Monday November 27, 2000; 11:49 PM ET

NBC Carries Gore Speech
After Giving Bush the Brush

Twenty-four hours after NBC declined to interrupt regular programming to cover George W. Bush's first speech to the nation as certified president-elect, the network decided to break into its Monday night prime-time schedule to air Vice President Al Gore's response live.

NBC immediately denied any favoritism.

"They've each gotten fair and balanced coverage from this network," NBC spokeswoman Barbara Levin told the Associated Press.

During the Bush speech, NBC was showing the network television debut of "Titanic." On Monday, the network broke into "The Crocodile Hunter" to cover Gore.

ABC and CBS, as well as all the cable news networks, covered both the Bush and Gore speeches.

NBC prefaced its Gore coverage with clips from the earlier Bush speech. But, said Levin, the decision to air the Bush clips was not an attempt to give the Republican equal time

Bush Moving Key Staff to Washington

.c The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 28) - George W. Bush, in a bold gesture to assert authority, is moving key operatives to Washington and seeking private financing for a presidential transition.

In the face of Democratic court challenges to the Florida presidential balloting, the Texas governor was pressing ahead with plans to form a new government and to fill thousands of top positions now held by Democrats.

``We can move fairly rapidly in a couple of areas, but he has to decide the timing,'' Bush's vice presidential running mate, Dick Cheney, said Tuesday on NBC's ``Today.''

He said there was a ``good possibility'' that a Bush Cabinet would include some Democrats. ``The governor has given me instructions to look in those areas,'' said Cheney, who is overseeing transition planning. ``We clearly will.''

Cheney said Bush was reaching out to people with experience, including some from the Bush and Reagan administrations, ``but we're also going to want new talent. We're going to want to emphasize diversity. We're going to want a broad Cabinet.''

One veteran from the Bush administration is Andrew Card, a former transportation secretary, who the Texas governor tapped as his choice for White House chief of staff.

Card said he had spoken about transition on Monday with the man he hopes to succeed, John Podesta.

``He expressed his willingness to work with us, to make sure transition works well,'' Card said on CBS' ``The Early Show.''

Podesta said the White House has been working with both campaigns.

``We want to make this as smooth as possible, whether it is Vice President Gore or Governor Bush,'' Podesta said on ``Today.''

Bush was to designate retired Gen. Colin Powell as secretary of state and Stanford University scholar Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser. He also was expected to give economist Lawrence Lindsey a top economic job.

Bush settled on these selections before the election and has not changed his mind, aides said.

However, there remained some questions about scheduling, with Powell hoping to wait until some of the legal fireworks in Florida have subsided, the aides said.

Associates close to Bush said the list of prominent Republicans under consideration for top jobs included Montana Gov. Marc Racicot and Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith.

Racicot, who has emerged as a top advocate in the Florida recount fight, has been mentioned as a possibility for Interior secretary or attorney general. Goldsmith's name has been circulated as a potential housing secretary.

Bush hopes to appoint at least one Democrat to a high-profile job, his associates said. Former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., has been mentioned as a possible candidate for defense secretary and Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt of North Carolina could find himself on a list of potential education secretaries, aides said.

Rebuffed by the Clinton administration in a bid for office space and $5.3 million in federal funds, a defiant Bush team announced Monday it would seek contributions of up to $5,000 each from individuals to help pay for a transition office in the nation's capital.

A 1963 law allows private donations of up to $5,000 each to help cover transition costs. President Clinton raised such money in 1992.

Bush also was moving critical elements of his operation from Austin to Washington to establish a presence near the center of federal government.

Cheney himself will be based in Washington.

He announced that Clay Johnson, Bush's gubernatorial chief of staff, would serve as executive director of the prospective transition.

Cheney also announced that Ari Fleischer, a senior campaign spokesman, would serve as transition spokesman.

Both Johnson and Fleischer will move from Austin to Washington.

The actions of the Bush camp contrasted sharply with assertions by Democrat Al Gore that the election won't be over until the courts say it's over. His camp is seeking legal action to reopen Florida's vote recount.

``Let the people have their say, and let us listen,'' Gore said Monday night in a nationally televised address to the nation.

