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Inside Politics

Legal Battles Continuing in Florida as Democrats and Republicans Debate How to Tally Ballots

Aired November 15, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



JAMES BAKER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE/BUSH ELECTION OBSERVER: By now, the Gore campaign strategy, I think, is crystal clear. Keep conducting selective recounts.



BAKER: ... keep refusing to accept any deadline until the results change.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Fresh political sniping in the Florida standoff as controversial hand recounts resume.


WARREN CHRISTOPHER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE/GORE ELECTION OBSERVER: Let the counts continue, we believe, with an understanding that the ultimate status will depend upon the decisions reached by the Florida Supreme Court.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: The focus intensifies in Florida's high court. Will it clear up the ballot confusion?

WOODRUFF: Plus, those outstanding overseas ballots. How might they tilt the presidential election one way or another?

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: Thank you very much for joining us. In the battle over who will win Florida and the presidency, both sides are looking today to the Florida Supreme Court to bolster their case and decide whether hand recounts of ballots may continue. For the very latest we go to CNN's Deborah Feyerick in Tallahassee.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, we understand that the Florida State Supreme Court is close to issuing a decision on whether they will grant the secretary of state's request to block the hand count. Earlier today, she had filed a motion saying that she wanted it stopped until a system of standards could be put into place.

Now also she had requested that the lawsuits that have been filed all across the state of Florida be combined into one area, removed from Supreme Court, and instead moved to a local district court here in Tallahassee. This effectively would give her a bit more control over the litigation and she could more directly respond to some of the charges, that according to the motion that she filed today.

Now, as to this hand recount, there have been a lot of questions on this and a lot of issues relating to this. The Gore point man said that the secretary of state's motion effectively was just another attempt to delay -- to delay this hand recount. So Warren Christopher earlier spoke today.


CHRISTOPHER: We hope that Secretary Harris and the Bush campaign will join with us and support this proposal to have the Supreme Court of Florida take charge of these questions and bring them to a speedy, rapid resolution. We think it offers the best hope for moving the count here in Florida to a fair and speedy outcome for all.


FEYERICK: Now, we do want to tell you right now we have confirmed that the Supreme Court has denied the request to block the hand count. So effectively they are saying the hand recounts can go on. Palm Beach can continue with their hand recount as can Broward and Collier County if they so choose. All of this now confirmed by CNN.

We understand that as of the 2 o'clock deadline, four counties had filed petitions with the secretary of state, listing their reasons as to why they felt they should be given an extension before filing their final vote tally. And just to reiterate, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, and Collier counties. So we will know shortly, we hope, as to whether, in fact, all those lawsuits will be combined. Right now, we are hearing that the Supreme Court has turned down that request as well -- Bernie, Judy.

SHAW: And Deborah, CNN also can confirm that the state Supreme Court in Tallahassee also denied the secretary of state's request to move all the lawsuits to the state court in Leon County in addition to the earlier report from the state court that you just confirmed.

FEYERICK: That's where we are.

SHAW: OK, thank you, Deborah Feyerick -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. After these two decisions from the state Supreme Court, one of them that the state Supreme Court saying that the hand recount can go forward, in other words denying the motion of Florida's secretary of state. Let's get reaction to that now from the Bush camp and we go to our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley. She's in Austin, Texas -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, these events are happening more rapidly than the Bush campaign can give response, so we don't have a specific response to what's just happened. But obviously, this is a blow to the Bush campaign. We know that their main aim right now is to stop these hand recounts. They believe that they are a full of the potential for human error, for mischief, and for just flat-out mistakes.

So they have been trying to stop those hand recounts, although Secretary Baker, who within the last hour did talk to reporters, came out just blasting the Gore campaign, saying that they are putting out misstatements, and that as he put it, the litigation has run amok. As far as the secretary of state for the Bush team is concerned, it is the Gore campaign that is holding things up.


BAKER: By now, the Gore campaign's strategy, I think, is crystal clear: keep conducting selective recounts, keep filing lawsuits, keep making false charges that divert attention, and keep refusing to accept any deadline until the results change.


CROWLEY: One thing Baker says that they too want a fair and accurate recount. But he pointed out and claims that the recount about to be under way in Palm Beach County is, in fact, the fourth recount there. The Bush campaign again trying to push hard on the notion that at some point this has to stop, and they believe that the time is coming quickly with those overseas ballots due in by midnight on Friday.

We have seen precious little of the Republican ticket over these past several days. Governor Bush is still on his ranch in Crawford, have not seen a public sighting of him since Saturday. We did get a glimpse of Dick Cheney a couple of hours ago. He went to Bush headquarters here in Austin to thank the staff for their efforts. He has been standing by in Austin awaiting some sort of results.

He was asked several specific questions, but answered basically in generalities.


DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We look forward to a quick and speedy resolution, and are confident that in the end, having won the vote in Florida originally and won the recount, now been certified, once the absentee ballots are in this weekend, we hope that that will wrap it up to everybody's satisfaction.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: Here in Austin they have largely left both the political and the legal wrangling up to their people on the ground in Florida. They obviously are monitoring this very closely. We have been told all along that Governor Bush is obviously watching from his ranch in Crawford and does talk to his staff and people in Florida throughout the day on conference calls -- Judy, Bernie.

WOODRUFF: Candy, just to clarify, given that the state Supreme Court, at least for now, has turned down the request to stop this hand recount, can we assume that the Bush folks will put their attention and emphasis on this federal appeals court there in Atlanta?

CROWLEY: Well, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals -- I believe they filed papers there, if I'm right, about 48 hours ago. We did hear from the attorney in charge of that for the Bush team, who said that he believed they would their argument in some time very late this evening. There doesn't seem to be at this point a specific time for that hearing in the Court of Appeals. But it seems to me, if the state court of appeals in Florida -- and I'm no lawyer, and heaven knows, you'd probably need to be one at this point -- that if the state court, the state Supreme Court in Florida has turned down a request to stop the recount, that this now does throw the Bush campaign's best chance into the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley in Austin, thanks -- Bernie.

SHAW: And now for the latest from the Gore campaign, we go to CNN's Jonathan Karl -- Jonathan.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, the Gore legal team is still trying to take a look at the implications of this. But initially, what they're pointing out is that this is a defeat not only for Katherine Harris, Florida's secretary of state, but also a major defeat for the Bush campaign, because the Bush campaign had joined Secretary of State Harris in this effort to get the Supreme Court to block the recounts.

The Gore team also pointing out here that this is the second time that the Bush campaign has gone to the courts to try to block hand recounts and the second time they have failed. The first was obviously the effort in Miami to go to federal court to try to get the federal court to block these recounts. That now, as you mentioned, under appeal now with the 11th district in Atlanta. So, that's the first point coming out of here. Also, there's a public-relations battle here between the two camps, trying to paint the other as the ones that are trying to obstruct things and delay things.

The Gore campaign is trying to say that it is the Bush camp that is obstructing this thing and trying to delay -- going to court -- pointing to them as the ones that are trying to block the citizens of Florida in these counties from conducting their hand recounts -- doing it twice now, and failing twice. The Gore campaign is also waiting for another decision from the Florida state Supreme Court. It's their own petition to get the Florida state Supreme Court to come in and establish two very important points here. One: Establish the rules for those counties to whether -- to guidelines whether or not they can go forward with their recounts -- basically to get the Florida Supreme Court and not Katherine Harris to answer whether or not they can go forward with their hand counts. And secondly, the Gore campaign has asked the Supreme Court in Florida to establish guidelines for what actually constitutes a vote. This is the chad issue -- what actually constitutes the intent of voter -- so that when they are hand counting this thing to determine what is -- what should be counted as a vote.

Now that decision still pending. They don't know if they'll hear on that today, but they're watching very carefully for that. The Gore campaign in that petition took what one member of the legal team called a very calculated risk in that they asked for a deadline. They asked the state Supreme Court to set a deadline for when the hand recounts would need to be completed by.

This is definitely a public relations effort here in part by the Gore campaign, because the Gore campaign has been under pressure even from some Democrats to get this thing done with quickly, and to not to appear to be the side that is trying to drag things out.

So the Gore campaign actually in this case asking to have a deadline set. The risk is that the deadline may not come in and it may not be enough time for those counties to recount those ballots. Now of course this all comes down to the hand recounts. Earlier today, David Boies, who is the attorney handling this case now for the Gore campaign, talked about the recounts -- talked about the hand recounts and said this is the way it happens in Florida. They must go forward. Here's what he had to say.


DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Under Florida law, any candidate has a right to get a manual recount. It's always been that way. that's Happened in a lot of campaigns in the past. It's happened in this campaign in other counties. And what we're saying is don't change the rules in the middle of the game. Don't shut out the manual recount here when that has been a traditional part of Florida law.


KARL: So now the Gore campaign waiting for that second decision expected to come down from Florida's state Supreme Court to see if indeed those hand recounts can definitively go on and establish firm guidelines for whether or not they will be included in the final tally of the votes in Florida -- Bernie.

SHAW: Jonathan, let's back up for a moment and go back to this breaking story. The court, the Florida Supreme Court in rejecting Katherine Harris' suit, these are some particulars our viewers will want to know.

First of all, the court ruled without having a hearing. The ruling by the seven-member court was unanimous and this is their language in a very brief statement. Quote, "We have considered this petition and have determined that the decision should be denied."

In rejecting her suit, the judges, all chosen by Democratic governors did not address the many other election-related legal challenges making their way through the Florida court system.

KARL: Well, this is exactly why I say the Gore legal team right now is absorbing the full impact of this decision. You've not heard any official reaction yet. Obviously, this is breaking news. This is happening now.

But they will be looking to see how this decision -- reading the tea leaves to see if there's anything in this decision that might indicate how they will decide in the Gore campaign's petition to have these recounts go forward under strict and well-defined guidelines. Still very much a developing situation there in Tallahassee.

SHAW: OK, thank you, Jonathan Karl -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, now we got to Palm Beach County, where before these late today, late afternoon rulings we've just been hearing about in the Florida state Supreme Court, a judge there in the county weighed in on manual recounts and whether so-called dimpled chads should be tallied or thrown away.

CNN's Martin Savidge joins us from West Palm Beach -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that could now become a very critical ruling that came down for the local judge here in Palm Beach County, in light of the fact that it appears now that Palm Beach County has been given the green light to go ahead with their manual recount of all 431,000 votes.

