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Florida Supreme Court Hands Gore Major VictoryAired December 8, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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CRAIG WATERS, FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: The Circuit Court of the 2nd Judicial Circuit, here in Tallahassee, shall immediately begin a manual recount.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: In a huge victory for Al Gore, the Florida Supreme Court keeps his presidential bid alive.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: The door now is open for even more drama and discord in Election 2000.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
SHAW: Thanks for joining us.
The Florida Supreme Court ruling was announced about an hour ago, and things are unlikely to settle for quite some time. In a 4-3 decision, the state's high court upheld Al Gore's contest of Florida's vote count. And, it issued a sweeping order for hand counts of disputed ballots, just four days before Florida's presidential electors are supposed to be certified.
The Bush campaign is expected to appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court. As we await a live statement by William Daley, Al Gore's campaign chairman, we begin our coverage with CNN's Kate Snow at the Florida high court -- Kate.
KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, a clear victory for the Gore legal team on the ground here in Tallahassee. in fact, the vice president called them shortly after the announcement of this opinion, the vice president telling them congratulations for all of their work here.
They are now, I'm told, preparing for the possible eventuality that the Bush team would make some kind of a motion, perhaps an emergency motion to try to stay or stop the counting from even beginning. They expect that may happen but, of course, have no word yet from the Bush legal team here as to whether they're considering filing such a motion, but the Gore people getting ready for that possibility. Craig Waters, the spokesman for the Florida Supreme Court came out about 29 hours after the court had heard oral arguments yesterday. They heard about an hour of oral arguments yesterday and then just about an hour ago Craig Waters emerged with their decision.
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WATERS: The court today has issued its opinion in the case of Albert Gore, Jr. versus Katherine Harris, George W. Bush, and others. Paper copies of that opinion will be available here at the front door as soon as possible after I finish this statement. The opinion also will be posted on our duplicate Web sites as soon as possible.
The court has authorized following statement: By a vote of 4-3, the majority of the court has reversed the decision of the trial court in part. It has further ordered that the Circuit Court of the 2nd Judicial Circuit here in Tallahassee shall immediately begin a manual recount of the approximately -- of the approximately -- 9,000 Miami- Dade ballots that registered the undervotes.
In addition, the circuit court shall enter orders insuring the inclusion of the additional 215 legal votes for Vice President Gore in Palm Beach County, and the 168 additional legal votes for Miami-Dade.
In addition, the circuit court shall order a manual recount of all undervotes in any Florida county where such a recount has not yet occurred. Because time is of the essence, the recount shall commence immediately. In tabulating what constitutes a legal vote, the standard to be used is the one provided by the legislature. A vote shall be counted where there is a clear indication of the intent of the voter.
Chief Justice Charles T. Wells and Justice Major B. Harding have written dissenting opinions. Justice Leander J. Shaw, Jr. has joined in the dissenting opinion of Justice Harding. Thank you.
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SNOW: As you just heard Craig Waters point out, this was by no means a unanimous decision on the part of these seven justices of the Florida Supreme Court. He mentioned Justice Leander Shaw in addition to Justice Major Harding and Charles Wells dissenting, writing a dissenting opinion here.
We should note that Harding and Wells were two of the justices that asked some of the -- most of the questions yesterday during the oral arguments. They were asking a lot of questions about whether this court indeed had jurisdiction, had the right to even intervene in this case. We don't know yet what their dissenting opinion says, but we might imagine that that might be some of the reason behind their dissent.
David Boies I'm told while talking to Vice President Al Gore shortly after the opinion was read by Craig Waters, said to him on the phone, you said your chances were 50-50. Well, 4-3 is better than 50- 50. Bernie, back to you.
SHAW: Kate, I have a question that perhaps dances around the subject of decorum. I'm wondering, has the Gore legal team made a command decision not to appear before reporters. You just quoted David Boies and it's good to know that but, are they concerned about not appearing to gloat, and also the fact that this is a very hydra- headed story and that William Daley will be talking shortly. In other words, we've not heard from the Gore lawyers. Is that intentional?
SNOW: Well, I don't know. I don't know the answer to that. I know there's been a lot of strategy behind the scenes. I know that they've been very careful about managing things here. David Boies has been doing much of the talking in recent days as far as the legal front goes.
Quite frankly, the people I have talked to on the legal team are working so hard right now trying to figure out what their next move is legally that they probably just don't have time to be appearing on the camera nor do the Bush attorneys for that matter, have time. I did speak very briefly with one of the Bush attorneys, but he said, frankly, I'm in meeting. I don't even have time to talk to you right now. So I think everyone is scrambling. I don't know how much we should read into the fact that they haven't come before the cameras yet -- Bernie.
SHAW: Kate Snow -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, one can only to imagine the sense of relief within the Gore camp when the Florida high court issued its ruling.
CNN's Jonathan Karl is covering the vice president here in Washington -- Jonathan.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the first thing the Gore camp has got are some kudos from Capitol Hill from the Democratic leaders on the Hill. Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle, they have released a statement. I will read part of that statement.
It says, quote: "We should respect the decision of the state's highest court and continue to support the principle that in democracies there are few more noble goals than counting every vote and honoring the will of the people." The statement concludes by saying. "We will continue to support the vice president while these votes are counted."
So, obviously what happens here is the vice president lives to fight another day, but he's got several more big fights ahead of himself. Three major ones immediately on the plate. First, they expect obviously an immediate appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court from the Bush campaign.
They had already prepared for fighting that appeal, but there is something that comes even before that, and that is they expect the Bush campaign to file an injunction to stop the counting while they appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is the contingency the vice president's team has prepared for. The legal team had already prepared a response for the expected injunction, at least an injunction that they expect to be coming.
And then finally, there's the potential of a constitutional showdown with the Florida state legislature, the Republican state legislature. The Gore team had commissioned Walter Dellinger, the former U.S. Solicitor General, some time ago to begin preparing for the constitutional showdown. They have a legal strategy in place. They have been very reluctant to talk about that legal strategy, but it most likely entails yet another trip to the U.S. Supreme court.
So, the Gore team has a tremendous victory here. It's a roller coaster. They're up on top again. But they know that they've got no time to celebrate. They've got a lot of work ahead of them.
WOODRUFF: Jonathan, when you say they really are looking at the U.S. Supreme Court potentially on all three of those points that you raised, do they have enough lawyers? I mean, how are they deploying their troops, if you will, to prepare to fight on these two, potentially three fronts?
KARL: This is an extremely well-prepared team. I've been talking to them for about a week now about the contingency of a victory before the U.S. Supreme court. They are prepared. They have had separate teams working on these avenues. Separate teams working on the appeal before the appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court they expect from the Bush campaign and also on this question of the Florida state legislature and that constitutional challenger.
Again, Walter Dellinger is somebody you have not seen before the camera, but has, I am told, been working very diligently with the Gore preparing for this outcome. This is the outcome they wanted. But they know, again, they've got to fight on from here. This is far from the end of the road.
WOODRUFF: Jonathan Karl. Of course, Walter Dellinger being a former solicitor general or acting solicitor general of the United States, a prominent figure in the Janet Reno Justice Department.
Jonathan, one other thing. Are they expecting a request for an injunction from the Bush folks could occur as early as today? Tomorrow?
KARL: Judy, they were talking to me about this injunction before they even heard this decision. So, they expect -- having been saying that they expected this to happen immediately. Again, we won't know until we hear what happens over from the Bush side. But they are prepared, and indeed have begun preparing their briefs responding to an injunction they didn't even know for sure was going to come, but they clearly expected to come.
There's one other thing they've prepared for and that is they have a team of about two dozen people to serve as the Democratic observers for a recount. Those people have been prepared, trained, ready to go, should the counting start. Now that we have the potential of a statewide recount of the undervote, they may need more of those Democratic observers, but they have two dozen in place, and ready to go down there in Tallahassee.
WOODRUFF: And Jonathan, and just to pick up on that one point you made, you called a potential constitutional showdown with the Florida state legislature. In fact, since Democrats in the Florida state House and Senate are significantly outnumbered by Republicans, they know they re going to lose in both those bodies of the Florida legislature. So is this something that they automatically assume is going to go to the courts?
KARL: They fully expect that the Florida legislature, the Republican-dominated legislature, will go forward if need be with a slate of legislator electors for George W. Bush.
So, yes, the battle they have been preparing is a legal battle to challenge their right to do so. There's also a public relations battle. They know they're not going to win on the floor of the state legislature, at least, they don't think they will.
But they know they've also got a big public relations battle. They hope to make the Gore campaign pay a price -- I mean, make the Bush campaign pay a price for this action because they believe it will be seen at least their spin is this will be seen as an effort by Governor Jeb Bush of Florida to win the election for his brother.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Jonathan Karl here in Washington. And now let's go quickly to the Bush campaign and how it plans to deal with this blow from the Florida high court.
CNN's Candy Crowley joins us from Austin, Texas.
Candy, what are they saying?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, not much. Look, the bigger the blow, the longer the meeting. This was a huge blow and they're still in meetings, both in Tallahassee and in Austin, and they're on a conference call trying to discuss how to proceed both on the political front and on the legal front.
We know a couple of things. First of all, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta is still there. They noted that the last couple of times that they have been sort of pushed back by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, that court has said, you know, you haven't proven that there's any irreparable harm here, but always sort of left the door open. Now for that injunction that John is talking about, it's quite likely, I would suspect, that they would go to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
They also have the Supreme Court hanging out there: first on the case that has already been there, and then sent back to the Florida Supreme Court, and as the governor himself said earlier today, they were definitely planning on appealing this if it went against them.
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GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're prepared to if need be take our case back to the supreme court, but I hope that doesn't have to happen. I hope the Florida...
BUSH: Pardon me? Well, I believe there would be a reason to, and of course, that need be, we'll explain the reason. I just hope that doesn't take place. I hope that -- obviously hope the justices in Florida rule in our favor.
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CROWLEY: Obviously, the governor's fondest hopes were not realized. He made that statement prior to the Supreme Court decision which said go ahead and begin that recount.
So again, Judy, they are in a meeting and trying to figure out how to deal with this both legally and politically.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy, CNN Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno is here in the studio. Frank, you want -- you have a point connected with what Candy has been talking about.
FRANK SESNO, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, it's really -- it's connected with all of this in this very fast-moving situation, Judy, and that is some of the earlier reaction. We haven't heard from the Gore team, but I spoke a short time ago with Alexis Herman, the labor secretary. She's also been active with the Gore so-called "transition effort." It'll be interesting to hear how Candy responds as to whether this is something that bounces off the Bush effort as well.
On the record, what she's prepared to say is that the courts have decided to let these votes be counted, and the vice president has always said he'd stand by the outcome of a manual recount. I think that's the kind of thing that we can expect to hear from William Daley in just a few minutes.
But Alexis Herman continues: "I don't think this assures victory." And what it does do, she says, is to reassure faith in our democracy.
What the Democrats are going to be saying now a lot is rather than being about winning this election it's about counting all the votes and assuring the smooth functioning of democracy. They're in a tough public relations battle here. It is hard to sustain the American public and their own following through yet more twists and turns and loop-to-loops of this roller coaster Jon Karl was talking about. So I think that's one -- one sense of what we may be getting here.
I must tell you one other thing. A source -- sources also say that prepared for defeat today as well, and in the past several days have been William Daley and Warren Christopher, Al Gore's closest advisers. And within the Gore camp, it was the lawyers versus the missionaries. The lawyers -- Daley and Christopher -- saying when might we have to fold, what do we have to think about, what are the broader political consequences. The missionaries were absolutely Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman.
WOODRUFF: But Candy Crowley still with us from Austin, there's been no such division that we're aware of among the Bush forces?
