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Gore and Bush Campaigns Clash Over Deadline for Florida Election ResultsAired November 14, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN CHRISTOPHER, GORE CAMPAIGN OBSERVER: We call now on the four counties to move ahead with their hand counts in accordance with this decision. The Gore campaign has been unwilling to accept any finality.
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BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: The Bush and Gore camps continuing arguing over the latest court rulings on the Florida recount.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We'll look at both sides' legal and political strategies, as a deadline for reporting votes is being enforced in Florida this hour.
SHAW: Plus: the latest snapshot from Palm Beach County and the off-again, on-again hand count of votes.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.
This is an hour of reckoning in the dispute over who won Florida, and in turn, the presidential race. We have just passed the deadline for counties to report their voting results to the Florida secretary of state. This comes after a state court judge refused to extend that deadline, a ruling that gave the campaigns of both George W. Bush and Al Gore something new to cheer about -- and to argue over.
We begin with CNN's Bill Hemmer. He's in the Florida capital, Tallahassee -- Bill.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, hello to you.
It's been another wild ride today here in the Florida capital city of Tallahassee. What we know right now, again: That 5:00 deadline is upon us right now. So all counties that want to get their votes in at this point should have applied those to the secretary of state's office -- indicating right now, within that office, those numbers are in right now. It should be just a matter of moments before we have the final two outstanding counties, Volusia and Palm Beach to be official in what we know from here.
Now, given that, the canvassing commission for the state will now take those results. They will have them certified at some point: possibly later tonight. Also it is possible they could get together tomorrow as well. We should know more from the secretary of state's office coming up in about an hour's time. There is expected to be someone from Katherine Sarah's -- Katherine Harris' office, rather, to come out and talk with us and let us know what's happening.
Now, why is all this happening? Simply: About four hours ago, a circuit court judge here in Tallahassee refused to grant an injunction that would have extended the current deadline past the 5:00 Eastern Time deadline. In fact, state officials here in Tallahassee say they were shocked and stunned by that announcement. One attorney said he left court last night and thought they were going to be -- quote -- "slammed by the judge today."
But apparently, in the short term, it does looks like a victory for the Bush camp. Now, shortly after that decision was rendered, Warren Christopher came to this room right here and indicated that it's their interpretation, based on the judge's ruling, that it's -- the secretary of state cannot arbitrarily dictate when that deadline is met. In other words, Warren Christopher is encouraging different counties around the state to continue their hand count.
If it takes a day or possibly a week, go ahead, finish up, get your numbers up here to Tallahassee. The Democratic campaign, anyway, for Al Gore does believes they can fight those number, and again, get them issued and entered into the total count for the state of Florida. Again: 25 electoral votes up for grabs right now in Florida. Whichever candidate gets that amount, 25 votes, should give them the minimum 270 required to take the White House in this increasingly wild campaign.
Again, the numbers are not firm just yet. We should have them shortly here in Tallahassee. And then we will see, Judy, where we go from here. And that is an open question -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Bill, we see that, just a short time ago, the spokesperson for the secretary of state told reporters: If any county canvassing board subsequently desires to amend their return, the secretary will evaluate that request on applicable facts and circumstances. Do we have any more information about what that means?
HEMMER: This is our interpretation, and our understanding: Yes, the counties can continue to contribute numbers here to the secretary of state's office. But it's Katherine Harris's discretion, sometime after the vote, the deadline today -- maybe that's a day, maybe that's a week -- to decide whether or not those votes should be counted. And that is the open question right now. How does she decide, indeed, what counties are allowed to contribute more numbers after this deadline.
And that is something that we probably cannot answer, Judy. But, indeed, it's quite possible the court of law will make that decision sometime very soon. WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Hemmer, reporting from Tallahassee, thanks -- Bernie.
SHAW: Now to the men at the center of these ballot ballots: George W. Bush and Al Gore. As our John King reports, the vice president's legal and political advisers have found a way to try to turn the latest twists to Gore's advantage.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Gore team is betting today's count of Florida's vote isn't the last count.
CHRISTOPHER: We call now on the four counties to move ahead with their hand counts in accordance with this decision.
KING: It was an attempt to turn a defeat in the recount battle into a victory. A state judge ruled he did not have the power to order Florida's secretary of state to extend today's deadline to certify the election results. But the judge did say Secretary of State Katherine Harris should not arbitrarily rule out accepting amended returns if recounts change the results.
And the Gore camp believes that creates both a legal and political opening.
DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: This is a mandatory injunction. This is an injunction issued by a Florida circuit court, telling her that she can't just stand firm and say: I'm not going to think about this after 5:00 p.m. She violates that, she violates a court order. I don't think there's any chance in the world she's going to do that.
KING: This is as much a political battle as a legal fight. And Democrats are raising pointed questions about whether Harris is impartial.
SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: I think everyone should acknowledge that she was a Bush co-chair in the state of Florida. And this isn't -- this is not someone who is not interested in the outcome of this. She was one of Governor Bush's campaign chairs in the state of Florida, the secretary of state.
KING: The vice president's campaign chairman, Bill Daley, met separately on Capitol Hill with House and Senate Democrats, and said support for the recount effort was overwhelming.
SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: The question before us is whether we want closure so badly that we are willing to accept a president of the United States, even when every reasonable step to determine whether that is the individual that the voters actually wanted to be president has been taken or not.
KING: Some Democrats were a bit disappointed that Daley could not predict when all this would be resolved.
KING: Now, the Gore -- the Gore team is banking first that these recounts continue, and second, that they turn up enough additional votes for the vice president that the secretary of state feels enormous public pressure to accept amended returns -- Bernie.
SHAW: So, John, indeed, the Gore campaign is hoping that the psychology of pressure will work on her?
KING: Yes, they are. They believe the judge would on their side if she refused to accept amended returns. But they are also a bit worried behind the scenes that this could have a flip-side. They expect the secretary of state, either today or early tomorrow, to once again, say, based on the results she currently has, George W. Bush is the winner. They don't anticipate that, once those overseas absentee ballot are counted, that that would change.
So we could have twice in the next several days declarations from state officials in Florida saying that once again, they consider George W. Bush to be the winner. The question then is, even as these recounts continue, how long will U.S. public opinion hold out for the vice president's team, when it says we need to wait for these manual recounts.
So they are a bit worried. In the short term, they think, the secretary of state would have no choice, if a county came back with significantly different returns. But in the long term, they think public pressure may build to bring an end to all this.
