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Larry King Live

Cheney Says Transition is Under Way; Gore Warns Election is Not Over; Judge Charles Burton Discusses the Palm Beach County Recount

Aired November 27, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Election Day plus 20, and the Bush team is still in transition mode. But with action pending in a whole bunch of courts, Al Gore says hold on, the election isn't over yet.

Joining us from West Palm Beach, where he has been speaking out as a Bush campaign surrogate, the governor of New York, George Pataki; in the Big Apple, backing the Gore team, Senator Barbara Boxer of California.

Plus, a look at the first legal challenge to presidential election results in 125 years, with lawyers from both sides of that fight.

And then partisan perspective, DNC Chairman Ed Rendell will join us from Philadelphia; and in Denver, RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson.

Plus, the man who was on the recount hot seat in Palm Beach: Canvassing Board Chairman Judge Charles Burton.

All that and another great roundtable, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We being with Governor George Pataki, he is at West Palm Beach site of much discourse in the past three weeks; and in New York, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California.

Governor Pataki, you heard the vice president speak, what did he say that you would argue with?

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Well, Larry, I think it was very disappointing to me hearing the vice president, not so much because of the words, but because there is a huge difference between what he's been saying and what his workers here in Florida have been doing.

And to me, it's really hypocritical to talk about wanting to count every vote while at the same time their operatives are still trying to disqualify votes in Nassau County, in Florida, disqualify votes in Seminole County, disqualify military ballots of people who've risked their lives so that we can vote free. They've had a count, a recount, a recount of the recount, and now they want to change the standards and do it again for a fourth time. That's not America and that's not freedom.

And, Larry, the bigger picture here, I think the vice president had to make the case why this was important to America; what he made was the case why it's important to Al Gore to go through a fourth count of the votes in Florida. I don't think that's adequate, it certainly hasn't convinced me, and I don't believe the American people are going to want to continue to have the lawyers, and particularly the Gore lawyers, determine who can vote, how you count votes, and who won the election. That's not the American way.

KING: Senator Boxer, one would imagine you have a differing view. How would you respond to what the governor just said?

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: I have a very different view. I think what the vice president said, and he said it in a very, I'd say presidential way, is that our democracy is at stake, and he asked the American people, how would you feel if your vote wasn't counted, and I think we can all relate to that. And I have heard the governor over and off again -- Governor Pataki -- say the same thing about recounting the same votes, that's not what this is about, Larry. This is about counting votes that never were counted. The people who make these machines have testified that the best and most accurate way is to do a hand count.

You know, we have a Senate race in Washington state, I would say to Governor Pataki, and everyone is very calm about it, we still don't know who the winner is. We'll get there very, very soon, first it was Senator Gorton, then it was Maria Cantwell, it's gone back and forth, and we're going to find out who that senator is in Washington state is going to feel confident. I think America should be confident. We don't want the wrong man taking the oath of office.

PATAKI: Larry...

KING: Governor Pataki, is it not true that what we want is who got the most votes in Florida, cast votes, how the people voted, and if positions were reversed, would you be -- would you and both Senator Boxer be arguing the other side tonight?

PATAKI: Well, first, absolutely, the person who won the most votes in Florida should be our next president. But we have had the count and the recount and that person clearly, as certified after three counts, is Governor Bush.

And Senator Boxer was talking about the recount in Washington state. They are doing one recount in Washington state, not three, and they are not changing the standards and changing the rules. We have seen votes counted in Florida that unequivocally have never been counted in a Florida election before, by Democratic canvassers who have changed the standards and put in place arbitrary standards. These are not votes.

Larry, I was in the counting room and I was looking at ballots, and in no way could I believe someone divine the intention of a voter they had never met and conclude that, that vote was cast for Al Gore. The counters are casting votes, not counting votes. KING: So, Governor, you would say unequivocally...

BOXER: Larry...

KING: Hold it, Barbara.


KING: So, Governor, you would say unequivocally that if the positions were reversed, you would concede?

PATAKI: Larry, you know, I -- it's easy for me to say that because -- but I'm not in that position. But in the interests of the United States, I believe the vice president should concede. And take a look at our history, we had this in 1960, when it was a very close election and the Republican candidate didn't go to the courts to demand a recount in Chicago, where there were possibly tens of thousands of fraudulent votes cast.

Look at what happened in Missouri just last month, where Senator Ashcroft in a very close race probably lost to someone who was not legally qualified to be on the ballot. He said, let's look at what's best for the interests of all the people, not personal or partisan interests, and that's what we should be looking for here.

KING: All right, Senator Boxer, why not go above that and concede?

Why not do as Senator -- as Governor Pataki just said, take the high road?

BOXER: I think the high road is to fight for everyone's right to have their vote counted. To me, that's the highest road you can take. You know, I have a chief of staff who is terrific, he used to be an elected official, he won a race by a handful of votes. It took a long time to figure out, it was a local race, but you know, in the end, he had patience, his opponent had patience, and the correct winner was announced.

