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Larry King Live
Who Won Florida's 25 Electoral Votes?Aired November 8, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: It ain't over yet! Will Bush or Gore be the president-elect? The focus is on Florida: too close to call and recounting its votes. We'll talk with Gore campaign senior adviser, Tad Devine from Nashville. From the center of the Florida storm: Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler. He's in West Palm Beach. And in Miami: Republican Congressman Mark Foley.
And then a roundtable with: veteran newspaper man Ben Bradlee, the "Washington Post" vice president-at-large; Daniel Schorr, senior news analyst, National Public Radio. Also in Washington: the former political director for ABC News, Hal Bruno. You saw him doing state- by-state analysis last night on CNN. And in Atlanta: CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Spokespeople for the Bush campaign were invited to take part in tonight's show. They declined. We begin with Tad Devine, Gore campaign senior adviser, coming to us from Nashville.
Jack Quinn was just on with Wolf Blitzer, preceding us. He seemed to hint, Tad, that you are going to be involved in some way in some legal action over this Palm Beach question. Is that true?
TAD DEVINE, GORE CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, Larry, we'll have to wait and see. You know, it is very important that this issue get resolved fairly, expeditiously, as the vice president said today. I don't think any of us know what road we are likely to go down. But we know that this election needs to be resolved so that there is no doubt about who was elected president.
KING: Hypothetically, if it stays at around 1,700 votes -- let's say, Bush, he wins tomorrow by 1,500 in Florida's recount. What's your next move?
DEVINE: Well, I think we have to wait and see. You know, as Jack Quinn said a little while ago, we have heard reports of questions, particularly around Palm Beach, and whether or not tens of thousands of votes have not been rightfully counted. We think Al Gore won more votes yesterday in America than George Bush. And we think he won more votes yesterday in Florida than George Bush.
So it is critical that these issues get resolved fully, expeditiously, so that there is no doubt whatsoever as to who was elected president.
KING: So, have you looked, by the way -- and we will be showing it, I guess there -- have you looked at the ballot in Palm Beach County?
DEVINE: I have seen it on television. And I can see why people found it so confusing.
KING: And it is your contention then that many, many people voted for Gore, and those votes went to Buchanan? Is that fairly apparent now?
DEVINE: It seems so, Larry.
I mean, those are the reports that we are hearing verbatim from people there. This is something that needs to be looked at and investigated closely. This is a critical issue. I mean, it -- the legitimacy of the presidency is at stake here. So I think it is important that we look at it deliberately. We shouldn't rush to judgment. It is important that everyone in this country and around the world have complete confidence in our electoral system. It is at heart of our democracy.
So that is what's going to happen in the next few days. And the sooner it is resolved, the better for everyone.
KING: But we don't want to hang in limbo, do we? Or do we?
DEVINE: No, limbo -- I certainly don't. I'll tell you that. So I think we can look at this. We've got a lot of people on the ground, you know: former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Bill Daley, our campaign chairman. These are very serious people who are representing the vice president and Senator Lieberman in this cause. We've got an expert team down there that has already arrived in Florida.
Fine people are looking at this. They are going to do their best to make sure it is resolved on behalf of the American people, because so much is at stake here. And I think they understand it and will look at it in the days ahead.
KING: What's the feeling of your candidates? They have obviously won the popular vote. They've got this question. What's their mood?
DEVINE: Well, I think it is good. You saw them today. I thought the vice president's press conference -- or opportunity to speak to the press -- was very well done. It was important for the American people to hear directly from him. He has got to be very pleased by the fact that yesterday, he won more votes than any Democrat has in history. It was a remarkable achievement.
And I think when you think about it in terms of the votes, for example, that Ralph Nader won -- and so many people who supported him, supporting the same causes that Al Gore talked about: extending this nation's prosperity to more people, protecting our environment -- I think it is fair to say that his message won out. So I think that is very satisfying and -- for him and for Senator Lieberman, as well.
KING: Is there some anger at Mr. Nader, who, if we count it up -- and we buy the fact that, let's say, two out of three Nader voters would have voted for Gore or not voted -- you would have won without Nader. You bitter?
DEVINE: No, I don't think we are bitter. I think it is unfortunate that so many people decided to vote for a candidate who obviously was not going to win this election. And now we are left with such a close race. I think, obviously, those votes could have tipped the balance, not just in Florida, but perhaps in Oregon as well. So that is unfortunate. But I think Al Gore is going to win this election in America and in Florida, despite the fact that Ralph Nader ran.
