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Election 2000: Bush Campaign Reacting to Florida Supreme Court Ruling, Cheney Hospitalization

Aired November 22, 2000 - 8:14 a.m. ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Going to go back now to Austin, Texas now and CNN's Tony Clark watching two fronts, first of all, the Bush reaction to what happen here last night and also the latest on the vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney.

Tony, good morning to you again.

TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.

In fact, you know, the focus of the campaign I think at this point is on vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney and his condition. Karen Hughes telling us that Cheney was taken to George Washington Hospital in Washington overnight, that's just a few blocks from the White House.

He was complaining of chest pains and shoulder pains. And because he has a history of heart problems, he's had a heart attack, bypass surgery, in the past, they ran a battery of tests. And those tests initially looked normal, his EKG showed no change, they checked for cardiac enzymes, and those were normal.

Karen Hughes telling us that Cheney is feeling no discomfort, he's free of discomfort at this point, but he is remaining in the hospital. We're waiting for more word from the campaign about his condition, but obviously, much of the attention right now on Dick Cheney and his condition, medical condition.

You might remember this was an issue at the start of the campaign, whether his health was good enough, but doctors gave him a clean bill of health, and he has campaigned vigorously over the past several months.

The other front is the legal front, what's going on with the Supreme Court decision. The campaign, itself, is leaving all of those comments to James Baker, their point man in Florida. And he came out with both guns blazing last night. He called the Supreme Court's decision unfair. He said the Florida Supreme Court was changing the election rules in the middle of the contest, and he left options open for the campaign. He said they could go to court, seek relief from the courts, or the Florida Legislature, which is a Republican- dominated legislature, could step in and act on its own to give George Bush the 25 electors there in Florida. We're going to wait a little bit later today to see exactly what approach they take, but this is starting out to be quite a day for the Bush campaign -- Bill.

HEMMER: Indeed it is. Tony Clark with the Bush campaign in Austin.

Now to Washington and Eileen O'Connor watching things from the Gore campaign.

Eileen, good morning to you.

EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

Well, of course, the Gore campaign is, as I said, concerned about these reports about Secretary Cheney, and they say that their thoughts and prayers are with the Cheney family. And of course, though, last night they were very pleased with the state Supreme Court decision mandating that those recounts -- manual recounts be added into the total.

They quickly brought out the vice president, very quickly brought out the vice president, to capitalize on the momentum, to seize the moment. He did not come out to gloat, but came out offering an olive branch to Gov. Bush, again asking if there could be a meeting, saying they should come together to try to bring the nation together. He also said that he and his allies would do nothing to sway any of the Electoral College, obviously, also an attempt to stave off and thwart any attempt by anyone in the Republican camp to do so on their side, as you heard Tony saying, going to the Florida Legislature to perhaps reassign those Electoral College votes.

The vice president, clearly, wanting to not just sounding pleased about the decision, but also saying that it vindicates what they have been saying all along, that every vote counts and should be counted manually, that the voters' intention must be taken into account -- Bill.

HEMMER: Eileen O'Connor in Washington. Eileen, thanks to you, and also Tony Clark in Austin.

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