I really believe if we are going to do it for local offices, for senators, for House members, we know the history there, then let's follow the Florida law. You know, I hear this talk out of Governor Pataki, whom I like, but the bottom line of it is this is America, where every vote counts, and that's all we are saying.

And there are some incredible stories coming out of Nassau County, Florida, where even the machine recount was set aside and the old vote tally was sent forward, that was 51 votes less for Al Gore. So in a democracy, when we have an election, we start off by voting and we shouldn't stop until that last vote is counted, and that's all that Al Gore is saying.

KING: All right, let me -- all right, I got to get a break and we'll pick right up with more of Governor Pataki and Barbara Boxer, Senator Barbara Boxer. And then we'll meet two lawyers on both sides of this who argued in court today. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Lots coming, don't go away.


AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let the people have have their say, and let us listen. Ignoring votes means ignoring democracy itself. And if we ignore the votes of thousands in Florida in this election, how can you or any American have confidence that your vote will not be ignored in a future election?

That is all we have asked since Election Day: a complete count of all the votes cast in Florida; not recount after recount, as some have charged, but a single full and accurate count.



KING: Governor Pataki, we hear all the time that we are a nation of laws, should the courts then just play this out and we all accept whatever is the final resolution? That's the resolution solver, the courts.

PATAKI: Well, Larry, I hope it doesn't come to that, but that's obviously in Al Gore's hands. If he continues the litigation, then the lawyers will have too great a role in determining the outcome.

But in response to Senator Boxer's comment, we want every vote counted, but votes are supposed to be cast by the voters, not by elected partisan officials. And in Broward County here, you had a elected Democratic commission, two out of the three, determining what votes count for which candidate. That's not the voter voting, that's casting votes after the fact by partisan elected officials.

The second point I would like to make is that we have to have the same standard for counting votes across a state. We had different standards in Broward County than in Palm Beach County. In Palm Beach County, I think Judge Burton -- who you're going to have on -- went out of his way to try to be as fair as possible, but the standards were not the same standards that were used in other Florida counties. Tens of thousands of votes weren't counted for legitimate reasons, because they had never been counted...

KING: Whose fault was that?

PATAKI: ... under Florida law -- it's nobody's fault. There are always in every election in every state, thousands of votes where there is no vote for a candidate. What we are seeing now in the largest Gore counties is them going back, changing the standards, having elected Democrats count the votes and determine if they went for Gore or Bush. That's not counting every vote; that's trying to cast votes and find votes for Al Gore. And, again, the hypocrisy of talking about counting votes, while at the same time, the Gore political operatives, the lawyers are out there trying to block absentee ballots from being counted, block military votes from being counted, that's not right. This is not about counting every vote, it's about finding every vote so you can change the legitimate result of an election that is already been decided.

KING: Senator Boxer, how do we get an honest count at the end that America will accept and both parties will accept? Do you think that is now impossible?

BOXER: No, I think it is very possible. I think you said it right, Larry, I think we have a court system in our nation, and I think one of the saddest things has been the attack on this court system. I particularly find it amazing that Governor Pataki, representing Governor Bush, would say it's a terrible thing to have all these lawyers. Let's face it, they were the first ones to go to court, and in fact, they have taken this to the Supreme Court, which I don't necessarily object to.

But it just seems to me, Governor Pataki, you should respect the laws of Florida, because it is, in fact, in the laws...

PATAKI: Senator, I...

BOXER: If I might finish, I didn't interrupt you, Governor, I would like to finish.

PATAKI: Well, you are telling me what to do.

BOXER: No, no. And I'd like to finish my point.

PATAKI: Let me say that it was Gore who sued to count votes in three counties...


BOXER: Which is that you never complained.

KING: Let her finish, Governor.

BOXER: You never complained, Governor Pataki, when in six Republican counties those local people found votes in the hand recount for your candidate. The fact is we should respect local people and not castigate them and make them feel like they are terrible people. These are good people, the Republicans and the Democrats down there working hard.

PATAKI: Senator, what is happening -- what the Democrats are trying to do in Florida, with some success, is change the standards and count votes that have never been counted before. And just look at what is happened, it was the Gore campaign that sued to count votes only in three large counties where he had the largest pluralities. That's not right.

BOXER: As is his right.

PATAKI: And in two of those counties where the hand count went forward, there were different standards applied, there were different standards in Broward County from Palm Beach County.

BOXER: That's right.

PATAKI: That's not right.

BOXER: That's Florida law, Governor.


PATAKI: Where you count differently in each county? That's not Florida law.

BOXER: Florida law leaves it up to the local people.

PATAKI: That's not American. That's not the way you should decide an election. You know, I wouldn't trust the local people in Chicago to count the votes the way they choose. The votes should be counted in a fair and objective way.

BOXER: Well, that's a real slam at decent people.

PATAKI: And that has happened.