KING: All right, now, we know that Governor Bush was very upset when all the networks -- this one included -- called Florida in the Gore camp early. Was the vice president upset when all the networks called Bush a winner before we knew that?
DEVINE: I don't think so. I don't -- he doesn't believe that the only poll that counts is the exit poll, you know. He was waiting to see the results, as we still are all now waiting to see the final disposition of what happened in Florida.
KING: So he wasn't mad? He wasn't mad that he had to make two phone calls?
DEVINE: No, I think you know -- no, I -- listen, I think, obviously, we would have all liked to have this election resolved last night. I think the sooner it is resolved, the better, not just for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, but for all of America. And we think when it is resolved, they are going to be our next president and vice president.
KING: Thanks, Tad. Always good seeing you.
DEVINE: Thanks, Larry.
KING: Tad Devine, senior adviser to Al Gore -- great panel coming. As we mentioned, LARRY KING LIVE invited the Bush campaign to join in tonight's program. They declined. Earlier today, the governor of Florida, George W. Bush's brother, took himself off the commission that will certify the results of his state's vote recount.
Jeb Bush had this to say about the recount process and its importance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: There is a process in place. If there are real concerns, let the process work. But please don't overexaggerate the -- the incidents that -- you know, the accusations. Let's let this be done in a thoughtful way. This is -- this is huge, hugely important business. And, you know, what's at stake is the next leader of the free world. And I think that everybody ought to allow this process to work.
It is a transparent one. You all can see how it goes. And I think it will work out fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now we are joined in West Palm Beach by Congressman Robert Wexler, Democrat of Florida, reelected to his third term. He represents the 19th district in Southeast Florida, parts of Palm Beach, northern Broward and Boca Raton. And in Miami is Congressman Mark Foley, Republican of Florida, reelected to his fourth term from the 16th district. That is Central Florida, coastal Martin, Palm Beach and Saint Lucie counties. We will start with Congressman Foley.
Based on what Tad Devine said, Congressman, do you think we should -- is the most important thing that we get it right? In other words, if there were irregularities in Palm Beach, should they be corrected?
REP. MARK FOLEY (R), FLORIDA: No question. But the allegations here are that people voted for Pat Buchanan and they didn't mean to vote for Pat Buchanan.
FOLEY: I think these arguments are wrong on their face. People were saying today: How could 3,400 people vote for Pat Buchanan?
KING: Jewish people.
FOLEY: Well, in Palm Beach County, 8,700 voted for him in the primary in '96.
KING: So you're saying those -- but they were complaining today, weren't they, Mark? Most people...
FOLEY: Well, of course, they were complaining today, because the Bush candidacy, or at least the president to be, Bush, was announced on national TV. So now after the fact, we hear a lot of complaints. There were some complaints yesterday.
I went to the polling precincts. I met with you hundreds and hundreds voters. No one came to me leaving the polls saying I'm confused, I didn't understand the ballot.
It was given to all parties before it was -- before yesterday in the election. It was given to the Democrats. It was published in the newspaper. It was sent to every registered voter.
If there was confusion, there should have been none or the Democrats should have objected before this sample ballot was printed and published and distributed.
KING: Good point. Congressman Wexler, you signed off on it. REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D), FLORIDA: Well, that's not exactly so, Larry. Many people did complain to the supervisor of elections when they saw the sample ballot. But you cannot appreciate as a voter the full confusion until you actually stick your ballot into the machine. But Larry, people need to understand what this is all about.
Al Gore won the popular vote yesterday, and he may have won the popular vote in Florida. And what happened in Palm Beach County -- I saw it with my own eyes -- hundreds of people left the ballot box and became hysterical in the parking lots when they realized they had probably voted for Pat Buchanan...
KING: Screaming in the parking lots?
WEXLER: Oh, they became hysterical, because this is what happened. Al Gore's name appears second on the ballot, but his punch number, which is all that matters, is third. So...
KING: But how do they know they voted wrong?
WEXLER: Because they spoke to their husband, they spoke to their friend, and people were confused, and they asked them if they voted for the second or the third punch number. And they probably said, oh, I voted for the second one, because that was Al Gore, and then they learned that, no, the second one was Pat Buchanan.
And the Palm Beach County supervisor herself, Larry, yesterday, sent out an urgent message to poll workers late in the afternoon, which I've never seen done, which said, advise the people how to vote, because there's mass confusion.
KING: Ah, OK.
WEXLER: Larry, the other thing that is incredibly important is that it seems now, after reviewing the Florida election law, that all of the ballots in Palm Beach County were illegally drafted up. They had to have Bush and then Gore. It was improper to have Buchanan's name above Al Gore's and it was improper to have the punch number to the left.
KING: Congressman Foley, does that mean you could have a new election in Palm Beach County with a correct ballot?
FOLEY: No way, no how. We've had the vote. There was not mass confusion. There are apparently 3,400 votes cast for Buchanan. And Mr. Wexler's own district in 1996, 2,900 people voted for Pat Buchanan in the primary.
It's not as if he didn't deserve one vote. I had a Reform Party candidate running against me in this election: 2,600 votes he garnered in Palm Beach County. So they're making some assumption that people voted, 100 percent for Buchanan in error. And I think that is a stretch of the imagination.
And once again, I want to underscore and completely tell people the Democrats, of which are on the canvassing board, a Democratic supervisor of elections, approved the layout, approved the ballot...
KING: Then why...
FOLEY: It was mailed to the people.
KING: Why did they have to -- why did they have to send out a memo late in the afternoon that people are confused? If they weren't confused, why...
FOLEY: Well, obviously, they...
KING: Why the alert?
FOLEY: They may have gotten a few calls, Larry, but that still doesn't suggest, at least to me, in a statewide election of over 5 million votes cast that somehow in Palm Beach County 3,400 people arrived at the same conclusion that they voted for Buchanan in error.
KING: All right, Congressman Wexler, are you...
KING: Is this -- is it sour grapes, Robert?
WEXLER: Well, what...
KING: I mean...
WEXLER: No. Your own election experts on CNN have concluded that there were Buchanan spikes in Palm Beach County that make no rational sense. Palm Beach County announced only 7 percent of the statewide vote, but Buchanan got 20 percent of the vote. The socialist candidate got 50 percent of his votes in Palm Beach County, and my friend Mark Foley knows as well as I that Pat Buchanan, no way did he get dozens, dozens of votes in large retirement communities, where there are primarily Jewish and Italian voters. They did not mean to vote for Pat Buchanan, and their ballots were incorrect.
KING: The question comes...
FOLEY: But Robert...
KING: Mark, the question comes down simply you want it to be right, right?
FOLEY: We absolutely want it to be right.
KING: No one wants to be elected with less votes than the other guy in Florida, right? You want the...
FOLEY: No question. But the same thing can be said...
KING: So how do we redress a grievance?
FOLEY: How do we address a grievance? That's up to the Democrats. KING: Redress a grievance.
FOLEY: Well, I believe they're going to make, from what I've heard tonight, a court challenge. That's their right.
KING: Looks that way.
FOLEY: But I don't think it's accurate and I don't think it's right. In again, Robert Wexler's district 2,900 people voted for Pat Buchanan in '96. In Palm Beach County, the third highest vote total in 1996 for Buchanan was in Palm Beach County. These citizens have a right to vote. They may be deranged who are voting for him, but they have every right to vote for him.
In Century Village...
KING: All right, let me get a break. Let me get a break and we'll pick right up there and we'll spend some more moments with Congressman Wexler and Congressman Foley. May be deranged, a pretty funny line.
We'll be right back, and then after the congressman our panel assembles. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This morning, brings news from Florida that the final vote count shows that Secretary Cheney and I have carried the state of Florida. And if that result is confirmed in automatic recount, as we expect it will be, then we have won the election.
The recount is already under way, and I understand the secretary of state of Florida has announced to the media that it will be completed by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of what is at stake, this matter must be resolved expeditiously, but deliberately and without any rush to judgment.
Despite the fact that Joe Lieberman and I won the popular vote, under our Constitution, it is the winner of the electoral college who will be the next president. Our Constitution is the whole foundation of our freedom and it must be followed faithfully toward the true result ordained by the American people with their votes in our respective states.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Congressman Wexler, what's the legal move? Can a court case hold this up?
WEXLER: Larry, during the commercial break, I just got confirmation from a local TV reporter of an incredible fact: Several thousand ballots in Palm Beach County have been disqualified because people voted for two presidential candidates. In fact, it may be as high as 4 percent of the ballots. That is incredibly...
KING: Why did they do that?
WEXLER: What's that?
KING: Why did they vote for two people?
WEXLER: Because they were thoroughly confused as to whose punch number applied to which candidate, and that is why the supervisor of elections sent out its notice.
KING: But when they realized...
WEXLER: And that is why, Larry, under Florida law, this kind of ballot placement is illegal.
KING: When they realized they were wrong, shouldn't they have opened whatever it is and talked to the people, saying, I don't mean this, rather than vote for two people, which they know would disqualify it?
WEXLER: Well, and in fact I've heard many stories where the ballot workers told those people that they could not get another ballot. And many of the people then just put their ballot in, not knowing what they had done. It was mass confusion in many of these precincts in Palm Beach County, and the presidency hinges on this.
KING: Congressman Foley...
FOLEY: Yes, Larry.
KING: All right, Congressman Foley, it seems evident there is going to be a legal squabble here. Can it tie this up for a while, Congressman Foley?
FOLEY: Well, it could tie it up, Larry, but we're talking about voting for president, not ordering Chinese food. This ballot was approved by the Democrats.
KING: I know, we're repeating that, but could...
FOLEY: Well, I have to repeat it.
KING: Could a lawsuit tie it up?
FOLEY: Of course it could. Of course it could.
KING: It could.
FOLEY: And had the outcome been for Mr. Gore, I don't think we'd be having the conversation tonight. When they announced the electoral results in Florida, at 7:15, clearly those Republicans in the panhandle were disenfranchised, we could make a claim legally that every Republican county -- and almost all of them are -- in the panhandle, in Joe Scarborough's district, were disenfranchised because when they were going to the polls, they heard on their radios, don't worry, Gore won, so they may have seen the line and turned around and left. That seems like a problem to me as well, but we're not sitting here threatening legal challenge.
And clearly, again, if the Democrats would have had a problem with this they should have dismissed it early enough, had a new ballot printed, or changed the design of the ballot.
KING: Well, we are going to be hearing lots more from this. Thank you both.
KING: Yes, quickly, Congressman Wexler.
WEXLER: An illegal ballot, if that's what the ballot in Palm Beach County turns out to be...
KING: Well, if a court determines it is illegal, yes.
WEXLER: If it's illegal, what the Democrats did or the Republicans did, doesn't matter. Illegal is illegal, confusion is confusion, and the presidency shouldn't hinge on it.
KING: OK, thank you both, Congressmen Wexler and Congressman Foley.
WEXLER: Thank you very much.
KING: When we come back -- thank you both, you put the issue right at the head. Ben Bradley, Daniel Schorr, Hal Bruno and Bill Schneider, they're with us the rest of the way. Don't go away.
KING: Been a heck of a 24 hours.
Let's meet our distinguished panel: Ben Bradlee, vice president at-large, "Washington Post"; Daniel Schorr, senior news analyst, National Public Radio; Hal Bruno, senior political analyst, Politics.com, he was a political analyst for us at CNN last night; and in Atlanta, Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst, syndicated columnist.
Before we get into the Palm Beaches, Florida and all, Ben, you got anything in your memory to compare to this?
BEN BRADLEE, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, Chicago, in 1960. Hal and I were veterans of that, and it seems to me, although that's a long time ago that it's very germane.
KING: Nixon didn't fight it though, but Nixon hadn't...
BRADLEE: Nixon didn't fight it, but Nixon didn't fight it for a very good reason. His attorney general was Bill Rodgers, who had been the counsel for "Newsweek" magazine, and Bill Rodgers went out to look at it and came back convinced that there was more -- as much hanky- panky going on for the Republicans...
HAL BRUNO, POLITICS.COM: Yes, the Democrats held back on the west side of Chicago, the Republicans held back in downstate Illinois, and what happened was the Democrats held back for Kennedy, the Republicans held back in order to elect a governor.
KING: So it was...
BRUNO: It was a swap.
KING: ... six to 1.
Bill Schneider, you make anything of this? Is there a -- what do you make of this whole thing?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a mess. And we could end up with a result that is kind of a nightmare where the winner of the popular vote does not get elected president, and I think the American people are going to have some real qualms about that. If Gore wins the popular vote and Bush goes to the White House, there is going to be a lot of consternation and possibly that could be the end of the Electoral College.
KING: Daniel Schorr, does this -- could this legal thing tie it up, do you know?
DANIEL SCHORR, NPR SENIOR NEWS ANALYST: Anything could tie things up in this country. I have this nightmarish vision before me that five years from now, four cases coming out of Florida are before the Supreme Court, and Clinton is still in the White House.
KING: But Ben, on the mistakes that occurred last night, could "The Washington Post," your -- you used to be there daily...
BRADLEE: I was. I was there last night, too.
KING: All right, could it have come out with a headline as the "New York Post" did today, "Bush wins"?
KING: A "Dewey wins" thing.
BRADLEE: ... it could have. I mean, it's physically possible, and they had prepared a story with a headline that said "Bush is going to win," but they didn't run it. You know, you just have got to say, OK, let's go with it, or -- and they never did that.
KING: What did you make of the mistake last night made by -- whose fault was it, Hal? You were part of the scene here and all the networks did it.
BRADLEE: It was Bruno's fault.
BRUNO: Yes, it was my fault.
KING: Bruno's fault.
BRUNO: I fess up.
KING: Where did that come from?
BRUNO: First of all, when you're actually doing it, as we were last night, you are on air, you go along -- you are like riding a river and you just go along with everything that's shouted into your ear. We were suspicious of the returns coming in from Palm Beach and from other parts of Florida, but especially there, because we did see the Buchanan blip.
KING: You did?
BRUNO: Yes. And when I was using -- doing my John Madden trick, you know, with the...
BRUNO: ... telestrator -- I know how to use it, I just can't pronounce it -- but anyhow, we circled up there that there -- you know, that there was a lot of vote out there, and we circled Broward and Dade, that this is where -- you know, where things were missing and so on. So we were aware that something wasn't exactly fitting the pattern it was supposed to fit. But on the other hand, when the calls were made, they were made, and...
KING: Bill, when they called Florida were you surprised?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, I was surprised that it was called that early, because I thought it was going to be close, it turned out to be close, and it was a very quick call. But I'll tell you something, Larry, if you start going down this path toward court challenges, fraudulent ballots, that sort of thing, there are a number of states that Gore carried, like Wisconsin and Iowa, by very narrow margins, and if Gore starts raising questions about voter confusion and vote fraud in Florida, Bush can start threatening to find cases of voter confusion and vote fraud in some states that Gore carried narrowly, and we -- this could go on for a long time.
KING: Schorr says no. SCHORR: I listen to Bill -- no, you know what I have been thinking all day? We go around the world, the great American democracy, teaching people how to build nations, how to conduct elections, and how to run democracies. We are today the laughingstock of the whole world -- America, you are telling us about running a democracy, how could you do a thing like this?
Now, I want to add one thing in defense of people I don't usually defend, and that is the television networks: A man named Warren Pitofski (ph), who for 30 years has done a brilliant job getting some combination of exit polling, real polling and all, putting it together and getting early counts on what's going to happen, on the whole, doing very, well -- all the networks subscribe to his service, all of them are guided by him -- he says he was wrong, they made a big mistake, then Pitofski is going to have to look at his methods, or maybe networks are going to have to say it is not so important to be first, it's more important to be right.
KING: Why do any exit polling at all, Ben? Why not just count the votes?
BRADLEE: Well, because they're such a -- television is such a competitive medium they've got to be first.
KING: That's more important than being right?
BRADLEE: That's all...
SCHORR: Exit polling is very valuable...
BRADLEE: To get first.
SCHORR: ... to tell you why people vote the way they do.
BRADLEE: But that's what they use it for later.
BRUNO: Yes, exit polling is the best tool there is to analyze after an election why people voted.
BRUNO: But it's also useful in another way, an exit poll tells you during the day what kind of a night it's going to be, and it warns you that certain places are going to be close, or that the whole entire election is going to be close.
KING: But you don't have to reveal...
BRUNO: You don't want to reveal it, because you don't want to be in a position of telling people what's happening in advance of their voting. Now, what happened yesterday was the exit poll during the day did warn of a very close election and it specifically warned that Florida was going to be close. And I don't know for sure what went wrong, but I think what went wrong -- I agree with Dan, that Warren Pitofski and VNS, they do a superb job, they very seldom make a mistake.
BRUNO: But somewhere along the line last night...
BRUNO: ... somebody disregarded the warning sign that there's a sharp curve ahead.
KING: We will get a break and when we come back we will ask the gentlemen to discuss what's going to happen, they think, in Palm Beach, Florida, and what's going to happen tomorrow. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: CNN announces that we call Florida, in the Al Gore column.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: CNN right now is moving our earlier declaration of Florida back to the too close to call column.
SHAW: George Bush, governor of Texas, will become the 43rd president of the United States.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Florida has gone from too close to call to Gore to too close to call to Bush to too close to call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, Bill Schneider, what do you think is going to happen in Palm Beach? Do you think they're going to hold things up?
SCHNEIDER: Well, there's going to be some challenges I think, but I doubt if they're going to invalidate the vote. That would be surprising. They could do that. But, you know, a lot ballots are confusing. I've voted in a lot of places where -- I'm a pretty savvy guy when it comes to politics and I've looked at ballots and I don't know what's going on. I mean, if you start saying the ballots should be thrown out because of confusion, I think cases like that could be all over the country.