CROWLEY: No, they've basically taken their lead from the legal team. The legal team -- though I will tell you gives them a very realistic prediction of what might happen or an assessment at least, saying, look, we might be able to win this -- they've always known that most roads here have led to the Supreme Court of Florida. And they know that all of those justices were appointed by Democratic governors, one of them jointly. Or at least Jeb Bush, the incoming Republican governor, gave the nod.
But we are talking about a Supreme Court that was appointed largely by Democrats, that are largely registered as Democrats. And so they always had a very sort of realistic approach to this Florida Supreme Court in terms of, you know, the types of judges that they were, not necessarily political leanings, but just they knew from whence they came.
I will tell you that they also specifically had the markers -- and I know lawyers don't like those terms -- but they had sort of this place-holder in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals as well as in the Supreme Court, and they really thought that was their backup, and it's certainly something they have to go to now.
But in terms of the political team and legal team, obviously the political team has been more out front with the pictures and looking presidential and sort of pushing that image, but they've always been given a very realistic view of how their fortunes might wax and wane in Florida.
WOODRUFF: And candy, just quickly, if they had a skeptical view of the Florida Supreme Court, at least from a political standpoint, one presumes they have a more benign view of the U.S. Supreme Court?
CROWLEY: I think so. It wasn't -- you know, I don't want to, you know, give the impression they saw this as all political and they're going to rule this way, but they understood the base from which these people looked at the law. And so -- and they knew the unpredictability of the Florida Supreme Court. And remember, the first biggest blow to the Bush team was given by the Florida Supreme Court, so they knew kind of what they were dealing with here.
Yes, they obviously, you know, feel that the Supreme Court may be friendlier turf, but they also believe that on the law they're right, and that you know, as true believers, they believe that the Supreme Court would uphold that.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Candy Crowley in Austin -- Bernie.
SHAW: Now, let's go to the United States Supreme Court as it faces another request to intervene in this presidential election battle.
CNN's Charles Bierbauer is at the high court -- Charles. CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, here we go again I think is the appropriate term here. We didn't think in the first place that these issues would reach the Supreme Court in Washington. They did, and they appear to be coming back.
In fact, today there was one petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, not from the Bush campaign, but from that companion suit that was rejected in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals down in Atlanta that Candy was referring to: this one filed by three voters in Brevard County in which they contend that a manual recount amounts to creating a two-tiered system of counting votes, and that is unfair and a dilution of the ballots of those whose votes are not manually recounted.
How this gets around this, we really don't know at this stage, because we have not seen how the Florida Supreme Court has responded to the U.S. Supreme Court's order earlier this week, when it vacated and sent back for clarification the earlier Florida ruling.
Complicated though this is, we really need to see how they address the U.S. Supreme Court's concerns as to whether they are in compliance with federal regulations, the federal Constitution.
The only clue that I derive out of the statement, which we got from the Florida Supreme Court spokesman, was the notation that the standard for judging these undervote ballots would be that set by the Florida legislature: a clear indication of what the voters intent may be, bearing in mind that this court here in Washington said that the court in Tallahassee had to be attentive to what the Florida legislature stipulated.
That's about as far as we can get with this at this point, Bernie, except to note that there is both the 11th Circuit approach and the Supreme Court approach. They've sought injunctive relief from the 11th Circuit and not gotten it in the past. We'll have to see what the opinion looks like and what the petition looks like when it comes back here -- Bernie.
SHAW: Charles, two very fascinating things. First of all, you said in talking about the standard to be set, we know, as you reported, the Florida Supreme Court justices have not responded to the United States Supreme Court's request. But apparently, one could read into the language of the Florida high court ruling today an indication, a kind of flagging to the high court in Washington, that we indeed are applying the language of federal election law in Florida.
BIERBAUER: That would be my sense from that very brief statement which we were given down in Tallahassee, but when we see the full ruling, we will find therein the kind of language that the U.S. Supreme Court was asking the Florida court to provide. And that's what we'll have to take and analyze to see whether they've responded, and of course, that's what the justices here will want to see: Have the met the test which the U.S. Supreme Court set for them in conforming with the federal election laws? SHAW: And Charles, for our viewers around the world watching this live coverage of this extremely important breaking story, the Florida Supreme Court has partly ruled in favor of Vice President Al Gore.
Take us through the mechanics. We presume that Governor Bush's lawyers will go to the United States Supreme Court in Washington, that building behind you. Mechanically, logistically, how will this work?
BIERBAUER: Well, it will work the same way the other petition came here today. The lawyers grind out these things. The one we got so far is about 30 pages. They will probably have most of that already prepared, the boilerplate, and they -- anticipating what the ruling might be if it were adverse. They deliver the briefs. The briefs are filed with the court. The justices read them.
They set -- the justices either can accept this petition or deny it. If they accept it, they set a time frame for additional legal briefs, spelling out the arguments and responding to them. This all went very swiftly when the issue came here, what, a week ago today now. So everyone knows that we're operating under some time constraint, and I think we'll see the same thing again if the U.S. Supreme Court says it has got to hear it again. It doesn't have to do that if it's satisfied with the ruling that the Florida Supreme Court is issuing -- Bernie.
SHAW: Our man at United States Supreme Court, Charles Bierbauer. Of course, we'll come back to you again and again and again.
Now, let's turn to CNN election law analyst Ken Gross.
A very simple question, Ken: What are you thinking?
KEN GROSS, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: Well, As I wade through the 4-3 decision of the president -- of the Florida Supreme Court regarding this case, it's clear that this court was unhappy with the legal standards that was used by Judge Sauls.
Basically they say that he confused the standard from the protest phase what the standard from the contest phase, that in fact the courts do have the right to review this de novo or at least you don't have to defer to the canvassing boards. So this is obviously very, very dramatic, and I think maybe a nightmare to all. But it opens a new chapter in the legal wrangling that we're going to see.
SHAW: What about the discussion Charles and I had moments ago about the choice of language used by the justices in Florida's Supreme Court in saying what they were citing, Florida election law and possibly this being an indication of their thinking of how they're going to respond to the United States Supreme Court request that the Florida high court explain itself, explain its rationale?
GROSS: I think you're exactly right about that. This court, as was apparent during the oral argument on this case, is concerned about what the U.S. Supreme Court said to them, the shot over the bow, if you will, in remanding the case that was sent back to them. And this case -- or at least this was written in such a way they didn't want to make the same mistake. They say jurisdictions, based on the Florida statutes...
SHAW: Can I quote it for you, Ken, and our viewers?
SHAW: This is what the 4-3 ruling said. This is very interesting language. Quote: "In tabulating what constitutes a legal vote, the standard to be used is the one provided by the legislature" -- very key word. Continuing to quote, "A vote shall be counted where there is a clear indication of the intent of the voter," unquote -- Ken.
GROSS: Yes, and another interesting thing directly related to that, this court upheld Judge Sauls' in his affirming of the standard that was apparently used in Palm Beach. So I think this court is sort of dictating the Palm Beach standard while they are -- they're saying their decision is squarely based on Florida legislative law, which I guess means they'll be counting dimples perhaps, but only on -- I mean, we're getting down to this level of detail again as they go through the process -- dimples again only if there are dimples up and down the ballot, not just a dimple for the presidential selection and clear choices down ballot. I think that's where we're headed at this preliminary stage.
SHAW: And very quickly, looking at this from the human level, Judge N. Sanders Sauls has got to be volcanic. He's probably cursing right now. Can you imagine what's going through his mind? He's had his run-ins with the Florida Supreme Court before.
GROSS: Yes, this opinion wasn't particularly kind, just in very legal language of course, because it says quite squarely -- even the dissents had problem with the standards that he used. They say, Judge, you used the wrong standard. You should have applied a different legal standard, and here's 9,000 ballots back for you to deal with as a result, plus all the other counties now that have been put into play as a result of this decision.
SHAW: Is this in-your-face or what?
GROSS: Well, it sound likes it. But in the -- you know, as lawyers we deal with these situations all the time. District Court judges are used to getting reversed. And when you get reversed, it's never a happy thing. And the court has to be very clear on the grounds of reversal. So it's all very much within legal bounds and legal rhetoric as well.
SHAW: Ken Gross -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bernie. I'm just looking through one of the dissenting opinions here, very strong words. We'll be exploring this a little bit later, but saying in so many words, "I must regrettably conclude the majority ignores the magnitude of its decision."
We're going to be exploring this, I know, with our legal analyst a little later.
We want to let our viewers know that we are standing by for a statement from Gore campaign manager Bill Daley. He's to be having comments any moment now, we're told.
We're going to take a break. When we come back, we will be talking with the governor of the state of California, Gray Davis, for reaction.
We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Back now with our coverage of this one more extraordinary day in the aftermath, continuing aftermath, of election 2000. Here we are over a month after the election and a stunning development in a ruling from the Florida state Supreme Court. A divided opinion, but nevertheless a 4-3 opinion saying there should be, will be, a recount of ballots in Miami-Dade County and ordering the Florida secretary of state to include hundreds of ballots in counties that had not already been included, all of which, if counted, would reduce the lead of Governor George W. Bush in the state of Florida to a little over 100 votes rather than the 500-vote margin that had been in place.
Joining us now as a guest, from the state of California, Governor Gray Davis.
Governor Davis, what do you make of this surprising development?
GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, it's certainly been a roller-coaster ride. But I think if you look at all three courts' decision today, they're really affirming the most fundamental democratic principle: that votes matter and votes should be counted. They were not willing to throw out the circuit court opinions in Martin and Seminole, they wouldn't throw out votes that have already been counted, and the Supreme Court said, if people took time to vote, whether halfway around -- in the military, halfway around the world in the military or they're in Florida, that we ought to take the time to count those votes. And if a machine couldn't tell what preference that voter had for president, then we ought to look by hand count to determine who that voter wanted to be the next president of the United States.
So if you look at it from a global perspective, it really was an affirmation the democratic process.
WOODRUFF: If it's an affirmation of the democratic process, Governor, where does it leave Vice President Gore and his candidacy?
DAVIS: Well, you may know that better than I. But clearly it's better that he won the Supreme Court decision than lost it. He's been asking all along, and I think rightfully, let's count these votes if the machines couldn't tell us what preference the voter had for president. So presumably that count will begin, although clearly George Bush has the right to seek an injunction and probably will from either the court of appeals in Atlanta or directly from the Supreme Court in Florida.
So given this -- all the twists and turns we've seen over the last month, I'm sure this is not the last chapter in the book.
WOODRUFF: Also joining us, a Republican member of Congress, Roy Blunt from the state of Missouri. He happens to be in our New York studio.
Congressman Blunt, where does this leave the campaign?
REP. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: Well one thing about this election, for every up, for every high, there's a low. I mean, we had these two sets of court cases today, and earlier today I thought that the not throwing out those absentee ballots was predictable bit certainly just right. And from my point of view, as a former chief election official in Missouri, this election -- this decision was very unpredictable. Now it appears we're back to counting every uncounted vote anywhere in Florida. And maybe that's -- maybe that's more than 43,000 uncounted ballots.
And I don't know yet who's going to count those. I think maybe the circuit judge decides what the regimen will be for counting those ballots, and it'll be interesting to see Judge Sauls have to supervise now this count, if the count ever occurs, which I'd be surprised frankly, Judy, to see this count happen in every county in Florida.
WOODRUFF: How can you say that you'd be surprised to see that it occurs after the Florida state Supreme Court has said that it must occur?
BLUNT: Well, I think you're going to reach the deadline here really for finalizing the election before this count could be over. But we'll see what the Supreme Court says. I think the Florida -- the chief justice...
WOODRUFF: You mean the United States Supreme Court?
