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'Tis the Season for Transition: Previewing the Bush Team's To- Do ListAired December 25, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, ANCHOR: 'Tis the season for transition. We will preview the Bush team's to-do list heading into the new year.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: This holiday, our Bill Schneider knows what to get a president-elect, who may not have everything.
WOODRUFF: Plus Mr. Bush's other victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, "TIME" MANAGING EDITOR: Once the election came, and then election contest, and the controversy over it, we made a pretty clear decision which was that whichever man won would probably, almost surely, be president of the year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Play it again "Time," Encore look at the magazine's "Person of the Year."
SHAW: Thank you for joining us and happy holidays. The fact that we officially have a president-elect, may seem like a gift, to many Americans, after the events of the past month and a half, including that chad laden Thanksgiving.
WOODRUFF: Traditionally, this is a time to reflect on our blessings, and in wake of election 2000, George W. Bush is not the only person who came out a winner.
For that matter, as CNN's Chris Black reports, Al Gore isn't the only political player licking his wounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES.-ELECT GEORGE W. BUSH: The presidency is more than an honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone knows who won. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time for me to go.
BLACK: And who lost.
But what about hidden winners and losers?
Interest groups from the right to the left, spent more money, ran more television ads, and knocked on more doors than ever before to elect a president.
For the National Rifle Association and social conservatives, the gamble to bet on the Texas governor paid off.
RICHARD LESNER, AMERICAN RENEWAL: It is clear this the Bush victory is owed, in large part, to the religious right voters, the conservative religious voters, those who espouse traditional family and moral values in America.
BLACK: And energy companies, the tobacco industry, and big business, looks forward to a change in the federal regulatory climate.
LONNIE TAYLOR, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The business community spends over $700 billion on an annual basis just in compliance with federal regulations we like to see that change.
BLACK: The biggest supporters of Al Gore, are stealing themselves for a hostile administration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot stand to look at Mr. Bush. I dislike him so much, I'm personally boycotting him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: I want to fight for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Black Americans voted for Al Gore by a 9 to 1 margin.
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Don't hold your breath if you think that a Bush Justice Department is going to investigate voting rights violations in the Florida, in the state where his brother is governor? It is not going to happen.
BLACK: The anxiety level among supporters of abortion rights is also high.
ALICE GERMOND, SPOKESWOMAN, NARAL: You know, politicians come and go, but the Supreme Court justices, are there for 20, 30, 40 years, and the impact of those appointments are with us for a tremendously long time.
BLACK: Exit polls showed more than 60 percent of labor union households voted for Gore, but labor says Mr. Bush cannot ignore their concerns.
JOHN SWEENY, PRES., AFL-CIO: I really think that Governor Bush is going to have to look at the issues, that the plurality of citizens voted for, in this campaign, and, those are working family issues, health care, education, Social Security, and if the governor wants to build confidence with working families, he is going to have to address those issues.
BLACK: Environmentalists preferred Al Gore but are hoping for the best.
DANIEL WEISS, SIERRA CLUB: George Bush is at a crossroads. He can follow the path of his funders, which would be to weaken environmental laws, cut down our trees, drill our public lands for oil, or he can follow the path that the vast majority of Americans want him to follow, which is to reduce mercury pollution from power plants, protect our wild places, clean up our water from mega-hog farms.
BLACK: Though the election is now history, the winners and losers will be part of the push and pull of competing pressures on the new president.
Chris Black, CNN, Capitol Hill.
WOODRUFF: And as President-elect Bush prepares for those challenges ahead and more, he apparently found some help under the Christmas tree, according to our Bill Schneider.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hello.
It's Christmas, 'tis the season to be greedy. And the question on everyone's lips, what did you get?
President-elect Bush is getting ready to take over the most powerful office in the land, so what did the man who has everything get?
Here's an exclusive INSIDE POLITICS look inside Santa's bag.
You know how people are always riding Mr. Bush for not knowing much about other countries? Well, they won't be doing that any more, because guess what Santa brought the new president? A who's who of world leaders. This is the last time anybody will be able to say about Mr. Bush he doesn't know his Putin from his Kostunica.
