. He's not your typical vice president-elect, is he? Answer?
CROWLEY: He's not, Bernie. But I will tell you this: George Bush, as Texas governor and, certainly, in the choices that he has made thus far -- primarily of Cheney -- has shown one thing about himself, which is true -- and that is he is a man of great self- confidence.
He is not one of those that is threatened by power around him. Look at the people who he gravitates toward -- I mean, Colin Powell -- I mean, another guy that carries a lot of weight. Dick Cheney, absolutely he does. Will they have major parts in this administration? Yes.
Remember, George Bush is a delegator, he does want people -- he wants to set the big picture and then have people move out and carry it out. But this is not something that intimidates him, it's something he welcomes.
SHAW: John, do you see any danger signs -- frictions between the president's staff and the vice president's staff?
KING: Well, there's always some friction and, certainly, conservatives view Dick Cheney as their man. When they have concerns about potential cabinet picks, they are running right through Mr. Cheney and his staff right now.
But, to follow up on what Candy said: Remember, George W. Bush spent a lot of time around his father's White House and, indeed, around his father when he was the vice president under Ronald Reagan. Now former-president Bush was not empowered as the vice president. Al Gore given the label as the most effective vice president in history.
Most believe that will quickly pass to Mr. Cheney, now. Those who have spoken to Mr. Cheney and Andy Card describe an arrangement. They think -- they say, think of a corporation, with the president, Mr. Bush, as the chairman; Dick Cheney as the chief executive officer; Andy Card, the chief of staff, is the chief operating officer. They say that Governor Bush, now president-elect Bush is very comfortable with that, and they obviously seem to have a good relationship.
SHAW: Bush ran as an outsider; but when he gets to Washington, obviously, he's going to have to deal. Do either of you see anything that the president-elect should really watch out for politically?
KING: Well, I think he will face a challenge -- I'm sorry, Candy, go ahead.
CROWLEY: Well, we'll probably both say the same thing, which is frightening.
But, you know, one of the things I think he has to watch out for that we haven't really talked about that much, is his own party. I mean, I think -- just having watched George Bush, having listened to him, having, you know, a fairly OK take on what's important to him -- that moderate Democrats are not the problem.
I think that it is the people within his own party, perhaps the more conservative wing on social issues; but then you also have people like John McCain, who have issues of their own that they want out there that really aren't sort of in the bipartisan slot right now.
So I think that some of his problem may well be in keeping his own party happy while he's reaching out to Democrats; and that may be the more problematic of the two chores.
SHAW: Interesting -- John?
KING: I think very much the same way. There will be instant pressure to overturn those fetal tissue research regulations from the Clinton administration, from the right. Something Governor Bush may well want to do in time, but certainly not -- he does not want a gays in the military, as President Clinton had in his first weeks in office.
And, with Senator McCain's help, Democrats already -- even as they promised bipartisanship -- trying to set a few traps for the new president. They say the test of bipartisanship will be: will he move immediately on campaign finance reform, a position with which President-Elect Bush is at odds, not only with Senator McCain, but most of the Democrats? And will he move early to address this issue that Reverend Jackson wants -- and other Democrats -- of electoral reform; to go back and look again at all the issues, now, we've just gone through in Florida and project that out nationally?
President-Elect Bush, in a narrowly divided Congress, does not want to start there -- and others will try to tug him there. His challenge will be to set his own agenda at a time when it will be very difficult to find the votes in Congress.
SHAW: Excellent blueprints of what might come; John King, Candy Crowley, thanks very much -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, after a campaign in which he tried to prove his readiness for the world stage, George W. Bush now is poised, indeed, to become leader of the free world.
CNN's Jim Bittermann reports on global reaction to the new president-elect and his rocky path to victory.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside the United States, those who watched the spectacle of election 2000 at first made fun of it, then were confused by it, and finally appalled by it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't agree with it. I don't think it's democratic. If you want that, why don't you just get six judges in the first place and say, well, look we're going to decide who's president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After so many people voting it comes down to nine people; it's a bit of joke in the end, kind of, you know?