We're waiting to hear some official reaction from the election's canvassing board because it was not their specific issue that was ruled on by the Florida Supreme Court but it was a green light nonetheless. We're waiting to see if they will go ahead.

We're talking about the ruling that came from Judge Jorge LaBarga. This was the motion that was filed on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party. They were asking that that dimpled chad now be allowed to be counted as the voting process. Here is how the judge ruled.


JUDGE JORGE LABARGA, PALM BEACH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: The Florida election statutes contemplate that where electronic or electro-mechanical voting systems are used, no vote is to be declared invalid or void if there is a clear indication of the intention of the voter. The present policy utilized by the local election officials restricts the canvassing board's ability to determine the intention of the voter.


SAVIDGE: OK, now here's the confusing part. When they were doing the recount on Saturday into the Sunday morning hours, they were looking at the ballots and basically they said -- they made a determination that at least one corner of the chad had to be hanging or torn away from the ballot in order to be counted.

Now the judge seems to be saying it is up to the canvassing board to figure out what they want to count as a vote, and if it is possible that someone just placed the stylus against the ballot with enough force to cause an indentation but not to perforate the ballot, that could be a means of trying to determine the voter's intent there, something that the board could take into account. Now, they had started doing that in that recount on Saturday and then went back to the perforation bit.

Insiders tell us that when they were looking at indentations there were far more votes they were finding for the candidates, specifically for Vice President Gore, than when they started looking at merely the ballot being torn itself. I know it's very confusing, but this is a critical point here. The judge says they can count dimples. We're waiting to hear if dimples really will count. That's where it stands right now, Bernie and Judy.

WOODRUFF: Martin, again, just to clarify this, every county in Florida, in fact this is true in other states across the country as well, may have its own set of rules with regard to which ballots are considered valid. That's why you do have a local judge making this determination.

SAVIDGE: That's correct. And also keep in mind that the ballots in this particular county are one of those where you use a stylus to perforate. In Volusia County, that was not case. Those are the sort of ballots like an SAT score where you fill it in with a pen marking. So, there are differences from county to county here in this state. As to the sort of ballot used, Palm Beach County's butterfly ballot is at the source of a lot of criticism these days -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Yes, that is an understatement. Martin Savidge, thanks very much -- Bernie.

SHAW: As we've been discussing, the decision by the Florida state Supreme Court to let the hand counts go on focuses attention on the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Today that court agreed to hear two cases in which the Bush campaign and its allies are asking for the hand recounts in Florida to be stopped. In a somewhat unusual move, the full court will hear the appeals instead of a three judge panel, apparently to speed up the process.

The court ordered written arguments be presented by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow in one of the cases, but so far no hearing has been scheduled. Some Democrats had said it was inappropriate for a federal court to consider a matter pending before the Florida Supreme Court.

WOODRUFF: Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the presidential race may now hinge on overseas absentee ballots. A look at what we know about those ballots and the people behind them. And later, more on the legal battles in Florida. We'll have reaction from Jack Quinn of the Gore Camp and Republican congressman, former Senate candidate, Bill McCollum and insight from CNN's legal analysts.


SHAW: Just to recount for you a breaking story: The Florida State Supreme Court has rejected Katherine Harris' request that the counting of ballots by hand be stopped. The court said: "We have considered this petition and have determined that the decision should be denied." It was a unanimous ruling by the seven-member court.

Now, at this hour, George W. Bush leads by 300 votes in Florida, but that could change on Friday when some overseas absentee ballots are counted. For now, those ballots represent an unknown factor in this election.

And CNN's Charles Zewe has more on how one Florida county is handling the mailed-in votes.


CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Miami-Dade County elections office, 1,700 ballots were mailed before the November 7 election to Florida voters living overseas. The ballots were almost evenly split between democratic and Republican voters, with 400 requested by independents.

So far, more than 1,100 have been returned and included in vote totals already reported; 150, however, are sitting in trays under lock and key in the Miami elections office, yet to be tallied. Officials say 400 more ballots could arrive before the deadline of 5:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday and they're taking extra steps to make sure that every ballot is counted.

IVY CORMAN, MIAMI-DADE ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT: We are going to have people at the post office. The post office is assuring us they're going to whisk these things through customs, because everything has to come through customs, and from there we have a delivery guy that's going to be bringing them in, and then we're going to canvass them and open them.

ZEWE: A quarter of overseas ballots from Miami alone went to military personnel. In 1996, Bob Dole won 54 percent of the military vote in Florida, but the Gore camp is hoping to offset those overseas military votes with pro-democratic voters in Israel drawn by Joe Lieberman's vice presidential candidacy. Voter records show about 4,000 Florida voters are living in Israel.

Miami Beach native and absentee voter Ron Dermer is one of them. He voted for George W. Bush by mail. Dermer, a pollster for one of Israel's political parties, concedes Al Gore is likely to carry a majority of Florida voters in Israel with the exception of religious Jews.

RON DERMER, OVERSEAS FLORIDA VOTER: The more religious Jews tend to vote more with the Republican party; so in Israel there's also a lot of expatriates that are more religious and so maybe they voted for George W. Bush. ZEWE: There's also a wild card at play in the vote tally: 74 so-called federal write-in ballots have arrived in Miami and will be included in the vote totals Friday. Write-in voters are Americans who show up at any U.S. embassy, present their passport and then write in their choice for president.


A survey by "The St. Petersburg Times" newspaper tonight is showing that approximately 22,100 overseas ballots were sent out to Florida voters overseas; 12,590 have been received so far. There are 1865 overseas ballots waiting to be counted, and those tallies should begin sometime Friday evening and added to the vote totals -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: Charles Zewe, thanks very much.

Well our Bill Schneider has been taking a close look at the overseas ballot question.

Bill, what do we know about these absentee ballots that have yet to be counted in the state as a whole?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, as Charles just reported, "The St. Petersburg Times" has surveyed all 67 Florida counties. And in their survey, election authorities reported the total he mentioned of 1,865 overseas absentee ballots on hand that have yet to be counted.

Now, right now, we know that Al Gore is running 300 votes behind George W. Bush. So, let's just take those uncounted ballots on hand right now; assume they are all properly filled out with valid postmarks and that each ballot has a valid vote for president, and that it's for either George W. Bush or Al Gore. To overcome Bush's current margin, Gore would have to win 301 more votes than Bush, or 59 percent of the ballots on hand.

Of course, given the number of overseas ballots requested, a lot more ballots could still come in by Friday night. The more ballots come in, the lower the percentage Gore would need to make up that 300- vote deficit.

WOODRUFF: Well, Bill, is it possible that Gore could do that? Do you have any clues one way or another?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there are a few clues, and most of them are bad news for Gore. "The Times" reports that in 25 counties that tally overseas-ballot requests by party, more Republicans than Democrats requested overseas ballots.

"The Times" also reports that 57 counties have tabulated the domestic and overseas absentee ballot votes that were already counted on Election Day. Now, those votes went 59-37 for Bush, exactly the opposite of what Gore needs. But that total does not include a few large counties that went for Gore, such as Palm Beach and Miami-Dade.

WOODRUFF: So is there any good news for Gore? SCHNEIDER: Well, there is a little.

As Charles Zewe reported, about 4,000 Florida voters are living in Israel, and voter registration there is up 15 percent this year. Jewish voters in Florida went nearly 80 percent for Gore on Election Day. Many of those overseas Jewish voters would be in Broward County. Of the roughly 1,600 overseas absentee ballots requested in Broward County, about 1,100 had not come in by Election Day.

Also, "The Times" reports that, as of Tuesday, only 447 ballots from military personnel around the world had arrived in Florida. Military ballots may go strongly for Bush, but it looks they may be only a small percentage of those overseas ballots -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: We used to call it tea reading -- tea leave reading, now we call it ballot reading.

Bill Schneider, thanks very much -- Bernie.

SHAW: Joining us now for more discussion on those crucial overseas ballots, Tom Fina, the executive director of Democrats Abroad, and Michael Jones, the executive director of Republicans Abroad.

Very briefly -- and do I emphasize briefly -- tell our viewers what you have done, starting with you, to whip up support?

MICHAEL JONES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REPUBLICANS ABROAD: Sure. We have had an ongoing voter registration campaign with volunteers in over 60 nations worldwide. I have personally been to 38 countries conducting town-hall style events, registering overseas absentee voters, and building organizations. Add on top of that, our campaign outspent the Democrats 8-1 and we did full one-page -- full-page ads in "The International Herald Tribune," "USA Today International," and "Stars & Stripes" for a week, and we supplemented that with international advertising on your sister network, CNN, with television commercials.

SHAW: OK, now, Mr. Fina, what have you done?

TOM FINA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMOCRATS ABROAD: We began our campaign in January, as we began to ramp up for the Democratic Convention by getting convention delegates elected. That was a way to begin to stimulate the public to know what was going on. Then we began an advertising campaign that was aimed country by country: Canada, which has the largest or second largest population of Americans abroad; Mexico, the first largest; and we ran advertising all through the summer and into mid-September, giving people a local contact, who they get their assistance.

SHAW: OK, now, gentlemen, very brief responses to these questions: What percentage of the ballots coming from overseas will be military, and what percentage civilian?

FINA: The overwhelming percentage will certainly be civilian, because you've got roughly 6 million Americans overseas, there are only 238,000 people in the armed services.

JONES: I agree with that statistic.

SHAW: What about ballots coming from Israel? What do you know?

JONES: I don't think that, that is -- I think that, that is going to be a drop in the bucket given the overall numbers of overseas absentee voters that will be participating this year, so I don't -- I'm not particularly concerned. What I do know is that even in Broward County, that went 2-1 Gore over Bush in this election, we have registered more Republicans in Broward County than the Democrats have, and that's their stronghold, so we're confident.

FINA: From our point of view, we imagine that something like 80- 90 percent of the votes coming out of Israel will be Democratic. They usually go primarily to New York, New York City, where they have a big impact, but also for Florida, because it's a large retirement area.

SHAW: And now the question you will like best: What percentage of these overseas ballots will favor Vice President Gore and Governor Bush?