And look what else Santa threw in, a shiny hard-cover mathematics book, no fuzzy math. No fuzzy math for this guy. This is a president who promises to change the tone of American politics. And for that, he gets an orchestra conductor's baton. We can all watch as the new president tries to move the political symphony from fortissimo to pianissimo. And you know how Bush always says he wants to be a uniter, not a divider? That should be easy with the lifetime supply of Superglue he found under the tree this morning.
Mr. Bush also has a big problem. A lot of people think Al Gore should have won the election. Bush has to figure out some way to keep Gore out of sight. Well, Santa came up with a great idea, and he got it from Al Gore. How about a lockbox? He can just keep Al Gore locked up inside for the next four years, along with the Social Security trust fund, of course.
Finally, Santa remembered Mr. Bush's late-night joke about wanting to give the Oval Office, quote, "a heck of a scrubbing." Well, we're here to help Mr. President-elect. How about a brand-new scrub brush for Christmas? After all, doesn't every new president say the first thing he wants to do when he moves into the White House is clean up the mess in Washington?
Oh, and don't forget to write those thank-you notes, Mr. Bush. Let's see, that's one to Santa and one to Florida -- oh, and one to the United States Supreme Court.
WOODRUFF: St. William. I love the Superglue.
SCHNEIDER: Thank you.
SHAW: Merry Christmas.
SCHNEIDER: Ho ho ho.
SHAW: Coming up next, a different kind of gift for this president-elect, the honor of being named Person of the Year. We'll bring you an encore presentation of "CNN AND TIME" magazine that looks back at his campaign and what he faces in the White House.
Also in that special report, Al Gore's future. Was his presidential defeat an end or a new beginning?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) says, I want my (inaudible). He transcends the sport.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This can't be happening to our school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Pope John Paul would be able to fulfill his dream...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American politics (inaudible) unfolding tonight.
ANNOUNCER: "Time"'s Person of the Year. It could have been one or the other, or both, at least until the Supreme Court left only one.
JIM KELLY, "TIME" DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR: I'd be less than honest if I didn't say there are a couple times when I thought we might end up putting both men on the cover, and we were even prepared for the possibility that, in fact, the vice president would prevail.
ANNOUNCER: To our president-elect goes the spoils, but also the burden of victory.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think this is a -- provides the president and the administration and members of Congress the opportunity to show the country that our federal government can function and it can rise above partisanship.
ANNOUNCER: And what of the runner-up? Where now for Al Gore?
KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME" CORRESPONDENT: He might want to run again, because it's what he's always wanted. It's something he attempted at the age of 39, it's something that was practically genetically encoded in him.
ANNOUNCER: From what might have been to what might be. George W. Bush, "Time" magazine's Person of the Year. The job ahead, presidencies past and present. What do they suggest about things to come?
RICHARD REEVES, JOURNALIST: When there were big issues like, are the Russians coming? it was easier to be president, and it was easier to be a politician. Now they're fighting over crumbs, and they act like it.
RICHARD BRUKHEISER, SENIOR EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Some of our worst presidents have been our great intellectuals. I mean, I would argue that Woodrow Wilson and James Madison were two of the worst presidents we ever had, and they were clearly two of the most intelligent.
ANNOUNCER: The Bush White House, in the big picture.
CNN AND TIME, with Jeff Greenfield and Bernard Shaw.
SHAW: Good evening.
When it comes to our annual presentation of "Time" magazine's Person of the Year, we usually try a little suspense off the top, add some mystery to the announcement if we can.
But this year, that won't work, because in the end, this year's nominee seemed almost a foregone conclusion.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A month or so ago, "Time"'s choice would have been anybody's guess, from Elian Gonzalez to a first lady who would be senator. Or how about a key figure from the Firestone debacle? Or maybe a high-tech baron from a prominent dot- com that bombed? All those stories, however, pale in comparison to the events of the last several weeks, to one of the closest presidential elections in history, to the counts, recounts, court battles, and eventual concession that gave us, finally, our president-elect.
For all that he and the nation have been through and for all that he and this country still face, the editors of "Time" magazine choose George Walker Bush as "Time"'s Person of the Year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible), (inaudible) chin down a little bit (inaudible). Come right in toward me with a nice (inaudible). That's a (inaudible), that's good. That looks good (inaudible) right here, that looks nice.
WALTER ISAACSON, "TIME" MANAGING EDITOR: This year it was pretty nerve-wracking, because we went up to the last moment, but that also made it very exciting, because it had to be very newsy. Once the election came, and then the election contest, and the controversy over it, we made a pretty clear decision, which was that whichever man won would probably, almost surely, be Person of the Year.
JIM KELLY, "TIME" DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR: I'd be less than honest if I didn't say there were a couple times when I thought we might end up putting both men on the cover, and we even prepared for the possibility that, in fact, the vice president would prevail. But by Tuesday night of the week we were closing, we realized, you know, yes, we have a cover subject.
ISAACSON: George Bush would have been a strong contender for Person of the Year even if we hadn't had this election contest, if he had just won it cleanly, because he helped remake the Republican Party, he fought off any third-party challenge, he defeated a sitting vice president who had the wind at his back because of a great economy and peace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow, that's really good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that (inaudible), Nancy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really nice picture.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it really is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the other advantage we have is the interview with him, which, you know, was really (inaudible)...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) and I did, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... that you and Jim did, yes, that was really sort of asked him to sit down and think about what he would do as president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's January 20, 2001. You've just taken the oath of office. You come to the White House. What is the first thing you plan on doing?
BUSH: Well, is to remind the White House staff, you know, why we're there. And that's to serve the country. To remind people that not only the White House staff but the cabinet as well that this is a unique moment, and we got to seize it.
And there's a reason why it's taken awhile to -- for this election to (inaudible) the count. I think this is a -- provides the president and the administration and members of Congress the opportunity to show the country that our federal government can function, can rise above partisanship.
ISAACSON: He's somebody who, unlike Al Gore, is not immersed in the details, and unlike Al Gore doesn't have a great intellectual curiosity. But he is somebody who tries to see a big picture, who has a very good instinct about people, but doesn't immerse himself in the intellectual nuances of policy.
BUSH: I don't think I'd be sitting here as the president-elect had i not been aggressive on issues. What you're hearing is a man who's going to go into the Congress with a strong belief that the reason I would be able to deliver a inaugural address is because of the positions that I took, that the stands that I made my -- the case I made.
ANDREW CARD, BUSH CHIEF OF STAFF DESIGNATE: He certainly has changed America's political scene. He was a different kind of candidate running for president. He was a different kind of Republican running for president.
BUSH: It's on the house.
CARD: And it started very early in his candidacy.
JOHN DICKERSON, "TIME" CORRESPONDENT: The first many months for George Bush were a bit of a cakewalk.
DICKERSON: The entire Republican establishment, as if they'd gotten in a room and said, He is the man. They had traveled all down to Austin, the money men, the thinkers, the representatives of all the different constituencies, they had come to touch his garment, to listen to him, and to say, He's our guy.
BUSH: I'm running for president of the United States. There's no turning back. And I intend to be the next president of the United States.
DICKERSON: So by the time the beginning of the year 2000 comes along, George Bush looks inevitable, he looks invincible. He's got everybody lined up in a party that's been chilling in itself for the last two electoral cycles. All of the battles between the various different interest groups within the GOP had to be put aside. They wanted the White House back.
Bush, in fact, was the perfect candidate, because he was outside of Washington, but of course his name dripped with Washington.
PRISCILLA PAINTON, "TIME" ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR: There was this remarkable Republican machine of fund raising that had been prepared and put into high gear. So by the time he rolls out into Iowa, he's amassed so much money, he's broken every record in the history books.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'd hoped to scare off all contenders, and yet here he had John McCain chugging along and upending his campaign in New Hampshire.
BUSH: New Hampshire has long been known as a bump in the road for front runners. And this year is no exception.
KAREN HUGHES, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT DESIGNATE: I recall being in New Hampshire and feeling like things weren't right, but I talked myself out of it, and so I allowed myself to become convinced that we were in great shape and we were going to win New Hampshire, and sure enough, we didn't, we certainly didn't, we really, really didn't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Hampshire changed the expectations. Suddenly a couple of days after, McCain was up by 4 points in South Carolina. Bush could pretend he was the underdog. It was where he was more comfortable.