BLUNT: The United States Supreme Court. The chief justice of the Florida court said that he hoped his colleagues realized the problems that they were causing in a dissenting vote. You know, this a court appointed totally by Democratic governors. And on a 4-3 decision, they basically create an untenable timeframe here, I believe, for this election to be finalized.
WOODRUFF: So are you -- are you saying -- you point out they're appointed mostly by Democratic governors. Are you saying this was a political decision on the Florida court?
BLUNT: No, I'm saying even though they were appointed by Democratic governors, three of them thought this was the wrong decision. And I think it's very likely that this decision would be reversed. They're now going back and saying, vote every uncounted vote -- or count every uncounted vote in the state of Florida with perhaps of many as 67 different standards to count those ballots by. And I just don't think that's going to hold up before any tests before the appeals process. WOODRUFF: Governor Davis, from your perspective in California, is this something that the Bush campaign has every right to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court? Do you think this vote should take place and can take place -- I'm sorry, this count should take place and can take place?
DAVIS: Well, clearly it can take place, because Florida has a contest process which envisions this possibility, that votes will actually be counted once a threshold had been established by a judge and the Supreme Court has said that threshold has been reached. So clearly it can happen. But I fully expect that both candidates will exercise every legal option.
George Bush -- Governor George Bush was the first candidate for president ever to bring this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court. That was his right. And Al Gore was the first candidate to ever contest an election under Florida law, that was his right. And so I fully expect that we have not seen the last chapter in this book. But I hope that the votes will begin to be counted, because ultimately those of us who govern get our power from the consent of the governor -- consent of the governed. And they demonstrate that consent at the ballot box, and it's not fair to look closely to determine exactly what they meant when they went to vote.
WOODRUFF: Well that being the case, Representative Blunt, why shouldn't these 43,000, 45,000 ballots that were not counted be counted?
BLUNT: Well they actually -- the ballots were actually counted on the basis that Florida had counted all of its ballots for the last 10 years. Now the...
WOODRUFF: But they were counted as no-votes.
BLUNT: Exactly, and the Florida percentage of no-votes was not the highest percentage in the country. In fact, Illinois, where Bill Daley's from, had a significantly higher percentage of no-votes than Florida did.
WOODRUFF: Well, I am told that Bill Daley -- you bring up his state -- he is just a few seconds away from making a statement at the residence of the vice president. I want to thank Governor Gray, Representative Blunt. We're going to turn away from you just a moment and listen to Bill Daley.
Bill Daley, of course, the manager, has been the manager of the Bush campaign -- the Gore campaign.
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Today's ruling by the Florida Supreme Court is an important victory for what has been Al Gore and Joe Lieberman's basic principle since Election Day, and that is a full and a fair count of all the votes.
This decision is not just a victory for Al Gore and his millions of supporters. It is a victory for fairness and accountability and our democracy itself. Let the count begin, not just of the votes yet to be counted in Miami-Dade, but, as the court wisely ruled, in every Florida county where undervotes have yet to be counted. Then Florida, and America, will know with certainty who has really won the presidency.
We urge everyone to let the counting, supervised by the independent judiciary, proceed without interruption to a speedy conclusion.
All of these matters should be resolved by the Florida's judiciary, not by the politicians.
Al Gore and Joe Lieberman pledge to respect the results of this court-supervised vote counting. We urge everyone to respect the will of Florida's voters and honor the results of the count.
I want to thank our legal team for their great job, our supporters for their hard work, and especially the American people for their patience as our nation makes sure that every vote is counted.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Are you confident this will withstand a Supreme Court appeal?
DALEY: We feel very good about this decision.
WOODRUFF: Bill Daley, manager for the Gore -- Al Gore campaign commenting, obviously very pleased, on behalf of the campaign of this -- at this decision, ruling, announced today by the Florida Supreme Court.
Joining us now are political analysts Bill Schneider here in Washington and in New York Jeff Greenfield.
Jeff, we heard Bill Daley say that this -- it's right that this should be resolved by the Florida judiciary, not by the politicians. But that's something the Republicans very much disagree with.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Absolutely which is why he said it three times in that short statement. When he said we don't want the muck of political partisans, independent judiciary three times.
He also did something else, Judy, which I think is critical, and I'll make the point really briefly. This the first time since the networks took Florida out of Al Gore's column on the night of November 7th that Democrats have a reason to believe that Al Gore might actually win a count in Florida. All the things we've been hearing for 30 days have had the Democrats saying, well, you know, we'll give them another chance. We don't think it's going to happen. He'll have to concede gracefully.
Now the Democrats, and we heard it from Bill Daley now, can say count every vote with reason to believe that if the votes are counted, Al Gore may wind up the winner. And the critical question on the table is whether public opinion, which has been steadily moving toward the view that Al Gore should concede and get lost, that he's lost already, is now going to say, wait a minute, maybe Al Gore won after all.
So the Democrat I think are clearly going to be re-energized. And the critical question for the Democrats is, can they get the public to stop thinking of this as a George Bush president-elect and start thinking of it a contest of who's outcome we don't yet know.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, is it enough for what the Florida -- for the Florida Supreme Court to say, is that enough to get the American public to start to think differently about this election campaign -- contest?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, remember what the Florida Supreme Court said. They said those three little words, the magic words: count the votes. Now what the Al Gore position has been all along, just restated by Bill Daley, his campaign manager, is, we believe that if you count the votes we have a good chance to win. That's a very reasonable proposition for most Americans. They had just more or less given up on the possibility that the votes could be counted and they could be counted in a fair and reasonable way.
Now that still has to be established, the procedure for counting the vote, and will it be done so that they're not just counted in counties where they're likely to pay off for Al Gore? So those procedures have to be established. But the principle of counting the votes I think is something that Americans readily understand, and if they believe those vote counts -- that vote count is under way, it's going to be very hard to stop it in the middle, which is why George Bush is probably urgently preparing to go to the Supreme Court of the United States to seek an emergency injunction. He doesn't want this vote counting process to start, because once it starts it may be politically unstoppable.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider...
GREENFIELD: And, Judy, If I just...
WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield, Bill Schneider, we're going to have to take a break. We're going to come right back. Hang on to your seats. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: The Al Gore campaign has been given a new lease on life, you might say, with this ruling late this afternoon by the Florida Supreme Court.
Still joining us, Jeff Greenfield from New York, Bill Schneider here in Washington.
Jeff, Bill was just saying the reason the Bush people are no doubt rushing to file an appeal if not seek an injunction with the U.S. Supreme Court is once the counting begins it will be very hard to stop. And you were going to comment there.
GREENFIELD: Absolutely, and I think -- I wanted to just, since this show is INSIDE POLITICS, make a political point here. The Supreme Court of Florida, which was already under heavy attack by the Bush campaign and the Republicans with its first ruling now is going to feel like they're in a fox hole where the incoming artillery hasn't stopped.
Just a few moments ago, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking Republican, J.C. Watts said, and I quote, "Today's ruling by the all-Democrat Florida Supreme Court sets a dangerous precedent which places Vice President Gore's recount obsession over the rule of law."
That's as close as you can come to saying this was a flat-out political decision. And I think that one of the reasons where the Florida Supreme Court may have said, count those undervotes from every county is to insulate itself in a bit from the notion that they were only prepared to count votes from Democratic-friendly turf.
So -- I mean, if we think that the Republicans in the Bush campaign held the Supreme Court in minimum high regard before, well, I mean, now I think that the level of the rhetoric is going to hit, you know, almost thermonuclear levels. So I just wanted to put that political point out as a marker as for what's coming up.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, as you look as these numbers -- I mean, let's go back and look at what we had here. The secretary of state, Katherine Harris, had certified Bush with a 537-vote margin. If you knock off of the votes that just this afternoon the Florida Supreme Court has said that Al Gore should rightfully have received, the Bush lead is down to 154 votes. Now that's even before any of these so-called undervotes are counted.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. And the court, the Supreme Court, today made an interesting statement. It's right at the top of their conclusion in their decision, the majority decision. What they did was question Judge Sauls' standard when he said -- he concluded there was no reasonable probability of a different result. Now when I heard him say that, I said, this makes no statistical sense. I mean, I'm not a lawyer, but he would never have passed the statistics course that I once taught. And the Supreme Court has just raised that question. They said the proper standard is, would the result of the election been placed in doubt?
Now listen to what the court ruled: "There can be no that there are legal votes within the 9,000 uncounted votes in Miami-Dade County sufficient to place the results of this election in doubt.
"We know that," the court said, "not by evidence of statistical analysis but by the actual experience of recounts conducted." The votes for each candidate that had been counted are separated by no more than 500 and maybe as little as 100. Thousands of uncounted votes could obviously make a difference. That means it's a whole new ballgame. WOODRUFF: Which raises all sorts of questions about why Judge Sauls ruled the way we did. But we will -- we've got plenty of time to think about that and all the rest of this.
Bill Schneider here in Washington, Jeff Greenfield in New York, and we'll be in touch with both of you very soon -- Bernie.
SHAW: OK, in Tallahassee right now, still reading the Florida Supreme Court's ruling, 4-3 decision.
Let's go now quickly to Mike Boettcher, who has a guest.
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, they're still trying to digest this in the state capitol, and with me now is the House minority leader, a Democrat, Lois Frankel. Your reaction?
STATE REP. LOIS FRANKEL (D), FLORIDA: This had been a roller- coaster day for me. It started on a very low note, with the state legislature taking this extraordinary step towards appointing electors and of course a very high note this afternoon with this exceptional ruling from the Florida Supreme Court. Finally, we're going to get the votes counted. I think it's a great day for the citizens of this state, and I think it's a good day for both Al Gore and George Bush, because whoever wins we can remove the cloud of not really knowing who had gotten the most votes in Florida.
BOETTCHER: Lois -- Leader Frankel, will this change the tenor of this already sharp debate you're going to have when you convene Monday between Democrats and Republicans in this special session?
FRANKEL: Well, it will be fierce and it will be very emotional. You know, before, us -- the Democrats, we were saying, please count the votes, please count the votes. Now that the vote count starts, it seems to me more than ever that this legislature should pull back, step back, and say, look, we had a lawful election, 6 million people went to the polls. Let's see who the voters chose. Legislators stay out of this. We have no right to be involved in this right now.
BOETTCHER: Well, the Republicans say they're not going to pull back from this, and you don't expect them to. What would happen if on Wednesday, when you come, there is a vote count from this manual recount done in -- of undercounts around the state, and Gore has a lead? Can you see any conceivable way that the Republican-controlled legislature here would approve a slate of Gore electors?
FRANKEL: Well, I don't think so. As I've said before, this legislative action is an insurance policy for George Bush. They had been dreading this day of getting this recount.
Now, look, I don't know how this is going to end up. I will respect this lawful recount. If Al Gore wins, of course I'll be happy. And if George Bush wins, I will respect that and I'll be behind him as the president.
BOETTCHER: Now in the Supreme Court ruling, they talk about the state legislature, their standards for counting ballots to be used. But frankly, that's one of problems. There are no specific standards, correct?
FRANKEL: Well, you know, it's to a certainty the intent of the voter. And the state legislate unfortunately created a lot of problems that we have seen this last month, because we've had conflicting legislation. We've had to have the state Supreme Court try to interpret that. That was challenged in the Unites States Supreme Court.
And now for the Florida legislature to try to get themselves involved again, to go around the voters, to give ourselves an extra vote and to create more of a chaotic mess here, I will tell you this, we will have another court case if this legislature goes ahead with what it plans to do.
BOETTCHER: Well, I wanted to ask you about that because there is word that the Gore camp, their lawyers, are preparing a legal challenge of this special session. What do you know about that? When could it come?
FRANKEL: Well, I don't know. I've heard about that. Certainly from what I've been told from constitutional scholars around this country, it is not lawful -- it is contrary to state statute, to federal statute and to the United States Constitution for this legislative body to go around the voters of Florida and to impose our will over their will.
BOETTCHER: Representative Lois Frankel, House minority leader, thank you for joining us.
FRANKEL: You're welcome.
BOETTCHER: So it's been one of those kind of days here. For Lois Frankel, it started on a down note when the special session started. Now she says it's ended up on an up note for her and the Democrats in this legislature -- Bernie.
SHAW: Mike Boettcher, I want to come back to an interview you did some two and a half hours ago. And some of our INSIDE POLITICS viewers I know did not see it, hear it. But I'm puzzled. You interviewed Daniel Webster, and at one point he made the point that if we have finality in this by December 12th, there won't be any reason for the legislature to name a separate slate of electors. At one point, he said, if Gore wins, he wins. If Bush wins, he wins. If they can get all recounts done in the legal action, there will be finality. If not, the legislature will be involved. That was a very important statement.
BOETTCHER: It is, but I've tried to get more clarification, interpretation of that. That has been a public stance. But I'll tell you practically, finality is the key word there, Bernie. They don't expect finality because they know that if Gore goes into the lead there will be Republican court challenges, and there will be no finality on that Wednesday. They believe that there are going to be more appeals on the Martin County case, the Seminole County case.
And talk to any Republican legislator here, he'll tell that you he will or she will not vote for a Gore slate of electors. I guarantee you.
SHAW: OK, Mike Boettcher, thanks for clarifying that. Mike Boettcher in Tallahassee.
This expanded special edition of INSIDE POLITICS will continue in just a moment.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
Once again, we may be heading into a weekend of round-the-clock ballot-counting in Florida, now that that state's Supreme Court has upheld Al Gore's contest of the certified vote tally. The ruling was announced just two hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATERS: By a vote of 4-3, the majority of the court has reversed the decision of the trial court in part. It has further ordered that the circuit court of the 2nd judicial circuit here in Tallahassee shall immediately begin a manual recount of the approximately 9,000 Miami-Dade ballots that registered undervotes.
In addition, the circuit court In addition, the circuit court shall enter orders insuring the inclusion of the additional 215 legal votes for Vice President Gore in Palm Beach County, and the 168 additional legal votes from Miami-Dade County.
In addition, the circuit court shall order a manual recount of all undervotes in any Florida county where such a recount has not yet occurred. Because time is of the essence, the recount shall commence immediately. In tabulating what constitutes a legal vote, the standard to be used is the one provided by the legislature. A vote shall be counted where there is a clear indication of the intent of the voter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: As you just heard, the court order calls for at least 43,000 ballots or undervotes to be hand-counted statewide including those from Miami-Dade County, which were delivered to Tallahassee last week. And the court's order to include earlier hand recounts in the final vote tally immediately cut George W. Bush's lead over Gore in Florida to 154 votes. The Bush camp now is expected to file an appeal which is likely to wind up before the United States Supreme Court. But as you heard live on CNN a short while ago, the Gore campaign says let the counts go on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DALEY: This decision is not just a victory for Al Gore and his millions of supporters. It is a victory for fairness and accountability and our democracy itself. Let the count begin. Not just of the votes yet to be counted in Miami-Dade, but as the court wisely ruled in every Florida county where undervotes have yet to be counted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The Florida high court ruling has overshadowed two decisions earlier today by lower court judges. They refused to throw out thousands of disputed absentee ballots in Martin and Seminole counties.
Well, joining us now from Leon County, from the circuit court -- the site of the circuit court where Judge N. Sanders Sauls made the ruling that today was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court, CNN's Bill Delaney. Bill, Judge Sauls has his work cut out for him, the Supreme Court telling him to start counting immediately those undervotes.
BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely amazing. It had gotten so quiet here, such a relaxed Friday afternoon after the decision here on those absentee ballots, everybody pretty much went home. The place got real still and quiet. After the decision was announced by the Florida Supreme Court, it starting getting quite busy around here again because what the Florida Supreme Court has done in reversing N. Sanders Sauls is thrown it back into his court.
They have charged him with figuring out a process, Judy, for recounting these votes. There are 9,000 of those votes -- the votes from Miami-Dade County right here in Tallahassee, Florida at the Supreme Court now, but they'll be presumably brought back here to the Leon County court. N. Sanders Sauls has to figure out a way to count them as well as many as 43,432 undervotes in as many as 64 counties throughout Florida.
Now, where is N. Sanders Sauls? We're not sure. The man I do have with me, though, is Dave Lang. He's the clerk of the circuit court here in Leon County. He's been the clerk for eight years and he's been here in county -- at the county court for some 42 years, did you say?
DAVE LANG, LEON COUNTY COURT CLERK: That's correct.
DELANEY: Well, Dave, you were telling me earlier that you haven't worked out a process yet, you haven't spoken to Judge Sanders Sauls, but you do have a contingency plan for just this sort of thing. How might this work?
LANG: Well, our office is here to assist and we try to anticipate things. If we are called upon to help, then we will offer our services to the court. But until we get an order from our judge, we have to be on stand by.
DELANEY: Have you talked to deputy clerks about possibly forming teams?
DELANEY: Tell me how that would work.
LANG: Well, I talked with my elections supervisor here in Leon County last Friday, and just as a contingency, with his suggestions we have set up 32 two-person teams who would be available if we were needed by the court. But that would strictly a call of the court and we're awaiting their instructions now.
DELANEY: Where might this happen, this count?
LANG: It could happen anywhere in Leon County. We had suggested using our county library which could be very much a secured area and it could very well take place there.
DELANEY: Just a few blocks from here.
LANG: It's about five blocks from here, right.
DELANEY: Could it start tonight?
LANG: We don't know. We'd be ready or do whatever our court instructed us. You know, my preference would be to let my folks or let anybody get a night's sleep and start early in the morning and conclude it. But this is all done in anticipation of what might be issued our the court in the way of an order.
DELANEY: There's probably nobody in Leon County who has better connections as to judges and the legal community, what are you hearing about N. Sanders Sauls at this point?
LANG: Well, all of our judges are good judges and we are very fortunate in having a great circuit court. I had heard through rumor that Judge Sauls may have recused himself on this case. If that occurs, then our chief judge, George Reynolds, would be making the call on what would take place, I'd imagine. But, we're standing by, ready to come to the aid of the court if they wish our services.
DELANEY: Dave Lang, long-time clerk of the circuit court here, some eight years. Retiring on December 31st. Quite a wind up for you.
LANG: It is. Thanks very much.
DELANEY: Thank you very much, sir.
LANG: Thank you, Bill.
DELANEY: And Judy, I want to emphasis that this is stuttlebut around here, very much so, that N. Sanders Sauls may have recused himself. We thought it was worth mentioning because Dave Lang does have very good connections in this community, but that's very much a rumor at this point. We await harder information from here, Judy, as to just what happens next in Leon County. Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And as you point out, Bill Delaney, we have not heard. We have been told that Doug Smith, who is the spokesman for the circuit court there who would presumably have information about what happens next, we're waiting now for him to come out and make some sort of statement. Is that correct?
DELANEY: That's true. In the rotunda right behind me we are awaiting Dave Smith coming out and making some sort of an announcement. Dave Lang here has not spoken to Judge Sanders Sauls. Doug Smith may have at this point. It would seem to me he couldn't come out and start making any announcements about what's going to happen here, obviously, until he speaks to the judge or someone in authority who's come up with some sort of a processing program for these votes.
Let's remember, here in Leon County we're talking about the 9,000 Miami-Dade votes. Those are the votes they would actually count here. But Judge Sanders Sauls, in the reversal of this decision by the Florida Supreme Court, was charged with much more than that.
He has to come up or someone's going to have to come up, whoever's in charge in this should Judge Sanders Sauls recuse himself -- very much speculation at this point by all means -- they still have to come up with a way to count more than 43,000 undervotes scattered throughout as many as 64 counties in Florida. It all has to happen fast. It's not clear it's going to happen fast -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Delaney, and again, we're speculating here. If Judge Sauls were to recuse himself, and again we don't know what he's going to do, it would be after in some ways a significant rebuke by the Florida Supreme Court, reversing him on the law, reversing him on his finding of fact in some order -- Bernie.
SHAW: Well, Judy, just a quick observation. The point you were making. We're reporting what the people are saying, as you say, speculation, possibly a rumor. But when the clerk of the circuit court of Leon County says I have heard a rumor, I listen to what he says. And he say I heard the rumors that Judge Sauls may have recused himself. If that happens, perhaps Chief Judge George Reynolds would step in.
WOODRUFF: And he said -- we just heard Mr. Smith -- I'm sorry, Dave Lang, who's the clerk, say that he's been working here, I think he said 17, 19 years. So the two gentlemen obviously know each other well.
SHAW: And that man, you would assume, has his ear pretty much close to the ground. We'll see what happens.
CNN's Martin Savidge at the Florida Supreme Court -- Marty.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, it was very interesting to note that when this verdict was announced by Craig Waters there, there was a large crowd of people that were standing outside of the court, and initially there were cheers and applause coming from, obviously, those people who were supporting the vice president. And then it got very, very quiet as, for many people there, they began to realize of what exactly this court order means and of how much has to be done with so little time left before the Florida legislature is now standing by in the wings to step in. And so it was that sobriety that began to hit the crowd. It was by the slimmest of margin that the Florida Supreme Court now has granted the request by the vice president to go ahead with the manual recount.
In addition, the Florida Supreme Court ordered that 383 recounted ballots be added to the Florida vote totals of the vice president and it ordered new and immediate hand counts be conducted of the remaining disputed ballots, those from the Miami-Dade County area and also from any other county that has not conducted a manual recount.
The ruling came in the 4-3 decision in favor of the vice president coming from seven justices, all of which of whom are originally Democratic appointees.
The newly added votes to the Gore column would include 215 from Palm Beach County, a 168 from Miami-Dade County, and these are votes that were not included when the vote was certified on November 26th. That means that the Bush lead in the state of Florida has now been cut to 154 votes, as you mentioned earlier.
The justices in the majority noted that the lower court -- that is meaning Judge Sanders Sauls -- did not count or investigate the undercounted ballots, because, as the lower court said, there was no reasonable probability that the result was going to be any different. However, that's where the Supreme Court justices disagree. With the election so close, they say that the undervotes could make all of the difference.
This morning in Tallahassee, the headline of the newspaper said that it was fourth and long for the vice president. Now Democrats are saying it is first and goal? -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thanks for that. And we should tell our viewers watching around the world. In fact, this is a special expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We're going to be on the air until 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
And this information for you: The Bush campaign is about to roll out its big gun, former Secretary of State James Baker, due to make a live statement within 10 minutes. Of course, when he does, we'll keep you there to cover it live.
INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
SHAW: Now let's bring back our correspondents covering Bush and Gore, Candy Crowley and Jonathan Karl.
Jon, first with you, what's it like in the Gore inner camp right now? KARL: Well, no question there's a festive mood up there at the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington. The vice president watched this unfold in his library with only his wife, Tipper, and his daughter Kristen at his side. Shortly afterwards, he was joined by Joe Lieberman and Hadassah, Lieberman's wife.
Of course, Lieberman observes the sabbath, which started at sundown, but he got up to the vice president's residence just before sundown, observing the Sabbath up there.
But we're told when he saw Bill Daley come out and make his statement a little while ago, that when he went back into the residence, there was an audible cheer coming from the vice president's home, obviously a very festive mood there.