KING: But, Daniel Schorr, you said, what if it's improperly drawn, right?
SCHORR: Yes, I mean, the question of whether it's legal or not, whether there's a case or not, is up to judges to decide. The point of this is, the principle is that your are entitled to your vote as an American, and if anybody conspires in one way or another to deprive you of your vote there may, there may just be a legal case there.
BRADLEE: Where do you take that? You could argue that you've got a bad education. The schools did not educate you properly.
SCHORR: That's pretty good. BRADLEE: If you get down that path, if Gore is driven down that path by his associates, people are going to get awfully upset.
KING: But Gore could say it's not me, it's just people.
KING: Nobody bought that, OK.
BRUNO: The best thing that could possibly happen is the Florida completes its recount in the next 24 hours and it is a decisive recount. And what happened in Palm Beach becomes irrelevant one way or the other, and this thing is decided either for Gore or Bush. It doesn't matter for which one. But as long as we get this thing over with and get on with the business of the country. That's what really counts.
SCHNEIDER: That's not quite so simple because if it turns out to be Bush winning Florida, we have still got the case that Bush would claim the presidency legally under the Constitution, having lost the popular vote. And I think a lot of people would have something to say about that.
BRUNO: Bill, that's not an issue. The Constitution is perfectly clear that whoever wins the electoral vote is the president and it doesn't matter if it's by one vote. It doesn't matter what the popular vote is. The Constitution clearly states the electoral vote winner is the president.
KING: Can some electors vote the other way?
SCHORR: Theoretically, yes. I don't recall when it last happened, maybe a century ago. But let's not talk only about Palm Beach and those funny things. There are mail ballots still coming in which have to be counted. They have to go over in every county exactly what happened and make sure. They may or may not finish by 5:00 tomorrow afternoon. It may take some time. But once the door is opened to the idea of litigation, you're almost bound to get litigation.
KING: Well, Jack Quinn, tonight, Ben, almost assured it.
BRADLEE: I heard him.
KING: So, fait accompli, there's going to be litigation.
BRADLEE: But it's not going to be litigation if the country is rising up and Vice President Gore doesn't want to risk his chances in the next four years by tying the thing.
KING: You think he could hurt his reputation.
BRADLEE: I think he could. I think they could hurt his reputation. I don't think he could. BRUNO: You asked a question about electors. In most -- many states -- most states I believe they are bound, some states they're not. There also have been faithless electors recalled and not that long ago. I mean, you had one, let's see, in the '76 election voted for Ronald Reagan, wasn't even a candidate. And you had 15 vote for Harry Byrd of Virginia one year.
KING: Bill Schneider, you're Al Gore. Supposing you know you've won the popular vote, they bring you information and you believe from the information you have seen that if those Palm Beach people had voted, you would have won Florida. Do you not file a case?
SCHNEIDER: If I were Al Gore.
KING: Yes, and you've won the popular vote.
SCHNEIDER: I think the only question is, does it look like there was any evidence of deliberate fraud in Palm Beach? If both parties saw the ballot and they accepted the ballot as legitimate and didn't bring a complaint in advance, I don't think you can bring a suit based on the fact that voters may have been confused. It was a legal ballot.
BRADLEE: I agree with that. I don't see how, Bill, you can take up the electoral college as an issue now for this election.
SCHNEIDER: I think you can because people have never confronted the issue before. And I think they're going to say, wait a minute, how did this happen? The electoral college looks like an un- democratic institution. Gore got more popular votes and yet he's not the president?
BRUNO: And I am sure that there is going to be an issue brought up about is the electoral college necessary? I mean, it's like an appendix...
KING: Sixty-five percent of the people believe it should be.
BRUNO: But that requires a constitutional amendment. You've got to change the Constitution.
SCHORR: The great deal of media attention that was given to the question to of electoral college and the possibility that in 1888 for example, that it happened, and it could happen. Except those who were writing about it expected it to go the other way. And they were very surprised at the way it went.
KING: The polls were wrong.
SCHORR: The polls were wrong, the expectations were wrong and all of that.
KING: And no poll -- did any poll have Gore winning the popular vote? BRUNO: Yes, there was one.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, there was a poll of Zogby at the very last minute that showed Gore edging out Bush by about one point, which is about what happened. That was CBS news, and there was a Zogby poll showing Gore winning by two points. But basically the polls were neck and neck all through this thing, going back and forth, which is just about what happened last night in the election.