SHAW: John King -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And now to the Bush camp and its take on all these latest developments. Our Candy Crowley joins us from Austin, Texas -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, as legally entangled and as noisy as Florida has been, that is how calm and how quiet it has been here in Austin. I talked to an aide to Governor Bush not too long ago, asking them if there has been some decision made that all the pronouncements would go out from Florida. And he said: No, we are quite happy with the message that is out there.
What is the message that is out there? Well, according to the Bush team, the message is: They are trying to settle this on rational basis. Here's what James Baker had to say this morning.
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JAMES BAKER, BUSH CAMPAIGN OBSERVER: The American people want the parties to find a way to bring this election to an end. Therefore, we make the following proposal to the Gore campaign: Both sides should agree to accept the vote count of all the counties at the statutory deadline: today 5:00 p.m. In addition, both sides should agree to accept the overseas absentee ballots as of midnight Friday, in accordance with the law.
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CROWLEY: In exchange, Former Secretary Baker said the Bush campaign would drop any legal action that was pending. Of course, that's all moot at this point. The Gore campaign rejected that idea out of hand. But, still, in the public relations arena, the Bush campaign feels that it is out there with a message saying that: We're trying to work this out.
Now, on another -- in another arena about this hand-ballot recount: The Bush campaign continues, as it has for many days now, saying: There are no uniform standards here. It is up to Democratic officials in Democratic precincts in Democratic counties. There is an inherent unfairness here, because these are the only counties where hand counts are going and under way. So they continue to hammer very hard at the issue of the unfairness and the unreliability of hand ballots -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: But Candy -- and Candy, just to be clear, they also reject the idea of recounts statewide, in order to get around the notion that just more Democratic leaning counties would have a recount.
CROWLEY: Well, as I understand the way this process is working, that deadline has already passed for the Bush campaign to ask for recounts. They could have up to 72 hours after the election. Let me just add one other thing. And that is, on that loophole, they consider the court decision that said the 5:00 p.m. deadline today stands to be a big win for them.
When you ask them about the loophole, they dismiss it as fairly minor. They say: Look, for the secretary of state to be seen as being an arbitrary abuse of power, she would have to be proved to have acted irrationally. She would have to have been proved to have acted against state law. They don't see this as a big loophole that would force her to take those hand ballots under consideration when they come in after the 5:00 p.m. deadline.
WOODRUFF: In other words, they're expecting her not to take those?
CROWLEY: They're expecting that the loophole is not that big. I'm not sure, you know, they have any greater or lesser expectations than any of us do. They just say that the Gore campaign is spinning this ruling and trying to put pressure on, saying, well, she has to take these hand counts into account, and what the Bush campaign is responding is look, look at this order. It is very specific and we think the loophole is a lot smaller than what the Gore campaign is letting on.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley reporting from Austin. Thanks -- Bernie.
SHAW: And now we turn to Palm Beach County where election officials made some decisions a short while ago about certifying the vote and proceeding with a hand count.
CNN's Martin Savidge joins us from West Palm Beach -- Martin.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Bernie. There were decisions made just a few minutes ago. Remember, this was the county starting at 7:00 a.m. this morning had planned a full recount of all 425,430 votes by hand.
They suspended that count after there were told by the Florida secretary of state that if they went ahead with it that would be illegal. There was confusing reports that they had not just from the Florida secretary of state, but the attorney general of the state. He said, hey, go ahead and recount the votes. They have now decided they will probably seek the guidance of the state Supreme Court.
In the meantime, there is the 5:00 deadline. With 45 minutes to spare, they had a meeting out of doors in public session and they voted to certify the ballots they had totaled as at the end of the day on Saturday. It was actually the early morning hours of Sunday when they announced the results. That is a compilation of the partial recount by hand they did at four precincts and total county machine recount that they did. Those are the figures that have been sent off to Tallahassee, so they did meet their deadline.
However, they still plan to go ahead with the total county recount by hand. There was some contention in the board about that. They were concerned they might be breaking the law. Here is how the discussion went down.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the meantime, you have you a binding opinion from the division of elections.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens, do we go to jail? Because I'm willing to go to jail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Madam attorney, what happens if we don't follow that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You go, girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to repeat. We are going to take this meeting indoors and you can all watch on channel 20. We trying to conducting ourselves professionally. We would appreciate it if all of you would do the same. This is not a political rally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: That was the election canvassing board member Carol Roberts who said what happens, do we go to jail? Eventually, the way the discussion worked out is that the board voted unanimously to go ahead with the recount by hand starting tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. They believe since they met the obligation of 5:00 a.m. and certified the vote, they are no longer under the cloud that was set upon them by the secretary of state saying you must file. They're going ahead to recount -- Bernie.
SHAW: Marty, when would that recount, beginning tomorrow at 7:00 in the morning, be completed?
SAVIDGE: Well, originally when we were told about this recount they said six days. Now, I see that as they were discussing up there, they are talking about a week. So we're already starting to see, if only by a day, some slippage. Some people believe that that was, even just saying six days, saying a week is greatly optimistic.
They do have about 50 election workers that are standing by to start counting the ballots. There was even some talk they might start tonight. They've decided now that that the burden is off for the deadline. They will start tomorrow morning and they hope that whatever they come up with will be counted later. They're just saying we'll count now and fight about it later -- Bernie.
SHAW: OK, Martin Savidge. Now, in addition to Palm Beach the Gore camp had requested hand counts in three other Florida counties. All three, Broward, Miami-Dade and Volusia, reported election results by that 5:00 p.m. deadline. Volusia included the results of a hand count completed today. Miami-Dade did not report the results of its hand count which is still under way. Still pending in Broward County, the Democratic Party has filed a motion in circuit court arguing the counties should conduct a full hand recount of ballots.
WOODRUFF: Still ahead still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the legal and political battle for Florida and the White House -- the opposing views of the Gore and Bush campaigns.
And later, challenging the Palm Beach County ballot -- the latest on the voter lawsuits and any potential impact on the Florida outcome.
SHAW: The Gore and Bush camps have different interpretations of the situation in Florida at this hour. In a moment, we will talk Ben Ginsberg of the Bush-Cheney legal team, but we begin with this gentleman, David Boies, legal counsel for the Gore team.
Where does it stand for your group right now?
DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: I think we're quite a ways ahead of where we were this morning. Obviously, this morning the primary purpose that we had was to see that the vote count continued, so that all of the votes that were cast were actually counted and cast and counted for the people that they voters intended to be voted for.
At this point, 24 hours ago, that vote count had essentially been stopped by the Republicans. Fortunately, given the opinion that we got today, that vote count is now going forward in Dade County and Palm Beach County and other counties. So, we're very hopeful that now this is back on track. The lawyers can go home, the voters can have the votes counted and it can be solved in the political process where it ought to be solved and not in the courts.
SHAW: But a state court judge refused to extend the 5:00 p.m. deadline?
BOIES: Well, what the state court judge said was that the secretary of state...
SHAW: Well, excuse me, for just a second. Excuse me for a second others, before you tell me what the -- what said, the upshot of the judge's ruling was the deadline would not be extended?
BOIES: Well, that's not quite accurate. What the judge said is that people had to file the vote counts that they had as of now, but that in addition to that, the recount should continue, and that the recounted totals should be filed as soon as they were ready.
And the court said that the secretary of state, who had taken the position that nothing after 5:00 p.m. today would be considered, the court said that was wrong. That was an abdication of the secretary of state's responsibility. And that the court said that the secretary of state had to consider what was submitted afterwards and could not disregard it unless the secretary of state had a good reason to disregard it.
SHAW: Do you regard...
BOIES: So, what you have -- what you have is you have a really a two-step process. First, you have the filing that's going to be made today or has already been made today or is in the process of being made today, where all the counties are submitting their vote count as of the present time. In addition, Palm Beach County, Dade County and other counties are going forward with their manual recount. And when those manual recounts are completed those will be filed.
SHAW: David Boies, let me ask you a very direct last question, our time is fast running out. Do you regard the ruling as a kind of psychological cudgel over the head of the secretary of state?
BOIES: Well, you could say that. I don't think that's the right way to look at it.
SHAW: I'm asking you, in effect, do you regard it that way?
BOIES: No, I don't. I regard it as the court telling the secretary of state what the right thing to do is and saying, we assume you're going to do the right thing. That's what I think the court is doing and I hope the secretary of state does the right thing. This is too late in the game for lawyers. It's too late in the game for partisan politics. The voters have spoken and the votes ought to be counted.
SHAW: OK, thanks very much for joining us, David Boies.
BOIES: Thank you.
SHAW: Quite welcome, sir.
Now to Bush campaign attorney Ben Ginsberg.
Were you within earshot of what was just said?
BEN GINSBERG, BUSH-CHENEY LEGAL COUNSEL: I was Bernie. I enjoyed the spin very much.
SHAW: What was spin?
GINSBERG: What was said? or what was spun?
SHAW: What was spun?
GINSBERG: I think at the end of the day, what the judge did, first of all, was deny the Democrats' attempt to stop the state secretary of state, a duly elected official, from carrying out the mandates of Florida election law. And in point of fact, the 5:00 p.m. deadline that is the plain statutory language of Florida law, will be followed. And I think that's a good thing for the people of Florida.
It also serves the positive purpose of putting a definite finishing time to the process, and not the sort of endless dragging out that the Democrats seem to be trying to do by opening up an unending number of ballot boxes until they get a count that they like. Not satisfied with the count on election night, not satisfied with the first recount, not satisfied with the second recount. They go from box to box seeking the ultimate solution they wish.
SHAW: So, Ben Ginsberg, you don't see the Democrats having some wiggle room in the sense that the secretary of state must use discretion?
GINSBERG: Well, Bernie, the secretary of state always has to use discretion under Florida law.
SHAW: I'm talking about what was implicit in the judge's ruling today.
GINSBERG: I'm not sure what you mean by what was implicit in the judge's ruling. It seemed to me it was a well-reasoned opinion. It said the 5:00 deadline continues, that if there are any additional counts that come in after that point, the secretary of state gets to use the discretion that's given her under Florida statutes.
SHAW: Well, that's what I meant.
GINSBERG: It depends on how valid those counts are.
SHAW: That's what I meant when I said discretion. You just used the word, too. That's what I meant.
GINSBERG: Well, discretion is a fine legal word used many times, many ways, by many people. But the secretary of state will look at the processes by which those counts are developed, and if they are in line and consistent with Florida law, that's a count she'll take. And if they're sort of the magnificent process of divining ballots by partisans, then she'll have to make a judgment.
SHAW: Let me ask you, do you foresee the Bush campaign appealing to the 11th circuit in this whole battle?
GINSBERG: Well, the case that was held in Miami yesterday, we have filed a notice of appeal to the 11th circuit on.
SHAW: What next?
GINSBERG: Well, I think we'll look and see how Florida processes go along and whether the Democrats essentially try and create mischief in the ballot boxes and whether partisan, elected officials -- I'm sorry, partisan members of the canvassing board trump up some votes for Mr. Gore. That would be a different set of facts. But frankly, we don't anticipate that.
SHAW: Ben Ginsburg, when do you think the American people will have a 43rd president?
GINSBERG: Bernie, I hope they have it in January on Inauguration Day.
SHAW: I mean before that.
GINSBERG: In other words, when the process comes to a close.
GINSBERG: Bernie, as Secretary Baker said on numerous occasions, we're seeking a final date to this. Florida law sets that forth. The ruling today by the judge here on Leon County was important in setting that standard and we hope things will move according to Florida law and we will be able to get a rapid resolution to it. The deadline for the absentee ballots is midnight on Friday.
SHAW: OK, thanks very much, Ben Ginsberg, for joining us.
GINSBERG: Thank you, Bernie.
SHAW: Quite welcome.
When we return, Gore and Bush, looking to the courts in pursuit of victory in an election that's supposed to be determined by the voters. We're going to hear from CNN's Mark Potter and CNN legal analysts Greta Van Susteren and David Cardwell.
WOODRUFF: This report just in from Volusia County, Florida. That is the area, I believe, around Daytona Beach. Election officials there say that the result of their manual recount, their hand recount of ballots, gives Vice President Gore a net increase from that county of 98 votes, therefore reducing George W. Bush's lead over Gore in Florida to 290 votes. You can see what kind of numbers the two camps are fighting over at this point.
Let's go now back to Austin, Texas to CNN's Candy Crowley for the latest on an appeal that was initiated today by the Bush camp -- Candy. CROWLEY: Judy, this is an appeal of that federal judge refusal yesterday to block the hand recounts. So, what the Bush campaign has done is filed an appeal in the 11th circuit court of appeals saying, basically, that if you have hand recounts in one county with varying standards, what you do, it's a dilution of the vote, I am told, is sort of the legal term, that it makes one vote different from another vote and therefore is on its face unfair.
Now, what could be the net result of all of this? Well, one of the remedies, perhaps, at least I'm sure that's what the Bush campaign is hoping, is that one of the remedies would be, that you would throw out the hand recounts.