PAINTON: And we find -- can find out that he can play really rough if he has to, and that's exactly what happened in South Carolina.
BUSH: I'm not going to allow myself to get defined, I'm not going to allow my integrity to be attacked. I'm going to stand up for what I think is right.
HUGHES: And we fought back in South Carolina, we won, only to go to Michigan and three days later, you know, knocked on our heels again. And that night I remember thinking, Is there something we're missing?
PAINTON: The McCain group was a lot more powerful and resilient than anybody thought it was, and what the party did was basically mobilize for their anointed candidate, George Bush, and they were able to sort of extinguish McCain.
BUSH: He raised a really good campaign, and he put the -- put me through my paces.
DICKERSON: There is at the center of Bush's character this interesting line between confidence and arrogance. Throughout this campaign, he has had Washington experts claiming that they don't know what they're doing down in Austin. The criticism was constant and relentless in some periods. And Bush almost always stuck to his guns and said, This is the way I'm going to do it.
PAINTON: He didn't go to the Christian Coalition convention, he spoke to them by satellite, and he managed to stay away from some of these divisive issues that always trip up the Republican nominee. I think a crucial moment was when he criticized the House Republicans for balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. It was a way of saying, I'm a different kind of Republican.
HUGHES: Are you ready?
BUSH: I am ready.
CARD: He had support among the Republican base of over 90 percent by the time we started our convention, so the bounce that Governor Bush got out of the convention -- and it was significant -- came by bringing independents and Democrats into the philosophy that the governor talked about.
BUSH: Delegates and my fellow citizens, I proudly accept your nomination.
KELLY: Then comes Al Gore, who not only has a successful convention, but that the campaign bounce that Al Gore enjoyed lasted, of course, about 10 weeks, and it was only supposed to last one or two weeks. There were times in September -- people tend to forget this -- there were times in September when the governor of Texas was written off.
Everyone assumed -- not only was Gore leading in the polls, but George W. Bush was not having a very good time of it on the campaign trail when Al Gore was. And he survived all that.
DICKERSON: Bush is not at pains to show you how much he knows or how in control or command he is. He's been constantly underestimated throughout his career. He was underestimated in the debates. He wasn't going to do very well, Al Gore was going to wipe the stage with him.
BUSH: Look, this is a man who's got great numbers. He talks about numbers. I'm beginning to think not only did he invent the Internet but he invented the calculator.
DICKERSON: After three debates, George Bush had been the winner in all three by most accounts.
PAINTON: I think the main dynamic during that period was the voters truly taking from these events information for the first time and processing it. And that's why you saw the polls move back and forth so often, because there really was a genuine digestion going on in the American electorate.
BUSH: I don't believe that some of these states that they've called, like Florida, we -- I just don't believe -- I couldn't believe they got enough evidence to be able to call the state.
HUGHES: Election night was just an amazing night. I remember we didn't really know what to think.
BUSH: But it's going to be a long night.
HUGHES: President Bush was there, Mrs. Bush was there.
FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: I want to see him win it here.
HUGHES: Everybody was very tired. There were moments of exhilaration where networks thought -- or called that he had won, and Vice President Gore called to concede.
SHAW: George Bush, governor of Texas, will become the 43rd president of the United States.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Put me on, Gore's retracted his concession.
HUGHES: And then there were moments of almost disbelief when they changed their minds and when Vice President Gore called back to say it was actually too close. So it was just an -- it was an amazing night.
PAINTON: Those who said the contest would be close had no idea how close it was going to be. And then you had the beginning of a 35- , 36-day ordeal that revealed as much about these two men as perhaps a whole year of campaigning had before.
DICKERSON: In the post-election period, the Bush campaign was doing this delicate balance. They had to have their candidate out enough to show that he was engaged, but not so much that it looked like he was sprinting for the White House gates.
He spent a lot of time on -- at his ranch at Crawford sort of hidden from the daily spin and the sniping and the fights, so that, they hoped, when he actually did take the office, he wouldn't have been smudged by the five-week wrestle in the mud.
BUSH: Morning, everybody.
CARD: George W. Bush never lost a sense of what we're all about. He maintained his faith throughout. He has a great stability in his life where this is not the do-all and end-all to all that exists, and he was confident that he would win, you know, but if he didn't win, he was going to be able to do very, very well.
He campaigned consistent to what the rules required, and he won the presidency fair and square. He will be president of all of the people.
BUSH: The spirit of cooperation I have seen in this hall is what is needed in Washington, D.C. It is the challenge of our moment.
It is an opportunity for both Republicans and Democrats to show the country that we can come together, that the closeness of the election and the so-called divided House provides an opportunity for people who care more about their country than they do their political party to come together and show Americans that government doesn't have to be divided. It is a unique moment, and I intend to seize it.
KELLY: We asked him what he had learned from the past year, and he said a couple interesting things. He said for starters, he's become much more patient, much more tolerant, because he felt very strongly that the campaign itself is not only a terrific learning experience, a terrific way that someone tests themselves in ways that would be useful once that person reaches the Oval Office, but that it was almost a kind of a forging process, where, you know, where certain characteristics got hardened and toughened in the process.
BUSH: ... really conducive for...
KELLY: And that I found quite interesting. Because most presidential candidates, two weeks after the election, when there's still no winner, you would expect them to be somewhat bitter about the process of how long it takes to elect a president of the United States.
BUSH: He's a good man.
KELLY: He felt the opposite, that he was perfectly fine with the ups and downs of the previous, you know, 14, 16, 18 months.
BUSH: Let's go change Washington, D.C. What do you say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gave us the opportunity in picking somebody who, for better or worse, encapsulated this year.
BUSH: Thank you so very much for coming. God bless you all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dreams and also the disappointments that were all part of this year's political process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he comes to Washington, he will have the feeling that it -- one of the reasons he got through this race was that when everybody was screaming that he should go the other way, that he stuck to his guns. Remains to be seen whether that will be a good or a bad quality in Washington.
GREENFIELD: When we come back, Al Gore, his moment in history and what may lie ahead.
ANNOUNCER: Next, from a president-elect to what might have been, Al Gore's next move.
ROY NEILL, GORE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think Al's got a lot of options. I mean, he's awfully young, first of all, and he's got this unbounded energy. So he can do just about anything he wants.
ANNOUNCER: Also ahead, George W. Bush and his predecessor, some interesting parallels.
RICHARD BRUKHEISER, SENIOR EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": But Clinton was peerless at one on one, shaking hands, working a room. I never thought Clinton on television or giving a formal speech was particularly effective.
BUSH: Our mutual security need no longer depend on a nuclear balance of terror.
BRUKHEISER: There's the same kind of a split with Bush.
ANNOUNCER: As CNN AND TIME continues.
SHAW: Four years, a lifetime in politics, especially the presidential kind. And no one knows that better right now than Al Gore. Although some Democratic leaders suggest the vice president would be an early front runner for their party's next presidential nomination, there most certainly will be Democrats to challenge him.
So what's next for Al Gore?
(voice-over): Up until the final hour, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against him...
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Good to see you all today.
SHAW: ... Al Gore believed he still might be president.
KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME" CORRESPONDENT: He gathered his lawyers together. He had a series of conference calls. They went over the opinion even as they were peeling it off the fax machine. And finally he told everyone to go to bed, that before he decided what he wanted to do, before he decided whether there was anything left for him, he wanted to sleep on it. And that was around midnight.
Around 2:00 in the morning, tow of his top strategists, both of them got separate phone calls from the vice president, who, it turns out, wasn't sleeping on it at all. And he said, "I know what I need to do."
DEMONSTRATORS (singing): God bless America...
SHAW: It was an emotional time not only for Gore but also those around him throughout his career, like Roy Neel, the boyhood friend from Tennessee, who had become Gore's chief of staff and was already helping him pick a cabinet.
(on camera): In the final hours, because you know him so well, so close to him, how many times did Al Gore cry?
ROY NEILL, GORE CHIEF OF STAFF: Oh, I'm sure he cried. How could you not? I mean, he's a man of deep emotions and very intense feelings. And, you know, this was so much pressure, for not only five weeks but for two years. I'm sure the tears came. That's healthy and constructive. Lord knows I did. I cried the morning after the election. It was just an exhausting feeling. TUMULTY: Al Gore himself had spent his entire adult life, almost, hungering, almost nakedly, for this job. So it's got to be tough for him to fall just short of it, and not only just short of it, but to a man who, by all accounts, had never given the job a thought before a few years ago.
SHAW (voice-over): The next night, Gore went before the nation to concede.
NEILL: It started out like a wake, like a funeral. It was very sad.
GORE: I've seen America in this campaign, and I like what i see. It's worth fighting for, and that's a fight I'll never stop.
NEILL: That was the Al Gore I knew during that speech, the Al Gore I've always known, from the time we came to Washington when he was a 28-year-old freshman congressman. That's the Al Gore I came to Washington with. And that's the Al Gore I think that people are going to see more of, whether he runs for political office again or not.
GORE: Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism.
NEILL: When he spoke, during his speech and afterwards, you could feel people spirits being lifted up. And that atmosphere changed dramatically when Al and Tipper and the family got back to the residence from the White House. And they turned a funeral into a fantastic party.
TUMULTY: One of the guests was rocker Jon Bon Jovi. He gets on his cell phone, and the next thing you know, around -- sometime around midnight, Tom Petty shows up. About 45 minutes later, Stevie Wonder shows up and plays a couple of numbers. And Tipper Gore at one point joins them on the drums, and everyone stays and dances and laughs and drinks and reminisces.
They danced till 2:30 in the morning. The vice president was able to, you know, hang around with a beer in his hand and relax and know that he had done everything he was able to do.
NEILL: Well, once you get past the what-ifs and could it only happen this way or that way, it's an enormous sense of relief that it's all over.
SHAW (on camera): What does Al Gore do next?
NEILL: I think Al's got a lot of options. I mean, he's awfully young, first of all, and he's got this unbounded energy. So he can do just about anything he wants.
TUMULTY: It's funny, Tipper Gore has often joked in the past that she and Al may come to regret the fact that he never finished law school.
SHAW (voice-over): For 24 years, Al Gore's only job has been elected official. Now he has to find a way to make a living. TUMULTY: Here is a guy who's never even invested in the stock market. He's basically missed the entire stock market boom. So I don't think making money, though, is going to be among his top priorities. He may find a refuge in academia, he may find a refuge in some sort of think tank or public policy institute. But he's going to also be using this time to think about whether he wants to take on the White House again.
GORE: As for what I'll do next, I don't know the answer to that one yet. Like many of you, I'm looking forward to spending the holidays with family and old friends. I know I'll spend time in Tennessee and mend some fences, literally and figuratively.
SHAW (on camera): When Gore lost Tennessee, he lost the White House.
NEILL: That's the real tough thing to deal with in this campaign. If we win Tennessee, there's not a Florida issue at all.
SHAW: Very frankly, why didn't he work the state more? Why didn't he go home more?
NEILL: Well, first of all, he was the vice president of the entire country. And during his campaign, he had to focus on those very large electoral states. I wouldn't second-guess it, but it was a tough judgment call. And in the end, they probably should have been there more.
SHAW: Two thousand four, how does he stay viable so that he can, if he decides, run again?
NEILL: Well, I think, frankly, the way he handled himself during the recount process was the best thing he possibly could have done. He rallied the base, he showed that he was, in fact, a fighter, this wasn't rhetoric, and he fought hard for something he believed in for people he believed in.
That was the best thing he could do, coming out of that election. He won't be presumptuous, I think, in assuming that if he were going to run, the nomination would be his. He'll have to fight for it if he runs in 2004.
TUMULTY: In a lot of ways, Al Gore realizes that this decision is not entirely his to make. At one point during the last five weeks, as they were fighting this legal battle, his top strategist, Carter Eskew, and his brother-in-law, Frank Hunger, started speculating in front of him about what this meant for his prospects in 2004. And he told them to quit talking like that. He said, "Until we have a midterm election, we're not going to know where anything stands. So it's pointless to be talking about this now."