But they know they have a huge battle ahead of them. They've got three separate issues that will now be litigated in the courts, constitutional showdowns. The first is the obvious appeal that they expect from the Bush campaign to the Supreme Court, and a step possibly even before that is what they expect: an injunction by the Bush campaign to stop the counts pending that appeal. They know those'll be both constitutional showdowns, tough cases that they'll have to fight before potentially they get going even with these recounts.
The final, of course, that last hurdle is the Florida legislature, which is -- they believe will go ahead and name a slate of Bush electors regardless of whether or not this recount goes forward and regardless of whether or not that recount shows Gore to be the winner. So they know that they've got several big battles ahead.
They can celebrate now, Bernie, but it's got to be a very quick celebration.
SHAW: But Jon, don't they have legal specialists who prior to today's ruling had been anticipating and working in some strategies that they're now prepared to talk about?
KARL: Oh, absolutely, Bernie. They have had a legal strategy in place. They have had people working on these issues, the next steps.
Walter Dellinger, the former U.S. solicitor-general we talked about earlier, has been working with the Gore team now diligently for more than a week, getting ready for these next constitutional showdowns. They've got Laurence Tribe waiting in the wings.
They have been preparing their arguments. As a matter of fact, I spoke today with a member of the Gore legal team and told me that they were already prepared to fight this injunction stopping the recounts. This was before they knew that the Florida Supreme Court would rule in their favor and before, we know for sure, that the Bush campaign would try stop it with a court injunction.
So they have been working on separate tracks here. They had a team of lawyers working on this case between -- before the Florida Supreme Court, and they had a separate team working on the next steps.
SHAW: Jonathan Karl. Candy Crowley, as we saw and heard, William Daley, the campaign manager for Vice President Gore, has addressed the nation, indeed the world. And as we've seen in this unfolding story, when one major spokesman appears, shortly thereafter another one appears.
CROWLEY: Usually. Well, we'll be hearing from James Baker, who's the Bush team sort of main man overseeing the Florida events. So we'll hear from him shortly.
I can give you a little reaction from the political arm of the Bush team. One top aide, who has spoken with the governor, I said, well, just, you know, what's the gist of how you in the Bush campaign feel. And this person said: "We've had every reaction imaginable in the last month. I am out of reactions."
They -- the common word, I'm told, around campaign headquarters was that it was unbelievable. He said, you know, we didn't really know what to expect. Remember, this is the political arm, and they're taking their lead from the lawyers in Tallahassee. And they say it's not fair to say we expected a victory or we expected a defeat. We didn't know what to expect, and yet we're all sort of sitting here in disbelief.
There's a lot of logistics going on now. Who do we need to send where? Where, you know -- do we need more people back in Florida, we need to bring them up to Washington, how are we doing that. They're working that out.
I will tell you also that they are taking great heart from the dissenting opinion of the chief justice at the Florida Supreme Court. It was pointed out to me -- and I haven't read this, Bernie; you would know better than I -- but it was pointed out to me that the chief justice said in his dissenting opinion that he did not believe that this particular opinion could withstand the scrutiny that will immediately follow under the U.S. Constitution. They say that the judge also warned or the chief justice also warned that he had a deep and abiding concern that this decision was going to propel the country and the state into an unprecedented and unnecessary constitutional crisis.
So they are taking great heart in the dissenting opinion written in part by the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
Other than that again, they believe that they -- at least the political arm believes from what they are hearing from their lawyers that this decision does not have a basis in law. I would read that to believe that of course they're going to go on with...
JAMES BAKER, OBSERVER FOR BUSH CAMPAIGN: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
I know I don't need to tell you that this has been a rather eventful day here in Tallahassee: two circuit court opinions throwing out challenges to absentee ballots in Seminole and Martin counties, a federal judge ordering the county of overseas absentee ballots in many counties that were not counted for technical reasons; and of course, the disappointing 4-3 decision of the Florida Supreme Court just announced, which will require manually recounting tens of thousands of non-votes and undervotes in all Florida counties that have not yet had a manual recount, and trying to do so by December the 12th.
This is what happens when, for the first time in modern history, a candidate resorts to lawsuits to try to overturn the outcome of an election for president. It is very sad. It is sad for Florida. It is sad for the nation. And it is sad for our democracy.
Today's ruling by four justices of the Florida Supreme Court is, of course, a disappointment.
It's reasoning and result place the court once again at odds with sound judgments of Florida's lower courts, the Florida legislature, local election officials, and at least in our view, the United States Supreme Court. This action will unfortunately produce ongoing uncertainty and it could ultimately disenfranchise Florida's votes in the Electoral College.
The ruling of the Florida court's four justices is flawed in much the same way, we think, as its November 21 ruling that was vacated unanimously by the United States Supreme Court.
Let me read you what Chief Justice Wells said in part of his dissent today. He said, "I believe that the majority's decision cannot withstand the scrutiny which will certainly immediately follow under the United States Constitution. The majority's decision to return this case to the circuit court for a recount" -- I'm sorry -- "for a count of the undervotes from either Miami-Dade County or all counties, has no foundation in the law of Florida as it existed on November 7, 2000 or at any time until the issuance of this opinion."
He's further said, "The prolonging of judicial process in this counting contest propels this country and this state into an unprecedented and unnecessary constitutional crisis. I have to conclude," he said, "that there is a real and present likelihood that this constitutional crisis will do substantial damage to our country, to our state and to this court as an institution."
That was Chief Justice Wells of the Florida Supreme Court in his dissent.
Obviously, we agree with the three justices who dissented from the action of the other four. We think this ruling is inconsistent with Florida law, with federal law and with the United States Constitution.
Therefore, we have no alternative other than appeal once again to the Supreme Court of the United States for relief. We have already put in motion the process to do that.
QUESTION: The chief justice used the words "constitutional crisis." If this court ruling stands, is it Governor Bush's position that this would create a constitutional crisis?
BAKER: Well, the chief justice said it would create a constitutional crisis. At the very least it creates sufficient uncertainty that I don't think that anyone could assure you that there is any certainty whatsoever that Florida's electors will have the benefit of the conclusive presumption provided by Title 3, Section 5, of the United States Code with respect to whether or not they could be challenged if the issue every came up. And the end game has to take place by the 12th of December for Florida's electors to have the benefit of that conclusive presumption.
QUESTION: Do you see this decision then as somehow apart from the others, that there's been a change here, as opposed to that you really see now that we've on the verge of a crisis if this is not over with?
BAKER: I don't think it's quite as important what I think as maybe what the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court said. He's the one who said that. Obviously we will, it seems to me, have a difficult time knowing by December the 12th whether or not the actions that are called for by the four justices can be concluded. And if they're not concluded by that time there's a serious possibility that Florida's electors will not be entitled to that conclusive presumption.
QUESTION: Sixty-three counties are already trying to start the counting, and most likely won't be done by, say, Tuesday. Aren't we going to be in the same situation then of having votes not counted?
BAKER: I think it's very likely that we will be in the same position of having votes not counted. We will also be in the same position that faced Judge Sauls below and that faced the Supreme Court in this appeal, and that is, the provision of Florida law that says a partial recount cannot be accepted.
But as my statement indicated to you, we think we're in the same position we were before the case went up from the Florida Supreme Court to the United States Supreme Court the first time. The law of Florida, as outlined by the legislature before the election, has been changed in order to -- it would have to be -- in order to give effect to the actions that have been ordered today by the Florida Supreme Court.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, have you spoken to Governor Bush? And can you give us any indication of his reaction?
BAKER: I have spoken to Governor Bush several times today. I spoke to him early this morning. I spoke to him after the results of the Seminole and Martin County cases were announced. And I've spoken to him in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's 4-3 decision. And obviously, he was a good bit happier after the Seminole and Martin decisions than he was after the four-to-three decision for the same reasons that I've just outlined here for you. But Governor Bush is in fine spirits and quite prepared to see this through to its ultimate conclusion, because he feels very confidently that he has won this election and won it more than one time. As a matter of fact, right here in Florida over a count, a recount, a manual recount and perhaps another recount.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, from the state lawmakers, the Republicans believe this decision is politically based, not legally based. Do you agree?
BAKER: I've criticized the decision here and I've tried to do so in temperate terms on the basis of the law, because I think it can be criticized on the basis of the law. I do not suggest that it is politically based and I do not criticize it on political grounds. I think it is very vulnerable on legal grounds for the reasons I've just outlined.
QUESTION: Have you been directly in touch with members of the Florida legislature? And if so, does this now lend more urgency to what they're doing?
BAKER: Well, let me tell you, I haven't talked to anybody in the Florida legislature that I know is in the Florida legislature, other than I was introduced, I think very briefly, over in the offices where we were working, maybe on the 9th or 10th of November, when I first got down here, to Senator McKay. I never met the speaker, and I've never talked to anybody else in the Florida legislature.
But I want to suggest to you that somehow the idea that it's inappropriate for us to talk to Florida legislators who happen to be of the same party, or opposing party that we are, is -- I don't understand that. There's no reason, particularly since the Constitution itself -- the United States Constitution is what provides for the possibility of action by the legislature.
The legislature is going to do whatever the legislature decides to do, but this certainly does create a great deal more uncertainty.
And I would refer you also to the United States Supreme Court's opinion sending this case back -- the first case back to the Florida Supreme Court, when they themselves said the legislature has plenary powers in these matters.
But in terms of my being in close contact with legislators, no, I'm not.
QUESTION: Secretary Baker, one quick thing. We are told now that the Bush campaign has filed an emergency appeal at the 11th Circuit Court. Can you tell us about that?
BAKER: I cannot. No, I cannot. I've been focused on the other cases that I mentioned today, but I have told you that we are in the process of appealing this ruling to the United States Supreme Court for the reasons that I've outlined here in some detail. Now I'll take one more question, then I've got to go.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, in a way all these rulings seem to be saying the same thing, that you count votes, even if there are procedural problems. Why is the Supreme Court ruling so different from the others, by your lights?
BAKER: I'm not sure I follow what you're saying.
QUESTION: That you have votes, you count them.
BAKER: I think everyone would agree that when you have votes you count them. And here we've counted them at least three times. It is not accurate to say these votes have never been counted.
We hear that all the time from the other side. They have been counted. They were counted on election night, they were counted in the automatic recount. They didn't register many times, I'm sure, because nobody punched their stylus through the ballot card. But it's, I don't think, accurate to say that means they haven't been counted. They have been counted, at least twice, and maybe three times.
SHAW: James baker speaking for Texas Governor George Bush, bristling with contempt, disappointment and very controlled anger. He said the 4-3 ruling by the Florida Supreme Court is disappointing. He said the ruling is flawed. It is inconsistent with Florida law, he said, with federal law, and the United States Constitution.
We have some breaking news to report to you. Correspondent Mike Boettcher actually posed it when he asked the question of Secretary Baker.
Let's go to Atlanta and Charles Zewe -- Charles.
CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, Secretary Baker didn't have any details about what the Bush people were doing. We have it. This has just been filed, just minutes ago, with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals asking for an emergency temporary injunction, that the court here block the counting of any sort of votes or ballots down in Florida until the U.S. Supreme Court can decide whether it will grant certiorari, whether it will hear the case.
The attorney, James Bopp Jr., who is one of the attorneys who filed a suit at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal, turned aside earlier in the week, repeated many of those same arguments in filing for this temporary injunction. We're told by the court personnel here that there are judges still in the building. There is no indication at this hour on when or if they'll act on this request for a temporary injunction. But the bottom line is that Republicans are moving immediately through the federal court system, first to the Appeals Court here in Atlanta, to try to get them to stop any sort of handling of the ballots whatsoever in Florida until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether it will hear all of these issues -- Bernie.