The other thing this could do is -- we've been talking about the secretary of state and this loophole in the 5:00 p.m. deadline today that she could take into consideration the hand recount according to the judge's order today. Well, if have you have the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals siding with the Bush team that this is inherently unfair in Palm Beach County, then that certainly gives her something with which to argue that she should not count those hand counts.
So what we have here basically is the Bush campaign making another legal step and filing papers for an appeal of the federal court decision not to stop the hand recount yesterday -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, and that is, as Candy says, the 11th Circuit Court, federal circuit court, a federal court based in Atlanta -- Bernie.
SHAW: In Palm Beach County this day, the arguments began in voter lawsuits over the so-called "butterfly ballot." So far, five judges have recused themselves from the case for various reasons. For the latest on this legal action, CNN's Mark Potter joins us live from West Palm Beach -- Mark.
MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, that sixth judge, Jorge Labarga finally made some decisions that really set the stage for what the canvassing board here would do later in the afternoon. After a brief hearing, the judge dissolved the injunction that would have prevented the canvassing board from certifying the election results by dissolving that injunction. He then freed the board to do what we heard about earlier, make that 5:00 p.m. deadline established by the state.
In doing so, the judge also addressed the issue of the manual ballot count. Before the court he said -- and I'll quote -- "The canvassing board is hereby permitted, pursuant to Florida statute, to conduct a manual count of the ballot if they so feel." And as we now know from Martin Savidge's report, the board did agree to start doing that tomorrow morning.
Attorneys for the Palm Beach County voters who have filed suit in this case consider the judge's ruling to be a major victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARY FARMER, PLAINTIFFS' ATTORNEY: You know, there's been a lot of talk about a need to expeditiously resolve this matter. The Electoral College does not meet until December 18th. We cannot fathom any compelling reason to certify as final, locked in stone, the results of the election in this state before December 18th.
Any short delay caused by these manual recounts is in the interest of justice. It's in the interest of our clients and the voters of Palm Beach County that the votes be counted fairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POTTER: Now, the judge denied a motion that would have moved all the lawsuits in this case to Tallahassee, the state capital, and tomorrow, he'll hear a request from the Democratic Party of Florida to order the canvassing board to begin a manual recount. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out now that the board has agreed to do that on its own.
Still to be determined, how the court handles all of the cases filed by private citizens here, the voters who claim that they lost their vote because of the confusion over the configuration of the ballot, the so-called "butterfly ballot." That's still to be determined.
We think that 11 different lawsuits have been filed by citizens complaining about the vote. And still to be determined, also, the Supreme Court's decision on whether the county here is correct in proceeding with the manual recount. They say they're going to the Supreme Court to ask its permission, but -- or at least to get a ruling rather. But again, they're already going to begin that count. They're starting that at 7 o'clock in the morning tomorrow.
Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, Mark Potter, thanks very much.
Well, among many things, this hotly disputed election may well be remembered for the tangled legal steps taken in trying to determine the winner. Joining us now to try to help us sort it all out in West Palm Beach, CNN legal analyst Greta Van Susteren.
Greta, for all the legal actions that are out there -- the decisions, the appeal, and so forth -- is it possible to say one side or another has gained the upper hand?
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I should say one thing, Judy. I don't know who's the big winner and who's the big loser after today, but one thing that we have is some semblance of order. At least, we have some sense of where this is going.
We know that the secretary of state, the deadline was not extended, so she was able to meet the 5 o'clock deadline. We also know that the judge said that she was to -- she was required to withhold judgment about considering other votes should the other votes come in from a manual recount. So for the first time, at least it seems after seven days of virtual chaos in the court system, in the political system, it seems at least we have a path. I can't tell what's going to happen, but at least we have some idea that the vote is certified and there's a possibility that there may be a manual recount with more votes.
I don't know if they'll be for Vice President Al Gore or for Governor Bush. But at least we have order.
WOODRUFF: Well, Greta, let me ask it this way: Does either side, as a result of what's taken place today, have fewer options going forward?
VAN SUSTEREN: No, I actually think the options are still open. The more difficult thing for the campaign of Vice President Al Gore is whether or not that manual recount would continue tomorrow in Palm Beach County. The fact that they are going to continue that manual recount tomorrow is a win for Vice President Al Gore. If the commission decided not to, that would significantly curtail what the vice president was going to be able to do.
So I actually think that Vice President Al Gore is a little luckier after today than he might otherwise be. But you know, we still don't have any idea what that vote count is going to be. It's also possible that after a manual vote recount that Governor George W. Bush would have more votes. But at this point, we simply don't know.
We only know is that at this point the manual recount in Palm Beach County will continue again tomorrow unless the Florida Supreme Court issues a statement, an advisory statement to the Palm Beach canvassing commission telling them they cannot continue with a manual recount.
WOODRUFF: And separately, Greta, the move by the Gore camp late today to go ahead and appeal to the federal Court of Appeals, the 11th circuit in Atlanta.
VAN SUSTEREN: You mean the Bush people?
WOODRUFF: What bearing -- what bearing could that have on all this?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's sort of interesting, because if the manual recount is for some reason stopped by the Florida Supreme Court, then going to the United States Court of Appeals to the 11th circuit by the Bush people would be irrelevant. We call it moot, because what they were seeking to do is to stop that process. That's why they went to federal court yesterday in Miami.
So you know, everyone is -- basically, the lawyers are all hedging their bets. They're filing all of the lawsuits and filing all the papers in the event certain things happen. Everyone is covering themselves to make sure, because we don't know what's going to happen. So the strategy, I assume, in the Bush camp is better to be safe than sorry.
WOODRUFF: All right, Greta Van Susteren in West Palm Beach, thanks very much.
And much more ahead on this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
SHAW: Still to come, how long can this presidential race go on? Bill Schneider on politics and the patience of the American public. Plus...
WOODRUFF: ... are there similarities between Watergate and the situation in Florida as far as a constitutional crisis? Our Jeff Greenfield with his answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the country that spawned American democracy over 200 years ago, the Florida election does not set well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: ... Walter Rodgers on the reaction across the Atlantic.
WOODRUFF: With the battle over Florida's presidential votes unfolding literally almost by the minute, here's a check now of the top developments. The Bush campaign has called on a federal appeals court to stop hand counting of votes in Florida.
Earlier, a Florida judge upheld a 5:00 p.m., Eastern deadline for certifying votes in the contested election. But, the judge said counties may file amended counts later on. And that they cannot be rejected out of hand. Governor Bush still has a slim lead over Vice President Gore in an unofficial counts of votes.
Let's check in now with our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. Bill, talk to us about the political strategies of the Bush camp and the Gore camp.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let's put it this way. The Bush campaign is pushing closure. This thing can't go on and on. It's hurting the country. The Gore campaign is pushing fairness. We have to make sure that every Florida vote is counted and counted accurately, even if it takes some time.
WOODRUFF: So, is anyone winning that battle?
SCHNEIDER: Well, I think so far, Al Gore is. The public is showing patience. In a poll reported in today's "New York Times," the prevailing view was that the election will be resolved within the month. Most people don't expect it to be resolved within the next few days, but they also don't expect it take longer than a month.
That is reasonable patience; not infinite patience. And when asked whether it's a big problem that we don't yet know who the next president will be, more than 60 percent of Americans said no. People can live with some uncertainty for a while.
WOODRUFF: So now you the said the Bush camp is pushing closure. What does the American public regard as closure?
SCHNEIDER: Well, I think that's pretty clear from a poll that was asked in the "Washington Post" today. The poll asked, should the candidates accept the recount in Florida when it's completed, even if they think the voting there was unfair or should they ask the courts to consider whether the voting was fair, even after the recount is completed? Two-thirds of Americans say the candidates should accept the Florida recount. Don't take it to court. Enough is enough. The Bush campaign is relying on that sentiment.
WOODRUFF: So does that mean the end is in sight?
SCHNEIDER: Well, Judy, really that's not clear yet. The Florida secretary of state is all set to announce a vote count and certify a winner after the overseas ballots are counted on Friday. The Bush campaign expects that to show Bush the winner. They hope. That's closure. The Gore is pressing to continue the manual recounts in several count, hoping that those totals will put Gore ahead. Then they will try to force the secretary of state to include those recounts in her totals. That's fairness.
But is it fair to include manual recounts in some counties but not others? Will we need a manual recount of the whole state to be fair? How will the American people feel about that?
Well, here's a clue. "The Post" poll asked, do you think the Gore campaign should ask for a recount in other states that Gore lost by a narrow margin? A majority said no. What about states Bush lost by a narrow margin? Again, no. Should there be a new election in Palm Beach County, 61 percent no. In Florida, 73 percent no. In the whole county, 77 percent no. There are limits.
WOODRUFF: It's good to be reminded of that every once in awhile. Bill Schneider, thanks -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you. Well, the American republic has not found itself in an election controversy of this magnitude in more than 100 years.
With that in mind, our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield has been pondering a question on the minds of more than a few people -- Jeff.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Yes, Bernie, think of the phrase "constitutional crisis." It's a tempting phrase to utter. It carries with it its own sense of importance, like "defining moment." But are we facing one? Could we be facing one? Well, to use another tempting phrase, it depends on what the meaning of crisis is.
GREENFIELD (voice-over): Now here's a real crisis in the making. October, 1973: President Nixon fires Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in the midst of his investigation into Watergate. The attorney general and his top deputy leave rather than fire Cox. Federal agents seal off the special prosecutor's office. Could a president shut off an inquiry into his own behavior? It didn't happen.
A firestorm of public pressure forced Nixon to name a successor, Leon Jaworski, who demanded of Nixon those famous secret tape recordings. And that could have triggered a real constitutional crisis when a unanimous Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes. Suppose he had refused. One branch of government defying the order of another. But it didn't happen. Nixon turned the tapes over. The smoking gun of a cover-up was disclosed and the president resigned.
But this? Not even close, yet. What you have so far is the messy, inefficient business of vote counts. Instead of troops in the capitol, you've got lawyers in the courts. Instead of mobs in the street, street theater, and folks with a little too much time on their hands.
GREENFIELD: So, could this turn into a crisis? Now of course we're not talking about someone seizing power or an adversary from abroad sailing up the Potomac, but we could be talking about a transfer of power tainted by charges of foul play. We could witness angry challenges to the electoral vote when the new Congress convenes; a bitter refusal of the losing side to acknowledge the victor's right to govern; and a new Congress that, for all the talk of cooperation, is frozen into inaction by the icy bitterness that has been growing for nearly 20 years.
A crisis? Maybe not. But as an unhappy ending to the end of all of this, it'll do until the real thing comes along -- Bernie, Judy.
SHAW: Thank you. Jeff Greenfield.
Coming up here on INSIDE POLITICS: Presidential Election 2000 now in the hands of the lawyers, the judges. We'll talk with "THE CAPITAL GANG's" Mark Shields and Gerald Seib of "The Wall Street Journal."
WOODRUFF: This day has seen one legal maneuver after the next so fast it is hard to keep up with them all.
Joining us with their take on what has been happening, what it all means, Mark Shields of CNN's "CAPITAL GANG" and Gerald Seib of "The Wall Street Journal."
Gentlemen, I'm going to do something I probably shouldn't and ask you a question I asked Greta Van Susteren a little bit ago. Does either side have fewer options? And I mean, either legally or politically after today? Mark?
MARK SHIELDS, CNN "THE CAPITAL GANG"; Boy, what did Greta say, Judy. I'm sorry, I missed that question. WOODRUFF: She said they both have a lot of options.
SHIELDS: There's a lot of options out there. I don't know if they have -- after today -- I mean, it's tough sorting it out. I think that each side has the same option politically, and that is that since the election both sides have shrunk in my eyes. I mean, neither one of them is a bigger figure today than he was seven days ago. And you know, there has been an awful lot of tactical and nobody really stepping up and saying this is what we can do resolve this.
GERALD SEIB, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, you know, oddly, I'm not sure having options is the best thing at this point. What you want is to be able to sit back and let it come to you and maybe George W. Bush is in a slightly better position to see that happen now than Al Gore and that may be a good thing. Having options mean you have to exercise then. It means you have to do some things. It means you have to maneuver; and I'm not sure, if you're in the Gore camp's position, you want to do too much of that because it does look as if you're using tricks to get the election. What you want for the next few days is to be able to let it come to you; and maybe Bush can do that but, you know, it's not clear yet.
WOODRUFF: We just heard Bill Schneider say that, in his view at least, the Gore team, at this point -- the Gore camp -- campaign -- has, in that they argue for fairness and patience -- that in a sense they may have the American people slightly more on their side. Do you see that?
SHIELDS: I don't think there's any question that it comes down to a question of acceleration and full disclosure; making sure that everybody's vote is counted, versus let's get this over in 48 hours, that the Gore position does prevail. But I still think we're at loggerheads between the two campaigns; and I will throw out what is, apparently, an unpopular suggestion and that is -- because I heard Bill say that it was not a popular position -- and that is that they begin, immediately, a hand count in each of the 67 counties under the supervision of a presidential commission co-chaired by Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
I mean, I just think that we need something -- I think there has to be a sense of resolution and a sense that everybody's vote has had an equal chance of being counted.
WOODRUFF: The Gore camp sort of unofficially floated that, as I understand it, Gerry, and the Bush people, through Jim Baker, this morning said, no way, that would take too long.
SEIB: Well, no, because Mark's right. I mean, the Bush strategy is to get this to closure as rapidly as possible. That's been true for a week now, really. But I think that anybody who calculates that the American people are losing patience yet with this is probably miscalculating. I think there's some patience left in the system here and that people are certainly willing to let this ride through the end of this week and into Saturday. Then, maybe -- I think then you get into dicey territory if you're playing public opinion. But, I think, not yet.
WOODRUFF: Mark, you said a moment ago, that both men, both candidates had diminished -- been diminished in the aftermath of the election. Why do you say that?
SHIELDS: I just think, Judy, I mean, everything seems so contrived. I mean, George Bush putting on the jacket with his name on it, a la president at Camp David, and turning his little ranch into sort of an ersatz Camp David and talking about White House elections. And Al Gore, you know, doing the Kennedy thing, playing touch football, which, just -- you know, is a terrible photo opportunity, I thought.
You know, I guess, more important, and I think this is what I'd ask each of these candidates to do, or all of us -- more important than the outcome of who wins is the outcome that the legitimacy of this vote is viewed universally acceptable. In other words, that they say, well, son of a gun, maybe my guy didn't get it. Otherwise we are doomed. We're going to diminish this office, I don't care who's there, he's going to be a smaller person in a smaller office.
SEIB: Oddly, I think they have the capacity, at the end, whenever that arrives, to give legitimacy to each other. Because, I mean, it's going to be important for whoever loses to say to the other guy, I admit you won, you're the president. And to say to his supporters, look, this is the president, let's be fair about this. But they don't have that opportunity yet, but there's going to be an important moment at the end for either of these guys, the one who's the loser to do that for the other, I think.
WOODRUFF: But you're saying that capacity will be there, almost no matter what happens over the next several days?
SEIB: I think so. But how much, how magnanimous one has to be in victory versus defeat is going to be determined by how bitter it gets over the next few days. But I do think that capacity is going to be there almost no matter what the scenario.
SHIELDS: That's the one point, I guess, I dissent, Gerry. We don't know, Judy who got more votes on November 7 in Florida. And I think it's important that we do know that.
WOODRUFF: It's down to 290.
SHIELDS: Yes, it's down to 290. I mean, we talk about the Kennedy-Nixon as being so close and razor thin and eyelash and all the rest of it. That was 1/2 of 1 percent. This is less than 100th of 1 percent. And, you know, we can do this. You can count votes by hand; and I just think if people understand the awesome responsibility involved, I think it can be done fairly.
WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there. Mark Shield, Gerry Seib, thank you both. I really appreciate it.
SEIB: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: When we return, voices from the country that spawned American democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If those two, after-the-fact, are fighting over this election than neither of them should be in the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The British speak out loud and clear on a still undecided presidential election.
SHAW: The whole world has been watching the unfolding events of America's incredible contested presidential election. One country in particular is shaking its collective head in amazement over what's happening. CNN's Walter Rodgers reports.
RODGERS (voice-over): In the country that spawned American democracy over 200 years ago, the Florida election does not set well. This middle temple of the Inns of Court produced seven men who helped draft the U.S. Constitution. One middle temple barrister said there now has to be another election in Florida.
BITU BHALLA, ATTORNEY: The principle of a new vote is the only practical way of proceeding. It would take away taint, it would allow the people to vote again, and it would allow America to be certain that it's getting the right president.
RODGERS: Florida's voting irregularities have left the British dismayed. The English take a proprietary interest in the Bush-Gore contest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I have to ask the question that, if this is happening in Florida, how many other states have problems with the election process that we don't know about?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If those two men, after-the-fact, are fighting over this election, then neither of them should be in the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little worrying if you can't make up your mind who you want as your top man.
RODGERS: British public opinion is often mirrored in the newspapers. Here America bashing is a national sport -- "What a Mickey Mouse way to run a country," the "Daily Mail" headline read.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The recount of votes cast in Florida for the American presidential election is now underway, but the whole process is in danger of collapsing. RODGERS: Not everyone here believes, however, that constitutional government in America is collapsing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are we to judge? We've got our own fair share of stupidity in recent years.
RODGERS (on camera): And you preference would obviously be for the British system?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I don't know about that.
WOODRUFF: We interrupt that report to take you to Volusia County, Florida, Daytona; election officials talking about their report to the secretary of state. Let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think on behalf of the citizens of Volusia County, we owe them a great debt of gratitude.
Just to introduce who they are, again, to my immediate right is County Judge Michael McDermott, M-C-D-E-R-M-O-T-T, county judge, and he's chair of the Canvassing Board.
Immediately to Judge McDermott's right is County Council Member Ann McPhall, M-C-P-H-A-L-L. In most parts of the country, a council here is a commission, so that's what the County Council is really, it's the County Commission.
And immediately to Mrs. McPhall's right is County Council Member Patricia Northey, N-O-R-T-H-E-Y.
And at this time I'll turn it over first to Judge McDermott.
JUDGE MICHAEL MCDERMOTT, VOLUSIA CANVASSING BOARD CHAIRMAN: Well, I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to say. We finally wrapped things up here and we've certified our results to Tallahassee. And if there are any questions any of you like to ask, hopefully we'll give you...
MCDERMOTT: Not now.
QUESTION: Judge, Republicans are saying that there are 264 absentee ballots (UNINTELLIGIBLE) counted in this latest hand count. What do you say to that and how do you explain that?
MCDERMOTT: Well, as we discussed at painful length with the attorneys going back and forth, we decided that if we have to choose between something that a computer tells us about the number of people who voted, as opposed to the number of ballots that we've held in hand, we're going to go with the ballots we've held in hand. So I wish that the law had allowed us more time to do this, you know, at greater length. I would have felt much more comfortable going into tomorrow. But, you know, we had to act in a hurried fashion from the very beginning, as all of you have seen, so we made a decision that we're going to, in terms of what numbers we chose, we're going with the numbers given to us by the hand-held count.
MCDERMOTT: Let me step over here because these lights are blinding.
QUESTION: Your Honor, thank you. What kind of steps did you have to skip in order to get this done on time? What were some of the things that you couldn't get done that you would have to?
MCDERMOTT: Well, I mean, just -- I would have liked to conclusively resolve the obvious contradiction between the total we had from the hand-held count, hand count, and what the computer tells us. I think if we'd had one or two more days we could have said, "Oh, here it is," and it would have been perfectly resolvable. And I'd like us to resolve it anyway, but as you know, we were under the gun here and we were looking nervously at the watch and I kept saying, "Twenty-seven minutes," and then, "Twenty minutes," and so forth. And it was very tense.
QUESTION: This gentleman right here.
QUESTION: Will you go back...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just -- excuse me, sir -- let me just step in for one second, because the other two members -- excuse me, Judge -- the other two members of the Canvassing Board may be able to clarify that, on that.
MCDERMOTT: Yes, let me just say this...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I don't want to get this off track.
MCDERMOTT: ... they were handling the numbers for the most part. And I'm not going to blame it on them, I'm sorry.
You know, I was making the big decisions like what color pens the people at the tables have, but they were doing -- they were working with the numbers, at least in part.
PATRICIA NORTHEY, VOLUSIA COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD: Thank you. Pat Northey. And it is my understanding -- and please understand, we were under the gun as a result of action taken by the secretary of state in not allowing us to extend our time, so we were under the gun. But it's my understanding that those issues of the unresolved -- of the difference in the ballots is resolved. There was a -- well, running totals, there was a lot pressure totals.
We had clipped together absentee ballot tally sheets, and the only tally sheet that they were picking up was the one that was on the back of the clipped together set. It's my understanding that when they discovered that error and went back, they then were able to account fairly within reason those numbers, that they were accounted for.
QUESTION: Ms. Northey, yesterday you had Mr. Gore, with the totals we had, with 289 additional votes. Today you have 241. Yesterday Mr. Bush had 265, today he had only...
NORTHEY: I didn't have any votes, any ballot numbers yesterday.
QUESTION: Well, we tallied them...
NORTHEY: Well, that might be your number, but that was not ours. We did not tally any numbers prior to today.
QUESTION: They are inconsistencies, though, that simply don't make sense at this point. Are you concerned about that?
NORTHEY: I am confident that the hand balloting that Volusia County did is an accurate ballot. Numbers were flying back and forth, and I'm sure that there were spins that were put on that by both parties on their numbers. I don't know where you got your numbers and I'll stand by mine.
QUESTION: It's something that we'll go back and explore over the next couple of days, this 264 absentee ballot question?
NORTHEY: I think that there are still some -- as a canvassing board, we have not completed our work. But we were challenged with getting the number to Tallahassee and we did that. And we did accurately, and we did it methodically and orderly. And I think you all would attest to that.
QUESTION: Ms. Northey, there was at one point on Sunday 320 ballots discovered that you all believed had not been counted before.
NORTHEY: That's correct. And we accounted for that. There was a difference in a precinct -- 305, I believe.
QUESTION: Right. Right. But should not there have been a net gain of 320 total ballots, then?
QUESTION: You gained only 134, total.
NORTHEY: You know, I haven't looked at those numbers yet, I'm not going to respond to those kinds of questions without having a set of numbers in front of me. We balanced that precinct. And that's what our goal was, was to balance the precincts. QUESTION: What does it mean to balance the precincts?
NORTHEY: Well, you cast so many ballots...
WOODRUFF: Some confusion there with regard to numbers. We're hearing elections -- election officials there in Volusia County, Florida, talking to reporters about the fact that they have now reported to the secretary of state the official results of their hand count, and you just heard these officials saying that they defend that hand count as accurate. Apparently, some Republicans -- Republican officials had complained about some irregularities or differences between a hand number and a computer number.
You heard the officials saying that because of the deadline, they did have to hurry up, but that the bottom line there seemed to be that they feel comfortable with that final number, which we are told, again, an unofficial count leaves Governor Bush ahead statewide, across the state of Florida, 290 votes.
Much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. Up next, as we head into the second week of this presidential election stand-off, we'll consider the options and the exit strategies for Bush and Gore, and we'll take a look at their legal teams.
SHAW: Welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
The Florida secretary of state is compiling a tally of the state's presidential votes an hour after all 67 counties apparently met a deadline to turn in results from their recounts. Now earlier today a state court judge refused to extend that deadline, but he said the secretary of state must not arbitrarily reject any updated results that are reported after the deadline.
Well, Al Gore's lawyers say that leaves the door open for several counties to continue with hand counts and for another court challenge down the road.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: I hope the secretary of state does the right thing. This is too late in the game for lawyers. It's too late in the game for partisan politics. The voters have spoken and the votes ought to be counted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: But George W. Bush's lawyer also characterized the state court ruling as a victory for their side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN GINSBERG, BUSH-CHENEY LEGAL COUNSEL: The 5:00 p.m. deadline that is the plain statutory language of Florida law will be followed. And I think that's a good thing for the people of Florida. It also serves the positive purpose of putting a definite finishing time to the process and not the sort of endless dragging out that the Democrats seem to be trying to do by opening up an unending number of ballot boxes until they get a count that they like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Now, the most disputed Florida county, Palm Beach, has decided to resume a hand recount of votes tomorrow morning at 7:00. Officials there say the manual recount will continue unless and until it is stopped by court order -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And let's bring in once again our senior White House correspondent John King and our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley in Austin.
Candy, to you first, just quickly. Governor Bush's lead may have narrowed somewhat in Florida because of the Volusia County report. But overall, the Bush people do expect when the secretary of state reports to us shortly now that he will still be in the lead statewide.
CROWLEY: Yes, they do expect that. But more than that, I would suspect that what we will hear is, OK, we have now counted three times. We have had the initial count, we have had the recount and now we've had the certification. What the Bush campaign is trying to do here is again bring on with certainty the idea that George Bush has won Florida.
Basically they don't believe that public patience is infinite. They believe there will come a time when the public will look at it and say, enough now, we've counted enough. And they believe every time someone comes out and says, well, this vote shows that George Bush won, that that is in their favor in terms of the public arena.
WOODRUFF: John King. if that's how the Bush people are looking at this, what are they thinking is they now expect the Florida secretary of state to walk out apparently within the hour and announce a count that is going to leave Al Gore behind?
