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Larry King on the 2000 Presidential Election
(CNN) – The 2000 Presidential Election is one of the most highly disputed elections in American history. Republican and Democrats have been divided over how the process of recounting ballots should proceed. On November 16 the outcome was still unknown with no end in sight.
Emmy Award winner Larry King hosts CNN's "Larry King Live," the first worldwide phone-in television talk show and the network's highest-rated program. King also hosts "Larry King Weekend" for CNN, as well as a series of specials for CNN's sister network, TNT.
Chat Moderator: Welcome to the CNN chat room, Larry King.
Larry King: Hello to everyone. Let me start by apologizing for being 15 minutes late. I have a very good excuse. I was having a late breakfast with Michael Jackson who, hopefully, will soon appear on "Larry King Live." In fact, I am talking to you from the lobby of the hotel he is staying in.
So let the questions begin.
I hope, by the way, that you all get a chance to read my new book, "Anything Goes!" It is getting a terrific response. It is all about Clinton and O.J. and the media, and the frantic decade that was the 90's. I don't make any profit from it. I’m giving all the proceeds to my cardiac salvation.
So let's go.
Chat Moderator: You have interviewed political and legal experts, as well as current and former members of Congress about the election. What is their general consensus about the likely impact of these events on the ability of the next president to govern?
Larry King: Almost to a man, they believe that unless responsible leadership on both sides comes together after this is over, we will have a stalemated four years. There is, obviously, no mandate for either one and, thankfully, there is no major trouble spot in the world or controversy in the United States at this time. But it will be up to the leadership -- especially Gore and Bush -- to show some unity when it is over.
Question from Rainy: Larry, have you ever interviewed someone you didn't like? How did you remain impartial?
Larry King: I have interviewed quite a few people I did not like, but I am, first and foremost, a broadcast professional. My opinion doesn't matter. You will never hear me use the word "I" when asking a question.
Personally, it is at times very difficult, especially when the subject may be something like racism and I am interviewing an obvious bigot. This crawls up my skin, but I still have a job to do.
Chat Moderator: Your book is about all the interesting politicians that you've interviewed over the years. Bringing all that experience to bear, what are your observations of the current election scenario?
Larry King: Well, I have nothing in history to go on. We have just never seen anything like this.
As much as five weeks ago, I was asking guests about the possibility of the winner of the popular vote losing the electoral vote.
Frankly, I don't think either man ever captured the imagination or passion of the American people, and this showed in the result. We just couldn't make up our minds.
What we see now is partisanship run amok on both sides. What matters most to most people is who wins now, rather than what is right. The best way to explain this is, I am convinced, that if the positions were reversed, both sides would still be acting the same way.
As for the question, it is a true dilemma. The only answer has to come from the courts. That's the way we resolve differences in this country. We don't hit each other. We don't take command by force. We are a country of law and, therefore, it is in the courtroom that the final decision will be made, which is certainly as it should be.
I am not a lawyer. I have no idea how the Florida Supreme Court or the United States Court of Appeals might rule. Your guess is as good as mine.
Chat Moderator: What's the behind-the-scene buzz in Washington, D.C., about the election?
Larry King: The buzz is the same as I just revealed to you. Nobody knows who got the most votes in the state of Florida in a fair and true manner. We just don't know.
Gore doesn't know. Bush doesn't know. Clinton doesn't know. Nobody knows.
Chat Moderator: What do pundits think of the future of the Electoral College?
Larry King: It's going to be very hard to change, as Jimmy Carter said last night. It could take 100 years to change.
I think the fairest method would be not to give all of the electoral votes of the state to who wins the state, but to give them out proportionately. Let's say somebody wins the state 60 percent to 40 percent, and that state has 10 electoral votes. One man would get six, one man would get four. Whoever has the most electoral votes on that Tuesday in November wins.
Chat Moderator: What have you learned from the pundits, politicians and presidents you have met and interviewed in the past decade?
Larry King: I have learned, like the title says, "Anything Goes!"
We are in an age of such media attention, of so many outlets and of so many voices in so many places that everything is so unpredictable as to make it almost weird. No one -- I repeat no one -- forecast what would happen last Tuesday. To try to tell you what would happen tomorrow is virtually impossible.
Chat Moderator: Thank you for joining us today, Larry King.
Larry King: I do look forward to doing this again very soon, any time it can be arranged. Hope you watch the show tonight and, again, I hope you enjoy the book.
Larry King joined the chat by telephone from California. CNN.com provided a typist for him. The above is an edited transcript of the chat, which took place on Thursday, November 16, 2000.
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