- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2000

President-elect George W. Bush arrived in Washington last night to make his case for tax cuts and the rest of his conservative agenda today with congressional leaders and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
"It's going to be an interesting couple of days," Mr. Bush told reporters yesterday. "It's the beginning of a dialogue that is crucial in order to get some positive things done."
Before arriving at a private hangar at Washington Dulles International Airport around 9 p.m., Mr. Bush also named three top White House advisers yesterday:
Condoleezza Rice, a National Security Council member in the administration of President Bush, as national security adviser.
Al Gonzales, a Texas Supreme Court justice, as White House counsel.
Karen Hughes, top spokeswoman for the presidential campaign, as counselor to the president.
Mr. Bush said his selection of two women one of them black and a Hispanic man, a day after nominating retired Gen. Colin Powell to become the first black secretary of state, was intended to send a message.
"People who work hard and make the right decisions in life can achieve anything they want in America," Mr. Bush said at the Governor's Mansion in Austin.
Mr. Bush will interview potential Cabinet members during this two-day visit and will meet separately tomorrow with President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
As the president-elect solidified his team, he also girded for a tough sell in Washington for the centerpiece of his campaign a $1.3 trillion tax cut over 10 years. Mr. Greenspan has spoken out against the size of the tax cut, and congressional Democrats on the Sunday talk shows also voiced opposition to the plan.
"I can't think of anything that would divide this nation more quickly right off the bat than to impress upon the Congress the importance of passing a tax cut of that magnitude," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle on ABC's "This Week," arguing it would "destroy fiscal prudence."
Mr. Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, said he would support a tax cut in the range of $500 billion, the amount Mr. Gore proposed during his campaign for president.
Even House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, said last week that he would prefer incremental tax cuts instead of passing the entire $1.3 billion package at once.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press" there is "no magic to an exact number."
"The magic is to how you do it that helps the most people and helps the economy grow," the Mississippi Republican said.
But Mr. Bush and his team said yesterday they are worried about a recession and are determined to enact the across-the-board tax cuts.
"I campaigned on a tax-relief package that I firmly believe, and believe even more now, is important as an insurance policy against any economic downturn," Mr. Bush said. "It doesn't make much sense for people to be drawing lines in the sand until we've had a chance to discuss things. I think it's a little early in the process for people to be declaring or making judgments on our plan before they give me a chance to explain it."
Vice President-elect Richard B. Cheney, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," said, "We've got an economy that's slowing down, where we could conceivably get into a recession somewhere down the road, where tax cuts would be important."
Mr. Cheney said Mr. Greenspan's support would be crucial.
"We want to work very closely [with Mr. Greenspan]," Mr. Cheney said later on ABC. "He is the independent chairman of the Federal Reserve. They are responsible for monetary policy, but there is a degree of cooperation required between any administration in terms of tax policy and fiscal policy… . It would be foolish not to work closely together."
Mr. Bush is to have breakfast with Mr. Greenspan today in Washington. "He's got good judgment," Mr. Bush said. "I can't wait to hear what he has to say."
On yesterday's White House appointments, Mr. Cheney said Mr. Bush is working conscientiously to assemble a diverse administration. Since Mr. Gore conceded on Wednesday, Mr. Bush's nominations have included a black man, a black woman, a Hispanic man and a white woman.
"We want a broad representation of the Republican Party in our administration," Mr. Cheney said. "We want to make certain we have a diverse administration, that in fact there is not just a bunch of middle-aged white guys, so to speak."
But Andrew Card, White House chief of staff designee, said there is "nothing symbolic about this Cabinet."
"This is about leading America," Mr. Card said. "This is doing the serious business of government."
Miss Rice said of the new administration, "I think you will see in the presidency of George W. Bush recognition of how important it is that we continue the last thirty-plus years of progress toward one America, that he will have an administration that is inclusive."
Miss Rice, 46, most recently has worked as a professor of political science at Stanford University, and was provost for six years. During the Reagan administration, she served as an international affairs fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations.
Mr. Gonzales, 45, is a graduate of Harvard Law School who was named Latino Lawyer of the Year in 1999 by the Hispanic National Bar Association. He served three years as counsel to Mr. Bush in the governor's office before being appointed to the state Supreme Court in January 1999.
As counsel to Mr. Bush in Texas, Mr. Gonzales advised the governor to avoid jury duty when he was called for possible service in a drunken-driving trial. Mr. Gonzales said Mr. Bush might have had to pardon the man later; critics said the advice enabled Mr. Bush to avoid lawyers' questions about whether he had ever been charged with drunken driving. Late in the presidential campaign, Democrats dug up records that showed Mr. Bush indeed had pleaded guilty to drunken driving in Maine in 1976.
Mrs. Hughes, 43, is a former executive director of the Republican Party of Texas and a former reporter for KXAS-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth. She has worked for Mr. Bush in the governor's office for more than six years and served as communications director of the presidential campaign, in addition to being one of Mr. Bush's "iron triangle" of advisers.
She told Mr. Bush yesterday, "I'll work to serve you faithfully, sir, and I promise I will always give you my unvarnished opinion."
Mr. Bush replied, "No question about that."
Joyce Howard Price contributed to this report.

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