- The Washington Times - Friday, December 15, 2000

AUSTIN, Texas George W. Bush spent his first full day as president-elect yesterday attending a prayer service in which the message was leading a nation and firming up plans for a triumphal visit to Washington on Sunday.
"You have been chosen by God to lead the people. That's what Moses did," the Rev. Mark Craig told Mr. Bush at a private service held in the Tarrytown United Methodist Church in Austin, attended by about 300 friends of Mr. Bush and his wife, Laura.
As Vice President-elect Richard B. Cheney finally received the keys and $5.3 million in federal funds for government offices from the head of the General Services Administration, the Bush transition team also moved forward with plans for the president-elect to come to Washington. He will arrive Sunday night, meet leaders on Capitol Hill on Monday and on Tuesday will visit President Clinton at the White House and Al Gore at the vice president's home at the Naval Observatory.
"That meeting next week between the two of them will be very important to healing the wounds, to moving on and getting the new administration in place," Mr. Cheney told reporters. "Symbols are important in this business, and this certainly has great symbolic significance."
At the make-shift headquarters in McLean made a necessity after the GSA refused to take those steps while Mr. Gore contested election Mr. Cheney said the transition is on track.
"We will move as rapidly as we can to have a Cabinet in place by the time of the inauguration," he said. He said the team will begin soon moving into the offices at 1800 F St. in Northwest.
Mr. Bush went full steam ahead on the transition yesterday, using his time to telephone congressional leaders and field congratulatory calls from heads of state from Canada to South Africa. He also took a surprise call from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, agreeing to meet the black leader later about election reform. Mr. Bush was on the phone so much that his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, reportedly had trouble getting through.
As his team ramped up the dizzying pace of assembling an administration, Mr. Bush tipped his hand on his first move toward a bipartisan Cabinet. He invited Dem-
ocratic Sen. John B. Breaux of Louisiana to a meeting in Austin today. Bush spokesman Karen Hughes would not rule out an offer of a Cabinet post for Mr. Breaux, who has said he would prefer to stay in the Senate.
"They expect a wide-ranging discussion on a lot of different issues," Mrs. Hughes said.
The man at the center of this suddenly unstoppable activity kept a low public profile, not uttering a single word to reporters all day in Austin. One of his best friends, campaign Chairman Don Evans, said the morning prayer service affected the president-elect and those close to him by bringing "this great moment into perspective."
"It reminds us that there's a higher calling, a higher purpose," said Mr. Evans.
One of the prime ingredients of what Mr. Bush considers his higher purpose is reaching out to Democrats to heal differences from the contentious election. In that vein, Mr. Bush spoke yesterday for the first time to Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, two men he wants to work with on an agenda of education reform, Social Security partial privatization, military buildup and tax cuts.
"Bipartisanship isn't an option any more," Mr. Daschle said later. "It's a requirement."
Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and president of an political research firm in Arlington, said Mr. Daschle is pivotal to the success or failure of Mr. Bush's legislative agenda.
"The wild card in all of this is Tom Daschle," said Mr. Luntz. "Does Daschle want to compromise or does he want to obstruct?"
President Clinton called Mr. Bush from the United Kingdom around 10:45 p.m. Washington time on Wednesday, approximately 90 minutes after Mr. Gore finally conceded the election. A Bush aide described Mr. Clinton as "gracious" in the five-minute phone call.
"President Clinton said he looked forward to working with President-elect Bush," aide Gordon Johndroe said. "President-elect Bush said he looked forward to working with the senator," a reference to Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Mr. Gore's running mate, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, took to the Senate floor yesterday to deliver a concession-style speech. The first Jew to run for vice president on a major party ticket, the Connecticut senator quoted the Bible's Psalm 30 that "weeping may linger for the night, but in the morning, there are shouts of joy."
"Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney are in my prayers," he said.
The Rev. Billy Graham said yesterday that "the time has come to put aside the strong rhetoric that can only divide us and unite for the greater good as 'one nation under God.' He alone can bring us together.
"I urge all Americans to pray for and support President-elect Bush and to follow the gracious example of reconciliation he and Vice President Gore modeled in their speeches [Wednesday night]," he said.
When Mr. Bush comes to Washington, he also will conduct interviews with potential Cabinet nominees. His first Cabinet announcement could come as early as Saturday at Mr. Bush's ranch at Crawford, Texas, although aides were not hinting on whom that honor might fall.
High on the list are retired Gen. Colin Powell for secretary of state, and Mr. Breaux, a centrist Democrat who chaired a bipartisan commission on Medicare reform.
"He is someone who has indicated a willingness to work in a bipartisan way, and Governor Bush is interested in working in a bipartisan way to address these major issues," said Mrs. Hughes.
Putting Mr. Breaux in his Cabinet also would shift the balance of power in the Senate towards Republicans, as Louisiana's Republican governor would probably appoint a replacement from the ranks of the GOP. That would give Republicans a 51-49 edge in the Senate, a result that has clearly played on Mr. Breaux's mind.
Mrs. Hughes said Mr. Bush "has made several decisions" about Cabinet appointments, but has not formally offered the jobs yet.
The increased pace of transition work, slowed for five weeks by the election challenges, left Mr. Bush's aides admittedly groping at times for answers yesterday. For example, they are not even sure if they qualify for a government plane for Mr. Bush's flight to Washington on Sunday.
"We don't know about that yet," Mrs. Hughes replied to a question about work over the Christmas holiday. "We're trying to make it through tomorrow."

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