FINA: My opinion, the overseas vote is probably -- that is the ones that remain to be counted we think will probably go for Gore, and we think that because we think most of the conservative part of the vote to the degree that that's military has already been in and been counted, and that the remaining votes that are coming in are the civilian votes, and we have no doubt that the civilian vote from overseas is predominantly Democratic this year.

SHAW: And Michael Jones, what do you say to Tom Fina?

JONES: Well, I say we'll see about that on Election Day, but let's look at past trends. During the past three presidential cycles alone, the trend has been 11 percent higher with overseas absentee ballots than the domestic trend.

For example, Gore -- Bush, sorry, Dole got 43 percent of the vote in Florida but he carried 54 percent of the absentee ballots. We expect that trend to hold up and we are at 50/50 now. So, I am saying 61 percent.

SHAW: Michael Jones, Tom Fina, thanks very much.

JONES: Thank you.

SHAW: You are quite welcome.

And there is, of course, much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS as our coverage of the election stand-off in Florida continues.


WOODRUFF: At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Brunei, President Clinton told international leaders today that the election delay should not be a cause for concern. The president urged them to follow the example of the American people and relax and let the process play out.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the things I think we have learned is that we should all be very careful about making predictions about the future. But I know I can safely predict that this will be my last APEC summit. I just don't know who will be here next year.


SHAW: The president abroad.

We're going to call in now CNN legal analyst Greta Van Susteren in Tallahassee where the state Supreme Court has made a very important ruling.

Greta, how do you read this one?

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Bernie, it's a very important reading, but it does not necessarily say that the state supreme court of Florida is going to stay out of this in the meantime. Remember, we have had other people have gone to the state Supreme Court.

What the secretary of state wanted was she wanted emergency relief. She wanted to stop the hand count and she also wanted to move all of the cases, have them all consolidated and moved to the trial court in Leon County, which sits in Tallahassee, which is also the home of the Florida supreme court. The fact that the Florida Supreme Court denied her specific request is certainly significant to her, at least in the short run.

But doesn't necessarily mean to the rest of us that the Florida supreme court is not going to get involved very quickly in this case because this happens to be an extremely important case. And there are other matters before it. Remember, the Democrats may be asking the Florida supreme court to issue specific guidelines as to hand counts.

So there's a lot of activity, a lot of action. This may just not be the one they thought they should get themselves involved in.

SHAW: And Greta, these facts surrounding the ruling. There was no ruling; the ruling was unanimous; seven judges, all appointed by Democratic governors.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, Bernie, the fact that it was unanimous isn't a big surprise either because oftentimes in emergency relief, if it isn't properly before the court, the court doesn't think that this is a specific one that you getting involved in, it's done very quickly and it's oftentimes unanimous.

But, you know, the fact that they're all appointed by a Democratic governor certainly is something that the Republicans not -- might not be pleased with because, you know, these are Democrats. But you know, judges are supposed to set aside their biases and decide these cases.

We had an instance down here in Palm Beach County, where I am, where today the judge ruled on a hand count issue having to do with whether or not the Palm Beach Canvassing Board should limit themselves when they review the ballots. Whether they should limit themselves or whether they should also consider the possibility that a dimpled or pregnant ballot may be a vote.

And it's surprising because this was a Republican judge who used to be active in Republican politics, but he decided the case was largely in favor of the Gore people.

So these judges can surprise you and frankly, I'm not surprised that it was unanimous up in Tallahassee today for the secretary of state. It would surprise me if the Florida Supreme Court didn't get involved in this case very soon in some way, though.

SHAW: OK, thank you. Greta Van Susteren -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And much more ahead on this -- of our election coverage on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

SHAW: Still to come: the political and the legal calculations in the battle for the Florida vote.



BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Machine counts infallible? Forget about it. The kind of punch-card ballot used in Palm Beach is notorious for inaccuracy and has been for years.


WOODRUFF: Brooks Jackson tallies the problematic history of the punch card ballot. And later:


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST (voice-over): If only George W. Bush -- if only Al Gore -- if only -- if only -- if only...


SHAW: Jeff Greenfield on political regrets and what might have been.


SHAW: Now, let's take a look at the latest developments in the contested presidential vote count in Florida. The Florida Supreme Court has denied the Secretary of State's request to block further hand counting of ballots. A federal appeals court now will consider arguments from the Bush camp to stop the manual recounts. Four Florida counties wanting to submit revised vote totals from last week's election filed request with the secretary of state meeting a 2:00 p.m. deadline. And according to the official count, Governor George Bush still has a 300-vote lead over Vice President Gore in Florida.

WOODRUFF: Now let's get reaction to this day's events from both camps. We'll go to Florida Republican Congressman Bill McCollum in just a moment, but we will start with Jack Quinn, a senior adviser to the Gore campaign.

Jack Quinn, this decision by the Florida state Supreme Court to permit the manual counting, recounting to go forward. Is this the end of it as far as you're concerned?

JACK QUINN, GORE CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I think it's an incredibly important development. We've been pressing, as you know, for a week to make sure that there's a full, a fair and a complete count of all the votes that were cast in the state of Florida.

The crux of the issue has been whether or not we could recount by hand -- as by the way was done, in seven other counties, six of which were carried by Governor Bush in the state of Florida.

We'd like hand recounts in four additional counties. And it now appears that they will proceed, as well they should.

WOODRUFF: But you know very well the Bush campaign has an appeal sitting in the federal appeals court in Atlanta. That court is going to hear arguments tomorrow morning, 7:00.


WOODRUFF: Are you worried about that?

QUINN: Not at all. You know, the thrust of the Bush complaint is that there is somehow an equal protection denial if votes are counted in one fashion in a given county and another fashion in another county. By that logic, if there is any equal protection denial in the state of Florida, it would be to suggest that the very butterfly ballot itself denied the equal protection rights of the people in that county.

I think that the federal case that the Bush campaign filed, quite frankly, as a legal matter is about as hollow as one can imagine, and it's pretty inconceivable to me that it will succeed.

WOODRUFF: Well, what is the response to it?

QUINN: The response to it is that it's hollow; that it is quite -- you know, they're complaining about hand counting. You know, I imagine Jim Baker standing up, not in front of a bunch of journalists, but in front of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and saying to them, "You know what? We must have machines. Democracy cannot be served by hand ballots and by hand-counting ballots." I mean it is... (CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: But you're aware of their argument that hand counting is arbitrary, it's subject to human error. They say that there's a partisan element here.

QUINN: Well, may I say that for 140 years hand counting served this democracy extraordinarily well?

And by the way, we didn't have Election Day lawsuits until we introduced machines into the country. Mr. Baker knows as well as anyone that the issue here is not whether all the ballots were counted, but whether the machines failed to count legitimately cast ballots. There is no way, I believe, that any court is going to agree with him that these ballots should not be inspected and counted in their fullest and most complete sense.

WOODRUFF: What about one of Mr. Baker's other points -- and this is going to have to be the last question, Jack Quinn -- saying that for the Gore campaign it's just litigation run amuck; that the Gore people have filed a suit here, a suit there and that they're hoping to just string this thing out as along as they can until they get the results they want.

QUINN: Judy, it's really important that we get to the end of this process with credibility, and Mr. Baker must stop telling only half the truth. He filed a lawsuit in federal court, which you've just discussed at some length, to stop the counting of ballots. He then filed suits in state court, again to stop the counting of ballots. Both of those lawsuits have been disposed of very quickly, thrown out on their ear.

Now, there's no way we're trying to slow this down. If anything, we're trying to speed it up, because we're confident that the American people want a full, complete and fair count of the ballots. They are the ones trying to prevent the counting of ballots and being dilatory in every respect to get that done, through their own litigation and through the secretary of state's unfortunate and really regrettable rulings.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jack Quinn, senior adviser to the Gore camp. Thanks very much.

QUINN: You bet.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate your being with us.

QUINN: Glad to do it.

WOODRUFF: Up next, Florida Republican Congressman Bill McCollum gives us his take on the latest developments.


WOODRUFF: Now, let's go to Capitol Hill and Republican Representative Bill McCollum of Florida. Congressman McCollum, I'm sure -- you told me you just heard Jack Quinn, who's been representing the Gore campaign from a legal standpoint.

Let me first ask you, though, the state supreme court of Florida ruling today that the hand recount must -- may go forward; how much of a setback is this for the Bush campaign?

REP. BILL MCCOLLUM (R), FLORIDA: I really don't think it is much of one, if any. My judgment on it is, this is very confusing to the public as we go through all of these legal machinations and the spin doctors do their thing. But there are two important things, I think, to remember.

One is that there is a state process that we're in. And the stage where we are today with these recounts is that the secretary of the state, under Florida law, which has already been confirmed by the Florida courts, had the power and the authority and in fact the requirement to cut off the certification of the ballot -- the reports from the counties at 5:00 on Tuesday afternoon, which she did and then reported to us.

After that, the court said in her discretion, as long as it's not arbitrary and capricious, she decides whether or not to consider any amended certifications that might occur as a result of additional recounts.

So I don't think we're anywhere differently than we were yesterday, except that the request that she made -- and it was she, not Mr. Baker who made that request, if they cut them off that these counts go on. But we don't know what she's going to do with them once they're complete.

WOODRUFF: But it's very clear the Bush campaign would like for the manual recounting to stop. We've heard that repeatedly from a spokesman for the Bush campaign.

One of the things that Jack Quinn said, he said this argument that's going to be made in the federal appeals court tomorrow, as he understands it, is that -- in his words, is a hollow argument; this notion that hand counting is inferior to machine counts.

MCCOLLUM: Well, there are two things going on here, as I said. One of them is the state process, and is Katherine Harris, our secretary of state, following the letter of the law? I think she is. I think the state supreme court ruling today which we just discussed is a fairly minor blip on the screen of the ultimate decision on this.

But then there is the federal question, and that's the question of whether Florida laws with regard to recounts are constitutional. And that's going to go on for awhile, probably all the way to the United States Supreme Court, I would expect. And in that process, the issue there is equal protection of the laws.

Can you have these hand recounts in counties that have these punch tabs and not have them in all of them? When you start with this process, it's like a sweater: If you pull one of the strings and it begins to unfurl and unravel, then you've gone a long way.

WOODRUFF: Well, what about the argument, Congressman McCollum, that this is something that was done, as Jack Quinn pointed out, for the last -- for the first 140 years of this nation's democracy, it served this country well for a long time, and that what we're really looking at here is whether machines fail to count legitimate ballots accurately?

MCCOLLUM: I think that's a legitimate question. I think there probably have been failures of the machines. But the machine, at least, is objective in the sense that it doesn't distinguish between Republicans and Democrats.

I think everyone wants to be fair about this, and ultimately, of course, the ruling authorities in this, the secretary of state and the courts, are going to weed all this out, which is what's happening right now, and that's good.

But the reality is that, in the counties where these recounts are going on, it is very subjective. You've got canvassing boards in, everybody acknowledged, Democratic counties with Democrat control over those boards that are making decisions on whether or not sunlight is there or a chad is torn or whatever. That's a very subjective determination.

And I think, if it's going to be done in those counties, it should be done in all of them, and then you get into real, real messes.

WOODRUFF: But you're predicting -- you are predicting it will go to the Supreme Court.

MCCOLLUM: I think the equal...

WOODRUFF: The U.S. Supreme Court.

MCCOLLUM: I think the equal protection -- well, it will unless these things are resolved. My guess, if I had to predict, is that the court of litigation will go on, the issue will probably be resolved by rulings of the secretary of state, who has the authority, has already issued regulations, has the authority to decide this in terms of the actual recount, whether she's going to accept it or not. I think that'll be determined this weekend, after Friday passes, and I think the absentee ballots are really the more critical question now. Where did they go? And that's my view of the practical result. The legal results are going to continue to debate.

WOODRUFF: All right. Congressman Bill McCollum, thank you very much.

MCCOLLUM: Sure. You're welcome.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate your joining us. MCCOLLUM: You're welcome.


SHAW: And when we return, public opinion: Who's winning that battle -- Gore or Bush? Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson join us with their opinion.


WOODRUFF: CNN has learned that Vice President Gore will be making a statement within -- we are told -- within about half an hour. We will bring that to you just as soon as we are able to get it.

There is another aspect of the wrestling match over the deadlocked presidential election: the public relations battle. And joining us to talk about all of that and other aspects of this extraordinary election: Margaret Carlson of "Time" magazine and Tucker Carlson of the "Weekly Standard."

All right, first thing I want to ask both of you: how much of all of this is going to be determined by politics and how much of it by the courts? Tucker?

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, politics is going to enter in to this in a way at noon, on Saturday when the absentee ballots are tallied, because at that point, the Bush campaign believes, and I agree, that the Bush people are going to be able to make the case, gee, it's pretty much settled at this point and the Gore people -- I mean, I love Jack Quinn's comment, you know, we are going to speed this along.

Sure, that's why we have Larry Tribe and Alan Dershowitz down there. I mean, that hasn't, I don't think, penetrated really. But I think it will at that point because the Bush people will say, and again in a plausible way, it's over. And the Gore people will say, no, more lawyers. And they are going to look bad, I think, at that point.

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, it partly decides what the margin is, if they get all of the absentee ballots, which are -- what? -- 7,000?

TUCKER CARLSON: I think about 10.

MARGARET CARLSON: And the lead is greater than the margin of error, then I think that it is over. But he is right to say, speeding the recount does get you there sooner. It's delaying the recount that then, the Bush people are, are fulfilling their own dire prediction, which is this is going to take a lot of time.

WOODRUFF: Clearly, the Gore people seem to have won at least a small victory today with the state supreme court saying, yes, these recounts can go ahead.

Tucker, does either side, though, have the political higher ground, if you will, in a way that they can hold onto it for a while? Or is this subject to the whims of courts and other things, day in and day out?

T. CARLSON: I don't know. I mean, It thought Baker's line that I think the Bush people are going to use a lot more, that, gee the Palm Beach ballots, this will be the fourth time they have been counted. I'm not sure that that is technically true. Not all of them have been counted three full times. But it's true enough that if you want to make that, I don't know, it's convincing after a while.

M. CARLSON: Well, the mantra, counting and counting and counting, which everybody on their side says each time they're up, it has some effect. But the idea that people seem to have, at least according to the polls, which is that a hand count is not an extraordinary measure. It can be done rather quickly. And let's have it so that everybody feels that everything that could be done has been done in an election that is closer than any we have had before. And so the usual margin of error we tolerate, we can't tolerate in this particular one.

Those two things go back and forth and as far as the who's got it, it does switch back and forth. And it's like that rock climbing where you put the pylon into the rock and you can hold on but only for a few minutes and then somebody else has the high ground.

T. CARLSON: It does seem, I mean, look, the key argument that the Bush people need to make is the one about subjectivity. It's, you know, the Gore people always win when they make the argument, essentially, that you just made, that we want to find the most accurate way to count the ballots. The Bush people win when they say, gee, who is counting the ballots? And really, the goal here ought to be to have a situation where people are assured that the ballots are counted correctly.

WOODRUFF: But are you saying the Bush people have not been making that argument.

T. CARLSON: They haven't. You know, you saw Baker today and other press conferences over the last couple of days, use the phrase, use the word mischief. You know, we want to avoid mischief. I don't know. I mean, they should have surrogates, it seems to me, out there saying, you know, Gore's going to steal the election. Republicans feel that way anyway and yet the Bush people I think have been awfully gentlemanly about it. Allowed poor, Katherine, hapless Katherine Harris, you know, to be portrayed as this part of the right-wing conspiracy. I don't know.


M. CARLSON: Carol Roberts, Carol Roberts on the other side is fulfilling that role for the Democrats. She is the one that said she would just as well go to jail trying to turn it into being a freedom ride when it's actually just counting votes.

But the verb that Democrats need to use is count. The verb Republicans keep using is interpret, as if this whole aspect of what counts as a punch is something that is open to wild fancies of interpretation, when actually you just want to see is it punched enough to be an indication of what -- of someone's vote, but not punched enough for the machine to pick up.

WOODRUFF: But aren't there people from two -- from both political parties watching with each ballot.

M. CARLSON: Yes, there are. And as a matter of fact, there's a Democratic, a Republican and an independent in Palm Beach, so you'd assume...

T. CARLSON: Perfect, but no Green Party official you notice.


M. CARLSON: They don't -- they don't have a soccer mom.

T. CARLSON: No, they don't.

M. CARLSON: They really need a soccer mom.

T. CARLSON: But why not turn it into Chadgate? I don't know. I think it works.

M. CARLSON: So that everyone will behave properly, you need a soccer mom.

WOODRUFF: We'll let you guys keep talking.

T. CARLSON: That's right.

WOODRUFF: We love having you with us. Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson.

M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.


SHAW: Thank you, Judy. When INSIDE POLITICS continues, Vice President Al Gore, CNN is told, will make a statement here in Washington within the next half hour. Also, further word on the Florida's Supreme Court refusal to block more hand recounts of ballots.

Where does the presidential election standoff go from here? And campaign hindsight.


SHAW: The Florida Supreme Court refuses to stop a hand recount of presidential ballots. What does this mean for Bush versus Gore?

WOODRUFF: Plus, we'll consider the "what ifs" that may weigh on the eventual loser of this wild race for the White House.

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: And welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS. The Bush and Gore camps still are sorting through a decision by the Florida Supreme Court. About an hour ago, the justices unanimously denied a request by the Florida secretary of state to stop further hand recounts of presidential ballots. The George W. Bush campaign had supported her request. A full hand recount of ballots is under way in Broward County. And another predominantly Democratic county, Palm Beach, plans to go ahead with a full recount as well.

Possibly this has bolstered Al Gore's hopes of overtaking Bush in the final Florida vote tally, which is expected to decide the presidential election. We are -- we are anticipating the vice president will comment on these developments shortly, and we plan to carry his remarks.

Some question marks remain. So far, the Florida Supreme Court has not ruled on several other election-related challenges. Plus a federal appeals court plans to weigh in on the controversy after agreeing today to hear Republican claims that the hand counts should be stopped.

WOODRUFF: Now let's bring back CNN's Deborah Feyerick who is covering the latest legal developments in Tallahassee, Florida.

Deborah, we know that the state Supreme Court has ruled that the hand recounts may go forward. Are we looking for other rulings from them?

FEYERICK: Well, we are expecting other rulings, but we are not anticipating that they will be done tonight. The later rulings, the later motions were filed in mid-afternoon, so it's unlikely that the Supreme Court justices have had a chance to review all of that.

But what we can tell you is that you have been mentioning is that this count can now go on and Florida's state -- Florida's secretary of state had said that she wanted to stop this hand recount. The reasoning, she said, was because she wanted to set up some sort of a standard so that wherever the recounts are being done at least there's some sort of control over what is counted, how it is counted, when it is counted and under what conditions it is counted. But again, the Supreme Court denied that request to stop the recount, and the Bush campaign did clarify that the Supreme Court dismissed this without prejudice.

So what that means is that they were not necessarily ruling one way or another. But what they were saying is, you know, it's not in our jurisdiction. You've got to go through other courts first. The Supreme Court also said that the desire to combine all of the lawsuits into one big lawsuit, they also denied that request as well.

And the secretary of state was hoping that she would get her way on that so effectively she could control litigation. Certainly it's easier to handle one big lawsuit, especially here in Tallahassee, as opposed to juggling many lawsuits in all different parts of Florida. So what does this all mean?

Well, it may be a temporary legal setback for the secretary of state, but effectively you've got to remember she still has the final say. Four counties today filing a memo with her office saying that they do want to do a recount. They listed their reasons as to why they thought that it was necessary. One county saying that they do feel that once they recount, it could change the outcome of their vote tally -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Deborah Feyerick in Tallahassee. Thanks. Taking a closer look at the Florida Supreme Court: all seven of the justices were appointed by Democratic governors -- Lawton Chiles or his predecessor, Bob Graham. Although, one justice, Peggy Quince, was jointly appointed in 1998 by both Chiles and then Governor-elect Jeb Bush.

In recent months, Florida Governor Bush and the state's GOP- controlled legislature have been feuding with those justices over the pace of death penalty cases. The state legislature even tried, unsuccessfully, to realign the court. Some Republicans question whether those battles might have influence the justices' rulings on the presidential ballot dispute.

SHAW: We're joined now by our legal analyst, former Florida State Elections Director David Cardwell. David, what is your up-to- the-minute assessment of what is happening in the courts?

