Bush, Cheney, Powell
At Crawford Ranch, TX
November 30, 2000
GEORGE W. BUSH: Thank you all for coming. Laura and I are honored to welcome back to our ranch the Cheneys, and of course today the Powells have come to visit. And we're really thrilled that Colin and Alma took time out of their life to come down.
We're going to spend the afternoon talking about our transition and in particular, we want to talk about national security matters and foreign policy matters. No better person to talk about that with than Colin Powell. He has had a great deal of experience. Dick and I trust his judgment. And so I look forward to a really good afternoon.
And then, Dick and I and Andy Card tomorrow will be continuing to discuss both the transition and the set-up at the White House.
Colin, thanks for coming. Welcome to Crawford, Texas.
COLIN POWELL: Thank you, governor. It's good to be here and it's good to see you again, and thank you and Laura for inviting Alma and me to join you. I look forward to our conversations this afternoon on matters of international affairs and foreign policy, and also to discuss transition issues. So thanks for having me, and congratulations, governor, on your success in your election.
We'll be glad to answer some questions.
QUESTION: General Powell, have you been asked to serve in a Bush administration? And would you serve in a Bush administration?
POWELL: I have not yet been asked. And if that question should be posed to me, I think I should answer it directly to the governor at that time, before answering it to anyone else.
QUESTION: Have you let it be known that you're concerned about being named secretary of state before Al Gore concedes or the legal wrangling is through?
POWELL: No, I've been reading that in the newspaper, but I have had no such conversation with the governor or with Secretary Cheney or anyone else. I'm not sure where that came from. It has always been my understanding in my earlier conversations with the governor that he would not move in that direction and begin appointing members of a Cabinet until all of this matter is behind us and resolved.
Obviously, he has appointed members of his transition team and those who have to get to work now, so that we don't lose too much time during the transition period. But I never expected that the governor would reach that point in his deliberations until after this matter had been resolved.
QUESTION: Governor, in Florida, with the special session of the state legislature, are you concerned that this has the appearance of a partisan power play to short circuit the courts?
BUSH: You know, here's my view. I've won three counts, and I think it's time to get some finality to the process. I felt like we won on Election Night, and then there was a recount in all Florida counties, and then there was a selected recount in additional Florida counties, and each time Dick Cheney and I ended up on top.
And the reason why we're moving forward with our discussions and the transition is because, when the counting finally stops, we want to be prepared to lead this nation. That's what we were elected to do.
And as far as the legal hassling and wrangling and posturing in Florida, I would suggest you talk to our good team in Florida led by Jim Baker.
QUESTION: So you are directing their decisions down there, is that correct?
BUSH: We're both being kept abreast of the options and opportunities. I decided that it was best to take our case to the Supreme Court of the United States, which will be heard tomorrow.
All options are on the table. But one of our strategies is to get this election ratified, and the sooner the better for the good of the country.
QUESTION: Governor, how do you respond to the criticism that, in fact, your legal team--that your decisions are, in essence, delaying--not delaying but sort of running out the clock to prevent the additional ballots, disputed ballots being counted?
BUSH: As I recall the facts are these: Election Night we won. And then there was a recount, and we won. And there was a selected recount as a result of different legal maneuverings, and we won that. And I believe one of these days that all this is going to stop, and Dick Cheney and I will be the president and the vice president.
QUESTION: If this keeps dragging on day after day, when will you decide to go ahead and start making some of these personnel announcements?
BUSH: Well, we just have to wait and see, Tom. But as you know, Dick has opened up our office there in Washington, D.C. We're opened for business. Andy has been spending time with me and getting our White House team in place.
We'll make those announcements at the appropriate time.
QUESTION: Governor, what have you said to the Republican leadership in the Congress about how they should handle the budget negotiations...
BUSH: That's going to be up for them. I appreciate that question. I think that Leader Lott and the speaker are plenty capable themselves of figuring out how to end this legislative session. And should Dick and I become the vice president and the president, we will have a strategy to deal with the Congress--the next Congress.
QUESTION: Governor, with Al Gore all over the airwaves, is this press availability in part because you're responding to criticism that you've appeared out of touch in the past few days, out of sight and out of touch?
BUSH: That's pretty humorous, Dave. Thank you all for coming.