Chris Black on Gore's strategy
Congressional Correspondent Chris Black talks about Vice President Al Gore's activities as she follows the election legal battles.
Q: How closely is Vice President Al Gore monitoring all of today's activities?
BLACK: Vice President Al Gore is at his official residence, the Naval Observatory, where he has pretty much been since returning from Nashville after the election. He is intensely involved in this recount issue. He is watching developments very closely. He is in very close touch with his legal team. In fact, within moments of Judge Lewis's ruling today, he was speaking with his lawyers in Tallahassee.
Q: What's the strategy if the Florida vote is certified Saturday as many are expecting?
BLACK: The Gore camp is focusing on the recounts that are going on now in Broward and Palm Beach counties. They say as long as the recount is under way and is showing Gore is picking up votes that weren't counted by the machines that they are in pretty good shape.
They will likely appeal the action if the Florida secretary of state goes ahead and certifies the results without the hand recounts.
Q: How tense is the atmosphere surrounding the vice president. After all, the whole campaign - tens of millions of dollars and months on the road - could come down to a handful of votes?
BLACK: The stakes are extraordinarily high. There is unbelievable pressure on these aides, most of whom haven't had a day off in weeks, if not months. They're working almost around the clock. They're feeling tremendous pressure.
But the sense I get in talking to operatives at every level of the Gore campaign is that they are resolute. They are determined to slog away, day by day, hour by hour, to get those votes in Broward County and Palm Beach County manually recounted. They are convinced that at the end of the process Al Gore will be the winner in Florida.
Q: Gore's not likely to give a concession speech any time soon?
BLACK: I think not even close. If for some reason the vice president did not pick up the votes that he thought are there in Broward and Palm Beach counties, I think he would concede. But the evidence suggests that there are quite a few votes in those counties that will be Gore votes when they finish hand recounting.