DAVID CARDWELL, FORMER FLORIDA ELECTIONS OFFICIAL: Well, as has been the case with just about every legal proceeding in this election, we're still in sort of uncharted territory. But I'm not surprised that the Florida Supreme Court today denied the emergency petition of the secretary of state.

That was an extraordinary petition to try to go directly to the Supreme Court for a matter after the election. Also one that really has a lot of evidentiary issues that have yet to be resolved. So the Supreme Court has merely said, as you pointed out, we don't want this case right now, but it will surely be back before them before very long.

SHAW: You know, I think I heard apprehension in your voice when you used the phrase uncharted territory which prompts me, if my thought is correct, to ask you this question: If that's uncharted territory, your thought about the Bush campaign going to Atlanta, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to get them involved in trying to stop the hand recount?

CARDWELL: Once again, we have not had any cases in Florida where anyone tried to stop a hand recount. In fact, what's somewhat ironic is very often candidates want the hand recount. They don't trust the machines and after a couple of recounts by machine they ask for the hand count. That's been sort of our experience in the past.

This is something going in the totally different direction of someone trying to stop a manual recount and to go into federal court with something that also is different but, of course, most of our contests in the past have only involved state or local offices, not the presidency.

Also, keep in mind -- you mentioned that the petition of the secretary of state had asked for all the cases to be consolidated and heard in Leon County -- the suit that was filed in federal district court, which is now upon appeal to the 11th, also has, as one of its prayers for relief, that all election cases involving the presidential election in Florida be consolidated into the federal district court action.

SHAW: Please, sir, help me, help our viewers watching INSIDE POLITICS around the world and throughout the United States -- help us focus on what it is we should keep our eyes on from this point on?

CARDWELL: I would keep close attention to those overseas ballots. We know that those are on their way or have already been received. I don't believe either campaign has yet made a statement in which they said that they were going to challenge those ballot. Those ballots should be counted Friday night or Saturday morning and we'll know the result. It may not be a very large number but, with an election this close, it could have a significant impact.

Let me also point out that, under Florida state law, if someone does want to challenge one of those absentee ballots on the grounds that the person that requested it does not qualify for voting by absentee ballot under the overseas provisions, then that ballot must be challenged before it is removed from the outer envelope. So if someone's going to challenge any of these ballots, they better be in those county supervisors' offices when the counting begins.

SHAW: Oh, my; David Cardwell, CNN election law analyst, thanks very much for that guidance.

And coming up next here on INSIDE POLITICS, Brooks Jackson on the little card that is the source of so much conflict in you know where.


WOODRUFF: At the center of the recount dispute in Florida's Palm Beach County is the punch-card ballot. Over the last eight days, there's been much discussion about the hanging and dimpled chad, among others, and the accuracy of machine counts versus manual counts.

Now our Brooks Jackson checks out the record of voting by punch card.


JACKSON (voice-over): Machine counts infallible? Forget about it! The kind of punch-card ballot used in Palm Beach is notorious for inaccuracy and has been for years: as election expert Kimball Brace inadvertently demonstrated for us.

KIMBALL BRACE, ELECTION DATA SERVICES INC.: A voter would take this card and slip it into the device here. When they're finished, they pull it out and they see that they've got holes.

One would hope that they have punched the right holes that they wanted and that they don't have, like we have here, a hanging chad.

JACKSON (on camera): You've got one?

BRACE: Right there.

JACKSON (voice-over): These hanging bits of paper and the miscounts they cause have long been a problem. The so-called "Votomatic" system was developed in the 1960s, based on IBM technology that's now long obsolete.

But as long ago as 1988, there were calls to get rid of it. A National Bureau of Standards report said -- quote -- "It is generally not possible to exactly duplicate a count obtained on prescored...


... punch-card ballots be ended.

Later that...


SHAW: I'm going to interrupt Brooks Jackson's report and take you live to West Palm Beach, Florida. The canvassing committee is meeting at a news conference rather, and this is Carol Roberts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... and has given all the interested parties, which would be Broward County, which was also allowed to intervene in this matter, an opportunity to file their replies, but we will not hear anything before noon tomorrow. The judges will have everything before them to make a decision, and we hope to hear something in the early afternoon.

On the second case that Katherine Harris had filed, the Supreme Court denied her petition, and so there will be no cases transferred to Leon County, and all other issues would be disposed of in the trial courts.

JUDGE CHARLES BURTON, PALM BEACH COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD: All right. So as I understand the Supreme Court order as it relates to the petition by Palm Beach County, they directed the secretary of state and the attorney general to file a response by 9:00 a.m., and then they left all parties the option of filing a reply up to 12:00 noon. All right, so we would then be awaiting, based on the motion that was previously made before, we would be essentially waiting for the Supreme Court's opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we are continuing to wait.

CAROL ROBERTS, PALM BEACH COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD: Mr. Chair, just based on what just happened here and the fact that we still waiting to start our recount -- Broward County started -- no court that told us we can't count, I would like to make a motion that we just reconvene at 1:00 and make a decision and hopefully we might hear something.

BURTON: Well, the only issue is that obviously nobody knows when we're going to hear anything.

ROBERTS: I understand that, but so far no court's told us we can't count, and we're not counting, and I just think that we ought to -- the attorney seems to feel that at least before noon nothing's going to happen. I would like to ask that we meet by 1:00, meet here at 1:00, and let's come up with some decision. We need to start counting. Palm Beach County needs to have its votes counted. Broward County, which is also in that same case, has determined it's OK for them to count.

So I'd just to make a motion we meet at 1:00 so we can have -- as a board meeting and discuss that.

BURTON: All right.

And does it matter? 1:00? 2:00? 1:30? Do you have a preference anybody?

SAVIDGE: What you've been listening to is the elections canvassing board as they are discussing, actually, when they can conduct their recount here. Now we've already heard from the Florida state Supreme Court saying that the recount can go ahead.

But apparently, there are some other motions that are yet to be introduced or followed up on as a result of that hearing, and this particular county knows that it is in the middle and under a political microscope. They've been criticized in the past by the Republican Party, so they're being very careful here. Going over the minutia, they believe that may not have a clear indication, if at all, until 1:00 tomorrow afternoon.

Carol Roberts is woman that was saying that perhaps we should reconvene at 1:00 and then make some sort of determination as to whether or not to go ahead with a recount. She clearly wants to move ahead with the recount. She believes they have the green light.

Broward County is already going forward with its recount. They had about 50 elections workers here standing by to start the process today. They never got to work. They never got to work yesterday, and keep in mind they're projecting this process will take at least a week.

So there is an anxiousness to get started, especially now they believe that the court has ruled in favor of allowing this county to go forward with a total countywide manual recount. The discussion will go on and it appears they are not going to start counting this evening -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Martin Savidge, West Palm Beach. Marty summing up another breaking event. We're still standing by for a statement by Vice President Al Gore here in Washington. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: At about 6:25, Eastern time we are expecting a statement from Vice President Al Gore from his residence, the vice presidential residence here in Washington. While we wait to hear from him, let's go now to our Patty Davis, who's been talking with some folks in the Gore campaign.

Patty, getting perhaps some advanced word on what he's going to have to say?

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, a Gore campaign source expects the vice president to say how happy he is with the fact that the hand counts can now proceed in the state of Florida with that Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court decision to reject the secretary of state's move to stop those -- to stop the recounts as well as to go ahead and consolidate. They voted against -- they ruled against consolidating all those lawsuits as well.

Of course, Vice President Al Gore hasn't appeared in public for the last couple of days. This will be the first time that we get a chance to see him. He has given all of his public relations moves and legal moves to his legal team, his surrogates, the campaign there down in Tallahassee, where they are holding many of the press conferences and we expect to hear more now.

What we believe is that he's happy now with what's happened in Florida today. The Gore campaign says that it's had some good legal victories there -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Patty Davis and, of course, we will bring you the statement from the vice president as soon as it begins -- Bernie.

SHAW: We do know that eventually after all the recounts and legal challenges either George W. Bush or Al Gore will be sworn in as the 43rd president of the United States of America.

But when that happens, our Jeff Greenfield says the other will be left with a heavy burden -- Jeff.

GREENFIELD: That's right, Bernie. When we finally do figure out who won this election, the loser and his foot soldiers are going to experience the tortures of the damned. Not just because they lost, but because it was so astonishingly close.

When you lose in a landslide, there's no second-guessing. The country just wanted someone else. But to lose by a whisker? That's when you begin to think, if only.


GREENFIELD (voice-over): If only George W. Bush had picked a more politically potent running mate. Governor Tom Ridge might have given him Pennsylvania. Senator John McCain would might have won over more independents and so would general Colin Powell.

If only Al Gore had worked his Southern, centrist roots in the border states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia. Bill Clinton won them all in '92 and '96. Gore lost them all which is what made Florida so critical for him.

If only Bush hadn't stumbled through September, mangling words and muttering an obscenity. It cost him almost a month of sinking poll numbers. If only Gore had worn less makeup and sighed a little less during that first debate. It threw him off stride for the next two debates, and those contests that were supposed to close the sale for Gore, instead gave bush a big boost.

If only Bush had revealed that old DUI arrest months ago, it would have been a non-issue. But the late disclosure cost him some votes in those closing days, and those votes might well make all the difference in the popular vote.

If only Gore had figured out how to use Bill Clinton to turn out Democrats without turning off independent votes, he might have picked up another critical state or two.

If only Bush hadn't spent precious time and millions of dollars in California and then taken that last Sunday off, he might have put Florida away that final weekend. If only Gore had won his home state of Tennessee with its 11 crucial electoral votes.


GREENFIELD: For the vice president, this one final agonizing reflection that dates back long before this campaign. If only President Clinton said to the intern, thank you for the pizza, Ms. Lewinsky, but I've got a lot of work. So there's the door. Well, as John Greenleaf Whittier said, for of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these -- it what might have been.

And we still don't know what is, Judy and Bernie.

SHAW: No we certainly don't, Jeff.

WOODRUFF: Indeed, as we've been telling our audience, Bernie, we are expecting a statement from Vice President Gore any moment now. We are told it's just moments away. We will bring that you as soon as it happens. We're going to take a break. And we also want to point out that we will resume the -- pick up the "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" in progress just as soon as the vice president's statement is over. We'll be right back.