BITTERMANN: But from the Eiffel Tower to Tokyo, those in government who have to deal with the new leader of the world's only superpower tried to be somewhat more diplomatic.
BERNARD VALERO, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY: What is important today is that the U.S. have a president; and also what is important is that we want to do business with him and we want to walk with him.
GEORGE ROBINSON, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: I'm looking forward, very much, to welcoming him here, to discussing with him NATO's very full agenda.
YOSHIO MORI, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I'd like to congratulate the victorious Bush from the depths of my heart.
BITTERMANN: Still, if the politicians were gushing, the commentators, almost universally, were not. The German press called Bush a questionable president who won a hypothetical victory. Said the Italians, America has a president it did not elect. And in France's "Le Monde," the opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court had put the procedural calendar ahead of principles.
All of it raised the question of whether the way Bush has come to power will affect his legitimacy wielding it.
DENIS LACORNE, FRENCH POLITICAL SCIENTIST: There will be suspicions about his true legitimacy, particularly if that suspicion is maintained by the American media, is discussed in the United States, if a recount, say, takes place thanks to sunshine laws in Florida. If that is part of the continuing political debate in the United States, it will have an impact abroad.
BITTERMANN (on camera): Said one analyst here, Bush has become president of the dis-United States of America. Added another commentator, unlike many countries held together by a common nationality, the United States is a country of many nationalities held together by common ideals. If they have been damaged in this, he said, it could be a dangerous time for America.
Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.
WOODRUFF: When INSIDE POLITICS continues: up or down -- the impact of the now President-Elect George W. Bush on the stock market. We'll have a live report from Wall Street.
And the vice president-elect on Capitol Hill. We'll ask Bob Novak about reactions Dick Cheney's meeting with some Republican lawmakers.
WOODRUFF: The bitter election battle may be over, but it has not produced the shot in the arm on Wall Street that some analysts predicted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 119 points today to close at 10675. The Nasdaq composite lost 94 points to 2728.
Joining us now from the New York Stock Exchange, Jan Hopkins of CNN Financial News. Jan, some analysts, I guess you could say might be eating crow tonight. What happened to the view that the markets favored a Bush win? JAN HOPKINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Judy because you could argue that in fact we already had the Bush rally. The so-called Bush stocks have already rallied in the last few weeks. Microsoft expected to do better under a Bush administration. Tobacco stocks have rallied, and drug stocks have rallied. And then last week, we had what you might call the Alan Greenspan rally. The Nasdaq, which has been hurt a lot recently, was up 10 percent last week as Alan Greenspan talked about a slow economy and the possibility that interest rates will have to fall.
Now it's the slow economy, actually, that investors are focusing on now. It seems that every day another company warns that it just will not be the same kind of money as Wall Street expects, and today the latest warning after-the-bell from Microsoft. So, that could set the tone tomorrow -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: So, Jan, that's what you think is driving this downward turn?
HOPKINS: That's right. It's really the economy. I guess it's the old Clinton theme -- it's the economy, stupid. And the economy is clearly softening. So, the question is, now that the election is behind us, will the consumers go back into the stores and buy those Christmas presents that maybe they didn't buy while they were watching television? The key is the economy, and that's really what the market is focusing on and what President Bush is going to have to focus on as well -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jan Hopkins in New York. Thanks very much. Appreciate it -- Bernie.
SHAW: Joining us now with his reporter's notebook, Bob Novak of "The Chicago Sun-Times."
Bob, Dick Cheney went to the Hill and sat down with some more liberal Republican senators. What do you hear from conservatives?
ROBERT NOVAK, "THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": You know, Bernie, the vice president-elect sat down with four very, very liberal Republican senators from New England plus Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania. And let me tell you that the House Republican leaders were very upset. They think that sent a bad signal that the new administration is going to surrender on issues, but I tell you somebody was not unhappy was Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. He was delighted because he feels that if you can get one vote from a liberal Republican like Olympia Snowe from Maine you're ahead of the game. So he's says more power, Dick Cheney.
SHAW: Let's go to a state we all know, Florida. What's this about some big Democrat thinking about running against Jeb Bush, the governor?