That address was closely monitored in Austin - Bush watching from the Texas governor's mansion and the campaign staff assembled before television sets at campaign headquarters.

Fleischer said Gore's address offered ``nothing new.''

Gore ``was just unfortunately not giving Americans the full picture of what took place,'' Fleischer said. ``He did not advance his case.''

A day after declaring himself the winner of the presidential election based on his certified - but legally challenged - victory in Florida, Bush huddled on Monday with Card and got down to transition business.

The General Services Administration in Washington is refusing to open a transition office or release $5.3 million for the next president-elect until the contest is settled.

``This is regrettable, because we believe the government has an obligation to honor the certified results of the election. Despite the decision, we feel it is our obligation to the American people to honor their votes by moving forward and assembling the administration that they've chosen in this election,'' Cheney said.

``Therefore, at the direction of Governor Bush, we will proceed, drawing on other sources,'' he said.

There are some 3,000 top positions to be filled by the new president - nearly all of them now held by Democrats.

AP-NY-11-28-00 0906EST

Republican 'Doomsday' Scenarios

GOP Leaders In U.S. House, Fla. Legislature Plot Strategies To Boost Bush
By's Susan Walsh

NEW YORK, Nov. 26, 2000

The voters have had their say, and now it seems the professional politicians will have theirs.

Republican politicians in the U. S. Congress and Florida's state legislature are rattling their sabers, threatening to take constitutionally sanctioned but politically extraordinary steps to deliver the election for George W. Bush, come what may in the hand counts and court houses.

Scenarios where the Florida legislature - rather than a majority of the state's voters - chooses the state's 25 electors and the U.S. Congress decides the election's ultimate outcome were once thought of as remote, "Doomsday" possibilities.

Now, the highly implausible seems possible.

On Sunday, the Republican majority leader of the Florida House told NBC's Meet the Press that the state legislature is "getting closer and closer" to getting involved in the process of selecting the electors, whose votes will be decisive in the presidential election.

And on Capitol Hill, House leaders Dick Armey and Tom Delay are reportedly considering a plan to throw out Florida electors if they are awarded to Al Gore, in which case Florida would have no say in the election at all.

On CBS's Face the Nation, Democrat Dick Gephardt, the House Minority Leader, said throwing out a state's electors is unprecedented, "something we have never done and shouldn't do."

Democrats have said that the Republican electoral manuevering has solidified support within the party for Al Gore.

Fast-approaching deadlines imposed by the electoral calendar have prompted Republicans to plan for the worst.

The electors must be chosen by the state legislatures by Dec. 12. Ordinarily, the state house designates electors pledged to the winner of the state's popular vote. The electors must meet December 18 to cast their votes. Then Congress meets Jan. 5 to ratify the electors' votes.

But litigation brinksmanship by both sides has pushed the envelope so far that the outcome of the election might be determined by legislative machinations. That scenario could well be very confusing to a public accustomed to the one-person, one-vote standard.

In Florida, the Republican-controlled Legislature has created a special committee that meets Tuesday to discuss voting irregularities and how to proceed in an environment where the state's certified vote will be contested by Democrats in state courts and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a suit brought by Republicans.

Democrats were concerned the state legislature might move to appoint Bush electors, in keeping with the outcome of the mechancal recount of the statewide vote, even if hand recounts suggested Gore had won the popular vote in Florida.

For the legislature to act on the electors issue, a special legislative session would have to be convened either by agreement of the House speaker and Senate president, or by a proclamation of the governor.

Republicans have comfortable majorities in both chambers of the legislature, where special legislation can be passed by a simple majority.

In Washington, it might be tougher for Messrs. Delay and Armey to get their hands on the election since challenges to electoral votes need a majority of each chamber to be referred to the whole House. With the apparent victory by Democrat Maria Cantwell in the Washington state Senate race, the U.S. Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

If however, Florida's electoral votes were disallowed, neither Gore nor Bush would have the 270-vote majority needed to win the Electoral College and thus the election.

If neither candidate wins a majority of the electoral votes, the Constitution calls for the presidential election to be taken up by the House, where members choose the president by majority vote, with each state delegation having one vote. Twenty-eight delegations are controlled by Republicans.

Copyright 2000, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved.