Bush invites Clintons to White House to ease transition

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- President-elect Bill Clinton spoke by phone yesterday with President Bush, who called from Air Force One to extend an open invitation to Mr. Clinton and his wife, Hillary, to visit the White House.

Mr. Bush, on his way to Florida for a five-day vacation, invited the Clintons to come to the White House any time to ease the transition and tour the mansion. The two discussed plans for meeting in Washington, perhaps late next week.


"We had a nice talk this morning," Mr. Clinton said.

Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos, who described the conversation as pleasant and cordial, said the president joked to his successor, "I bet you wish you were me going down to Florida fishing this weekend." Mr. Clinton chuckled in response, the spokesman said.


Mr. Clinton is planning a trip to Washington Wednesday through Friday to meet with congressional leaders. He has invited the Democratic leadership -- Speaker of the House Tom Foley, Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell and House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt -- to come to Little Rock Sunday night to work out an agenda for next week's congressional meetings.

Mr. Clinton is also expected to name more members of his transition team today during a news conference here at 1 p.m. (EST), his first major one as president-elect. Mr. Stephanopoulos and campaign manager David Wilhelm are expected to be named as deputies to transition director Warren Christopher.

Tomorrow, according to aides, Mr. Clinton will issue a set of ethics guidelines for transition and administration personnel.

The policy is expected to bar Clinton officials from lobbying their former departments or agencies for five years after leaving the administration and permanently bar former Clinton officials from lobbying for foreign governments.

Mr. Christopher has called the guidelines "the most stringent set of ethics rules that have ever been promulgated for our country."

Even so, the appointment of transition chairman Vernon Jordan, a Washington lawyer who sits on a number of boards including that of RJR Nabisco, which produces cigarettes, has already been questioned.

Responding to questions about how Mr. Jordan could work on health care reform -- which would include smoking regulations -- Mr. Stephanopoulos said Mr. Jordan would have "no contacts" with his clients throughout the transition.

As he has done nearly every day since winning the presidential election, Mr. Clinton spoke to several world leaders yesterday, including Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, Ukraine President Leonid Kravchuk, Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida and Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rau.