GORE: It's time for me to go. Thank you, and good night, and God bless America.
SHAW (voice-over): For now, the list Roy Neill was lining up for a Gore cabinet has been filed away, but not entirely forgotten. NEILL: You know, once I got past the pain of that ending, I began to think, you know, We may pull that box out of the attic again in the future.
SHAW: Coming up, the presidency of George W. Bush, a look at the job ahead.
ANNOUNCER: Next, the lighter side of reading the presidential tea leaves.
GREENFIELD: Wouldn't you rather have a president who thought of life in sunny terms rather than dark terms?
RICHARD REEVES, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. I'm a (inaudible). Reagan knew only four things, but he knew them real good.
GORE: I'm George W., (inaudible)...
REEVES: I would be perfectly happy to find out that George Bush knew three things.
ANNOUNCER: When CNN AND TIME continues.
GREENFIELD: For the better part of two years, we were asking one question about the next president. Who will it be? For the five weeks after election day, we were asking, When will we know?
Now we ask a different question. How will President-elect George W. Bush do?
To help answer that question, we decided to take a broader view with two journalists who've both earned reputations as eminent historians.
(voice-over): Richard Reeves has been a political journalist for nearly 40 years. More recently, he has won wide acclaim for his history of John F. Kennedy's presidency. He's just completed a book on the presidency of Richard Nixon.
Richard Brukheiser (ph) is a senior editor of "National Review." He's written biographies of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, and he's just finished a book on the Adams family.
One of the Adams, John Quincy, was the only son of a president to win the White House until George W. Bush. And, like Bush, he actually lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson, a fact that haunted the younger Adams. RICHARD BRUKHEISER, SENIOR EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": He felt ashamed, he felt ashamed of that. And so he was paralyzed for four years. He sat in that White House, he couldn't fire disloyal people in his own administration. And he was just, like, unconsciously waiting for Jackson to hit him and punish him for what he'd done.
GREENFIELD (on camera): So in this case, agonized reflection on how he got to be president is not something that George W. Bush ought to be doing too much of.
BRUKHEISER: It's not a recipe for success.
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JOHN F. KENNEDY: The election may have been a close one, but I think that there is general agreement...
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GREENFIELD (voice-over): In 1960, John Kennedy barely won the popular vote, and many Republicans believed he'd won the electoral vote only by some creative vote-counting in Illinois and Texas. Kennedy's response, says Richard Reeves, was to reach across party lines.
RICHARD REEVES, JOURNALIST: Well, he didn't feel he had a mandate. In terms of appointments, he appointed a Republican as secretary of the Treasury, a Republican as secretary of defense, a Republican as the national security adviser. He thought he had to do that, and he probably was right about that.
Having said that, there was a consensus in the country about what the problems of the country were, and they were the Russians.
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NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER: At one point, he reminded the Soviet leader that the United States has gone to war twice to protect Western Europe.
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REEVES: He was able to govern in foreign policy relatively easy because there was a national consensus.
GREENFIELD: Without that consensus, Reeves says, the terrain for Bush will be rougher.
REEVES: Oh, I think that it's going to be much tougher for the next president than it ever was for John Kennedy. It's like faculty politics. The smaller the issue, the bigger the politics.
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NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER: May Day celebration in Moscow's Red Square.
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REEVES: When there were big issues like, Are the Russians coming? it was easier to be president, and it was easier to be a politician. Now they're fighting over crumbs, and they act like it.
GREENFIELD: But Richard Brukheiser notes that President-elect Bush does have one tool at his disposal that JFK used very effectively, this medium.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Explain what the Band-Aid is doing on your finger?
KENNEDY: Well, I cut my finger when I was cutting bread.
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BRUKHEISER: Well, the 24-hour news, I mean, it exposes you more, and it exposes you to vulnerable situations, potentially vulnerable situations more.
BUSH: I don't think we need to be subliminable about the differences between our views on prescription drugs.
BRUKHEISER: But what it also does is, it gives you a chance to appear more, gives you a chance to present yourself more. That's something that these guys in the 19th century who won these squeaker difficult elections, they didn't have.
