Remarks by the President at Beginning of Cabinet Meeting (11/27/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release                         November 27, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                             The Cabinet Room

3:16 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Let me say, first of all, I called this Cabinet
meeting in part just to thank publicly the members of this Cabinet for
eight extraordinary years of service.  A number of them have been with me
the whole way.  And for all of them, I am very grateful.

     The policies we have worked on together have been very good for
America.  They have sparked the longest economic expansion in history, our
welfare rolls were cut in half; We have crime at a 28-year low; and more
land has been protected in the lower 48 states than at any time since
Theodore Roosevelt's administration almost a century ago.  This is a record
that all of them can be proud of, and only a small fraction of the record
that they established.

     Our country is now moving forward.  And in the final weeks of this
administration, we are committed to maintaining a steady course.  That
means providing a smooth transition to the next president, whether it is
Vice President Gore or Governor Bush.  As you know, an appropriate legal
process is now underway.  That process will take a few more days to play
itself out.  Our job is to do what we've done for eight years now:  to
focus on the business at hand.

     That is why I'm signing today an executive order creating a
transition-coordinating council.  The council will provide the
president-elect's team with coordinated services, especially regarding
personnel matters.

     This action and other efforts by the Cabinet will well ensure that we
are as prepared as we can possibly be for an orderly transition to the new
administration.  Meanwhile, we will be doing what we can to get ready when
Congress comes back to town in a few days.

     Thank you very much.

     Q    Mr. President, do you think Governor Bush was presumptuous in
declaring victory last night?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I don't think I should comment on what he or the
Vice President says.  There is an election challenge.  Both of them have
litigation involved; at least one case involves the U.S. Supreme Court and
the election challenge will play itself out.

     I will say what I have said from the first day.  In all this
interplay, it is easy to lose what is really important, which is the
integrity of the voter -- Every single vote.  On election day, every person
who voted had a vote that counted just as much as mine.  So they have to
sort that out in Florida -- whose vote should be counted, can every vote be
counted; if every vote can't be counted, is there a good reason why you're
not counting that vote.

     And I think those are the things that will be resolved in this
election challenge, and I think we just have to let -- both sides are very
well represented, and they all both have litigation and we'll just watch it
play itself out.

     Q    Mr. President, so you don't accept Florida's certification of
George Bush as the winner?

     THE PRESIDENT:  It's not up for me to accept or reject.  There is a
legal process here.  Both of them have filed lawsuits, and the Supreme
Court of Florida, when they issued their opinion a couple of days ago, or a
few days ago, actually anticipated a challenge.  And if you read the
opinion, they explicitly acknowledged that it was almost a certainty.  So
let's just watch this happen.  It will be over soon, and we will be ready
for the transition.

     Q    Mr. President, to what extent were you or was anyone in the White
House staff involved in the decision by the General Services Administration
to withhold transition funding from the Bush-Cheney team?

     THE PRESIDENT:  I was not involved in it at all.  And as far as I
know, no one else here was.  But there is a procedure that we actually went
back and reviewed the congressional deliberations on this legislation.  And
I think the General Services Administration believes that it cannot offer
transition assistance to both of them, which is what I would otherwise be
inclined to do.

     I think they're doing what they think the law requires.  But I,
personally -- I can't answer for anyone else in the White House, but I was
personally not involved in it.  I think they're trying to do what they
think the law requires while this election challenge plays itself out.  It
won't be long now.

     Q    Have you spoken to the Vice President at all, or --

     THE PRESIDENT:  I talked to him on Thanksgiving, called him and wished
him and his family a Happy Thanksgiving.

     Q    But he hasn't called you for advice or anything?


                          END                    3:21 P.M. EST

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