FEYERICK: ... denied the secretary of state's request to combine all of the lawsuits and she had wanted it filed here in Tallahassee. That would have given her more control over the litigation. But they said no, the lawsuits will stay where they are. Now, one thing the Bush campaign did clarify is that these were denied without prejudice. So, effectively, what that means is that anyone can pursue this in other courts, just not in the supreme court.

Reporting from Tallahassee, Deborah Feyerick, back to you. SHAW: And quickly, thank you Deborah, to Martin Savidge in West Palm Beach, Florida.

And Marty, if you can do it in about 30 seconds, we are told Vice President Al Gore is just about ready to talk, but please proceed.

SAVIDGE: OK, here we go. The vote recount has not started, is not going to start tonight, may not start tomorrow until after 1:00. The court ruling came down from the supreme court in Florida. Apparently, here they do not believe that has given them the green light to start. There is some new word here, confusion.

Back to you, Bernie.

SHAW: OK, thank you, Martin Savidge in West Palm Beach, Florida.

And so, we in Washington are waiting a statement by Vice President Al Gore. He's coming in now.

GORE: This has been an extraordinary eight days for the American people, and I wanted to speak with you briefly about how I believe we should conclude this election.

The campaign is over, but a test of our democracy is now under way. It is a test we must pass, and it is a test we will pass with flying colors. All we need is a common agreement that what is at stake here is not who wins and who loses in a contest for the presidency, but how we honor our Constitution and make sure that our democracy works as our founders intended it to work.

This is a time to respect every voter and every vote. This is a time to honor the true will of the people. So our goal must be what is right for America.

There is a simple reason that Florida law and the law in many other states calls for a careful check by real people of the machine results in elections like this one. The reason? Machines can sometimes misread or fail to detect the way ballots are cast, and when there are serious doubts, checking the machine count with a careful hand count is accepted far and wide as the best way to know the true intentions of the voters.

That is why there have already been partial or complete hand counts not just in two Democratic counties in Florida, but in six Republican counties as well.

We need a resolution that is fair and final. We need to move expeditiously to the most complete and accurate count that is possible. And that is why I propose this evening a way to settle this matter with finality and justice in a period of days, not weeks.

First, we should complete hand counts already begun in Palm Beach County, Dade County and Broward County to determine the true intentions of the voters based on an objective evaluation of their ballots.

Observers and participants from both parties should be present in every counting room, as required under Florida law.

The results of this recount would, of course, be added to the present certified vote total and the overseas absentee vote total. If this happens, I will abide by the result, I will take no legal action to challenge the result, and I will not support any legal action to challenge the result.

I am also prepared, if Governor Bush prefers, to include in this recount all the counties in the entire state of Florida. I would also be willing to abide by that result and agree not to take any legal action to challenge that result. If there are no further interruptions to the process, we believe the count can be completed with seven days of the time it starts.

Now, second, I propose that Governor Bush and I meet personally, one on one, as soon as possible, before the vote count is finished, not to negotiate, but to improve the tone of our dialogue in America. We should both call on all of our supporters to respect the outcome of this election, whatever it may be. We should both call on all our supporters to prepare themselves to close ranks as Americans and unite the country behind the winner as soon as this process is completed.

Shortly after the results are known, we should both come together for another meeting, to reaffirm our national unity. If I turn out to be successful, I'll be ready to travel to Governor Bush's home. If I am not, I'll be ready to meet him wherever he wishes.

GORE: I would also like to urge all of those speaking for either of us to do their part to lift up this discourse, to refrain from using inflammatory language, and to avoid statements that could make it harder for our country to come together once the counting is over. That is the direction I have given to my own campaign.

I don't know what the final results will show, but I do know this is about much more than what happens to me or my opponent; it is about our democracy. My faith is in the people's will, in our Constitution and in our system of self-government.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless America.

SHAW: Vice President Al Gore making this statement at the vice president's official residence here in Washington. You saw with him his running mate, Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Essentially, if you missed the top of Mr. Gore's remarks, he made a proposal. He said that we should complete the hand recount in the following counties, Palm Beach, Dade and Broward and he said all of Florida's 67 counties for that matter. He vowed to abide by the results.

He said would take no legal action, nor would he challenge it, nor would he encourage others or join in participation of a possible challenge.

He also said that he would like to meet with Governor Bush personally to improve what he called the dialogue in America and he ended by saying this is about much more than what happens to me and my opponent -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Let's go right now to Austin, Texas to CNN's Candy Crowley, who, of course, has been covering the Bush campaign, and here in Washington CNN's Patty Davis.

Candy, other than the proposal to meet, which does seem to be brand-new, the vice president, as I heard it, is essentially restating what his camp has been saying for the last several days. They want a full count of all the absentee ballots, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Broward County, a count of the absentee ballots -- I'm sorry, a hand count of those three counties plus the absentee ballots. And the vice president says he'll abide by those results.

Now, I don't think you've had time to get reaction in the last moment from the Bush people, but based on what you know, what do you expect there, the reaction would be?

CROWLEY: Well, you're right. The camera is quicker than the phone at this point, so we have to await their official reaction. I think that what you did hear was the vice president trying to set a tone here. You didn't hear a lot different from what their position has always been, which is, OK, let's finish these counts in these four Democratic counties and I'll abide by the rules.

We did hear, if you want to hear a total recount of all the counties in Florida, that would be fine with us, too. I'm not getting into Florida law at this point. You know, woe be the person who does. But the Bush campaign felt that under Florida law the time to ask for hand recounts in any of those other counties has long since passed.

So you know, as far as some kind of communication between the two of them or some kind of meeting, it's an interesting concept. We'll just have to wait and see what the Bush team has to say about it.

WOODRUFF: Patty Davis, was there a sense leading up to this that the Gore camp was looking to sort of come out of the blue, if you will, with a proposal to lower the level of tough rhetoric that's been flying around?

DAVIS: Well, there has been a lot of tough rhetoric flying around, and the Gore campaign, some of the aides here, are the ones who have been escalating this themselves.

What the Gore campaign feels that they can gain here by saying, hey, let's go with these hand recounts is they really think that they can gain votes in these largely Democratic counties: Dade, Broward as well as Palm Beach. They feel that their candidate can -- can come out ahead.

Obviously, Al Gore wouldn't support this kind of proposal, wouldn't be proposing it if he didn't feel he could come out the winner in the end out of all this, although an olive branch for him as well, saying that he would support a recount in all 67 counties, a hand recount. So, that's what -- that's what the Gore campaign is saying from this end.

WOODRUFF: Candy, it seems to me for the Bush folks to accept what the vice president is suggesting here with regard to accepting the hand counts in three disputed counties where the Democrats say there is some dispute would be a reversal on their part.

CROWLEY: Well, it would. And also, they -- we heard from James Baker this afternoon, who made the point that they had been making really since last Wednesday, which is, look, we've had a vote. Now they say we've had a recount. We've had another recount. James Baker said by his tally they've had four recounts in Palm Beach County.

They have always said what Patty is alluding to, which is that what the Gore team is not looking for is a fair and accurate reading of what voters want. What the Gore team is looking for is a victory in those heavily Democratic counties.

I think it's a nonstarter to believe that the Bush team will say, oh, yeah, OK, let's just count, you know, these three counties that are in dispute, add in the absentee ballots and call it a day. That's been out there all along for them to accept, and I -- they're not going to accept that as far as I can see now.

In terms of meetings and all of that kind of stuff, I would suggest that probably the Bush team might think it's a little premature to be doing that kind of thing. But again, we haven't heard officially from them how they look at this proposal.

WOODRUFF: Patty, on another point that the vice president made about improving the tone of the dialogue, lifting the rhetoric above some of the tough language we've been listening to, at least half of that tough language has been coming from his own people.

DAVIS: That's right. His own press secretary has called the secretary of state in Florida a hack. She's the one who's in charge of certifying the ballots in the state of Florida. And the question in some circles was, if he really wants to lift up this rhetoric, why doesn't he go on and talk to his own officials, his own campaign aides, and try to get them to tone down their rhetoric? -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Patty Davis here in Washington, Candy Crowley in Austin; and Candy, I know as soon as some of the Bush people are ready to comment or to react, CNN will be very interested in what they have to say.

And just, quickly, to sum up, we did just hear from the vice president who made a statement, in essence saying that he sticks with the current position of his campaign, that he'd like to see a complete hand recount in those three counties in south Florida. He'd like to see the absentee ballots counted, he's ready to accept that; secondly, he'd like to meet with Governor Bush to talk about improving the tone of all this and also went on to suggest a meeting after the results are known.

We're going to take a break. More of our special coverage after that.


SHAW: Once again CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider pulls up a chair. Bill, in the statement carried live just moments ago by CNN, Vice President Al Gore, over there at his mansion here in Washington said at one point, quote, "we need a resolution that is fair and final," unquote. My question to you is, how much do you suppose fear of a public backlash over all that's happening is driving what's being said here?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Bernie, I think that's definitely part of it. The Bush campaign has been saying over and over again, we want closure and they want this process to go on and on and on until they get the result they want. That's why the vice president was careful today to say, I'm not delaying this forever. If we just take these final steps, complete the recounts in those counties plus the overseas ballots, declare a winner, whoever it is -- he said we will not challenge those results, we will drop all legal action, there will be no more lawsuits or litigation.

What he's offering Bush is closure if he gets what he wants, which is a count in those three counties. Now what about the fact that those three counties are selected? Those are democratic counties -- they're all along the southeastern gold coast of Florida, which have a lot of minority groups that are sympathetic to the Democrats.

Well, the vice president said, if Mr. Bush wants, he can include all the counties in the state. We'll have a recount in the whole state, including areas that are more Republican. And you know what that does? That puts the burden on Governor Bush for prolonging this ordeal. Bush would be the one to say, I want it for the whole states; and then if it goes on week after week after week, the Gore people would say, well he's the one who wants to count the whole state. He's the one who's holding things up.

Very clever.

SHAW: What about his proposal that he and Texas Governor George Walker Bush sit down to, in his words, "improve the dialogue in America"? Neither man has poisoned the air with rhetoric. That cannot be said for their respective camps.

SCHNEIDER: That's right.

SHAW: So what is he trying to do here?

SCHNEIDER: I think he's trying to, essentially say, look, we have to tone this down. Clearly, Gore wants the recount to continue until, you know, at least these three counties are finished. But believes that the poisonous atmosphere that's developing over this dispute is hurting both men and the political process.

