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Inside Politics

Bush Camp Proceeds With Transition; Gore Campaign Challenges Florida Certification

Aired November 27, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's about the principle, but there are more than enough votes to change the outcome, and that's an important factor as well.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore prepares to explain to the nation why he's challenging Florida's certified election results. His lawyers already have begun making his case in court.


RICHARD B. CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We feel it is our obligation to the American people to honor their votes by moving forward and assembling the administration that they've chosen in this election.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: A day after declaring victory, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney press ahead with the presidential transition.

SHAW: Is that process being blocked by the federal government as the battle continues to officially claim the keys to the White House?

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We begin with Al Gore, fighting on two fronts today to keep his presidential prospects alive. In less than four hours, he will make a political appeal on national television designed to support his new legal challenge of Florida's election results certified last night as a victory for George W. Bush.

CNN's Gary Tuchman is in Tallahassee, where Bush and Gore lawyers have been arguing anew in circuit court, and in just a moment, we hope to bring Gary to us live. We'll get to that in just a moment -- Bernie.

SHAW: Now, more on Gore's legal challenges and the political case he is making for fighting on. CNN's John King is covering the vice president here in Washington.


GORE: On the other side quite frequently...

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice president's challenge now is to convince the country he's not a sore loser, his court challenge of Florida's result not a waste of time.

GORE: If every vote is counted, there are easily more than enough to change the outcome and -- and decide the election in our favor.

KING: Court papers filed by Democratic lawyers say the official 537-vote Bush margin in Florida should be thrown out, because more than 10,000 ballots in Miami-Dade County that registered no presidential vote in the machine count were never reviewed by hand, Nassau County ignored its recount results and sent the state totals more favorable to Governor Bush, and that the official statewide shortchanges Gore by ignoring 372 additional votes turned up during recounts in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

Republicans say the vice president wants to keep recounting the same ballots in hopes of getting a different result. The vice president says that's not the focus of his challenge.

GORE: What we're talking about involves many thousands of votes that have never been counted at all. And if we ignore the votes that have been cast, then where does that lead?

KING: Democrats are worried the official certification of Florida's results will convince even Gore supporters that fighting on is a lost cause. So this conference call with Democratic congressional leaders was act one in a public relations offensive designed to buy the vice president a little more time.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: We were just given a new tally this morning that if we counted all of the votes that have already been counted in some of the recounts, we'd actually be ahead by maybe nine votes. So we're encouraged by that.

KING: Former President Jimmy Carter was enlisted as well. In a statement he said in close races -- quote -- "Judicial appeals are routinely permitted to ensure a more fair and uniform interpretation of election results."

The vice president will make a direct appeal to the American people in a nationally televised address tonight.


KING: Now, that speech, the stakes could not be higher. It will run just under five minutes. The vice president essentially asking the American people to hang with him another week or so as he presses his court challenge in Florida. The vice president will make this about fairness, saying he believes every vote has not been counted. His team privately acknowledging (a) this is a very big speech for the vice president, and (b) the clock is now working against him -- Bernie.

SHAW: John, is the vice president worried that there are signs of restlessness in the land?

KING: He certainly is, Bernie. He's being advised by his own pollsters now that even about 25 percent of those who voted for Vice President Gore say it's time to bring an end to all this.

Despite the public show of support from Democrats today, top Gore advisers working the phones among congressional Democrats in a private conference call. We're told the tone was overwhelmingly positive, but the Gore campaign urging the Democrats to hang in there another week or so, saying they realize it they don't get good results out of the Florida courts, if they don't get a new count started that shows progress by the end of this week, it will be very difficult to sustain any public support for keeping the legal fight going.

SHAW: Thank you, John King.

Now, we're turning to Candy Crowley, covering the Bush camp in Austin -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, in word and in action, the message from the Bush campaign is this contest is over. George Bush was out and about leaving the governor's mansion today and heading over to the capitol, where he greeted supporters who have come to know that he will be over there at some point in the day and come to support him.

There was a bit of state business for George Bush today, and that is that he signed the certification for the Texas election, which he won quite handily, needless to say.

For now, Bush is also doing some transition talk with his chief of staff, the man he has appointed, Andy Card, but the transition was left up to Dick Cheney, who is in Washington trying to put together the supposed Bush administration.

What's the problem with the Bush team at this point is the General Accounting Office says it will not give any funds or any office space to either party while this matter is still in court. But as Cheney made clear, the Bush campaign will plow ahead anyway.


CHENEY: This is regrettable, because we believe the government has an obligation to honor the certified results of the election. Despite the decision, we feel it is our obligation to the American people to honor their votes by moving forward and assembling the administration that they've chosen in this election.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: Now, as the Bush legal team fights the good fight down in Florida, it is the Bush PR team with cheney as the head that is doing its best to undermine what is now going on in the Florida courts, and saying to the public what's happening is very, very unusual.


CHENEY: Every vote in Florida has been counted. Every vote in Florida has been recounted. Some have been counted three times. Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman are apparently still unwilling to accept the outcome. That is unfortunate in light of the penalty that may have to be paid at some future date if the next administration is not allowed to prepare to take the reigns of government.

We find ourselves in a unique and totally unprecedented position. Never before in American history has a presidential candidate gone to court to try to change the outcome of an already certified presidential election.


CROWLEY: Cheney says because of the way this election has gone, the administration or the incoming administration has already lost 30 days, and that it is their duty to the people who elected them to continue on with transition. However, they will have to do it with private fund -- Bernie.

SHAW: Candy, I'm curious, even on background, are the Bush people in Austin saying how long they think the court battle is going to last?

CROWLEY: No, because they don't know. I mean, essentially they understand, having at least watched this for the past three weeks, that most anything can happen. They do obviously think the Supreme Court hearing is key. But mostly right now what they're looking at is how is the public going to go on this. They really believe that that Florida certification on Sunday was an important milestone.

I will tell you that they were somewhat disappointed, because what they expected was that you would see at least some leading Democrats come out and begin to hint around that it was time for Al Gore to give it up. That has not happened. They expect, or rather they hope, that they will see some of this as the court proceedings continue.