NOVAK: I was down there during the recount, and the politicians on both parties tell me that Senator Bob Graham, who served eight years as governor before he became elected to the Senate in 1986, always has wanted to go back to Tallahassee. About his last chance. He'll be 66 years old, will be the year 2002. Jeb Bush has declined a little bit. A lot of Republicans tell me that he really -- his position on affirmative action really hurt the African-American voters, as far as Republicans are concerned. They think Jeb Bush against Senator Bob Graham would be an underdog in 2002.
SHAW: Back in Washington, the White House, the Cabinet room, filling all those important chairs around the table. How is that coming?
NOVAK: Not filled yet, Bernie. But the people who energized now that we've finally got a president-elect and the transition are the lobbyists. They are fighting very hard and the energy lobbyists were just appalled when they learned that on the Bush short list for EPA, environmental protection administrator, is Mary Gade, the former Illinois EPA director who is a liberal. She is a board member of a organization that favors the Kyoto Treaty.
They are just beside themselves. They have a candidate. Somebody we all know, Chris DeMuth, who is the head of AEI, the conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute. Chris DeMuth was in charge of deregulation in the previous Bush administration, so we got the lobbyists trying to influence the new administration on environmental policy. Let's see who wins.
SHAW: Yes, we'll have to see because we know that Bush wants women in the Cabinet, too.
NOVAK: That's right. And because he wanted an environmentalist, liberal woman in the Cabinet.
SHAW: We'll see. OK, Bob Novak. Thanks very much. And up next, our Jeff Greenfield on fulfilling the promises of unity here in Washington.
WOODRUFF: The election is over, finally, and the transition to a Bush administration under way. Will the call to bridge the partisan divide evolve into more than an election promise, though?
Our Jeff Greenfield on how history answers that question.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (on camera): So now that the election is settled, assuming no shock from the Electoral College on Monday, all the talk is of unity, healing the divisions, working across party lines. These are fine sentiments, and no doubt everyone has the best of intentions, but we should remember that in the past we have heard such sentiments, and the words don't always turn into deeds.
(voice-over): Lyndon Johnson was known in the Senate and in the White House as a master of compromise. He often quoted a line from the Bible: "come, let us reason together." But barely six months after his 1965 inaugural, an escalating war in Vietnam and the explosion of racial violence at home had turned American politics combative; by the time 1968 rolled around, the mood was so divisive, so bitter, that Johnson decided not to seek another term.
The whole theme of Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign was "bring us together." He struck the same note in his inaugural when he said, "we cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at each other." But his tenure was marked by angry disputes, attacks on the media, and an effort to undercut opposition groups that turned into what became known as Watergate, and with it came the first resignation of any American president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE H. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They didn't send us here to bicker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: In his 1989 inaugural, President Bush went out of his way to pledge that he would work with the Democratic Congress; even offering his hand to the speaker of the House, literally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
G.H. BUSH: I put out my hand. I am putting out my hand to you, Mr. Speaker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: But Bush found himself in endless battles with that Congress, including a confirmation fight over Judge Clarence Thomas that split the Capitol, and the nation, down the middle.
In 1997, in his second inaugural, President Clinton struck almost exactly the same tone as had President Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people returned to office a president of one party and a Congress of another. Surely, they did not do this to advance the politics of petty bickering and extreme partisanship they plainly deplore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: But his term was defined by congressional investigations, independent counsels, and, of course, a sex scandal that turned into the first presidential impeachment in 130 years.
(on camera): Now, if there's any time that should be ripe for bipartisanship, it is this one. There are no furious ideological divides out there, no big schisms. But the mood in Washington has become so polarized over the years, the instinct for the jugular so well honed, and this election marked by such contentiousness, that anyone betting on a mood of bipartisan civility would be well advised to get very good odds. (END VIDEOTAPE)
WOODRUFF: That was our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield -- Bernie.
SHAW: And that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
But of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com.
WOODRUFF: And these programming notes: Republican Congressman Dan Burton and Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone will be discussing congressional bipartisanship tonight on "CROSSFIRE," 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
And on "LARRY KING LIVE," the guests will include Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman and Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. That's at 9:00 Eastern.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw. "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.
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