BOXER: That's a real slam at people.

PATAKI: That has happened in Florida, and I'm happy about it.

BOXER: I thought you are the party that says trust the people, I don't get on...

PATAKI: We do.

BOXER: ... television nationally and...

PATAKI: We do. Senator, Senator...

BOXER: ... say, don't trust the local people.

PATAKI: Senator, if you look at what happened...

BOXER: I think we should trust the local people, Governor.

PATAKI: ... in Florida...

KING: All right, one at a time.

PATAKI: If you look at what has happened with the lawyers in Florida, I believe that we are seeing an effort to -- not to have a fair count, but to have Democratic elected officials cast votes. We saw it in Broward County, that's not right. It's the voter who should vote. Governor Bush has won Florida, Al Gore should do the right thing.

KING: All right, we thank you both.

BOXER: Governor... KING: We'll be here -- all right, thanks, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, Governor George Pataki, Republican of New York.

When we come back, a Gore legal adviser, Jeff Robinson, he was in court today, and a Bush campaign attorney not in court, but certainly up on what's going on -- George Terwilliger and Jeff Robinson, they'll be with us.

And lots more to come on LARRY KING LIVE. Stay there.


RICHARD B. CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: 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. With whatever the vice president's decision, it does not change our obligation to prepare to govern the nation.



KING: Let's go to Tallahassee and let's begin with Jeff Robinson, a legal adviser to the Gore campaign, he was in court in Tallahassee today for a legal challenge to the certified results.

All right, Jeff, where does it stand now? When does the case begin? When do you begin presenting evidence?

JEFF ROBINSON, GORE LEGAL ADVISER: Well, the case has begun. We were in court today and the judge got people started, and we will be following his schedule and proceeding next -- this week.

KING: Can you give us an idea in time factor? You present your case, they respond, about when does this wind up with a decision?

ROBINSON: Well, the Florida Supreme Court recognizing that everything has to be resolved by December 12 has set a schedule, and we think that we are likely to be finished early next week with respect to the presentation of evidence.

KING: And if the judge decides against you, is that over, are you done, or do you -- can you appeal that?

ROBINSON: There is obviously a right of appeal. It would depend upon the basis of the decision, and we would have to evaluate that at that time.

KING: And vice versa?

ROBINSON: We -- given how things have gone, we would expect that if we prevail, that Governor Bush's team would appeal.

KING: What's the essence of the complaint? ROBINSON: The essence of the complaint is that Vice President Gore wants votes to be counted, votes that have never been counted before in Broward, in -- excuse me -- in Miami-Dade County and in Palm Beach, that's the essence of the case.

KING: And why, Jeff, were they not counted?

ROBINSON: Well, that's a hard question to answer. They weren't counted in Miami-Dade because the board having decided to count them stopped.

KING: But what happened in the initial count? Before November -- on November 7, what happened in Miami? What wasn't counted that day?

ROBINSON: These are -- the votes that we're asking to have counted are votes which the machines didn't tally when they were put through, and which Florida law provides can then be reviewed by hand to see if the machines made an error. It's well recognized with these punch-card machines that when you have a close election, the machines don't always pick up voter's intent and so you then examine the punch cards to see if you can determine the voter's intent. That's the standard in Florida, that's the standard in Texas, that's the standard across the country where these kind of ballots are used.

KING: And are you saying, Jeff, in your suit, in your filing, that Miami errored in not recounting those votes immediately?

ROBINSON: Yes. We are saying that Miami-Dade had an obligation to count those votes, Miami-Dade understood that, they started to count the votes and then they stopped, and we are just saying finish the count.

KING: Thank you, Jeff Robinson, legal adviser. We'll be seeing lots more of him as this case goes on, as we said, it could go well into early next week.

Now joining us also in Tallahassee is George Terwilliger, George is a campaign attorney for the Bush campaign, he was not in court today.

In response to what Jeff has said, would you -- is there anything you would disagree with? Was he right on the point with regard to his complaint?

GEORGE TERWILLIGER, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Well, I mean, I think he is accurately summarized the complaint, Larry, but the -- but really the essence of what they are asking for is just to continue the counting process that the Florida Supreme Court put a deadline on last Sunday night. If they wanted to just recount the votes, then I suppose they could have let Katherine Harris certify the results more than a week ago and gotten into the contest then instead of in this compressed period we are in now. And if they really want to count all the votes, as they are speaking about, then why don't they want to count these military ballots from overseas? KING: Do they have a point, though, in the fact that Miami did stop, for whatever reason, Miami did not continue counting through to Sunday?

TERWILLIGER: Well, they have a point, because that's a fact, but the point is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that Florida election law provides for a period of time during which votes will be counted, recounted where the law permits them to be recounted, and then tabulated, and then there is a time for an election contest. And of course, despite what we have heard from some of the Gore lawyers, the standard, the legal standard for review in a contest is much different than it is in a recount. The difference is now there is a certified winner, and that's Governor George W. Bush of Texas. They have to prove that he is not entitled to be the winner. This isn't just a simple continuation of a recount of these votes, Larry.