SHAW: Candy Crowley in Austin -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: As we mentioned a moment ago, attorneys for Al Gore in Florida today making their legal challenge of Florida's newly certified election results. Our Gary Tuchman has been down there covering today's circuit -- state circuit court hearing.

Gary, please bring us up to date.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the circuit court hearing lasted one hour, but the judicial wheels are now spinning. For the first time in 125 years, a legal contest -- contesting the results of a presidential election.

This was mostly a scheduling hearing. Typically, in these types of hearings, in an election-related hearing, 10 days are given for people to respond to a complaint. But today, that schedule was shortened.

The Gore campaign asked for the case to be expedited, and they asked Judge N. Sanders Sauls, we need to move this along, there's a deadline of December 12th for electors in Florida to be certified and sent to Washingtion.

So here's what happened. The Gore team has -- the Gore team will present its complaint. The Bush team has four days to respond to the complaints instead of the 10 days that are usually given. The Gore team will present a witness and exhibit list either tomorrow or Wednesday. The Bush team then has two additional days to present its witness and exhibit list.

So what we have learned from the scheduling hearing is that this particular trial, this particular hearing in this courthouse, the Leon County Circuit Courthouse in Tallahassee, will last at least four days and possibly longer. What the gore team is asking for, it wants this judge here to ask Miami-Dade County to fully hand count its votes.

That county stopped counting its votes after counting 20 percent of its precinct, saying it did not have enough time. The Gore campaign believes if that hand count was completed, it would have received at least 600 votes by itself, enough to have won this election.

The Gore campaign is also asking this judge for Palm Beach County's votes to be accepted. That county completed almost all its votes by hand count, it finished its full hand count two hours after the deadline, but that resulted in another 215 net votes for Al Gore.

What the Gore campaign is simply telling this judge is, listen, we would have won the election if all these things are done. The Bush campaign is saying, this was all improper, it shouldn't have been done in the first place, and the Bush campaign is telling the judge to leave the status quo. So that's where we stand in the Leon County Circuit Courthouse. Ultimately, whichever side loses here will appeal it and it will likely get to the Florida Supreme Court.

Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Gary Tuchman reporting from Tallahassee.

Now let's talk with two representatives of the two presidential campaigns. We will interview Montana Governor and Bush ally Marc Racicot in just a moment. But first we're joined by Gore campaign adviser Ron Klain, who is also in Tallahassee.

Ron Klain, we just heard Gary Tuchman describe a process that could go on for days even in an expedited form, days back and forth with presentations, responses, then we're looking at appeals.

Isn't the clock ticking out? Do you really believe the American public is prepared to sit quietly by, patiently, while this process takes any number of days to work through?

RON KLAIN, GORE CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I hope the public doesn't sit quietly by and I hope they are impatient. I hope they are impatient at the continued efforts by the Bush campaign to delay the counting of votes. You know, Judy, this could have been over days and day ago if the Bush campaign hadn't used every trick in the book, including a rent-a-mob in Miami, to stop the counting of votes.

All we're asking for is the most fundamental idea of democracy: let's count the votes, and when those votes are counted we'll know which candidate won. And I hope the public joins us in being frustrated in the efforts by the Bush campaign to delay and delay and delay.

WOODRUFF: You say, Ron Klain, you hope that's the public's reaction, and yet, the Bush campaign is citing an ABC News poll showing 60 percent of the American people, including clearly some people who voted for Al Gore, who are saying let's get this thing over with, they're citing a "Chicago Tribune" editorial calling on Al Gore to concede.

KLAIN: Well, yes, and I can cite editorials in the "Washington Post" and "The New York Times" today calling on Governor Bush to drop his lawless objections to the counting of votes and let the votes be counted.

Look, Judy, I think from our perspective it's pretty simple. We can't understand why George Bush doesn't want the votes to be counted. Most of these ballots in question have not been counted even once. A machine said there was no vote on them. But I believe that thousands of people who went to the polls probably voted for president, and people ought to look at those ballots to see who they voted for.

WOODRUFF: Well, how can there be such two different interpretations, Ron Klain? The Bush people are saying the votes -- to say that the votes were not counted is purely, in their words, disinformation, they say -- and you've heard this over and over again -- they say the votes were not only counted, in many instances, they were recounted and recounted.

How such different perspectives here?

KLAIN: Well, Judy, I think it depends on what your goal is. Their goal is to secure a victory at any price. Our goal is to see that these ballots are counted. Look, if you believe their view, what you have to believe is that 15,000 people drive to the polls on Election Day, voted for other offices, but chose to have no preference for president. I find that unlikely. But let me say this, maybe they're right, and if they are right we'll know if a human being looks at the ballots and sees.

The only thing we're asking for is someone, this judge or someone he appoints, to look at these ballots and see if their vote is on them. And the Bush campaign has nothing to fear unless they fear the outcome of a full count of the votes here in Florida.

WOODRUFF: All right, Ron Klain, we thank you very much for joining us from Tallahassee.

KLAIN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And now as promised -- we appreciate it.

And now as promised, the governor of the state of Montana, Marc Racicot, he also joins us from Tallahassee, where he's been serving as one of the pointmen for George W. Bush.

How do you respond to Ron Klain's last comment there, that the Bush campaign has nothing to fear other than simply counting the votes of people who went to the polls?

GOV. MARC RACICOT (R), MONTANA: Well, their votes have already been counted, Judy. They were counted once and then they were counted twice pursuant to the automatic recount. What they're suggesting is that you ought to look at the votes and try to divine whether or not someone intended to vote.

It was previously cited that there were 15,000 people in the state of Florida that didn't vote in the presidential primary. Quite frankly, the number of people that didn't vote in the presidential election -- the number of people that didn't vote in Florida is below the averages of many, many other states. For instance, in my homestate, 1.66 percent of the people did not vote for a candidate for president. Here in the state of Florida, only .97 percent did not vote. So that notion that people vote in every single election is just simply not true. It's dispelled by evidence all across the country.

WOODRUFF: But even -- let me just play devil's advocate here, Governor. Even if these votes were counted once, what would be wrong with counting them again in an accurate and orderly fashion just to be certain that the outcome that was certified yesterday is correct?