KING: They are a bit concerned about the public relations aspect of this as Candy outlined, that the American people will keep hearing, once again, that Governor Bush won Florida. So look for two things, one, they will cast this as an illegitimate vote count. They will say the recounts are not finished, therefore this count is not the final count and should not be accepted.
Two, they are casting political aspersions on the secretary of state Katherine Harris, saying the right thing to do since these recounts are still continuing in several counties would have been to extend the deadline at least through Friday. She has to wait anyway until Friday for the overseas absentee ballots. The Democrats will argue, what is the rush here? Why do we want to rush to judgment?
There is some concern from a public relations standpoint that the American people will grow tired of this, which is why the Gore people keep pointing at the recounts underway. Palm Beach County will resume at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow. The Gore people pointing to that and saying they acknowledge that they need to see evidence from Palm Beach County as they did in Volusia County, that as these votes are recounted, the vice president is making up ground.
WOODRUFF: John King, Candy Crowley, thank you both -- Bernie.
SHAW: Joining us now: Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times."
Bush, Gore, obviously one is going to win, one is going to lose. But, how does George Bush or Al Gore put the mantle of legitimacy on victory?
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": In that sense, they may have both have lost already. I mean, it's very hard to see how this ends without a lot of people on either side feeling that their guy was robbed.
What we're looking at right now is a process under which only a few counties in Florida are going to be going ahead with hand recounts over the next few days. So, if that produces a lead for Al Gore, I suspect that a lot of Republicans are going to feel this election is tainted.
Conversely, if the secretary of state, using the discretion that the judge reaffirmed in his decision today, uses her discretion not to accept results that are favorable to Gore in the next few days, should those be forthcoming, you are going to have Democrats feeling as though they were robbed.
I think it's putting a lot of pressure on whoever ultimately wins to figure out very creative ways to reach out to the other side and to find new ways to legitimize this presidency. And to acknowledge, Bernie, also just even before this dispute, that we essentially had a tie. This may have been the closest overall election in 120 years. Neither party has a majority right now. And I think the next president has to understand that.
SHAW: Now, let's project, January 20th, one of these men is going to raise their right hand and swear to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States. What will this battle do to the winner's ability to carry out campaign promises, the important campaign promises?
BROWNSTEIN: I think it makes it very difficult for either side to pursue the most partisan portions of their agenda. And I think that a lot of people believe the next president will have to begin with what might be called confidence building measures, small efforts that build bipartisan trust and support and allow you to work forward toward some of the more ambitious ideas that you have.
And it's very hard to imagine that an Al Gore or a George Bush surviving this fight, dealing with a Congress essentially divided in half between the parties, can come out of the box with either a prescription drug plan under Medicare that every Republican opposes or an across-the-board tax cut that the vast majority of Democrats oppose. They've got to find a way to work forward, I think a lot of people believe, by building some trust on smaller initiatives. SHAW: And Ron, conversely, in the moment we have left, does this not put just intense amounts of pressure on the members of Congress in the House and Senate to produce, to stop being petty, and to get on with doing the people's business?
BROWNSTEIN: It's been an extraordinary few years of gridlock here in Washington and they've gotten away with it only because people have been basically satisfied with the way things are going in the country and they haven't really demanded much out of Washington.
But you are right, I think the intense focus of the outcome of this election are going to make people watch very closely the beginning of the next presidency and that could increase pressure for both sides to acknowledge the obvious. Neither one of them has enough strength now to roll the other, and the only way they are going to get anything done in a country this evenly divided is to work together on some areas where they can find common ground.
SHAW: Ron Brownstein, "The Los Angeles Times," thanks very much.
And this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS will continue with more of our expanded coverage of "Election 2000: the Recount in Florida." Back in a minute.
SHAW: As you know, over the last week, the presidential election has shifted from the political arena to the legal one. With the candidates now represented in Florida by teams of lawyers, our Brooks Jackson checks out the players and their credentials.
BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who are these guys? Some of the best-known legal talent in the country is facing off in the Florida recount fight. Joining the Gore team -- David Boies, a $700-an-hour trial lawyer who seldom loses. His grilling of Bill Gates helped win the Microsoft case for the government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Was it within the last two years?
BILL GATES, CEO, MICROSOFT: I honestly don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: He won a billion-dollar settlement in a price-fixing suit against vitamin makers. Years ago, he successfully defended CBS in a libel suit brought by William Westmoreland, the former U.S. commander in Vietnam. Lately, he's suing Ford over their troubled Explorer SUVs.
On the Bush legal team, Ted Olson, a conservative scourge of the Clinton administration. He's a friend of Ken Starr, and represented Whitewater witness David Hale. Among other clients over the years, President Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra case and Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel.
Gore's team includes Laurence Tribe, a professor at the Harvard Law School. A liberal, he led the attacks that kept Reagan nominee Robert Bork off the Supreme Court. Also on Gore's side, Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. Attorney in Miami who won a voter-fraud case representing the mayor of Miami. He also represented relatives of Cuban castaway Elian Gonzalez.
Both sides have veteran election lawyers -- Ben Ginsberg on the Bush team, former chief counsel of the Republican National Committee, now a Washington lobbyist for clients including Jacksonville, Florida. And on the Gore team, Bob Bauer, long-time lawyer for the Democratic Party's House and Senate re-election committees.
(on camera): It's not clear which of these lawyers will be paid or how much or whether they'll work for free.
Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Many Americans are following the political and legal situation in Florida very closely. But for late night TV hosts, the recount provides a wealth of comic material. At the top of the list: the media coverage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: Since this all began to happen or come unglued, what we've decided to do is send our good friend Biff Henderson. And right now Biff is down there in Florida at the Palm Beach County governmental center.
Biff, can you hear me?
Hey, Biff, how are you doing?
BIFF HENDERSON: Fine, Dave, how are you?
LETTERMAN: Biff Henderson, live from West Palm Beach, Florida. Well, this is breaking news. It's part of Election 2000. It's the Florida Recount. It's too close to call. Biff, we can barely see you...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Looks familiar.
SHAW: It certainly does.
That's all for this expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS. but, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com.
WOODRUFF: Stay with CNN throughout this evening for the latest on the Florida vote count. Former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole and Gore Campaign Chairman Bill Daley will be among Larry King's guests at 9:00 p.m., Eastern.
And Bernie and I and analysts Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider will be back at 10:00 p.m., Eastern for a one-hour special report on the Florida vote. I'm Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: And I'm Bernard Shaw. Also, we're standing by for live coverage of a news conference from Florida. The state secretary of state, Katherine Harris. The "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
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