Plus, what they are counting are little dimples on a piece of paper, not -- this isn't a situation where there were votes that were left aside and not counted. What's really going on here, Larry, and what I think is really the tragedy of this is that the Gore people are asking to have the process of searching for every possible indication of a vote on a piece of paper that Florida law has never before allowed.

KING: And, George, simply put, shouldn't we all just want every American every vote that voted counted? Military, regular people...

TERWILLIGER: Sure. We want...

KING: Everybody that voted should count.

TERWILLIGER: Sure, every vote should count, Larry, but the fact of the matter is that when people vote -- across the country, 1 percent of the people in a presidential election voted for other offices, but didn't vote for president. These may very well be so- called "no votes," where people made the conscious choice not to vote for anybody. What we are really doing is substituting the judgment of people looking at these cards for the judgment of voters as reflected as to what's really on those cards.

KING: Well stated on both sides. Thank you, George, and we'll be calling on you again. George Terwilliger, earlier, Jeff Robinson.


KING: When we come back, the chairmen of both parties: Ed Rendell and Jim Nicholson. If you think you have seen people disagree, you ain't seen nothing yet. Don't go away.


KING: Joining us now in Philadelphia is Ed Rendell, general chairman of the Democratic National Committee; in Denver is Jim Nicholson, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

We'll start with Jim, same question we asked earlier of Governor Pataki, what did Vice President Gore say tonight that you disagree with?

JIM NICHOLSON, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, the vice president was spinning tonight, it wasn't statesmanship. What's going on, Larry, is just exactly what the Democrats are saying is not going on, and that is their base of support is eroding. We noticed earlier today an ABC poll, it said 60 percent of the people in this country think that Gore should concede. Then we saw just a while ago on Wolf Blitzer's show where something like 57 percent of the people on your network think that, and of those people, 36 percent of those people voted for Gore.

So the Democrats are seeing that the people are growing impatient with this, they saw this election happen, they saw it counted, recounted, counted a third time, sometimes a fourth, the governor has now been certified and they think enough already, and that the vice president should have the honor, and the dignity, and the respect for the country to now concede, and let this thing end so that we can rebuild a new government around Governor Bush.

KING: Ed Rendell, is that not a very fair argument?

ED RENDELL, GENERAL CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: No, not at all, Larry, because the Republicans, whether it's Governor Pataki, or Jim -- who I have great respect for -- still give you the same mantra and that is, these are votes that have been counted once, counted twice, counted three times, counted four times -- they haven't, and the American people have to understand that. The machines do not count votes, even votes where the chad is dislodged and hanging by a thread are not counted by the machines.

What we are attempting to do -- take Miami-Dade, we know there are almost 11,000 votes where people cast votes, but where no vote registered for president. So all we are saying here is let's examine those votes, let's see -- if they're hanging chads, then we definitely count them, if they are dimpled -- you know, the Republicans make such a big deal about not counting dimple votes, but a Texas law that Governor Bush signed -- and Texas has hand-punched ballots -- specifically allows you to count dimpled ballots when the stylus makes an indentation that leaves a clearly ascertainable intention to vote.

KING: Jim, if it's not a recount, if they haven't been counted, wouldn't everybody -- let's take the whole state -- wouldn't you want to know everybody's vote?

NICHOLSON: They have been counted, Larry, they were put through the machine, they were counted...

KING: So these were just then 11,000 people who chose not to vote for...

NICHOLSON: ... then they were recounted.

Look, in Illinois, there were 150,000 ballots that weren't counted in this election. In California, there were 175,000 ballots that weren't counted. You just heard Governor Pataki say that some people choose not to vote for president. Some people may rest that stylus and then make up their mind they're not going to vote, it has a little imprint on it. That shouldn't be counted. We saw governors down there watching those canvassing officials hold that up to the light and then divining that this person, because down below they voted for Senator-to-be Nelson, or someone, maybe they intended to vote for Gore, and they counted that for Gore. That's not fair.

KING: That's a good point, isn't it, Ed?

Couldn't 10,000 people decide they didn't want to vote, they didn't like either one of them?

RENDELL: Well, except -- it's possible, Larry, but the best way to find that out is to hand count each and every ballot. If you have no indentation and no chad broken, then we assume there is a no -- they didn't intend to vote. But what about if you've got a hanging chad? Would Jim and Governor Pataki discount those? I don't think so. And those have never been counted, the hanging chads.

And as far as the indentation goes, let me repeat, Florida law is silent, but the Texas law that Governor Bush signed says specifically that those type of indentations, if you can clearly ascertain them to be the intent of the voter, can be counted. Now, how can they sign a law like that in Texas and have the campaign come in and try to deride it?

KING: Let me get a break.