RACICOT: There would be absolutely nothing wrong with that, and we have asserted all along and the evidence shows...


WOODRUFF: Well, isn't that all they are asking for?

RACICOT: No, that's not what they are asking for, Judy. What they are asking for is for people to hold up these ballots and try and discern with no physical evidence other than anything from a scratch mark to a pause mark, whether or not someone they have no knowledge of, have never known, intended to vote. Now, that's just simply a process that's mystical. There is no way to do that with reasonable certainty, which is what the law of Florida requires.

WOODRUFF: So, when Vice President Gore says, as he did today in that phone call with Senator Daschle and House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, he says -- quote -- "If every vote were counted, there would be more than enough easily to change the outcome in Florida."

What say you?

RACICOT: Well, regrettably and sadly, he is terribly, terribly mistaken. I sat in a courtroom over the course of three and a half days and watched this process take place, and these are ballots for which there is no punch-out mark on the ballot. So how can you allege that in fact these were votes? This is not a process where people were counting votes, they were casting votes based upon standards that were not the same from place to place, not even the same in the same place from moment to moment. So this is a process where the vote counting has to stop and making certain that the votes that have been cast actually count.

WOODRUFF: But the legal wheels do move on and the process will move forward in Tallahassee.

RACICOT: Regrettably, that is the case, and I think that Secretary Baker last night made a very, very simple and eloquent statement about the vice president bringing this to a close. And I think that you are seeing the opinion of the American people swell up and solidify and emphasizing that the notion Secretary Baker talked about last night is in fact what they believe ought to take place.

WOODRUFF: All right, the governor of the state of Montana, Marc Racicot, we thank you once again for joining us.

RACICOT: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it -- Bernie.

SHAW: And still ahead here on INSIDE POLITICS...


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's just watch this happen, it will be over soon and we'll be ready for the transition.


WOODRUFF: President Clinton will provide transition help for the next White House occupant, but not until a winner is declared. We're going to look at the legal and political issues of the transfer of power.


SHAW: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are moving forward with their preparations for a presidential transition, and they will use private money and offices for now. President Clinton says the White House will cooperate, but not just yet.

Major Garrett explains. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not so fast -- that's the word from President Clinton on Governor Bush's request for money and office space to start the presidential transition. But the president did offer this...

CLINTON: I'm signing today an executive order creating a transition coordinating council.

GARRETT: The council will not do anything to help Bush or Gore with a transition now, but it shows movement, something White House aides say will help them deflect charges they are helping the vice president by denying Governor Bush's request for help.

And the president made clear what he thinks of Mr. Gore's legal challenges.

CLINTON: In all this interplay, it is easy to lose what is really important, which is the integrity of the voter, every single vote. On Election Day, every person who voted had a vote that counted just as much as mine, and so they have to sort that out in Florida. Whose vote should be counted? Can every vote be counted? If every vote can't be counted, is there a good reason why you're not counting that vote?

GARRETT: White House Chief of Staff John Podesta sent this memo to federal agencies and executive departments on November 13: "Because of the uncertainty over the election results, no president-elect has been identified to receive federal funds and assistance under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963. Until a president-elect is clearly identified, therefore, no transition assistance as contemplated under the Transition Act is available."

So federal agencies will compile all information the president- elect's staff will need, paying close attention to any decisions that must be made after Inauguration Day.


GARRETT: The White House says it just doesn't know when the president-elect will be known, or what standard it will use to decide. When pressed on this matter off-camera, White House Press Secretary Jake Siewert said, "I don't know when it will be. I just know it's not now" -- Bernie.

SHAW: Major, in reality, exactly what will a transition council do, what can it do?

GARRETT: Not very much, Bernie. White House officials tell CNN that essentially this council is the idea, it's the brain child of a couple of think-tanks here in Washington. Brookings has recommended that a formal council be created to stop what has sometimes infected some presidential transitions, ad-hocricy, a sense of ad-hoc committees springing up hither and thither to try to move the presidential transition process along. The idea behind this council is to stop that process in its tracks. But as far as helping Mr. Bush or Mr. Gore, in any practical sense, it's really just window dressing -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Major Garrett -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, continuing on this theme, the eventual president-elect will, of course, face a shortened transition period.

Our Brooks Jackson checks out the transition process and the obstacles facing the next administration.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The clock is running, and key elements of the presidential transition are still stalled. Required FBI checks of hundreds of key appointees can't begin because there is no official president-elect. Crucial jobs just below cabinet rank could go unfilled in the early days of a George W. Bush administration.

PAUL LIGHT, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The problem there is that if you want to give direction to the bureaucracy to stop doing certain things or to start doing new things, you've got to have that neck in place to transfer the signals from the brain -- the president and the cabinet -- down to the career layer and the body.

JACKSON: Appointments and FBI checks aren't much of an issue for Al Gore -- a Democratic administration is already in place. And if Gore emerges the winner, he could replace them, or not, at his leisure.

(on camera): Another issue for Bush is access to information about last-minute federal regulations, or enforcement actions he might want to stop.

LIGHT: The departments and agencies will not accept you or embrace you until they are told that, in fact, there is a president- elect. So nothing can be done right now formally, and very little can be done informally by way of getting information about what agencies are or are not doing.

JACKSON (voice-over): The administration says it will supply some information, at least a "macro-briefing" to both sides. But Bush won't be able to put his team members inside federal agencies just yet. The vice president, of course, is fully in the loop.

As for national security, Gore is a member of the National Security Council -- fully briefed. And the White House says Bush will continue to receive national security briefings as he did when a candidate. So, transition delays aren't an issue there.

Another big issue, the federal budget: the new president has to submit one 14 days after taking office. Will there be time?

LIGHT: We're talking about fiscal year 2002 and that has -- preparations for that normally begin very, very early, and I suspect they are already under way now.

JACKSON (on camera): Logistics are only a minor issue. Neither Bush nor Gore can occupy the official transition office space or claim the $5.3 million in federal transition funds, but Gore already has a government office, and the Bush team says they'll raise private donations and rent their own.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: There is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

SHAW: Still to come, the outstanding legal issues in the Florida counties. We are going to turn to Roger Cossack for the analysis.



BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republican lawyers savor the possibility that the highest court in the land could decide who gets Florida's electoral votes and end this once and for all -- maybe.


WOODRUFF: Our Bob Franken on the nation's highest court and the legal what ifs.

And later...


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Democrats wonder why aren't Americans more sympathetic to Gore, the way they were to President Clinton in the impeachment showdown?


SHAW: And Bill Schneider on why Al Gore may be losing the political public relations war.


SHAW: Here are the latest developments in the battle over who will become the 43rd president of the United States of America.

Al Gore will deliver a televised address to the nation tonight, explaining why he is not giving up his fight for the White House. This move comes after the state of Florida certified its presidential vote and declared George W. Bush the winner.

Among various legal steps being taken, Gore's lawyers are challenging the results from Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau counties, arguing the certified tally is wrong because it does not include votes that were improperly rejected.

The Florida Supreme Court will hear a case over Palm Beach County's so-called "butterfly ballot."

And the United States Supreme Court will hear a Bush appeal Friday seeking to bar manually counted ballots from being added to the final tally.

Meantime, Bush is preparing his transition to the White House, and he's calling on Gore to concede. His vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney said today Cabinet appointments are possible in the next few days but not certain.

More now on this day's legal developments.

Al Gore's lawyers are contesting the results in Palm Beach County, arguing that the hand-counted votes not accepted by Florida's secretary of state last night should be included in the final tally. They were rejected because the recounting was not completed before the 5:00 p.m. deadline.

In Nassau County, the Democrats are contesting the results after the county reverted to its initial election total instead of reporting its recount total. That resulted in a net gain of 51 votes for Bush.

Our Frank Buckley has the latest on the Gore challenge to the vote results in Miami-Dade County.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board hand counted some 20 percent of 614 precincts in the county, giving Vice President Al Gore a 157-vote net gain. But none of those votes were included in Secretary of State Katherine Harris's certification, nor were any votes from any of the 10,750 under-vote ballots, in which tabulating machines did not register any vote for president. Democrats saying that if they were hand counted and human-examined, they would confirm the exit polls from election night that showed Al Gore winning Florida.

REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The exit polls were right. The networks were right. It was the punch cards that were wrong.

REP. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: When the difference at this stage is a little over 500 votes, that can change the outcome of this election.

BUCKLEY: Democrats also continue to allege that Republican protesters intimidated the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board into stopping the recount.

(on camera): Were you intimidated?

DAVID LEAHY, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD: No, I was not intimidated by the protests that occurred outside my office. At no time did I say or believe that the protest had any factor in my decision.

BUCKLEY (voice-over): Board member and elections supervisor David Leahy telling CNN that while protesters were demonstrating on Wednesday morning, canvassing board members were coming to the conclusion that there just wasn't enough time to complete all of the under-vote ballots in time to meet the Florida Supreme Court's deadline.

LEAHY: And I was not about to certify a partial return. That would have been skewed results, and that would have been unfair to both candidates.

BUCKLEY: Now, Al Gore's contesting the results from Miami-Dade, asking the court to appoint a special master, someone appointed to carry out a specific order of the court, to resume the manual recount. But Leahy says it's his hope that if the recount is ordered to continue, the court will ask the canvassing board to resume the count.

LEAHY: We would like to complete what we started.

BUCKLEY: The canvassing board's attorney, Murray Greenberg, says while the board had the discretion to end the manual recount, it will also comply with any court orders to release its ballots to a special master.



WOODRUFF: And that report -- as we've just been listening, we're going to tell you a little bit more about the legal fights going on down there. More legal battles pending over challenges in Seminole County and Palm Beach counties. A hearing is set for the state Supreme Court later this week on a lawsuit filed by a Democratic attorney seeking to have some 15,000 absentee ballots thrown out in Seminole County. The attorney claimed Republican workers provided some missing information on some 4,700 absentee ballot applications.

The state Supreme Court will also hear a case involving Palm Beach County's, butterfly ballot. Democrats argue that the ballot was so confusing that they mistakenly cast votes for Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore, and that a new election should be held in the county.

Joining us now for more on all these legal maneuvers, our legal analyst Roger Cossack.

Roger, there is so much going on on so many different fronts. Help clarify it for us. Which particular front should we be keeping the closest watch on?

ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, normally, I would say that the United States Supreme Court, but not -- I think maybe not this time. I think we should be keeping our eyes closest to the -- to what's going on in the state courts with what -- the protests -- the contests, rather, that Vice President Gore has filed against the election in toto.

And what the statue says there is one of the reasons you can file a contest, it says that if you have counted illegal votes or failed to count legal votes -- sound familiar? And that's what the argument is, that there were legal votes that were cast that did not get counted.

Now the reason that's so interesting is because this is a statute in the state of Florida. This is something that the Supreme Court doesn't have to reconcile, doesn't have to bring together...

WOODRUFF: The U.S. Supreme Court.

COSSACK: That's right. The United States -- I'm sorry -- the United States Supreme Court or even the Florida Supreme Court doesn't have to reconcile conflicting statutes. There is a statute that says that this is what you're supposed to do if someone contests the election.

And so, if the argument can be made successfully that, judge, you ought to take a look at this, because if we are right this could turn the election around, then you could see perhaps counting ordered for more hand counts and this whole thing starting again.

WOODRUFF: Roger, can you look at any one of these counties where -- whether it's Palm Beach or Nassau or Miami-Dade where Al Gore and his people are challenging the results, is there any one of those where it looks like he has a better shot, where it looks like it's an easier argument for him to make...

COSSACK: Take Nassau...

WOODRUFF: ... or are they all equally tough?

COSSACK: Well, take Nassau and Miami-Dade. You know, in Miami- Dade there's 10,000 votes that the machine, the voting machines, kicked out, that just didn't get counted. Now some would argue that perhaps they didn't get counted because they weren't punched through or because of some failure. But, nevertheless, they weren't counted.

And, yes, the argument about how do you count them, you know, gets brought up. But, you know, these are the things that make lawsuits. But nevertheless we know there's 10,000 votes that didn't get counted. Now whether they should or whether they shouldn't, I'll leave that to the court to decide. And we talked about Nassau County, where they just stopped counting and said, look, we know that we can't get it done by the time it's supposed to be done...

WOODRUFF: Miami-Dade, Miami-Dade.

COSSACK: Miami-Dade -- and stopped counting and turned in -- I think -- didn't Nassau turn in another count rather than complete their count because the man said he couldn't certify it? So there's votes...

WOODRUFF: That was the machine recount that was not turned in. COSSACK: That's exactly right. So we know that there's at least two counties -- it gets confusing, doesn't it? We know that there's at least two counties where there were votes that you can make an allegation that didn't get counted. This is -- the statute says, are there legal votes that have not been counted? It sounds like an argument to me.

WOODRUFF: Well, you're saying that it's confusing, but, Roger, that's why you're here to keep it all clear and keep it all straight, and that's why you're going to stick around.

Thanks a lot, Roger Cossack, appreciate it.

Still ahead, more on the legal fronts in the presidential election battle, as Bob Franken examines the uncertainty surrounding this case before the U.S. Supreme Court.


SHAW: On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a petition filed by the Bush campaign challenging the hand recounts in Florida.

Our Bob Franken looks at the impact a ruling by the high court could have on this presidential race.


FRANKEN (voice-over): The justices raised the question themselves, asking both sides: What would be the consequences of this court's finding that the Florida Supreme Court went too far in ordering recounts and changing deadlines?

Attorneys will tell you the "what if" question itself raises a lot of ifs. If, for instance, the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Bush campaign that the Florida justices were wrong.


FRANKEN: Republican lawyers savor the possibility that the highest court in the land could decide who gets Florida's electoral votes and end this once and for all -- maybe.

GRAY: I think if the Supreme Court said the Republican slate is the proper slate under our interpretation of the Constitution and Title 3 of the United States Code, that, I believe, is it. I would hope that would be it.

FRANKEN: Again, uncertainty. There could be changes on the ground in Florida: Will whatever the U.S. Supreme Court does even matter, given how the Gore campaign is contesting the state's election results?

Another hypothetical: Gore's contests are successful, a state judge orders a recount. It reverses the Florida result and Gore's declared the winner. Then, the U.S. Supreme Court rules the counts should have been over.

Democratic attorney Lanny Davis.

LANNY DAVIS, DEMOCRATIC ATTORNEY: You would have two competing sets of electors going to Washington. Ultimately, I think the United States Congress would have to resolve that regardless of what the Supreme Court did.

FRANKEN: In their initial arguments, Gore campaign lawyers suggested the U.S. Supreme Court involvement could only muddy the waters. They called it a "significant intrusion."

The Bush campaign came back to say, "The exceedingly important nature of this case provides a powerful justification for review by this court."

(on camera): The Republicans had their way. The Supreme Court has the case. And unless someone decides it's moot, unnecessary, we should soon have a ruling. And then maybe we'll find out if the nation's court of last resort really is the last resort.

Bob Franken, CNN, the Supreme Court.



When INSIDE POLITICS returns, the fight for the White House: It is not being waged just in the court. Bill Schneider, zeros in on the Bush-Gore P.R. battle.


SHAW: Even before the state of Florida declared George W. Bush the winner of its 25 electoral votes, the P.R. forces of both the Bush and Gore campaigns were slugging it out.

Bill Schneider joins us with his take on the continuing fight to sway public opinion -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Bernie, Democrat see this fight as impeachment, part two, with Republicans again trying to bully Democrats into submission.

The Democrats beat back the GOP onslaught once. Can they do it again?


(voice-over): Democrats wonder, why aren't Americans more sympathetic to Gore, the way they were to President Clinton during the impeachment showdown.

For one thing, this is about Gore, not Clinton. And Gore does not have Clinton's seductive charm.

Plus, Clinton had a prior claim on public loyalty. He had been elected president twice, and people didn't like the idea of Republicans try to undue the popular vote. Also, that fight was about sex, which Americans saw as an essentially private matter.

This fight's about power. Still, Democrats are counting on a backlash against the Republicans, like this charge against Gore.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe Secretary Cheney and I won the vote in Florida. I believe some are determined to keep counting in an effort to change the legitimate result.

SCHNEIDER: Translation: Gore is trying to steal the election.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Ho, ho, hey, hey, how many votes did you steel steal today?

SCHNEIDER: Democrats were outraged by what they saw as organized intimidation by GOP protesters in Miami-Dade County.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a time to honor the rule of law, not surrender to the rule of the mob.


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: The whiff of fascism is in the air.

SCHNEIDER: But still no backlash against the GOP. Why not? One reason is that Bush has gotten all the breaks. The networks declared him the winner briefly on election night. Now, he's been declared the winner in Florida...


SCHNEIDER: ... which casts Gore in the role of sore loser. Republicans are also hungrier than Democrats, and congressional Democrats they stand a good chance of regaining their majority in 2002 if Bush is president, but not with Gore.

For Republicans, Bush means restoration and revenge. For Democrats, Gore means more Clintonism.

Since Gore is not a beloved figure, Democrats are depending on public resentment of Republicans to fuel their case, the same thing that saved them during impeachment.

But there's no Newt Gingrich. Controversial figures like Tom DeLay and Dick Armey have been relatively low-key so far. For the most part, the GOP has sent reasonable and statesmanlike figures to speak for the party in Florida, like New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Montana Governor Marc Racicot, and New York Governor George Pataki.

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: I've seen some ballots counted where I could not fathom the logic behind counting it as a vote for Gore.

SCHNEIDER: And it's always been hard for Democrats to demonize George W. Bush as a harsh partisan.

BUSH: And I will work with members of the Congress from both parties to reduce tax rates for everyone who pays income taxes in America.

SCHNEIDER: Only one figure qualifies as the devil for Democrats: Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. But her makeup has been harsher than her rhetoric.

KATHERINE HARRIS, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I want to reassure the public that my decision in this process has been made carefully, consistently, independently, and I believe, correctly.


SCHNEIDER: People know this was a close election that could have gone either way. That's why there's not a lot of public outrage. What's impeachment without sex, without Clinton, without Gingrich, and without public outrage? Just a political spectacle -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Mr. Schneider.


SHAW: Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right, at the top of the hour, we'll have more on the political maneuvering on this 20th day after election 2000. We'll look ahead to Al Gore's televised remarks tonight and what he has to accomplish.

That and much more when INSIDE POLITICS returns.


SHAW: Gore versus Bush entering a new phase of legal and political wrangling now that Florida has certified a Republican win.

WOODRUFF: As the U.S. Supreme Court battle also looms, we'll review the high court's authority in this election dispute.

SHAW: Plus, could there possibly be any parallels in this political saga to a certain television show about nothing?

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Gore and Bush lawyers have wrapped up another round in court. At issue, the challenge the vice president filed today against Florida's certification that George W. Bush won the state. The hearing in Leon County Circuit Court was called in large part to set a timetable for further proceedings. Vice President Gore is preparing to give a nationally televised address at 8:55 Eastern tonight to explain why he is pressing on with his legal ballot. He got some encouragement today during a conference call with Democratic congressional leaders visiting Florida.


GORE: I'm also very encouraged by what you said at the outset, that from your perspective there on the ground in Florida, if every vote is counted, there are easily more than enough to change the outcome and -- and -- and decide the election in our favor.


WOODRUFF: George W. Bush meantime is pressing ahead with a presidential transition, headed by his running mate, Dick Cheney. Cheney announced today that the campaign will solicit private money to pay for the process, because the federal government will not release any transition funds until court disputes over the presidential election are settled.


CHENEY: There's been a tendency I think from many people to believe that there is -- quote -- "plenty of time" before we begin to pay any kind of price for the delay in certifying the winner in the Florida election. That may be true if one looks only at the timetable for the electoral college. But we will pay a heavy price for the delays in planning and assembling the next administration.


WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the latest developments in the presidential standoff with our Candy Crowley, covering the Bush camp in Austin, our John King, covering the Gore camp here in Washington.

John, any sense at this point of what the vice president will say tonight just before 9 o'clock Eastern?

KING: We're told, Judy, it's a pretty straightforward appeal, much along the lines we heard him in public earlier today on that conference call and we heard Senator Lieberman last night speaking on behalf of the vice president, Mr. Gore, to make the case to the American people that he is exercising his legal rights in Florida, that he believes not all of the votes have been counted -- a key distinction. Not that he's asking for another recount, but that he believes that as many as 15,000 ballots or more have not been counted a first time. And he will make the case that there is no crisis here in the United States, that the process clearly allows for this, and in his view, this could all be resolved in a week, maybe two weeks at the most if the courts in Florida expedite the process.

WOODRUFF: Candy Crowley in Austin, if that indeed is what the vice president is saying tonight, what do the Bush people say in response? CROWLEY: The Bush people say in response that this is an extraordinary thing to do, that never before has a president contested the certified result of an election. So they continue to underscore the rarity of what the vice president is doing, and they continue to say this is over.

You know, you saw in the opening soundbite from Dick Cheney we're moving on, we're going to have this transition, we're going to start thinking about a Cabinet. So their entire MO at this point in the political arm of the Bush team is to keep things rolling: you know, it's over, we're going to do a transition, we're getting ready for a Bush administration, even as the Gore people push back saying, it's not over, we need to count votes.

WOODRUFF: John, you said a little while ago when we were talking with you that at this point you point out the Democratic ranks are holding firm for Al Gore. Are they, however, looking at some place in the ranks where they may worry if the dam breaks it may break first?

KING: Well, I don't think they're looking at any one particular place. I mean, in a sense, you could look at the Senate, has been the problem for the beginning. There's much more support in the House. House seats tend to be safer. They run from districts that tend to be partisan, either Democrat or Republican. So you always look to the Senate first.

But I think I would look more at the calendar, look at this coming Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on this dispute. Most Democrats privately and even senior Gore advisers conceding public opinion is beginning to swing now that the Florida vote has been certified. More and more people saying they want this to be over.

The vice president will make the case he's within his rights appealing this, contesting this in the Florida courts. But if he cannot show progress by the time the U.S. Supreme Court hears this case, he will face more and more pressure from Democrats and indeed from his own top advisers that it might be time to consider getting out.

They don't want to consider that. They believe within the law in Florida they have a strong case, and that by the end of the week, say, for example, the courts will be counting those Miami-Dade ballots. If they can show that, show the counting of votes, they believe they can sustain the political will to stay in this a while longer.

But one or two more setbacks in the Florida courts and the vice president has little if anymore recourse.

WOODRUFF: Candy, in the Bush camp, are they looking at this week, the end of this week, the challenges in Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court hearing coming along? Are they getting ready for a next phase of their effort after these -- at least after this part of the court situation is behind them?

CROWLEY: I don't think they're preparing for a new phase for themselves. That is they're in transition phase and they're moving ahead. What they're looking for, though, is precisely what you were just talking to John about, and that is that the Bush camp thought that once the Florida certification was in the pressure would become intense on the vice president to get out. That has not come to pass so far, at least not in the leadership of the Democratic Party. It still is very solid for the vice president and what he wants to do.

But I spoke with someone this morning who said, you know, by midweek we'll get a sense of this Florida certification settling in. Now, is the Supreme Court case on Friday the end of it? Well, that's when they're going to have hearings. No one quite knows when they're going to say whatever they're going to say. And if they should come back and say, boy, you're absolutely right, the Florida Supreme Court overstepped its bounds, it shouldn't have changed that certification, it does seem to them that at that point the recounts get thrown out. But nobody is counting on that.

What they're looking at is the same thing the Democrats are, which is the passage of time. Right now, they believe it is closing in on Al Gore. In fact, they believe it should have closed in a long time ago, but they think with each passing day what happens is the public becomes more and more tired of this and it becomes harder in the legal arena to fight it.

WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley reporting from Austin, John King here in Washington. Thanks to you both -- Bernie.

