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Breaking News

Florida Recount: Bush Leads Gore by 327

Aired November 10, 2000 - 5:39 a.m. ET

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

LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, this morning we have been telling you about the breaking news in the last hour or so. Word that the Associated Press now has numbers from all the counties in Florida in the initial recount of the votes from Tuesday, and according to the Associated Press' canvas of these counties, George W. Bush leads Al Gore by 327 votes. Now, these are not official totals.

But what we want to do right now is bring in CNN's Jeanne Meserve, she has been following the Bush campaign, and she joins us live right now from Austin, Texas.

Jeanne, any reaction out there?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Linda, the minute that vote total was announced, the Bush campaign put out a statement from communications director Karen Hughes, excuse me if I read, but it has just been issued.

"The vote count on Tuesday night showed Governor Bush won Florida's election, and a recount has now confirmed his victory. The only votes left to be counted are the overseas absentee ballots, which in the past have favored Republican candidates. Bob Dole carried the overseas ballots in Florida in 1996 by a margin of 54 to 40 percent, even though he lost the election in Florida."

Here's the key part. "We hope Vice President Gore and his campaign will reconsider their threats of lawsuits or still more recounts, which could undermine the constitutional process of selecting a president and has no foreseeable end."

That last part a reference to the fact that vote counts are still incomplete and several other states and there may be irregularities in other states, this something the Bush campaign talked about extensively in a press conference yesterday, particularly referencing the vote count in Iowa and Wisconsin. Their take seems to be that a close election is a decided election, they want this recount to stand -- Linda.

STOUFFER: Well, Jeanne, does the campaign read anything into the fact that the margin in Florida actually slipped. With the initial count Bush led by about 1,700 or so, now it is down to 327 votes. More of these absentee ballots, as you mentioned, have to come in. This election is so close. Does that lead them to maybe think that it is time to back off? MESERVE: Absolutely not. Their viewpoint is a win is a win is a win, that they have the edge here, and as you heard in that statement, they believe that when those absentee ballots come in they will favor the Republican candidate. In addition to citing the Dole statistics, Bush campaign officials have said that if you look at the overseas ballots in other states, many of which come from overseas military personnel, they have in this election tended to go Republican. So they say this is over, this is done. Let's stop it here and respect the process and respect the people's vote -- Linda.

STOUFFER: Jeanne Meserve, with the latest from Austin, thank you very much.

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