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Presidential Race Too Close to Call: Sweating Out the Election at an Illinois Gym

Aired November 8, 2000 - 8:42 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: In case you're just joining us, it is still too close to call. Al Gore and George W. Bush are still neck and neck in the presidential race, waiting the results of a recount in Florida, where every single vote will count. That is because less than one-half of one percent separates the two there, mandating a recount.

Let's take a look now at the popular vote, the vote that came in from across the country. We are going to show you here it looks as though Vice President Al Gore came in with 49 percent; Governor Bush with 48 percent; That surprised many who thought it would be the other way around.

Now, let's look at some other numbers here. We have the numbers from Florida, which is now the only -- the last remaining battleground. You see there, Governor Bush with 49 percent and Vice President Gore also with 49 percent. All of this, of course, before the recounts take place.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: While the presidential candidates sweat it out, they sweating it out in the fine state of Illinois.

In Chicago, in fact, Jeff Flock talking to the people at the gym.

What are they saying, Jeff?

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is an amazing morning here at the gym, Carol. We are at the East Bank Club. This is place where a lot of people come to get their day started, and it is an extraordinary day. Perhaps you see as many people reading the newspaper this morning as working out on the various machinery.

Talking to people this morning about what they are making of what has transpired overnight. A lot of these people didn't get a whole lot of sleep.

Steve, I know you didn't. What do you make of what you are seeing so far this morning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, obviously, very exciting for everybody here in Chicago. A Gore voter, but, I have a feeling, a sinking feeling, that Bush is going to take Florida and be our next president.

FLOCK: What is impact if we have a popular vote winner different from an Electoral College winner?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I believe in the electoral system. I think, if not, we disenfranchise the smaller states with the smaller populations, and I don't think that that is the way to elect a president. I know that there is disagreement on that.

FLOCK: An opposing view over here.

David, you were telling me earlier, you don't like this idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, even though I am a Bush supporter, and if it went the other way, and popular vote went to Gore, I think without giving the people the popular vote to come out first, they lose their votes.

FLOCK: I want to talk about the ability to govern. We were talking earlier to some folks: What is the ability to govern? If you have such a close race, and if you have a difference in popular vote winner and Electoral College winner?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, there's no mandate. I think every legislator is going to be taking a poll before he casts a vote.

FLOCK: You are a Gore supporter who says you like the Electoral College.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a Gore supporter, I like the Electoral College, that's the system. I think only totalitarian governments change the law when they don't like the results.

FLOCK: In your own home, you have got an opposing view, your wife says you don't like the Electoral College.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't -- I do like the Electoral College. I don't like it when there is such a difference between the popular vote and the Electoral College. I think we have to look at that and think about changing that policy.

Right now we are talking about a quarter of a million votes that will not be counted, and a popular vote that doesn't reflect who the president will be currently. And I think what we're talking about are some major issues that haven't been addressed and won't be addressed by the people who care about them and who voted for Gore and he may not be president, like the Supreme Court, affirmative action, and choice.

FLOCK: I'll leave it there. Disagreement even within the households this morning over this extraordinary turn of events in the election.

For now, Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live from the East Bank Club in Chicago.

LIN: All right, thank you very much, Jeff.

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