KING: We will take a break and be right back with more of our panel and include some of your phone calls as well. Tomorrow night, more of the same with journalists going over it all. We should have, maybe, a final tally tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Bill, Oregon is in the same situation. They can't affect it because whoever gets Florida gets it. Are they recounting in Oregon or they have not fully counted?
SCHNEIDER: I think they haven't fully counted yet, but let me tell you something, Larry, one of the important factors in this race was Ralph Nader. In Oregon and in Florida, he got enough votes. Those states haven't been called for Bush yet. They're leaning towards Bush in the vote count. And Ralph Nader got a lot more votes than Bush's current margin in those two states. And he also cost Al Gore the state of New Hampshire.
So what's happened here is Ralph Nader was a spoiler in the electoral college. He took the 36 electoral votes and gave them to George Bush. Gore would have been the clear winner in the electoral college without the Ralph Nader vote. And Ralph Nader is the reason why Gore may not win the electoral college.
KING: So true. We have no mandate, then, do we? Nobody has a mandate.
SCHORR: And Ralph Nader is as pleased as punch.
BRUNO: Oh, oh, he is having his day.
KING: Why, since he would agree more with Gore?
BRADLEE: No, Ralph Nader agrees with Ralph Nader.
SCHORR: You have been not listening. You know that both are alike and in order to maintain an honest Democratic Party, which goes back to ...
(CROSSTALK) KING: Do you think this was ego-driven?
SCHORR: Who am I to talk about egos?
KING: Good point, Danny, I forgot.
BRUNO: You could see this coming, Larry. You could see the impact that Ralph Nader was going to have, absolutely.
KING: Chicago, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I'm calling from Chicago. My name is Rosemarie. I'm going to be very direct. If they have the signatures of the people who voted in West Palm Beach, why can't they call those people back and have them and only them revote?
KING: Why not, Ben? If they were confused and we want to be right. Hello, Mrs. Solomon...
SCHORR: We can figure out all kinds of practical solutions to problems.
KING: Well, I think we want to be right, don't we?
SCHORR: We have to be legal. We have to be within the law. It sounds like a common-sense thing to say, if you voted for somebody by mistake you didn't mean to vote for, give them another ballot. Let them go. You have to look at the law. Did the law allow for that or not? You can't just make these ad hoc decisions.
BRADLEE: Do you sign the ballots itself or do you sign the application to get the ballots?
KING: You don't sign the ballots or maybe you do.
BRUNO: The absentee in Maryland, we sign the envelope that we send it in but we didn't sign the ballot. In fact, you're told not sign the ballots.
KING: Bill, could there be a new election in Palm Beach? Is that possible?
SCHNEIDER: I think it's unlikely. Look, if you did what the caller suggested you do, I'm sure an awful lot of Bush voters in Palm Beach would say, hey, I was confused and call their friends who didn't vote and get everybody they know who didn't vote to come out and vote for George Bush.
KING: So you're all in a sense saying Gore could prevent this by just acquiescing to tomorrow's decision? SCHORR: I'm not sure. Litigation doesn't have to be started by Gore. I mean...
BRADLEE: But it has to be fueled by Gore's enthusiasm and the judge.
SCHORR: Gore may very well say, let's go ahead and do this, I don't want to stir up things. And others would say, no matter what you say, we are going to sue. You can't stop Americans from suing, God knows.
KING: But can it stop the process? Could a suit stop the electoral college from convening? I doubt it.
BRUNO: I don't think it could do that. But it certainly could tie up the Florida recount.
BRADLEE: Leave an asterisk in the results.
KING: Bill, you keep referring to the fact that he did get the majority -- that he got more votes.
SCHNEIDER: Popular vote.
KING: How does that play out? What will happen? OK, he got more votes. The electoral college is going to vote for Bush so how does it play out other than in anger?
SCHNEIDER: That's the way it plays out and an angry electorate usually finds some way of making itself heard. One of the ways it could play out would be pressure to change the electoral college system. We've talked about this before. There's one simple change that two states already do, Maine and Nebraska. We talked about Maine in the election coverage last night.
Maine has two congressional districts. It was possible -- it didn't happen -- that one could have gone for Gore and one for Bush and then since Maine went for, I think it went for Gore, the two additional electoral votes for the two senators from Maine would have gone the winner of the state. If more states did that, then the electoral vote would be a lot closer to the popular vote and you wouldn't need a constitutional amendment but that has to be decided state by state.
BRUNO: I thought Maine did go three to one, I think it did go one congressional district.
SCHNEIDER: Did it? I thought it went all for Gore.
