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CNN Transcript

 

Newsday

 

Transition of Power: President-Elect Bush Meets With Congressional Leaders on Capitol Hill

 

Aired December 18, 2000 - 12:00 p.m. ET

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: In the nation's capital, it's all about George W. Bush -- he's here and doing business -- while in state capitals, it's the day the Electoral College meets and votes. And if all goes as planned, the electors will certify Bush's narrow victory in last month's election.

 

He's already looking forward as he makes the rounds here in the nation's capital. A key item on his agenda today: meeting congressional leaders.

 

CNN's Chris Black joins us from Capitol Hill with more now -- Chris.

 

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Frank, President- elect George W. Bush came to Capitol Hill today for the first time since the election intending to listen to congressional leaders, the bipartisan congressional leadership. But he also made it clear to them, in more than two and a half hours of meetings, that he intends to stand by his tax cut proposal and other planks in his campaign agenda.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I told all four that there were going to be some times where we don't agree with each other. But that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BLACK: President-elect Bush met with the House and Senate Republican leadership teams today. And sources in those meetings say that they discussed tax cuts and energy policy. There was a great deal of concern, according to congressional sources, about how the Bush administration will keep the economy moving ahead.

 

In his meetings with Dick Gephardt, the House Democratic leader, and Tom Daschle, the Senate Democratic leader, they told him that they would try to move expeditiously on the Senate side on his nominations, but also said that their view of bipartisanship is that Bush adopt some items from the Democratic agenda; particularly items that did well in the 106th Congress but didn't quite become law: the minimum wage increase, HMO reform and campaign finance reform. The meetings were described as cordial, but Mr. Bush made it very clear both publicly and privately that he believes that he was elected president because of the things he campaigned on. That's an analysis the Democrats disagree with. They say this election was a tie -- Frank.

 

SESNO: Chris, a very interesting comment from the House Democratic leader, Richard Gephardt, when he was up there saying, look, we'll meet you 50 percent of the way, maybe even a little bit more than 50 percent of the way. We'll meet you in the middle. Now, this notion of governing from the middle, how does that square with the tax plans and all these other things that Bush has on his mind?

 

BLACK: Well, there's unquestionably -- there is a place in the middle. For example, even on items as controversial as repeal of the marriage penalty and repeal of the estate tax, Democrats had their own versions of those tax cuts which did not go quite as far. They say they're willing to consider any tax cuts proposed by Gov. Bush, but he is not -- they are not going to go all the way. There's a great deal of concern about the total price tag, something which Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Fed, also is concerned about.

 

SESNO: All right, Chris Black on Capitol Hill, thanks.

 

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