I think that was a genuine offer on the part of the Gore campaign, to try to say nobody is winning this fight and it's embarrassing for both of us and it's going to hurt the country and the next president whoever that is.

SHAW: Well, tactically, is it really likely -- is it likely that Governor Bush would sit down with his opponent before the American people know who the 43rd president is going to be? Is it likely?

SCHNEIDER: I think that Governor Bush would probably say, well, it depends on what he wants to talk about, I mean, and what does he want to do? Are they going to just discuss the language that people use. I mean, it's hard to really control that.

I think they can probably communicate in ways without having some sort of a summit meeting. So I'm not sure they're going to agree to that. After one of them is elected, then I think there will be time -- that would be the correct time in this very close election for the two men to sit down and discuss exactly what happened and what it means.

SHAW: And finally, you know what I was most struck by? The fact that he did not refer to the Florida Supreme Court denial of the Florida secretary of state's request that the hand counting be stopped. He didn't refer to that. He didn't say I'm pleased with the results of the court ruling at all. That struck me.

SCHNEIDER: Well, that struck me. He didn't refer to that and you know why, because we had just reported. Everybody had just reported it. By the way, the timing of this is very interesting. He's timed it so he could live on all the broadcast network news programs to the entire country. He timed this to get the maximum possible exposure. It was really a speech to the nation.

Now he knows that all news of the programs have reported what is in effect a victory for Gore campaign that the recounts could continue. The court said that. He has won a triumph, But instead of coming out in triumph and saying, we won, we won, which would further poison the atmosphere, he took advantage of news reports and he's saying to the country, OK, you've heard we won. Now, let me make an offer that can settle this thing. It was, I think, a very smart move.

SHAW: And of course now, the people in Texas, in Austin, Governor Bush well aware that the Thursday morning newspapers go to bed very shortly, so they have to make a decision as to whether or not they're going to respond publicly so that when Americans wake up tomorrow, read the headlines, they'll also have Governor Bush's take on that.


SHAW: CNN's coverage of recount Election 2000 will continue in a moment.


WOODRUFF: Well, at the center of the recount dispute, as we told you a little earlier this evening on "INSIDE POLITICS." in Palm Beach County is the so-called punch card ballot. Over the last eight days there's been a lot a discussion about the hanging chad and the dimple chad and the accuracy of machine counts versus manual counts.

Well, now, we're going to try again and show you a report from Brooks Jackson, to check out the record of voting by punch card.


JACKSON (voice-over): Machine counts infallible? Forget about it. The kind of punch card ballot used in Palm Beach is notorious for inaccuracy and has been for years, as election expert Kimball Brace inadvertently demonstrated for us.


KIMBALL BRACE, ELECTION DATA SERVICES, INC.: A voter would take this card and slip it into the device here. When they're finish they pull it out and they see that they've got holes. One would hope they've punched the right holes that they wanted and that they don't have, like we have here, a hanging chad.

JACKSON (on camera): You've got one.

BRACE: Right there.


JACKSON (voice-over): These hanging bits of paper and the miscounts they've caused have long been a problem. The so-called Votomatic system was developed in the 1960s based on IBM technology that's now long obsolete,

But as long ago as 1988 there were calls to get rid of it. A National Bureau of Standards report said, quote: "It is generally not possible to exactly duplicate a count obtained on pre-scored punch cards. It is recommended that the use of pre-scored punch card ballots be ended."

Later that same year, a second, separate report the nonprofit group ECRI said in bold face -- quote: "Chad from pre-scored punch cards tend to fall out randomly during recounts. We recommend strongly against use of Votomatic-type recorders requiring prescored ballots."

Behind those reports was a series of disputed elections, including, ironically, a 1984 election in Palm Beach County for the office of property appraiser. The Bureau of Standards report said of that race -- quote: "Clearly there were problems of hanging chad."

Lawsuits dragged on for months, but Palm Beach is still using the same type of system, as are counties in which 31 percent of registered voters live. Defenders say the Votomatic system is accurate if voters follow instructions and remove any dangling chad.

PAUL NOLTE, ELECTION RESOURCES CORP.: I don't think there's any problems with the punch-card voting system. I think that no matter what voting system you're using, there is a certain responsibility that's the voter's responsibility to cast a ballot according to the way that they were instructed to cast the ballot.

JACKSON: Nolte's company designed the software used to print ballots in Palm Beach. But voters there didn't always perform the way officials like. About 19 percent of voters still use old-fashioned lever machines, which aren't made anymore.

The trend is to paper ballots designed to be scanned optically, used by 27 percent of voters, and electronic systems used by more than 9 percent. A few still use hand-counted paper ballots. This map shows what a hodgepodge of systems the country uses. But why are any punch cards still in use given their problems?

BRACE: We're still using them because of the dollar figure, the money. It is very expensive to replace a voting system.

JACKSON: Upgrading to electronic systems could cost $20 million in a county of a million population. Officials are often reluctant to spend the money.

LARRY NAAKE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES: When you have priorities like police and fire, when you have priorities like public hospitals and health and welfare systems, the justice system, roads -- you have to make decisions. And so, you know, people only go to the polls about once a year.

JACKSON (on camera): But this year, it isn't just a property appraiser race that's fouled up by bits of dangling paper. It's for the most powerful office on Earth.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Our apologies to viewers who may be tuning in looking for the "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR." Developments in this Florida recount keeps us -- our eyes and ears glued to developments down there, so that's what we're continuing to follow. We're going to take a break. We'll be back with more of what the vice president had to say about all of this. We'll be right back.


SHAW: "THE MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is not being shown at this time because of breaking developments in the Florida recount story. Here now, briefly, a repeat of the latest developments in the state of Florida.

The Florida supreme court in Tallahassee has denied the secretary of state's request to block further hand counting of ballots.

In Atlanta, Georgia, a federal appeals court now will consider arguments from the Bush campaign to stop the manual recounts in Florida.

And according to the official count in Florida, Texas Governor George Bush still has a 300-vote lead over Vice President Al Gore. And a half-hour ago, CNN carried live a four-minute statement made by Vice President Al Gore with his running mate Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman at his side. Here now, that statement.


GORE: This has been an extraordinary eight days for the American people, and I wanted to speak with you briefly about how I believe we should conclude this election.

The campaign is over, but a test of our democracy is now under way. It is a test we must pass, and it is a test we will pass with flying colors. All we need is a common agreement that what is at stake here is not who wins and who loses in a contest for the presidency, but how we honor our Constitution and make sure that our democracy works as our founders intended it to work.

This is a time to respect every voter and every vote. This is a time to honor the true will of the people. So our goal must be what is right for America.

There is a simple reason that Florida law and the law in many other states calls for a careful check by real people of the machine results in elections like this one. The reason? Machines can sometimes misread or fail to detect the way ballots are cast, and when there are serious doubts, checking the machine count with a careful hand count is accepted far and wide as the best way to know the true intentions of the voters.

That is why there have already been partial or complete hand counts not just in two Democratic counties in Florida, but in six Republican counties as well.

We need a resolution that is fair and final. We need to move expeditiously to the most complete and accurate count that is possible. And that is why I propose this evening a way to settle this matter with finality and justice in a period of days, not weeks.

First, we should complete hand counts already begun in Palm Beach County, Dade County and Broward County to determine the true intentions of the voters based on an objective evaluation of their ballots.

Observers and participants from both parties should be present in every counting room, as required under Florida law.

The results of this recount would, of course, be added to the present certified vote total and the overseas absentee vote total. If this happens, I will abide by the result, I will take no legal action to challenge the result, and I will not support any legal action to challenge the result.

I am also prepared, if Governor Bush prefers, to include in this recount all the counties in the entire state of Florida. I would also be willing to abide by that result and agree not to take any legal action to challenge that result. If there are no further interruptions to the process, we believe the count can be completed with seven days of the time it starts.

Now, second, I propose that Governor Bush and I meet personally, one on one, as soon as possible, before the vote count is finished, not to negotiate, but to improve the tone of our dialogue in America. We should both call on all of our supporters to respect the outcome of this election, whatever it may be. We should both call on all our supporters to prepare themselves to close ranks as Americans and unite the country behind the winner as soon as this process is completed.

Shortly after the results are known, we should both come together for another meeting, to reaffirm our national unity. If I turn out to be successful, I'll be ready to travel to Governor Bush's home. If I am not, I'll be ready to meet him wherever he wishes.

I would also like to urge all of those speaking for either of us to do their part to lift up this discourse, to refrain from using inflammatory language, and to avoid statements that could make it harder for our country to come together once the counting is over. That is the direction I have given to my own campaign.

I don't know what the final results will show, but I do know this is about much more than what happens to me or my opponent; it is about our democracy. My faith is in the people's will, in our Constitution and in our system of self-government.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless America.


WOODRUFF: That statement from Vice President Gore about half an hour ago at the vice president's residence here in Washington.

Joining us now, Candy Crowley, our correspondent, who's been covering the Bush campaign throughout this election. She's in Austin, Texas. Here in Washington, our political analyst Bill Schneider.

Candy, it has now been about 30 minutes. Let me first ask you if there is any word from the Bush folks on what the vice president had to say.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Other than the fact that in Austin headquarters there is now a top-level meeting going on about how to respond to this, we don't have any official response, no.

WOODRUFF: Candy, this is, as we were discussing just a moment ago, basically a restatement of the position we've been hearing from the Gore camp that they want the hand count where there's some dispute in South Florida. They want the absentee ballots counted. What may be slightly new is the vice president offering to drop any legal action or any support for legal action challenging this after all those ballots are in and counted.

CROWLEY: Well, the Bush campaign has long said for days now that the reason they want these hand recounts in these three heavily Democratic counties is that they believe that they can get a victory here. James Baker today is the sole person that has been out there talking for the Bush campaign. He, of course, is in Florida overseeing Bush's interest there. And in terms of the rhetoric, it was very stiff rhetoric, but he made it clear again that the Bush camp believes that the Gore camp wants these recounts in Democratic territories not because they want an accurate or fair count, but because they want victory.

WOODRUFF: But they also -- the vice president also said, Candy, that he would be prepared to go along with a statewide recount, in other words, including Republican counties, Republican majority counties as well as Democratic majority counties.