NICHOLSON: What they have in Texas is a standard; in Florida, they have no standards, and the counties were making up the standards as they go along -- they still are, Ed.

RENDELL: But, Jim, would you agree...

NICHOLSON: Even the Supreme Court wouldn't prescribe a standard...

RENDELL: But would you agree that every...

NICHOLSON: ... so there is no standard. The standard is to run it through the machine and count it, and then run it through again if it's a close election and count it, and that was done. And then in most places, they even counted it a third or fourth time. I mean, it's enough already.

RENDELL: Jim, they have never been hand counted, they have never been hand counted, and Florida law specifically says that.

Would you agree that all the hanging chads should be counted?

NICHOLSON: Those ballots have been handled far more than they should have ever been handled.

RENDELL: Oh, Jim, come on, you won't answer that question.

NICHOLSON: They have been handled several times.

RENDELL: Of course they should be counted.

NICHOLSON: They are not intended to be handled like that.

RENDELL: Of course they should be counted.

KING: Let me get a break, fellows. Hold it, I have to get a break, we're out -- and we'll come right back and I'll ask each side if they would be arguing the same thing if positions were reversed. Don't go away.



GORE: There are some who would have us bring this election to the fastest conclude possible. I have a different view. I believe our Constitution matters more than convenience. So, as provided under Florida law, I have decided to contest this inaccurate and incomplete count in order to ensure the greatest possible credibility for the outcome.


KING: Same question, honestly, for both guests, starting with Ed Rendell. Positions reversed...

RENDELL: Obviously...

KING: ... Gore is ahead in Florida...

RENDELL: Obviously...

KING: ... Bush is contesting three Republican counties, you would be saying the same thing Bush is saying, correct?

RENDELL: Yes, I think obviously so, Larry, except one thing: I think we would, had Governor Bush in a reverse situation made the offer to count all the counties in the state like the vice president did, 10 days ago I think we would have taken him up on that offer, counted all the counties by hand and put it to bed.

KING: Same question for you, Ed...

RENDELL: One thing we'd...

KING: ... positions reversed.

NICHOLSON: One thing we'd be doing very differently is we would have allowed all of those military votes to be counted. What they did down there was unconscionable. On the eve -- the day after the election, they sent a team down there, hundreds of lawyers, with a five-page memorandum, scattered them throughout the 67 counties of Florida, and said here's how you can keep a military ballot, the brave men and women defending our right to vote, from having their vote counted.

KING: By now...

NICHOLSON: ... and they intimidated those local officials so that they didn't count in many of them. We saw today where there were 80 people that can now be named -- it's on the Internet -- who's votes weren't counted in Florida.

KING: Since obviously something's wrong in Florida, Jim, would you, looking back, should we have recounted the whole state? Hand counted the whole state?

NICHOLSON: The whole state was recounted...


KING: No, hand counted.

NICHOLSON: And it was recounted. No, I mean, they -- you know...

KING: No? OK, that's your answer. No.

NICHOLSON: ... they talk out of both sides of their mouth. They want election officials to exercise discretion. When they do, now they're suing them. They're suing those Democrats in Miami-Dade County, and they're suing them in Palm Beach County for exercising the discretion that they didn't want them to exercise -- they didn't want the secretary of state to exercise earlier.

This thing is over. The vice president should concede. We knew that he'd do anything or say anything to get elected president, now we're seeing he'll put the country through anything to get elected president. He should put...

RENDELL: Larry, I want to respond, Larry.

NICHOLSON: He should put patriotism above his personal ambition.

RENDELL: I want to respond by saying that of course both sides should have agreed to a hand count of the entire state. Jim's not giving back any of those ballots that were hand counted in the six Republican counties, number one.

And No. 2, let me respond to the military stuff, because that is a bunch of bull. The reason the absentee military votes without the postmarks were discounted was because Secretary of State Harris sent out memo to all election board officials saying they could not count them without the postmark. That's No. 1.

No. 2...

NICHOLSON: That's not true, Ed.

RENDELL: That is true.

NICHOLSON: That is not the case. RENDELL: No. 2, do you notice who the governor is sewing, Larry? They are six counties who have not complied. They are all counties that the canvassing boards are Republican controlled. We don't control them, the Republican Party does. They haven't followed what they want -- what the Republican Party wants them to do, nor have they followed Attorney General Butterworth, a Democrat, who has said they should be counted.

NICHOLSON: That's because they had Democrat attorneys that have been trained in how to object to these military ballots...

RENDELL: Oh, they were scared.

NICHOLSON: ... sitting there objecting to these military ballots, and they intimidated some of these local officials.

RENDELL: Absolutely, just like your attorneys intimidated the Broward County board. That's ridiculous.

NICHOLSON: No, the chairman of that board said he wasn't intimidated...

RENDELL: That's ridiculous.

NICHOLSON: ... not at all.

RENDELL: That's ridiculous.

