BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Tuesday, 19 December, 2000, 21:09 GMT
Chat at the White House
Geroge W Bush and Bill Clinton
Bush and Clinton kept the serious business behind closed doors
George W Bush was given a warm welcome by President Bill Clinton at the White House on Tuesday - in effect starting the transition period between the old and new presidents. Below is a transcript of extracts of the press conference held by the two men.

Press: What's your best advice to the incoming president?

President Bill Clinton: Answer your [the press'] questions. Get a good team and do what he thinks is right.

Press: Mr President-elect, talking about the economy, about problems with the economy, are you going to inherit a recession from President Clinton? And, President Clinton, what are your thoughts about that?

President-elect George W Bush: I really don't have any comments. I look forward to talking to the president. I'm so honoured that he extended his hospitality to me and my wife yesterday. He didn't need to do this, and I'm most grateful that he would do so.

Press: Mr President, what do you think about a recession?

A high-energy moment

George W Bush
Clinton: Well, a recession is two quarters in a row of negative growth. I don't think we're going to have that. But we couldn't keep up 5% growth a year, you know, forever. So I think 49 of the 50 Blue Chip forecasters think that growth will be 2.5% or better next year, and that'll keep unemployment low. But I think there will be things to be managed. He'll have economic challenges and we ought to give him a chance to meet them, not try to figure it all out in advance.

Press: Are you going to North Korea?

Clinton: No decision has been made on that... It's interesting, when I had this meeting eight years ago with the president-elect's father, he told me the biggest problem we were facing was the nuclear programme in North Korea, and we were able to build on the work they had done and put an end to that. And now the big problem there is the missile program... But this is something that I want to consult with the president-elect and his team about, and we'll see what the facts are. And I'll try to do what's best for the country.

I am humbled and honoured, and I can't thank the president enough for his hospitality

George W Bush
Press: I understand that you're not against him going. Is that right?

Bush: I haven't had a chance to talk to the president yet, Helen.

Press: What will you tell him is the biggest problem, Mr President?

Clinton: I want to talk to him, not you.


Clinton: I waited eight years to say that.


Press: Governor, how different is it to come to this house in your position now?

I'm here to listen. And if the president is kind enough to offer some advice, if he is, I will take it in

George W Bush
Bush: It's vastly different. It's such a huge honour to come as the president-elect. I don't think I'll really, fully realise the impact until I swear in. I expect the president would say the same thing. And I am humbled and honoured, and I can't thank the president enough for his hospitality. He didn't need to do this.

Press: Yes, he did.


Bush: I haven't quite finished yet.


Bush: And I'm grateful. And I've looked forward to the discussion. I'm here to listen. And if the president is kind enough to offer some advice, if he is, I will take it in.

Press: Are there questions you have for the president, sir?

Bush: If there are, I'm going to ask it in private. And afterwards not sharing with you. Thank you.

[As White House staff wrap up the proceedings:]

Staff: Thank you.

Bush: A high-energy moment.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console


Bush presidency:


Texts and transcripts:


See also:

16 Dec 00 | Americas
In pictures: Gore parties on
16 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Cook hails Powell as 'good friend'
16 Dec 00 | Americas
Pressure mounts for electoral reform
14 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Bush gets Hollywood approval
16 Dec 00 | Americas
Powell's speech - excerpts
14 Dec 00 | Business
Tax cuts and free trade
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories