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The Florida Recount: Washington, D.C. and New York Tourists Sound Off on the Election

Aired November 14, 2000 - 10:52 a.m. ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: If Florida is the presidential battlefield, the White House is undeniably the prize.

So with that in mind, we dispatched CNN's Patty Davis to the executive mansion to take the public pulse on this political and increasingly legal drama.

What's the talk, Patty?

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a long line here, hundreds of people, in fact, waiting to get into the White House tour this morning here in Washington, D.C. The big question, though, who will occupy the White House come January? whether we'll have a decision by that time.

Joined now by the Simons (ph) from Oklahoma here, a little vacation trip. And you don't know who will occupy the White House. What is your thought on where this whole process is headed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it just seems to me that it has been voted on by the public. And from what I understand from Florida, there's a recount on anything that's close, which they've done. It seems to me a manual -- it leaves it wide open for a lot of mistakes. And let's wait to see what the absentee ballots are and go from there.

DAVIS: So you say Friday, that should be it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If everything's counted then, I think so.

DAVIS: And you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I agree. I think once the absentee ballots are in and the recounts have been done by the machines and everything, that that should be it. We should call it.

DAVIS: Do you think, then, that Vice President Al Gore is pushing this too far if we're talking about going into the courts?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think by the court system, yes. From what I can tell, from what they've said, everything indicated if there was a problem with the machinery, which there doesn't seem to be. And so at that point, I think we should go with it and he should graciously accept. And I think it would be the same if it had been the other way.

DAVIS: So I understand that you're Bush supporters. Does that play any role in how you feel right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not for me, no. I think if Bush was in the same position and the recount had been towards Al Gore, that Bush should gracefully step down and let Al Gore take the office. I think that's the way it should be.

DAVIS: All right, thank you.

We are told that that's it from here, standing in the White House line. Back to you.

PHILLIPS: Usually it's standing on the White House lawn, now it's the White House line. All right, Patty Davis, thank you so much -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And let's get more public reaction now, this time from New York City. Our Frank Buckley hanging out in a diner today.

Frank, I hope lunch is included in this assignment. Good morning.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we hope so. We haven't talked to them yet, but we're hoping that will happen for us. Kind of like the White House line there, this is the Tick Tock Diner in New York. I want to have you come in and talk to a couple of people that we've been talking to. This is Ernie, who's visiting from Indianapolis.

Ernie, you're here on business but you've been following the news with what's happening in Florida. What's your sense of it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, my sense of it right now is that I'm just very disheartened by the entire process. I feel that the Gore campaign has been manipulative and self-serving. And on the flip side, I feel like Gov. Bush's advisers have failed to articulate a coherent strategy here. So I'm just very disappointed in the way that this has been handled. And unfortunately, I think that whomever is elected ultimately will fail to have a mandate of the American people, and that's the saddest thing of all.

BUCKLEY: And those of us in the media are paying a great deal of attention to this. Do you think the average person is paying as much attention as we are?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say that, based upon the conversations that I have with a wide variety of people in my business, that people are more focused on this than they've ever been. I've not run into anybody who is not interested in talking about it, but at the same time they say they're sick of it as well.

BUCKLEY: OK, thank you very much. This is Ernie from Indianapolis. We're going to keep going here. Let's talk to another group of people. You know, this is being followed by not just citizens of the U.S., but other people around the world. And if you could flip around this way, Jim, we want to talk to this gentleman here. This is Andrew, who is with a group from England.

Andrew, how is this being read and heard across the world?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think in the U.K. we just see it as a farce, as a sort of soap opera, typical U.S., you know.

BUCKLEY: Really? And, you know, we in this country pride ourselves on doing elections well. Will this give us a black eye in the view of the rest of the world?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously it's a close election and I think you've got to get it right first time. And it looks like it's going to be won by a small amount of votes. So you've got to be seen to be professional in the way you do elections and try to get it right first time, you know?

BUCKLEY: OK, thanks very much.

A couple of samplings of views from the Tick Tock Diner here in New York -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right, Frank Buckley, thank you very much for checking in with those diners at the diner.

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