KING: Fellas, do you think we're going to wind up with the legislature picking the electors -- Jim?

NICHOLSON: No, I don't think so, Larry. I think the vice president's going to come to his senses, he's going to see what this is doing to the country, he's seeing his support erode, as we saw today in those national polls, and I think he's going to step up and do the honorable thing, and I think he's going to do it soon.

KING: Ed, what do you think is going to happen?

NICHOLSON: No, I don't think the legislature will step in.

By the way, in terms of continuing this process, unless I'm wrong, it was Governor Bush who appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which set a hearing date for this coming Friday. So in case they lost, they were willing to prolong the process as well, Larry.

KING: Do you think, Ed, your side is going to win?

RENDELL: Do I think we're going to win?

KING: The Supreme Court.

RENDELL: I think the Florida Supreme Court is going to eventually hear this case. They're going to order the Palm Beach County votes to be counted. That was a disgrace when Secretary of State Harris refused to count them because they were two hours late. They came in before her press conference, that's No. 1.

No. 2, they're going to allow the Miami-Dade votes to be hand counted...

NICHOLSON: That deadline was set by the Supreme Court.

RENDELL: Jim, I don't interrupt you.

Secondly, they're going to count the Miami-Dade votes by hand again, and I think there will be enough votes in Miami-Dade.

The reason the Republicans are fighting this is because they know if you count the votes and clearly ascertain the Miami-Dade County voters' intentions, we're going to win.

KING: Any truth to that, Ed? You know you'd lose if they count?


KING: I mean -- I'm sorry, Jim. Jim, I'm sorry.

NICHOLSON: Well, first of all, they -- in the case of Palm Beach, those votes that weren't counted wouldn't have mattered anyway. But it was the Supreme Court that Ed and his party appealed to that set that new deadline...

RENDELL: They also said 9:00 Monday morning.

NICHOLSON: ... that Katherine Harris established. No, they said if she's open for business at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday she can accept that and certify the vote. She did exactly as they told her to do in their orders.

KING: All right, thank you both, guys. We'll be seeing you again as we wind through this. Ed Rendell in Philadelphia, Jim Nicholson in Denver.

When we come back, a man we all got to know pretty well: Judge Charles Burton of Palm Beach.

Don't go away.


KING: We're now joined by a very famous American -- he didn't plan it that way, but he is -- Judge Charles Burton, chairman of the Palm Beach County canvassing board, a registered Democrat appointed to the bench by Jeb Bush.

Were you disappointed that Secretary Harris didn't count the votes at least you had counted up to the deadline?

JUDGE CHARLES BURTON, CHAIRMAN, PALM BEACH COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD: We were absolutely disappointed, and we were disappointed that she would not extend it. As you know, it basically took an extra hour and a half and we could have submitted final results. KING: Why didn't you work Thanksgiving Day as they did in Broward?

BURTON: I don't know, Larry. I mean, that seems to be the question of the day, and in hindsight, obviously, we might have done things differently.

There were a lot of delays in the process. I mean, we were really hopeful we would be able to get through it. And I think, quite honestly, there were more ballots than we had anticipated.

KING: Judge, what do you make of all of this?

BURTON: You know, I...

KING: What's your total read on the whole thing, your state, the involvement of your county, the secretary, the vice president's suit today?

BURTON: You know, I don't know. I mean, we set out to try and do the best job we could, certainly, to try to make sure people's votes counted. And in the process, you know, it was certainly a learning experience. And I think I've seen both the best and the worst of politics in the process, so...

KING: In a minute, we're going to show you a little montage of yourself, but first, do you think as a judge -- and just for a legal opinion. You have no say in it -- that the contention by the Democrats might be upheld in circuit court in Leon County?

BURTON: I don't know where this is going. And one of the things I kept commenting on all week is that every time somebody sneezed another lawsuit was filed. And it's difficult to know.

KING: Nothing is predictable?

BURTON: I think I would be better off not even making a prediction, quite honestly.

KING: We want to show you a little montage here and then get your reaction to it of you -- this is just you, Judge Charles Burton -- yesterday, Sunday.



BURTON: We'll just keep all the objectionable ballots separated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We obviously won't know which -- I'm just trying to understand -- we won't know which part is which.

BURTON: No, if you object, we'll separate them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, gotcha. BURTON: Whether she gets the results at 5:00 p.m. this evening or she gets them by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, I'm not quite sure there's a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want to do, we have another objection.

Ma'am, can you get this on the record?

BURTON: I went outside and I got served with a lawsuit. I don't know what this...

They wrote in for president Al Gore and all Democrats who's running.


KING: Was this -- was it as frustrating inside yourself as you looked?

BURTON: It was frustrating. You know, we had a difficult week getting through, and just, you know, one of the things I think upon reflecting today was we just kind of let the process run itself instead of trying to get a better handle on it. Clearly...

KING: Meaning?