SHAW: As Gore and his allies try to justify continued legal challenges to the election results in Florida, often they point to the vice president's apparent victory in the popular vote nationwide. The latest figures, according to the Associated Press, show Gore with slightly more than 50 million votes and Bush with slightly less than 50 million. Gore leads Bush by 337,000 votes.

Now, are those numbers helping Gore rally members of his party? Our Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno been talking to Democrats around this town.

Frank, what are you hearing?

FRANK SESNO, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, first of all, yes, those numbers help. Certainly as we've heard from Bill Schneider, Candy, John and others throughout the day, the actions and the statements and the -- what they view as the presumptions among Republicans help Democrats hold the ranks. It's very much more of a in many ways anti-Republican, anti-Bush kind of sentiment, though, than it is pro-Gore.

I'd characterize the mood, Bernie, based on conversations, many conversations we've had today with Democrats as still supportive but very mindful that the clock is ticking and ticking loudly. One congressional Democrat said in his view public and private political support are dwindling by the day -- his words. A Democratic pollster I spoke with earlier today said there is a building presumption that this is all about George W. Bush and that they are trying very hard to counter that. SHAW: In terms of solid phalanx, do you know of any Democrats breaking ranks?

SESNO: So far, the Democrats are very solid and publicly very solid. But yes, I spoke to Julia Carson. She's a Democratic congresswoman from the 10th district of Indiana, represents Indianapolis. She's African-American. About 27 percent of district is African-American, but it's very solid middle of the road, has a Republican mayor there in Indianapolis. She says she actually believes Gore's won, she thinks the votes are, but she says, barring a miracle, he's not going to get it through the courts, it's time for him to get out.

A conservative Democrat from the South I spoke with this evening said he's getting virtually no calls in support of Al Gore -- it's a Democratic district he represents -- hundreds in support of George W. Bush.

I spoke to Ralph Hall. He's a Democrat. He supports George W. Bush, another one. He's from Texas. And he says he's ready to go work for George W. Bush any time, but he's not yet ready to call for him to come out, for Gore to pull out.

SHAW: OK, thank you, Frank Sesno -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All that's very interesting. Well, much of this election dispute has played out on national television. The U.S. Supreme Court has denied news media requests to permit cameras in the high court when it does hear arguments in the Florida standoff this Friday.

CNN's Charles Bierbauer reports now on the justices' authority to get involved in what some consider to be a state dispute.


CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush's lawyers base their appeal on the U.S. Constitution. It requires states to appoint electors as directed by state legislatures, not state courts. Apparently, that was good enough for the justices: Matters of the federal Constitution are resolved in federal courts.

RICHARD THORNBURGH, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: You're talking here about the choice of the president of the United States, the chief of the executive branch, and that has to be a question in which the court has an intimate interest, because there's only one president and there is only one process in order to choose that person, and they have to have a say in that.

BIERBAUER: They also have to have an interest, following a campaign partly based on which candidate would get to name the next Supreme Court justices. While the justices may declare themselves beyond politics, they regularly rule on political issues. The court is currently weighing a Missouri law requiring congressional candidates to support term limits. Last term, the court ruled laws limiting campaign contributions are constitutional. And the justices began this week examining, for the fourth time, the contorted form of North Carolina's 12th congressional district. Was it designed by the state legislature to create a safe district for an African-American or for a Democrat?

Former solicitor-general Walter Dellinger told the court, "Federal courts must exercise serious caution in reviewing state legislatures," to which Chief Justice Rehnquist replied, "Are you suggesting we should not review a factual interpretation of a clearly erroneous rule?"

The same dialog could echo in Friday's arguments over the Florida vote count. The cases raise different legal questions, but to Congressman Mel Watt of North Carolina's 12th district there is a connection.

REP. MEL WATT (D), NORTH CAROLINA: They are about enfranchisement of all communities and -- or disenfranchisement of all communities.


BIERBAUER: The Supreme Court ruling on the North Carolina case will have an impact on elections in 2002 after the realignment of congressional districts following the 2000 census. And of course, its Florida ruling will start to bring to a close this year's election -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Charles Bierbauer. And this note from Florida, Craig Waters -- he's the spokesman for the Florida Supreme Court -- is due to make a statement very, very shortly. We'll be covering that.

And coming up next also on INSIDE POLITICS, David Broder and Bob Novak on the latest twists and turns in the battle for the White House.


SHAW: Just to repeat a programming note, Craig Waters, the spokesman for the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee is expected to make a statement in about five minutes. We're assuming that it's going to be about whether or not the court in Tallahassee is going to take up the Palm Beach County butterfly ballot issue.

Joining us now with their take on all of today's election developments, David Broder of the "Washington Post" and Bob Novak of the "Chicago Sun-Times."

David, starting first with you. In terms of symbolism, right now, to the moment, what's more important -- symbolism/substance -- what's more important, the public relations battle or the legal war still under way?

DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think the public relations battle now is very much at the center, Bernie. We saw Dick Cheney out there this afternoon in his usual very calm, methodical way, suggesting that the transition to a Bush-Cheney administration is getting under way without the cooperation of the Clinton administration and without a concession statement from Vice President Gore, but trying to create even more than Governor Bush's statement did last night, the expectation in the public mind that Bush and Cheney will be running this country come January.

Tonight, Vice President Gore gets his chance to try to reverse that psychology. I think the speech that he gives tonight is particularly important, because the poll that we had in our paper this morning, an overnight poll suggested that for the first time more Americans think that it's important to wind this up quickly than it is to give both sides their full day in court.

SHAW: Bob Novak.

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Bernie, both sides are playing the public relations game, because that's what politicians know how to do best these days.


SHAW: I have to interrupt you, Bob, let's go to Tallahassee.


CRAIG WATERS, SPOKESMAN, FLORIDA SUPREME COURT: ... a limited number of questions.

This is in the case of Andre Fladel (ph) versus Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, et cetera. And this is the court's order: The parties are to file in this court no later than 5:00 p.m. November 28, 2000. Briefs on all issues in this case, including why this court should exercise its discretion under Article V, Section 3B5 of the Florida Constitution. It assigned unanimously with all seven justices participating. Any questions?

