Bush's First 100 Days: Linda Chavez interview

Well, I guess it depends on who you view the audience as. If it's the American people, my suspicion is they're going to be very pleased with the direction. If you're talking about sort of the Washington insiders, and the media, in particular, they may cool very quickly. Although it's hard to say. You know, again, hearkening back to the Reagan years, the media I think had a lot of, of appreciation for Ronald Reagan, and were, in many respects, won over by his personality, even though I suspect that an awful lot of people in the media were absolutely appalled at some of his policies. They simply did not agree with them.

So I don't know that you're going to — you're ever going to see, you know, total synchronization between the media's views on some of these issues and a conservative Republican administration's. But I think that bonhomie is gonna serve him well. I think it's going to mean that he can talk personally, that he can reach a part — across party lines. There won't always be disagreements, but it'll take some of the rancor that we've seen in Washington over the last several years, I think it will diminish some of that rancor.

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Give us a sense of how you think he's done on the domestic agenda in the first 100 days.

I think one of the things that he's done which was critical, which is to focus on only a few issues, and I think the two things that he's focused most on are the tax cut and education reform. These are two pretty good items. They're obviously items that are very important to the American people, and I think it was good that he didn't try to do too much. I mean, there were a lot of things discussed during the campaign, certainly, Medicare reform, drug benefits for seniors, et cetera.

But to have thrown that all out there at once I think would have been a big mistake, and I think doing it in this more focused way is going to be really to his benefit, and it's going to, I think, first of all, give him a chance of having something real to show, and it's not going to give those who sort of want to take shots at him the chance to do so on a whole variety of issues. This really focuses everybody's attention on two very big items.

Foreign policy. We had China, obviously, taking the spotlight away from a lot of the things he wanted to do on the domestic side. How do you think he did with that? We don't need to get into the minutiae of all the negotiations and the diplomacy, but overall, how do you think he did?

I think the American people are very happy with the way the president handled this situation. First of all, he didn't elevate it to a crisis. I think had he been on the air, had he forced his way into the middle of the negotiations, as President Clinton might have, for example, I think it would have actually been very dangerous. It would have, I think, complicated matters, and I think the way in which he handled it is really the right way, and I think it's a way that the American people can appreciate.

It's also done something else though, and I think something more important for the long haul, and that is, I think it's reawakened the American people about China, and it has, I think, made them realize that China's not just another trading partner to the United States. I mean, that's been the kind of rhetoric that we've seen over the last several years. We keep talking about the big 1.2 billion person market that China represents.

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