BURTON: Well, just clearly all of the ballots that were set aside as questionable, you know, when we sat down and looked at them, they were clear votes for, you know, Gore or for Bush, whoever the case may be. And that just really wasted an awful lot of time having to go through all of those.

KING: So in other words, too many were set aside as questionable that weren't questionable at all?

BURTON: Right, and I think clearly those are the ballots that certainly would have been counted in the machine count. If I had to do it all over again, I think we would have just pulled aside the undervotes, that is the votes that were not counted by the machine count, and try to go through those and try and make some determination as to how many of thoughts votes we could count.

KING: What changes, Judge, should Florida make in its voting system? Should it do away with paper and go back to machine balloting where you pull a lever?

BURTON: Well, either machine balloting or I just think -- you know, I've heard people talk about there's a technology out there that you can vote similar to an ATM machine. And you can go anywhere in the state of Florida and cast your ballot. You know, you can view the ballot before it's sent, you can verify it. I mean, clearly, in a county such as Palm Beach, where you have a half a million ballots, that is just a tremendous job to have to, you know...

KING: Yes. BURTON: ... manually recount every one of those.

KING: Obviously there's going to be a change?

BURTON: I think each and every legislature, this is going to be the first thing on their dockets when they get back. I mean, there needs to be some clearer consistent standard. And they, you know, that's one of the things we grappled with all week. We tried to set out to at least have a fair standard, be consistent throughout the process keep it as open to the public as they could, so at least people would have confidence in whatever the result turned out to be.

KING: You still counting at all?

BURTON: I'm sorry.

KING: Are you still counting anything?

BURTON: Just in my sleep laugh.

KING: Thank you, Judge.

BURTON: All right, thanks a lot, Larry.

KING: We may be seeing you again, Judge. Never say never.

BURTON: All right.

KING: Judge Charles Burton, chairman of the Palm Beach County canvassing board.

When we come back, Gloria Borger, Ann Compton and Tim Padgett. We get our panel going.

Don't go away.


KING: We have an exceptional panel every night. Tonight is no different. In Washington is Gloria Borger, political columnist, "U.S. News & World Report." Every Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." She's also special correspondent for CBS news. And Ann Compton is also in Washington, ABC news Washington correspondent, has been on the road with both candidates. And in Miami is Tim Padgett, Miami-Caribbean bureau chief for "Time" magazine.

We'll start with Tim.

Did you say, Tim, that Miami is a dysfunctional state?

TIM PADGETT, "TIME": Dysfunctional city-state? I don't know. I...

KING: City-state, yes. Or Florida, yes, do you call the whole state dysfunctional? PADGETT: No, I think what we're seeing is that it's got some dysfunctional problems. I think any state that would be under this kind of microscope you would see the blemishes of their electoral system. But I think there's a growing feeling here with this problem that after Elian, after all the vote-fraud plagues we had in Florida during the '90s and other problems, I think there's a growing feeling in this state that perhaps because of this -- this cultural attitude in this state that, hey, we all live in Margaritaville that perhaps there's not enough care, there's too little care given to -- administering the nuts and bolts of society down here, and this election unfortunately highlights that.

KING: Gloria, do you think the public at large is laughing at Florida?

GLORIA BORGER, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Well, I don't think they're laughing at Florida. I think they're really curious about what's going on down there now, and I also think, Larry, that they might be losing just a little bit of patience with all of this.

We've seen a very, very patient public so far, and now, suddenly, an ABC poll today says that maybe six out of 10 voters want to get this over with. And that's why Al Gore was, in fact, speaking to the American citizens tonight, because he said, look, just give me a little bit more time. That's all I need.

KING: Ann Compton, one might say, what is the rush? You don't need anything until the middle of December, and shouldn't...

ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS: Well, we're not -- we're not...

KING: ... the courts look at it and make a decision? We're a nation of laws.

COMPTON: Well I guess we're not at that political panic point yet where we think there's a great constitutional crisis. Maybe January 20th I'll hit that point. But I think -- but if Al Gore says he wants to get this done by December 12th and by putting kind of a deadline out like that, I'm sure it's meant to encourage people that he's not going do carry this out until next spring or next summer or next fall.

But I don't know, I watched -- I think I made mistake watching him tonight, Larry. I think listened too carefully to the words, and I didn't sit back as if I'd just come home from work, put my feet up and was waiting to watch football to so see kind of how he came across.

I couldn't get past all of the flags behind him -- I lost count at six -- the presidential podium, the whole aura of, I really won this. This is really my territory. Please have the patience with me to let me get through this. I'm not sure how that came across to the American people.

KING: That's the way you read it. How did you read him tonight, Tim? PADGETT: Well, I would agree with what Jeff Greenfield said earlier. I think it's what he didn't say that helped him the most, particularly given the feeling down here as well as in the rest of the country that, you know, we've had enough and we're probably going to give him about one more week. But we don't want this strident tone anymore, especially after what happened here last week.