SHAW: OK, Charles, a couple of questions now. Secretary Baker indicated that the Bush team had already put into motion, his words, their effort to fight this 4-3 ruling by the Supreme Court. They want an emergency action by the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta until the Supreme Court decides whether it's going to take that case. So presumably, they're going to go a step further coming here to Washington, are they not?
ZEWE: Indeed. That's exactly what they want, Bernie.
It only takes one judge to issue that temporary restraining order, to stop things down in Florida until the U.S. Supreme Court, until the justices of the Supreme Court in Washington then decide whether they're going to hear it. And they're repeating many of the same allegations they made in a hearing here earlier this week, some of the same allegations we've already heard: that the vote count, the hand recount dilutes the importance of the votes from other voters in Florida and that it is unconstitutional and illegal and it should be stopped.
They are repeating those arguments tonight in the request for a temporary restraining order, saying that the U.S. Supreme Court...
SHAW: Is he doing a news conference?
SHAW: OK, thank you, Charles Zewe, in Atlanta. We're going to go now to Leon County in Tallahassee for a news conference by Terre Cass.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
TERRE CASS, LEON COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR: ... is random.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) judge's recusal, because of his decision not to hear this. So no decisions have been made yet about the count here in...
CASS: That's correct.
QUESTION: And the hearing tonight...
CASS: We are also reviewing the Supreme Court order on that.
QUESTION: Terre, how many votes need to be counted? Do you have a number (OFF-MIKE)...
CASS: Our understanding is the undercounts. We go by the Supreme Court opinion, and I believe it's laid out in there.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) a judge will be determined to start making decisions about this case?
CASS: Absolutely. There will be a judge sitting on that bench at 8 o'clock this evening.
QUESTION: Where are the ballots?
CASS: They're over at the Supreme Court.
QUESTION: Do you have a venue set?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ballots are not here as of yet that we're aware of.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) you intend to move the ballots?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have any information about any...
CASS: No, no, and that would not be us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please come at 8 o'clock. We'll have our case management hearing. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 8 o'clock 3-D. Courtroom 3-D.
SHAW: OK, Leon County Administrator Terre Cass. If you missed the top of what was said, the news here -- and this is really eye- popping news in terms of developments in this unfolding story -- Judge N. Sanders Sauls apparently has recused himself after suffering quite a reversal by the Florida Supreme Court in a 4-3 ruling.
Bill Delaney, you're there. Bring us up-to-date.
Bill, can you hear me? We see you, but can you hear me? If not, we'll come back to you very shortly.
Gary Tuchman is on the telephone.
TUCHMAN: That's right, Bernie. Right now, I'm inside the Leon County Courthouse, and you're right N. Sanders Sauls has recused himself from the case. We asked why he's recused himself. They say they don't know.
But what that means is absolutely no decisions have been made about how to proceed with this recount. This is where those 9,000 contested undervotes are from Miami-Dade County. It's the votes the Gore team wanted counted the most, and there's no idea how to start it yet.
And this is an important point, just before this news conference, two of Al Gore's lawyers walked into this courthouse, Dexter Douglass (OFF-MIKE), and they came in and they said to the attorneys here and to the court clerk's office that they were going to file an emergency motion, an emergency motion asking for those votes to be counted immediately. They say they cannot wait for tomorrow for the votes to start being counted. So they have filed an emergency motion with the circuit court for the votes to be counted immediately.
But as of now, there's no one here to make any decisions. A hearing will be held tonight at 8 o'clock Eastern Time in the courthouse to appoint a judge in this courthouse to take control of these proceedings, which are taking a turn about every few minutes -- Bernie.
SHAW: Gary, very interesting. Have you been able to talk, Gary, to any of the people on Judge Sauls' staff?
TUCHMAN: Yes. We've been talking to the court administrators here, who deal with Judge Sauls all the time. And I should tell you, Bernie, they have talked to him on the telephone, and we have been told about an hour ago that there was a possibility he would recuse himself.
We asked if he's recusing himself now, why wouldn't he have recused himself before this case even started, and they said they really didn't know and they don't know why he's recusing himself.
SHAW: OK. Judy, did you have something?
WOODRUFF: Yes. I'm told that our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, in New York has some information for us on Judge Sauls' decision -- Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Well, if you remember a while ago, we talked about this extraordinary story that appeared in "The New York Times" in which Judge Sauls' wife very bitterly criticized the Florida Supreme Court for how it had treated her husband, Judge Sauls, in a case involving his tenure as a chief administrator on that county circuit.
And while I think it should be obvious that I have not talked with Judge Sauls, I think we can at least put on the table the possibility that that front-page story on "The New York Times" indicating a deep division on both political and personal grounds between Judge Sauls and the Florida Supreme Court may well have propelled Judge Sauls to say: Look, they've just reversed me, the majority had some very tough language about what I did, it's now on the record in public that the Supreme Court and I have had deep differences, that there's some really bad feelings, it's probably best that I step aside.
I can't say for sure that that is a reason, but if you're looking for plausible explanations, that's high on the list.
WOODRUFF: It also reminds us, Jeff, when that case first went to Judge Sauls' courtroom, it was the attorney for the vice president, for Al Gore, David Boies, who, when Judge Sauls hesitated to order an immediate recount, which is what the Gore people were asking for, Boies boys turned to the state's Supreme Court for immediate relief.
GREENFIELD: That's right.
WOODRUFF: So Sauls had that in his face, in effect, for several days, and yet he kept hesitating for his own reasons, and saying, oh, I want to go about this in an orderly manner.
GREENFIELD: And one other point, as we are getting reaction -- and you heard former Secretary Baker describe his own reaction as temperate and not focusing on the politics of it. He said, I haven't criticized the Florida Supreme Court except on legal grounds.
Listen to what House Majority Whip Tom DeLay had to say by contrast. He said that just -- the majority "distorted the judicial process into nothing more" -- this is a quote -- "than a mechanism for providing Al Gore with a victory he was unable to win November 7th."
And then he said: "The Florida Supreme Court has squandered its credibility. This judicial aggression must not stand."
So while Secretary Baker is striking perhaps a temperate note, the third-ranking Republican in the House has quite a different tone.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield in New York. We are going to -- unless, Bernie, you have something else right now.
SHAW: Well, we're going to pause for a commercial break, and when we come back, Bob Novak will join us.
SHAW: If you're just joining INSIDE POLITICS' live coverage of this breaking story, and that is an understatement, at 6:41 Eastern time the latest information.
The Bush campaign has filed an emergency appeal in the Federal 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta to try to get a recounting of ballots in Florida stopped. The sitting, Leon County Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls, the man who was reversed by a stunning 4-3 ruling by the Florida Supreme Court earlier today, has recused himself.
Syndicated columnist and colleague Bob Novak joins us now. Bob, why is it so important to the Bush campaign to try to shut down any recounting of ballots?
ROBERT NOVAK, "THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Bernie, the Bush people that I talked to after this decision by the Supreme Court, they indicated that they would be just as tough as the Gore people would. They weren't going to retreat, but they were very worried about the recount starting because as the Gore people have been saying for a week, once you start the recount you can't stop it and all these deadlines are not very important. It doesn't matter how long it takes.
So what we have tonight is like something out of a movie. We have the Gore lawyers saying, start the recount right now, 8:00. We don't have any standards. We don't know who's going to count. We don't have any training for the people but start counting one way or the other and at the same time, very dramatically, the Bush people are going to the federal court, the circuit court -- the court of appeals in Atlanta and asking for an injunction to stop the counting. So it's a critical tactical move on both sides with a tremendous tension of whether it really begins or not.
SHAW: And of course, as we report right now on this breaking story, there are a lot of things going on. You have the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. You have the United States Supreme Court and whether and when it will get involved in this and you have Mr. -- Justice Kennedy who presides over the 11th Circuit. Presumably, there's going to be some back and forth in the next 24 hours.
NOVAK: You know, Bernie, as tough as the Bush people are that I talked to, I've talked to a few Republican politicians and supporters and they're a little shaky, just as the Gore supporters were shakier than Gore and they just wonder whether you can really elect a president if you give in to this -- an effective president, a legitimate president -- if you get into this ballot counting, if he's elected by the Florida legislature, which is going to go ahead anyway and then you have the process in Congress.
So, the question of whether you have an official recount of this ballot, even if they break the deadline, is very worrisome to many Republicans, but it's my feeling that George W. Bush is going to be just as tough as Al Gore in saying we don't care what the mamby- pambies and the spineless ones think, we're going to go ahead with it.
SHAW: Fascinating. Compelling. Bob Novak, thank you -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Chris Black. Chris Black, I think it's fair to say that the Gore people are facing an out and out revolt on the part of Republicans over this in the courts, politically, from every angle you can think of.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, there's no question Democrats and Republicans alike here on Capitol Hill are just stunned, and they're steeling themselves for this bitter presidential race to come to Congress to decide in January, what both sides call "The Doomsday Scenario."
First Republicans. You're right. They're furious. They had left Al Gore for dead on the battleground. They thought this presidential race was over. Senator Tim Hutchinson, a Republican from Arkansas, described the court ruling today as unbelievable, quote. "a tragic decision," and he said there's not enough time before the December 12th date for choosing electors in Florida for those ballots to be counted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: I think there's no way you can complete a manual recount in all 67 counties even on the undervote, by December 12th. So, you're going to have contested slate of electors possible, and if that be the case, then you're likely going to have Congress involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Now Republicans are also extremely critical of the Florida Supreme Court. They're calling it liberal bias and the real dirty word among conservative Republicans, activist. Senator Phil Gramm, the Republican from Texas, said that the court overstepped its authority and warranted a second visit before the U. S. Supreme Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PHIL GRAMM (R), TEXAS: A court that was just warned last week about writing law rather than interpreting it, has written a lot of election law in this decision today. It's going to come next week to the Supreme Court. I believe the Supreme Court will overturn it and that'll end this whole issue and settle the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Now, Democrats are equally surprised. They had thought this was over. They were resigned to the fact that they thought that Al Gore had lost and there was no way he was going to get a successful court ruling in Florida. They say that the recounts of the votes should proceed as quickly as possible and Senator Pat Leahy, the Democrat from Vermont, said that both sides should step back and respect the courts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PAT LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Remember, this is not who's got an advantage in the Congress or who has advantage in the state legislature, this should be who the American people vote for. Did they vote for Al Gore? Did they vote for George Bush?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Now, Republicans, though, are fixing for a fight. They're showing no signs of respecting the decision of the courts or accepting any recounted ballots. And in fact, this week, Republicans senators received a glossy briefing book on the historical precedents of Congress deciding presidential elections. And it included a interesting speech by the last incumbent vice president who had to call the race for his opponent. It was Richard Nixon in 1961 saying that John F. Kennedy had won the race -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Chris Black.
And on that historical note we will continue our coverage of these extraordinary political developments in just a moment. This expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS will continue. When we come back, we'll have an interview with Democratic representative Harold Ford of Tennessee and Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.
WOODRUFF: If you're just joining our coverage today, late this afternoon the Florida Supreme Court has given a major boost to Al Gore's hopes of winning the presidency by in effect cutting George Bush's lead in the state of Florida to just 154 votes, and ordering a manual recount of ballots that had not been counted by hand. They'd been counted as machine and so far counted as no votes or undervotes. Joining us now to talk about these surprising developments, to put it mildly, from the state of Texas, Republican United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and from the state of Tennessee, Democratic Congressman Harold Ford.
Senator Hutchison, to you first. Should the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court be respected and abided by?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: Well, certainly there is an appeal from the Florida Supreme Court into the federal courts and to the United States Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court remanded the previous Florida Supreme Court ruling because they didn't think it had a basis or they wanted to see what the basis was, and the Supreme Court has not yet established the basis for changing the law after the election.
WOODRUFF: So are you saying everything is on hold, that it should not be -- that the vote count should not begin?