QUESTION: What is that section (OFF-MIKE)

WATERS: It's simply the provision that provides for the court with jurisdiction in the past through cases. As you are aware, we had the certification earlier today by the district court, that is the basis of jurisdiction in this case.

And I would like to stress that the court has not yet accepted this case for review. The parties will be simultaneously briefing the court as to why it should consider the case, and the merits of the case, but the court has not yet taken this case. It has made no determination on that point.

SHAW: OK, Craig Waters there, the last sentence he uttered is the most important one, the court hasn't decided whether or not to take the butterfly ballot issue from Palm Beach County. The court merely wants to hear briefs and, as Mr. Waters said, the court wants those briefs in hand by 5:00 p.m. November 28.

And, Bob Novak, you were very unceremoniously interrupted. We come back to you, asking whether symbolically and substancewise what's more important, the public relations battle or the legal fight still under way?

NOVAK: Bernie, I was starting to say that the politicians on both sides are talking -- playing public relations game, because that's what these days they know how to play best. But all the good public relations in the world are not going to help if Vice President Gore loses in court, and he has a long string of court tests coming up, none of which he can afford to lose, and that includes the contests -- he's contesting in three counties in Florida, he has to win those. And then all that can be wiped away by a Supreme Court decision which over-rules the Florida Supreme Court and wipes away any of the hand recounts, including the Broward County recount, all of that just about comes very close to clinching George W. Bush as president.

So whether he -- they play the P.R. game well or not, I think right now the vice president has a very steep hill to climb.

SHAW: Quick one-sentence response from each of you, starting with you, Bob Novak. Do you think Gore will be able to nudge or turn around what appears to be a growing opinion within the body politic? Sixty percent cited in the "Washington Post" poll as saying it's time to end this. Do you think he will be able to turn that around in his five minute address tonight?

NOVAK: I don't think his speech will be able to do it. I think what he needs is some decisions from the Florida courts on those contests, and that's an uphill climb.

SHAW: David.

BRODER: It would be surprising if a five-minute speech does that, Bernie, but he has the protection of the Friday date that the Supreme Court here in Washington has set for oral arguments. I don't think it's likely that unless they change their mind and drop that case that he will be pushed out of the race before Friday.

SHAW: David Broder, Bob Novak, gentlemen, thanks very much.

And up next, is this prolonged election must-see TV? Well, our Jeff Greenfield says it is -- if you are a certain fan of a certain sitcom.


WOODRUFF: Our Jeff Greenfield has been watching the political and the legal strategies unfold and doing some thinking about it.

Jeff, first of all, is it true that you think this Florida standoff is starting to look like a sitcom?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well, one in particular, Judy.

You remember all during the campaign people were calling this a "Seinfeld" election because it was an election about nothing. Well, one of the "Seinfeld" comedy's best episodes featured George Costanza's parents celebrating their weird year-end holiday called "Festivus," and the highlight of that "Festivus" celebration, if you want to call it that, was what they called the airing of the grievances. And I have a feeling that this post-election period is producing enough sense of grievance on both sides to resemble a very dysfunctional family carrying around its collection of snubs and insults and outrages. So, yes, that's what it reminds me of.

WOODRUFF: All right, tell us, from the Republican side of the family, what are the key grievances?

GREENFIELD: Well, the Republican family members would look at their Democratic folks and say, why did you bring Jesse Jackson down to Florida to compare voting irregularities here with Selma and the days of segregation? Why did you persuade an all-Democratic state Supreme Court to rewrite the Florida law to allow these hand counts? Why are you blackening the reputation of Katherine Harris with these terrible insults just because she is an elected Republican official trying to do her job? Why are you using Democratic-dominated boards in counties to find votes by looking at these ballots in ways they were never intended to be looked at? What about the hypocrisy in saying you want every vote to count and challenging all those overseas military absentee ballots? And of course, the latest example, why won't Gore concede graciously instead of carrying on this fight like a sore loser?

I'd say that's a fairly -- maybe not complete, but a good list of their grievances.

WOODRUFF: And what about the Democratic grievances at this so- called "Festivus"?

GREENFIELD: Well, I think the Democratic family members would look across the table and say to their Republican family members, hey, why won't you let these votes be counted when you know the machines never counted them in the first place? Why did you bring Republican operatives into Miami-Dade County, into that building to pressure the local board into canceling its recounts? Why are you blackening the reputation of Gore Campaign Chair Bill Daley by bringing up his alleged -- his father's alleged vote rigging from decades ago, when he probably wasn't even born when they happened? Why are you accusing local boards of misconduct, of vote stealing when they're counting these ballots in full public view and on television? And what about your hypocrisy in saying you want strict standards for vote counting, when in Seminole County you had Republican operatives fill in data on thousands of absentee ballots?

So that would be the happy family exchange from the Democratic point of view.

WOODRUFF: Sounds really happy, Jeff.

So if -- this coming out from both sides of the table, how does it all end? GREENFIELD: Well, I was trying to think about that and I -- you can take some solace that the Hatfields and the McCoys, those famous feuding families, actually had a joint family get-together a while back, so I guess that took -- what, Judy -- 50 years, 100 years? I don't expect that when the new Congress convenes it will be like an ugly family party with exchanges of past insults, but you got to think about what it means that possibly for the first time in political history each side thinks the other side will have cheated its way into the White House. So, I don't think it's going to be a happy family celebration when the new Congress and the new president get together in Washington.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff, I'll tell you this, I'm not sure my family could stand that sort of questioning.

GREENFIELD: A fair point.

WOODRUFF: But more on this in the future.

Jeff Greenfield from New York, thanks very much.


WOODRUFF: And that is all for this expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS, but, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's

SHAW: Always. Please stay with CNN this evening for the latest on this historic presidential election. Wolf Blitzer will host "THE WORLD TODAY" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, followed by a special report with Greta Van Susteren, and then "LARRY KING LIVE."

Judy, Jeff and I will be back at 10:00 p.m. with a one-hour special report, followed by "THE SPIN ROOM" with Tucker Carlson and Bill Press. I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff. "THE MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.



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