And I think he made the case that this is not just Al Gore doing anything he can to win. I think he did make the case, in very succinct terms anyway, that this is something we should all be concerned about. There was a real big mess-up here in this state during this election, and we need to get to the bottom and see if votes were neglected to be counted.

KING: Gloria, how about the vituperative element, especially the far right and the far left screaming fraud, a fixed Supreme Court. Now Democrats are saying, well, seven of these people on the United States Supreme Court are Republicans. What's going to happen with Scalia and Thomas? Gore criticized them, are they going to vote against him? Why go through that? Is that affecting all of this?

BORGER: Well it is affecting all of this. In fact, I think you see half of the United States Congress now descending on the state of Florida, Larry. The Democrats are about as energized about Al Gore as they've ever been, even during the general election. They're supporting Gore more now, and the reason is, of course, that they believe that this is unfair. They believe that Gore won the state of Florida, some say by 20 to 30,000 votes, and they want to win this election. The stakes are high.

And the public so far has been patient. The phones are not ring off the hook. And, by the way, every big Democratic interest group, including big labor, including the NAACP, they're behind the Democrats in all this. So they're down there.

Then you've got Tom DeLay, House Republicans on the other side threatening to take this up on the Hill, also sending down their troops to Florida. And I think that does not bode well for what happens, no matter who wins this election, Larry. Because when the president is sworn in, takes over, it's going to be very bitter up there on Capitol Hill.

KING: All right, more with Gloria Borger, Ann Compton and Tim Padgett right after this.



WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 single person who voted had a vote that counted just as much as mine. And so they have to sort that out in Florida, who's 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. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, Ann Compton, what did you make of the president's statement and the transition organization he's putting together.

COMPTON: Well, in part, the president also announced today he's going to leave town on December 12. He's not going to stick around. He's going to Ireland, Northern Ireland, a place that he is practically worshiped. So he won't be around to see whatever bull is left on the floor.

KING: By the way, it's less "combatative" there.

COMPTON: Slightly.

KING: Is he between a rock and a hard place here really?

COMPTON: I don't think so. I think on transition we can tend to make too much of it. Both of the candidates, or the contenders, are going to be able to put together an administration. They're not going to have everybody ready for confirmation the first six weeks of the administration anyway.

The game over where do we have our offices, who's going to give us the money, do we have to raise our own I think is just so much window dressing at this point. The fact is both of them quietly, behind the scenes, are thinking very much in terms of Cabinet appointments, who they want, and the kinds of issues they have to have ready for a budget and a State of the Union message within weeks of coming into office.

KING: Tim Padgett, is anything now predictable? Can you safely predict how the contesting is going to come out, how the United States Supreme Court is going to go?

PADGETT: No way. I mean, last week when we were very doubtful that the Florida Supreme Court would grant Gore the permission to go ahead with these full manual recounts, and they did. So in the contests going on now in Tallahassee, it would be way out of bounds for me or any correspondent for that matter to guess how the courts would rule here.

And I would also have to say that, you know, we all thought if the Florida Supreme Court was going to allow full manual recounts, they would at least give a deadline much longer than just last night at 5:00 p.m. So everything's muddled here, and it would be way out of bounds for me to make a prediction of that sort.

KING: Gloria Borger, in view of all this, do you think it's possible for these two sides to come together and to govern fairly, or are we going to we have four years of this?

BORGER: I'm an eternal optimistic, Larry, because I'm a journalist, right? So I'm an optimist. And I believe that eventually they will, but only because it's in their self interest to do so. They see a divided American public right down the middle. The voters in this country want to get things done, perhaps small things, not huge things. There's no crisis right now. So I see them getting together on small things like prescription drugs for Medicare, patients' -- which it's not a small thing but it's not a huge trillion-dollar tax cut, for example. I think that goes by the board.

One more things about transition, Larry. I used to think that Bush would put an awful lot of Democrats in his Cabinet if he became president. Right now, given the bitter feelings on both sides, I can't see many Democrats who are currently serving as public officials saying, yes, they would go join a Bush administration.

KING: So this, Ann, will carry over?

COMPTON: I think so, and with the American people more than anywhere else. You know, they've been watching sausage being made here, and the American electoral process has not been a pretty one. I think they're going to demand some real changes before we get to 2004.

KING: And, Tim, we only have about 20 seconds. Do you agree?

PADGETT: Yes, especially in Florida and across the rest of the country. Florida's the new bellwether state of this country, and so it's more imperative that the problems get fixed here. And that will resonate throughout the rest of the country, I think.

KING: Thank you all very much, Gloria Borger, Ann Compton and Tim Padgett.

More of the same tomorrow night with more great guests and an outstanding panel.

Stay tuned now for a special report with Judy Woodruff, Jeff Greenfield and Bernie Shaw.

I'm Larry King. For all of us here at LARRY KING LIVE, thanks for joining us. And stay tuned for round-the-clock coverage on CNN.

Good night.



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