HUTCHISON: Oh, I think that there are -- it's going to be very difficult to know what the standard is. The Supreme Court did not give a clear standard for determining the intent of the voter, and I don't see how can you can have recounts when the people don't know what the standard would be that would make every vote count the same.
WOODRUFF: Congressman Ford, you hear Senator Hutchison and others saying how can you count ballots when you don't know what the standard's going to be or when there's a different standard for each county?
REP. HAROLD FORD (D), TENNESSEE: Well, one thing we do know, Ms. Woodruff, is that people went to the polls in Florida in all of these counties and tried to cast their vote in all of the elections there in Florida and probably the presidential election as well, and if the will of the voter is going to be controlling and Ms. Hutchison, I would imagine, agreed with Mr. Richard's argument before both Judges Clark and Lewis there in Leon County when they decided not to throw out those ballots because you can't disenfranchise voters.
And I agreed with that opinion, I would have to think and hope that my Republican friends would want to ensure that whomever the next president is is the person who actually received the most votes.
We're going to have opportunity to find that out. I think the court has set a standard. I understand that Judge Sauls, I believe -- I've not seen the reports, might have recused himself from overseeing this. I would have to hope the next judge, whomever is charged with overseeing this would do it in a fair way and try to ensure that every voter in Florida has their voice heard. That's what distinguishes us as a nation by allowing the people that are governed to elect the governed and fortunately, that will be the case in Florida.
WOODRUFF: Senator Hutchison why is that an unreasonable argument?
HUTCHISON: It's not an unreasonable reasonable. We do want every vote to count, but Florida had about 1.5, 1.6 percent of the people vote who chose not to vote for president and other states had more than that. Why do we assume that because someone didn't vote for president that they meant to? Why do we want to go behind what is on that ballot and see if there is some kind of a dent but not a real vote and try to examine whether the person changed their mind or decided not to vote for either person.
FORD: Well, that's what this hand count will help determine. I'm not afraid of whatever the outcome may be. I would be afraid if we allowed George Bush to assume the presidency and "The Miami Herald" or some other reputable organization like CNN actually counted those votes and we learned that the actual victor was Al Gore.
We should all want this, and I can live with this outcome. So can Al Gore and I would hope George W. Bush could live with the outcome as well. We'll know in a few days who won Florida's popular vote. Al Gore won the nation's popular vote and he might have won Florida's. He might not have, but one thing is for certain, we'll find out soon.
HUTCHISON: Judy, I think you've made news. Maybe you can be the arbiter here and count these votes.
FORD: I'll do it if you'll do it, senator.
WOODRUFF: Senator Hutchison, is there a concern -- do you have a concern at all though that by going to every length here to stop this count -- or I should say to prevent this count from even getting started, that it does put Governor Bush in the position of saying we don't want to know what these ballots show?
HUTCHISON: Well, I think the problem is you have already seen two counties that had very different standards so that the people who voted in those counties don't have an equal access. I think there is a federal issue of equality here, of equal protection under the law, due process of law, and I don't think you can start a count and have a different standard in one county than the other and intent of the voter is not a clear standard.
WOODRUFF: But Congressman ford evidently the or very clearly the Florida Supreme Court thinks differently or at least the majority does?
FORD: I think there are two points here. One is whether the votes ought to be counted and I think the senator raises a point regarding the standard and I think those issues can be resolved. We saw Broward County apply a standard. I think the candidates can agree on a standard and a court I think has laid out pretty clearly in its decision -- I've not read it all -- but I think they've laid out from what I understand what that standard ought to be.
I mean, also, I think Governor Bush has every right to appeal this to whatever level he chooses to. I think he ought to be careful, though, to criticize the Florida Supreme Court and label it, he and Secretary Baker who as a respected statesman here, as a partisan move on the part of this court. Democrats refrained from doing that when Judge Sauls made his decision and we certainly refrained from doing that at the U.S. Supreme Court level when they vacated the decision. Allow the rule of law to work and allow the people to be heard, and at the end of the day not only will we know whom our president will be, but America will actually win and the voters will be heard.
WOODRUFF: Senator Hutchison, I want to read to you what the Florida Supreme Court majority said in its opinion. It said, the vote, it said the standards to be employed is that established by the legislature in our election code which is that the votes shall be counted as a legal vote if there is quote, "a clear indication of the intent of the voter." Why isn't that simple?
HUTCHISON: Because some counties decided that you could have a dimpled ballot that was fully voted in other races and other counties said, no, it would only be counted if the whole ballot was dimpled so that there was some inability for the voter to be able to do that. Those are two very different standards and the votes in those counties were treated differently. I think the legislature did not set a clear standard nor did the court, and I think therein lies the federal question of due process or equality of treatment.
FORD: Ordinarily, when a state legislature doesn't set a clear standard, it's the Supreme Court of that state's responsibility. I'm interested in hearing Ms. Hutchison because it seems to sort of stare down the argument that many of my Republicans friends have that state law and state rules ought to rule the day. I guess there have been a lot of changes in this campaign. Ms. Woodruff we want the votes counted. The votes will be counted and we'll learn who the winner will be. I can accept that. Hopefully, George Bush and I can assure you Al Gore will be able to as well.
HUTCHISON: I think the legislature is going the final word. I think the Constitution is clear that they are the elected representatives of the people and I think they will have the final word on this.
FORD: We have three branches of government. I hope the legislature respects that third branch and I would hope that the Bush campaign in its zeal to see George W. elected would not do any more damage to our Constitution -- I'd say any damage. I don't mean to accuse any of the campaign of doing any damage, but to doing any damage to the Florida constitution or the U.S. Constitution. If it goes to U.S. Supreme Court, I sat in that argument last week. I trust that the U.S. Supreme Court will render a fair and impartial judgment and the real winner will become our president.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. We thank both of you for joining us.
FORD: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Congressman Harold Ford from Tennessee, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas.
HUTCHISON: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: We are going to take a break. We'll be back with more of our expanded coverage of this extraordinary day in American politics.
SHAW: In Florida at this hour, 7 p.m. Eastern time, there is some confusion about when the state Supreme Court's order to hand count some 43,000 disputed ballots will be carried out. Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls, whose ruling was overturned earlier today by the state high court, has recused himself, Judge Sauls recusing himself, from overseeing the recount.
A hearing is set for 8:00 p.m. Eastern to decide how to proceed. CNN will carry it live.
Al Gore's campaign is asking for the hand count to begin immediately, now that his contest of the Florida vote has been upheld by the state Supreme Court.
The justices also ordered the results of already conducted hand counts to be included in the official vote tally. That would shrink George W. Bush's lead in Florida to 154 votes, down from a certified total of 537 votes.
A short while ago, the Bush camp confirmed it will appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court. In the meantime, Republicans have asked a federal appeals court in Atlanta for an emergency injunction blocking any new recounts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAKER: This is what happens when for the first time in modern history a candidate resorts to lawsuits to try to overturn the outcome of an election for president. It is very sad. It is sad for Florida, it is sad for the nation, and it is sad for our democracy.
DALEY: This decision is not just a victory for Al Gore and his millions of supporters, it is a victory for fairness and accountability in our democracy itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: There is a considerable sense of urgency in all this, as you know, since Florida's presidential electors are supposed to be certified on December 12th, just four days from now.
Now let's go live to Atlanta and correspondent Charles Zewe at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals -- Charles.
ZEWE: Bernie, Republicans, three of them, and on behalf of George W. Bush as an intervener and appellee have come here to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and asked this court in effect to tell everyone in Florida, wait, stop, wait until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether it will hear this issue. James Bopp Jr. (ph), who was before this court earlier in the week trying to get the recounts thrown out along with Bush attorneys, filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order here with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the appeals court to stop any handling of the ballots, any sort of hand recount until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether it will hear this case.
Bopp filed the emergency motion on behalf of Robert touchstone, Deborah Shepherd (ph) and Diana Touchstone, three residents of Brevard County, that's Orlando, and George W. Bush, as I said, as the intervener and appellee. The operative phrases in this motion being filed tonight, "Voters pray for an injunction from the county and state defendants from conducting, certifying or accepting the results of a manual recount in Florida."
And Bopp has already filed a writ with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the court to hear an appeal from the court's decision here in Atlanta earlier this week, in which the appeals court turned aside claims by both Bopp's group and the Bush lawyers that the recounts in Florida unconstitutionally dilute the strength and importance of voters in -- voters' ballots in Florida.
In his motion, filed with the high court, Bop says because their votes have been diluted by manual recounts under Florida statute, which creates an unconstitutional two-tiered system, or a standardless, he says, reconstruction of votes in selected counties, voters are irreparably harmed. And he's asking for this court to stop everything until the high court in Washington makes up its mind what it's going to do -- Bernie.
SHAW: Charles, in terms of mechanic now, explain to us -- mechanics, explain to us what happens next there in that building behind you?
ZEWE: Well, that's what they're trying to decide right now, Bernie. But clerks are in there. We know there's at least one judge of the 12 judges here on the appeals court. At least one judge is here inside, and we don't know what they're going to do. It only takes one judge, we're told by the clerk's office, to grant a temporary injunction.
If a temporary injunction is issued by the court, theoretically that would stop everything until the justices in Washington decide whether they're going to take this case and hear it. A lot of the same arguments are being made in this motion tonight and in the writ for certioraris in Washington.
SHAW: Charles Zewe in Atlanta with the very latest there at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the 11th Circuit -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, one of the places that vote counting would get started if it were to begin would be in Leon County, Florida, the county where the state capital, Tallahassee, is.
Our own Bill Delaney is there at the courthouse. And, Bill, we know that the circuit judge, N. Sanders Sauls, has recused himself. Do we know at this point which judge will take his place and how soon any counting could get under way?
DELANEY: Judy, we don't have a clear answer to either of those questions.
To the first question, which judge might take his place, I was told about an hour ago by Dave Lang, the long time clerk of the circuit court here, that it was his understanding that Chief Judge George Reynolds would take the place of Judge Sanders Sauls, should Judge Sanders Sauls recuse himself, as he has now done. But that's not for sure. We're not certain that will happen. We expect a hearing on that at 8:00 tonight Eastern time, about an hour from now.
Also, I should mention here the Gore campaign has filed -- advocates for Vice President Gore have filed an emergency suit here in Leon County Circuit Court right now to begin counting votes right away. The problem with that is there's really not a mechanism here yet that we know of to count the votes.
Now remember, when the Florida Supreme Court threw this back at Judge Sanders Sauls, they said, OK, now you're in charge of figuring out how to count votes. What has to be counted here in Leon County? Nine thousand disputed votes from Miami-Dade. Those ballots are here and will be counted here in Tallahassee.
But in the Florida Supreme Court's order, there was much more than that, the Florida Supreme Court justices charging Judge Sanders Sauls, charging the Leon County circuit judge with figuring out how to count some 43,432 undervotes in as many as 64 other counties in Florida. They have to figure out how to do that here. They won't do it here, but they have to figure out a way to do it.
Now Dave Lang, the longtime circuit court clerk here, said, Judy, told me about an hour ago, they did have a contingency plan for this sort of thing in place. This is what could happen. It's not definitely what will happen, but it's what this longtime clerk of the circuit court suggests may happen. And that would be 32 teams of two people each, deputy clerks, would begin counting, likely in the public library just down the street from the county clerk's office here, but no sooner than tomorrow. He suggested that even with the Gore emergency request for immediate counting, they would want that counting -- they would want to give everybody a good night's sleep and they'd started on this, again, tomorrow.
Yes, we're talking about people holding up ballots to the light, Judy.
WOODRUFF: But, Bill, that would indeed give...
DELANEY: Judy, I'm told we're going...
WOODRUFF: Go ahead, Bill.
DELANEY: I'm told we're tossing to a press conference now. TERRE CASS, LEON COUNTY SPOKESWOMAN: Not at all, not at all, because regardless of whether he was in his office or not, we have an obligation to call that judge. So I would have called his home.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) conference or was there a prior meeting?
CASS: No, at the -- that's right. All of you will be there, too. I'm sorry.
CASS: I'm sorry?
CASS: No, she was -- she just found herself unavailable to hear this case.
QUESTION: When you said Judge Bopp (ph) was unavailable, did you mean unavailable tonight or unavailable (OFF-MIKE)?
CASS: No, unavailable for this case.
CASS: There might have been several reasons that went into that and I did not ask her reasons. She just told us she was unavailable.
QUESTION: There's going to be a camera permitted into that case- management meeting?
CASS: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: There's going to be a camera permitted into that case- management meeting?
DOUG SMITH, LEON COUNTY SPOKESMAN: (OFF-MIKE) same situation that we've had in the past. We'll carry it out through the (OFF-MIKE) box out of the fifth floor office building, and we'll have the standard complement of still photographers in here.
SMITH: What's that?
CASS: Lewis, Terry Lewis.
SMITH: No, actually 3D is substantially larger than 3C, yes, it's the largest trial -- basically trial (OFF-MIKE)
CASS: And it has the most seating for media and for the general public.
SMITH: Right so, all right. We'll see you tonight at 8:00.
CASS: Thank you very much. WOODRUFF: Terre Cass, who is the administrator there for the county, for Leon County, reporting -- answering some reporters' questions. We weren't able to hear all those questions, but they clearly were about the process that they are struggling with right now to figure out where, when, how to begin this process that the state Supreme Court of Florida has ordered take place, and that is the manual counting of votes, so-called undervotes, no-votes, across the state of Florida.
CNN -- we want to turn now to someone we've been using as a resource throughout this month-long post-election process, David Cardwell, former Florida elections official.
David, this is very much, it seems to me, a race against the clock. On the one hand you've got the Bush people going to federal appeals court in Atlanta saying, don't let this counting begin. On the other hand, you've got people scrambling there in Leon County trying to figure out how to get it started.
DAVID CARDWELL, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: Well, that's true, Judy. In fact, what's going on today reminds me of the death penalty cases a few years ago, when you had lawyers running from one court to the next, federal and state courts, with getting stays or emergency motions. I mean, it's really taking on a momentum of its own almost, as we race against the clock.
In Leon County, they're going to have to count 9,000 ballots, the undervote from Miami-Dade County. And while they do have a contingency plan in place, one thing we should keep in mind is that at least in Miami-Dade County, the election workers there who were primarily there on the counting teams were familiar with the vote system. They were familiar with the punch card ballots. Leon County does not use that system. They're not going to be as familiar with this system. That may slow down the count a little bit.
Judge Burton in West Palm Beach had told us they could get in about 300 ballots per hour per counting team, so we'll see if they can maintain that pace. But what's probably the most time-consuming effort is going to be the other 64 counties -- excuse me, the other 63 counties in this state that are going to have to determine if they have any under votes and if so to proceed with recounting those. Some of those elections officials any not even know that the Supreme Court has told them to count their undervotes right now.
WOODRUFF: Yes, David, I looked at -- there was a report on the Supreme Court ruling on that, and I believe I saw instead of all 63, 65 counties, they were talking about a few dozen counties but with a total of something like 43,000 ballots that would need to be looked at.
CARDWELL: Well, all the counties are going to have to determine they did not have any undervotes. Now the counties that use either paper ballots or lever machines, there's no way they'll have any undervotes, so we don't have to be concerned with them. But the counties that use the punch-card system, there's about 27 of those, and we can discount the three of Palm Beach Dade and Broward. So we know that there's at least -- and there's 22, 24 counties that are going to have to go ahead and conduct recounts. And three of the next largest counties in the state, that being Hillsborough, Pinellas and Duval, which is Tampa, St. Petersburg and Jacksonville, use punch-card systems, and they will have to go through this manual recount.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Cardwell, thanks very much.
We're going to go to a break. When we come book, more of our continuing coverage of this stunning set of developments on December the 8th in the year 2000.
We will be back.
SHAW: Senate Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois joins us from Chicago. Your assessment to the moment of these developments?
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I was stunned, Bernie. I think everyone was. It really looked like it was over. The Democrats had all put on their dark suits and somber faces and along comes the Florida Supreme Court and tells us there will be a recount. And I hope that they do it because frankly I hope they can resolve this in Florida and not send it to Washington and to Congress to finally be resolved.
SHAW: What are you afraid of?
DURBIN: Well, take a look at Congress, evenly split in the Senate, 50-50, a Republican-controlled House of Representatives by a handful of votes, the possibility of a tie-breaker vote in the Senate by Vice President Al Gore, you know, all of this is going to effect affect not only the outcome of the presidency but how Congress deals with that new president.
SHAW: Senator Durbin, your reaction to a charge made by former Secretary of State James Baker in a news conference carried live on CNN a short while ago: As he was condemning the Florida Supreme Court's decision, it's 4-3 ruling, at one point Mr. Baker said for the first time in modern history, a candidate resorts to lawsuits to try to overturn an election. That is a very, a most serious charge.
DURBIN: It is most serious, and I think it's natural in the heat of the moment for people to perhaps overstate the position, because I think all that Al Gore has asked for from the beginning was that the votes be counted. And in this case, I think the Supreme Court came up with what seems to be a reasonable standard. They won't let Al Gore pick the counties for the recount. They've said any undercounts in the state of Florida in any county have to be recounted. I think that's a reasonable standard and it really says that no one has won an election here. The most anyone can claim is they've won a recount.
SHAW: Well Mr. Baker obviously is saying Al Gore is trying to do in a court of law what he couldn't do at the ballot box.
DURBIN: And I suppose Mr. Gore's response would be that Florida law provides for a recount. The deadlines under Florida law don't give you enough time to achieve it, and you have situations such as we found in the courts over the last several weeks that have thwarted every effort toward that recount. Every time we get close to the point of counting ballots, the Republicans head for court to try and stop us.
SHAW: One last quick question very candidly, you told us at the beginning of this interview that Democrats had on their black mourning suits. But if Al Gore had lost in Tallahassee before the Florida Supreme Court today, what were you prepared to tell him?
DURBIN: I think everyone had said this, or at least most Democrats had said it on Capitol Hill this week, this was really the day of judgment. You had these two cases involving absentee ballots that went against Gore, the final decision by the Supreme Court. Had that gone against Al Gore, I think it would have been the end of the game. But frankly now we have a recount, and that recount should decide how the Floridians really wanted to vote in this presidential election.
SHAW: And you're breathing easier tonight, clearly. Dick Durbin, senator from Illinois, thanks for joining us.
DURBIN: Thanks, Bernie.
SHAW: Quite welcome -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And joining us now is CNN's Washington bureau chief, who's been on the telephone I think almost constantly since this came down except for a brief stint here in the studio when you were telling us what you'd heard up to that point.
What are you hearing now, Frank?
FRANK SESNO, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well especially from Republicans, a real sense of anger, outrage and that this is some kind of partisan hijacking. Citing the Supreme Court, very, very harsh language from the House majority whip, Tom DeLay this evening. I did not speak with him, but he did issue a statement. He's not doing much press. He's not standing in front of the cameras. But he said, and I'm quoting here, "The Florida Supreme Court has squandered its credibility, violated the trust of the people of Florida. This judicial aggression must not stand."
But you are also finding out there, Judy, some real concern that the anger expressed could step over the line, that where we now are is in such -- as one senator, as Senator Chuck Hagel put it, with whom I spoke, into "dark, dangerous and murky waters," that people may lose control of this situation.
WOODRUFF: Both sides or primarily the Republican side or what?
SESNO: Well, that it's unpredictable, Judy, that we don't know where the courts are going to go, we don't know how the count is going to be done, we don't know whether it's going to end up before the United States Congress ultimately. A number of senators, Democrats in the U.S. Senate, are agonized over this, those that come from states that went heavily for George Bush. If they should have to vote in a situation, do they vote their party, do they vote the man who carried their state.
But Chuck Hagel was very interesting, Judy, because he issued a blunt warning to fellow Republicans. He said, we've got to keep our rhetoric down. We've got to keep our heads down. We've got to reassure the American people here that there is a process, as agonizing as this is, as annoying as it is, that, you know, if there's any talk at all that it should be about that there's a Constitution and we can govern through the problem and will emerge on the other side.
Now I don't know that that's going to wash with people like Tom DeLay and others who are furious about this -- and he's not alone.
WOODRUFF: And even Jim Baker in that quote, who said Al Gore has created a very, very sad situation for the country...
SESNO: Many Republicans...
WOODRUFF: ... in contesting this election.
SESNO: That's right. Many Republicans feel that Supreme Court was a very partisan move down there, and they feel that, as we heard from Jim Baker all the time, these votes have been counted, counted again, recounted again and that's that.
WOODRUFF: Frank Sesno -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, Judy.
The date December 12th is circled on many calendars as the time Florida must name its presidential electors. It is a significant deadline but not one without some wiggle room.
Senior Washington correspondent Charles Bierbauer reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have a remedy here that can do that by December the 12th.
BIERBAUER (voice-over): What makes December 12th critical? Federal law says the state's electors shall meet on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. This year, that's December 18th. The code then says those electors shall be determined at least six days before the electors meet. Count back six: December 12th.
The date's not as absolute as Florida's court and legislature are treating it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's been a kind of snowball effect, and now you see everywhere people saying December 12th is the deadline. Well it's not actually. BIERBAUER: But if disputes over electors are settled by December 12th, six days before the Electoral College meets, the law says they are then conclusive, safe from challenge later by Congress. Courts call that a safe-harbor provision.
NORM ORNSTEIN, HISTORIAN: It's nice if you can reach the safe harbor on time, but if you don't reach the safe harbor on time, you can still reach your destination. It just means you might have some choppy waters and maybe a storm to deal with before you get there.
BIERBAUER: A storm if after December 12th Florida's legislature has chosen electors for Bush and the Florida Supreme Court after a further recount has ordered a different slate for Gore. Then the choice of which state to accept, along with Florida's 25 electoral votes, would fall to Congress. That happened after the 1960 election.
ORNSTEIN: The drop-dead date here is actually January 5th or January 6th, when Congress meets to count the electoral votes. Once they're counted, that's it.
BIERBAUER: January 5 or 6? The code says Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January at the hour of 1:00.
BIERBAUER: Through this all, one date is sacrosanct: The 20th Amendment to the Constitution says that the terms of the president and vice president shall end at noon on January 20th. We just don't know who is going to replace them yet -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: In other words, Charles Bierbauer, we've got plenty of time. What's the rush here?
BIERBAUER: There's a little bit of time yet.
WOODRUFF: All right, Charles Bierbauer, thanks very much.
And Bill Schneider is here in our studio in Washington with a final thought -- Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Well, my final thought is that we are in the middle of a nightmare senator which no one alive has ever seen before. We could end up with two competing slates of electors, one that is chosen in a recount of the ballots as ordered by the court, if that recount takes place. And that could end up being Gore or Bush. And there could be a second slate which is certified by the secretary of state. Both of those slates could go to Congress, which is then faced with an agonizing choice because it's a divided Congress -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider. With those thoughts and many more to come, Bernie and I will have to bid you farewell for now.
SHAW: This is the Supreme Court ruling from Florida, good bedtime reading.
I'm Bernard Shaw, and "CROSSFIRE" is coming up next. Thanks for joining us. Please do not go away. Around the world, CNN's live coverage continues.
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