CROWLEY: Well, let me just sort of hark back to a conversation I had late last week with a Republican on the ground in Florida sort of overseeing these legal matters, who said to me, you know, the time has passed for, under Florida state law, for us to ask for a recount in any of these Florida counties. So at least last week they were arguing that they can't have hand counts in Florida Republican counties, because the time under Florida law had passed.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's bring in Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst.

Bill, where -- with this statement by the vice president, who has the upper ground here, the higher ground here? Is it Gore or is it Bush?

SCHNEIDER: Well, this statement I think it's Gore. He's made an offer, it's on the table, and now it's up to the Bush campaign to respond. It sounds like a reasonable offer, I think, to most Americans. After all, a lot of this is a game for public opinion, public relations.

He says, look, I'm not going to delay this process indefinitely. I'm going to stop all legal challenges if we just fulfill these conditions, which frankly have been on the table for some time, count the ballots by hand in these three counties, count the overseas ballots that come in on Friday, and then declare a winner, whoever that might be.

The Gore camp -- the Bush campaign is going to cry foul, these are selective counties, because they're heavily Democratic. They'll say but the standards for counting those ballots are not clear and that the ballots are being handled and rehandled and rehandled, and therefore, the votes could be changed, and they'll complain about that. And of course, if they do demand a statewide recount, because these our Democratic counties, then the burden will be on the Bush campaign for prolonging this outcome forever and they can no longer say, we want closure.

So, I think in this case, Gore has seized the advantage, particularly after the court decision that went in his favor today.

WOODRUFF: But Candy, meanwhile you also have, still underway in Atlanta, the effort by the Bush camp to get a favorable ruling out of the federal appeals court there on the question of these hand recounts. That's entirely separate from whatever the vice president may propose.

CROWLEY: Absolutely; and we'll tell you that the Bush people have called repeatedly on saying, look, you know, you're not quite reading this state Supreme Court in Florida decision quite accurately. They point out that, while they joined in the secretary of state's appeal to the Supreme Court, that lawyers for the Bush team said in a press conference just this afternoon that they didn't believe the state Supreme Court in Florida had jurisdiction over these matters.

May be a small point, be we are into legalities, after all.

Look, again, not since -- I have not heard the Bush camp change its opinions about having recounts, or as they say, recount after recount, in these three democratic counties. They believe it is rife with the potential for mistake, rife with the potential for mischief, as they call it. And as Bill just said, and what was brought up today by James Baker, who's overseeing Bush's interest in Florida, look, every time you handle those ballots, you know, one of those chads falls off or one of them gets dimpled or, you know, whatever.

And they just believe that the longer this goes on and the more they're handled, you know, the worse it is. They also believe that, in these counties, there are no uniform standards for what counts as a vote.

So, yes, they have gone to the 11th circuit court of appeals a couple of days ago, in fact, and are putting together, now, their argument there that these recounts in Florida are a constitutional matter because it deprives other voters whose ballots were not so scrutinized. It dilutes, as they say, those votes.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to leave it there; Bill Schneider here in Washington, Candy Crowley in Austin.

We're going to take a break. When we come back, more of our special coverage of the Florida recount.


SHAW: We're going to check in again with two of our correspondents in Florida, Martin Savidge in West Palm Beach, Florida, and also Deborah Feyerick in Tallahassee.

Deborah, first to you. Following the ruling by the state supreme court there denying the secretary of state's request that the hand counting of ballots be stopped, has she or her office had any response to that ruling?

FEYERICK: No, her office hasn't had any response to this particular ruling. And one thing we do want to clarify, also, the supreme court, in denying this motion, basically, they dismissed it without prejudice. So, really what that means is they said, you know, you're more than welcome to pursue this, just don't pursue this here in our court. You have got to go to other courts in order to do that.

SHAW: Any talk where you are about the political backdrop of this: she a Republican, they, the seven members, acting unanimously on the state supreme court, all appointed by Democratic governors?

FEYERICK: Well, in this particular climate, Bernie, nothing can be done without any sort of specter of partisan politics. Of course, she, Katherine Harris, the secretary of state, a very well known Republican supporter. She was a co-chairwoman on the George Bush campaign here in Florida. And so the Democrats see whatever she's doing in the light of her Republican contacts. Meantime, the Republicans see anybody who's even remotely a Democrat as acting in the interest, of course, of Vice President Gore.

SHAW: Deborah Feyerick in Tallahassee.

Now, Marty Savidge, to you. You were unceremoniously shortened or abbreviated because we had to cut away back to Washington for Vice President Gore's statement. So, we come to you to give us a capsule of what's happened where you are on the ground there.

SAVIDGE: Well, Bernie, I hate to be the one to introduce a technicality, because, goodness knows, we've had no shortage of those in the state of Florida. But, in his statement, Vice President Al Gore said that those recounts that are underway in the state of Florida should be allowed to continue and come forward with votes that count.

They aren't counting here in Palm Beach County. They haven't been counting for two days and technically their recount for the full county here has not gotten underway. And that has not been ignored by the canvassing board in this particular county because the ruling that came out of the state supreme court today, they believe -- and this is how they interpret it here, not how it was interpreted in Tallahassee -- they believe may not necessarily apply to this particular hand count. Because, you see, Palm Beach County itself appealed to the state supreme court to get clarification. The supreme court of Florida did not rule on the Palm Beach County motion. They ruled on the one that Katherine Harris, the secretary of state of Florida had put in.

So, that is why there is a sense of some limbo here in Palm Beach County. That is why they are still hoping that the state supreme court will give them guidance about this particular county's recount. And so that is why all the election workers have been sent home tonight and nobody is inside that building counting the ballots at this moment. So, technically the recount that the vice president was referring to specifically in Palm Beach County is not underway and has not even started -- Bernie.

SHAW: Well, some people might think that to be a technicality, but Martin Savidge, I regard that as a very important point what you just stressed in your reporting. Thanks very much.

CNN's live coverage of Recount 2000 will continue with two of our friends from "CROSSFIRE" in a moment.


WOODRUFF: Joining us more to talk about the latest developments in the Florida recount, Bill Press of CNN's "CROSSFIRE," Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard," a familiar face in "INSIDE POLITICS."

Bill Press, does the vice president's statement shift the ground here?

BILL PRESS, HOST, CNN "CROSSFIRE": I think it does very much so, Judy. You know, this is something I know that's been talked about inside the Gore camp for the last two or three days. And I think tonight when vice president finally made the statement, it was a bold move but I think a very smart move because it enables him to seize the high ground.

It enables him to say, let's get rid of legal wrangling. Let's set a definite deadline. Let's see an end game here. There is some risk in that when you count all the hand counts and the absentees he could still lose. But I think it's risk worth taking because he at least -- at the worse, he goes out looking like a statesman. But he at least posits to American people let's get it over with by this weekend and move on.

WOODRUFF: Tucker, does the vice president gain the upper hand?

T. CARLSON: Well, I think the Bush campaign needs to get on television pretty quickly. I mean, it's moving on an hour since Gore did this. This is the time of day when people are watching news, and I think that someone from Bush campaign ought to get on the air and say, look, the suggestion we allow a hand count in three Democratic- controlled counties is like saying drop your hands while we cold-cock you in the face.

You know, Gore wouldn't be suggesting this if he didn't think it was going to lead him to becoming president. So I think they need to respond to it, and I think someone ought to point out the whole drop the inflammatory rhetoric business. They ought to contrast that with video of Gore's spokesman referring to poor Katherine Harris as a Soviet commissar. I mean, you really could have fun with it and they should start doing it quickly.

WOODRUFF: Yes, question come from both sides, Bill Press, I just got off the phone during the break, actually, with Bill Daley, who says that the dropping of legal action once the ballots are counted and saying we'll accept it, he's trying to say this is a significant move on their part because they have allies down in south Florida who don't want to see the lawsuits dropped.

PRESS: Of course, there's a question as to how much they can control all of those allies. These are independent people, after all, and some of them may go ahead with some lawsuits even without the Gore campaign's backing. Questionable about how much weight they would carry. But I want to come back to what Tucker said, I think Gore anticipated the Bush response.

The easy response is, oh, yes. You want a hand count in three counties where Gore said, OK, if you want it, let's take all 67 counties. To me, that's what the Republican should have said in the beginning, because it's hard to come out against counting votes that have not been counted. So take all 67 counties, take seven days, count them all.

T. CARLSON: But they have in fact been counted. But still, I agree it's a strong rhetorical case and that's why I think the Bush people need to get out immediately and counter it.

WOODRUFF: But Tucker, what is the argument against doing a statewide recount?

T. CARLSON: Well, the argument is, and it's actually a pretty good argument if you make it well, that hand counting introduces an element of subjectivity into the process and hand counting makes it very difficult to say, you know, political motivation didn't enter in here whereas when you count by machine, of course, you can't blame, you know, political bias on a machine. And it undermines the faith, potentially could undermine the faith people have in election.

PRESS: And may I add the counter to that, of course, that is in Florida there have been many, many, many hand counts, weeks after election. Hand counts for county commissioner, hand counts for county sheriff. If they have a hand count for county sheriff, it seems to me that maybe it's worthwhile having one for the president of the United States.

T. CARLSON: Well, that argument could go either way. I mean, just because it's happened before in Florida elections doesn't mean it needs to happen again.

WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, we're going to have to wrap up there. But before we go, Bill Press, who is on "CROSSFIRE" tonight?

PRESS: Oh, tonight we have Senator John Breaux speaking for Al Gore and Mark Foley, congressman and Republican Mark Foley who's down in Tallahassee and we're going to get his reaction to what he thinks that the Bush people aren't on TV. We'll ask Mark Foley what he thinks the Bush people ought to do.


T. CARLSON: He's standing.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Press, Tucker Carlson -- Bernie.

SHAW: Well, that concludes our coverage of Recount 2000 in Florida. As Bill Press -- well, I'm being told that we'll be right back in a moment.


SHAW: Still to come on CNN in about, oh, three minutes, CNN's "CROSSFIRE," Bill Press, Tucker Carlson. Their guests: Louisiana Senator John Breaux, a Democrat, and Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley. And at 10 p.m., Eastern, Judy and I will be right back with a one hour special, "The Florida Recount." WOODRUFF: With our friends Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider. And that's it for our special coverage of this Florida election recount, I'm Judy Woodruff...


SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: We'll see you later.

SHAW: My apology.

WOODRUFF: Mine, too.



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