I think Americans have always had a well of respect for the presidency, and that's George Washington's legacy. But the modern media and television has made that potentially a much stronger thing, fi the president knows how to draw on it.
GREENFIELD: In this sense, says Brukheiser, the next president is a lot like his predecessor.
BRUKHEISER: Clinton was peerless at one on one, shaking hands, working a room. I never thought Clinton on television or giving a formal speech was particularly effective.
BUSH: Our mutual security need no longer depend on a nuclear balance of terror.
BRUKHEISER: There's the same kind of a split with Bush. He can be very stiff giving a formal stand-up address, but when he works a room, and even if you're not right at his side, even if you're at a distance watching his progress through the room, it's evident that he's great at this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Punch a time clock, and...
GREENFIELD: But there is another, less reassuring way Bush might find himself like Clinton, and that is in dealing with his own party leaders in the Congress. BUSH: Trent brought up the fact that John Breaux was a forward- thinking senator who was willing to bring Republicans and Democrats together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States.
REEVES: When Bill Clinton, the best politician of his generation, became president, the Democratic congressional leadership from the left, Foley and Mitchell, rolled all over him. He was a new guy in town, they said, This is the way we do it, you got to do it. Clinton couldn't stand up to them.
And I think George Bush is going to be able to stand up to the Tom DeLays and the Trent Lotts and the people on his side. They have an agenda, and as far as anyone can tell, George W. Bush doesn't.
BUSH: I will also swear to uphold the honor and the integrity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God.
GREENFIELD: But while no political fan of Bush's, Reeves does find the new president's ingrained optimism a reason for cautious hope.
REEVES: We've crossed the parallels. In this election, Gore was Nixon, Bush is John Kennedy, the likable lightweight. George Bush doesn't think bad things happen to him. Richard Nixon knew bad things happened to him.
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RICHARD NIXON: Just think how much you're going to be missing. You don't have Nixon to kick around any more.
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GREENFIELD (on camera): Wouldn't you rather have a president who thought of life in sunny terms rather than dark terms?
REEVES: Absolutely, absolutely. I'm a closet Reagan fan. And I hope that George -- I mean, Reagan knew only four things but he knew them real good. I would be perfectly happy to find out that George Bush knew three things.
GREENFIELD (voice-over): For Brukheiser, this sense of small expectations may actually prove to be of a big help to the new president.
BRUKHEISER: Yes, the lowered bar is something that he has profited from. Everybody was saying before the presidential debates that Al Gore would clean the floor with him, and, you know, if -- it may not be a flattering expectation to have, that people think, Oh, you know, he's stupid and he's an illegitimate president. But hey, if it's going to work for you, you know, use it. Play to that.
GREENFIELD: Well, he has always said that one of his great assets is the degree that he's always underestimated. He said that.
BRUKHEISER: Some of our worst presidents have been our great intellectuals. I mean, I would argue that Woodrow Wilson and James Madison were two of the worst presidents we ever had, and they were clearly two of the most intelligent.
GREENFIELD: How does he make the sale, not now as a candidate but as president-elect and president? What has to happen now?
BRUKHEISER: What Bush has to figure out is what is the problem they still have with me?
BARBARA BUSH: I'm going to let George speak for us.
BRUKHEISER: I think they think he's not yet mature enough. He's still his father's son, he still seems untried. We haven't seen him in enough situations. And that's something that can only be fixed by the situations.
GREENFIELD: When it comes to judging presidents, even hindsight is no certain guidepost. Historians still argue, have we underestimated presidents like Chester Arthur and Rutherford B. Hayes? Have we inflated the reputations of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson?
When historian David McCullough (ph) says, "You can't know how effective a president will be," he might have added, You can't even know how effective they were.
ANNOUNCER: Visit us at cnn.com/cnntime and time.com.
SHAW: 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 this programming note, tonight at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, Democratic strategist Kiki McLean and RNC communications director Cliff May will look at who's been naughty and who's been nice. And "LARRY KING LIVE" will host Maureen O'Hara at 9:00 Eastern.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: And I'm Bernard Shaw. From all of us here at INSIDE POLITICS, happy holidays.
WOODRUFF: Happy holidays.
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