ELECTION 2000: Behind the scenes with juggling Jeb

TALLAHASSEE, FL: A handful of harried PR staffers struggled to keep a lid on last week's uncertainty as the spotlight shone on Florida following the hair-splitting election.

TALLAHASSEE, FL: A handful of harried PR staffers struggled to keep a lid on last week's uncertainty as the spotlight shone on Florida following the hair-splitting election.

TALLAHASSEE, FL: A handful of harried PR staffers struggled to keep a lid on last week's uncertainty as the spotlight shone on Florida following the hair-splitting election.

Gov. Jeb Bush, the younger brother of George W. Bush, held a press conference on Wednesday with Florida attorney general Bob Butterworth, who chairs the state's campaign for Al Gore.

Jeb Bush and Butterworth presented a united front at the press conference, where the former bowed out of the state's elections commission to avoid a conflict of interest.

Katie Baur, communications director to Jeb Bush, juggled his dual roles as governor and Bush family partisan by presenting an aura of openness and bipartisanship. Responding to allegations of voting irregularities, she told reporters that the governor had not seen any evidence of illegality.

'We walk a very fine line,' she told PRWeek, 'because we must adhere to the business of the state. It's a hybrid issue, because you've got the issues he must address as governor and then the political issues that come up because he's the brother of a candidate.'

Baur said the GOP was handling the media for Jeb Bush in matters relating to his brother's presidential run, while she focused exclusively on state affairs. Her four-person department - consisting of herself, a press secretary, and two staff assistants - was strained by the post-election media crush.

'We need to hire a speech writer,' she said. 'That's why I sound so tired.'

With absentee ballots yet to come in, a recount in progress and the possibility of a legal challenge, it didn't look like state PR staffers in normally sleepy Tallahassee would be getting much rest anytime soon.



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