BRUNO: No, one I think it went...
BRADLEE: I think it went for Gore. KING: If Florida had a similar set up would that allay this?
SCHNEIDER: It probably would, because, look, Florida has 25 electoral votes. Assume Bush carried the state of Florida, he would have gotten two. So that leaves 23 congressional districts. If Gore would have carried say 15 congressional districts, he would have gotten those 15 electoral votes and the other eight would have gone to Al Gore and that would have looked more equitable and it would've been divided district by district so the electoral vote would actually be close to the popular vote. It's a simple reform but states have to do it.
BRADLEE: I think you could reform it, but I don't think you could do it without a constitutional amendment and the small states who love that electoral college because it gives them inordinate and disproportionate power...
KING: And the Republicans like it, then, because they win more of the smaller states
BRADLEE: And it takes forever if all those little states have to do it.
SCHORR: The constitutional arrangement for the electoral college didn't happen by accident. It happened because the people who wrote our Constitution were worried about the passions of the people. They didn't want to get swept away. They wanted to put and they wrote in a lot of provisions...
KING: They thought electors would change things, right?
SCHORR: ...in which would put reins on it, make sure that there wasn't a regional president, a sectional president. They made it deliberately the way they set a Senate with two seats for any state no matter what. The electoral college was set up to act as a check rein on the passions of the American people.
SCHNEIDER: And that's the problem. The passions of the people are going to come into this right now. Beware the passions of the people if they feel that the wrong guy got elected.
KING: And the world, you think, is laughing?
BRADLEE: Yes, I've been reading what's coming from London, Berlin and so on and it really is, I would say, snide except I don't want to be unfair to these people. But there is an awful lot of where does America come off. America -- it talks about nation-building, running elections. They're going to tell Serbia what to do and Nigeria what to don't. They can't elect a president.
BRUNO: Yes, but I wouldn't worry whether the world is laughing or no. The world doesn't understand half what goes on here anyhow. So it doesn't matter.
KING: Stockholm. Caller from Stockholm, Sweden. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, Mr. King, I'd like to ask your panelists, how important is it to the American people that Mr. Gore did not carry his own state? And another thing, how well-informed do your good panelists believe that the American people since Thomas Jefferson said information is the currency of democracy and one gets the feeling the media were on the part of Al Gore and against Ralph Nader?
BRUNO: Well, first of all, the fact that Gore didn't carry Tennessee is irrelevant. It doesn't mean much. Adlai Stevenson -- wait a minute, Adlai Stevenson couldn't carry Illinois twice...
SCHORR: But he lost.
BRUNO: Yes, and he lost so there's lots of times that candidates don't carry their native state.
BRADLEE: I think it hurt his -- it hurt him personally. I mean, I think he's crushed.
SCHNEIDER: I'll tell you how it hurt. I think Tennessee -- Hal, tell me if I'm right -- doesn't it have 11 electoral votes? Is that right?
SCHNEIDER: If Al Gore has 260 electoral votes right now. If he had carried Tennessee, his homes state, he would have been elected and we wouldn't be talking about Florida.
BRUNO: You're exactly right, Bill.
SCHORR: Senator McGovern once told me you don't like to lose your own state. It's not a matter of what it does. It doesn't change anything...
KING: In this case it lost him the election.
SCHORR: ...But it makes you feel bad. You don't like to lose your own state.
BRADLEE: Anything with 11 electoral votes would have cost him the election.
SCHORR: As to our Sweden friend's imputation that we were against Ralph Nader and that we were for Gore or Bush -- I forget which one, that I would absolutely deny. I thought they really set examples last night of trying to be fair. The networks have been fair, the newspapers have been on the whole fair...
KING: Daniel Schorr, pro-network. We'll be right back with more right after this. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No American will ever be able to seriously say again, my vote doesn't count. The American people have now spoken, but it's going to take a little while to determine exactly what they said. The process for that is in motion, and the rest of us will have to let it play out. I want to congratulate Vice President Gore and Governor Bush on a vigorous, hard fought, truly remarkable campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ben, could Gore have kept Nader out?
BRADLEE: Well, not bluntly, and they couldn't have done it in this last year I don't think, but if he had seen...
KING: Gone to him sooner?
BRADLEE: Gone to him sooner and said, join me and let's see if we can make an agenda, it's a possibility, but that would have made Gore -- turned -- made Gore an enemy of Clinton and that would have been difficult for Gore.
KING: How strong is Hillary tonight, Daniel?
SCHORR: Hillary has done this great impossible thing, she went in, she fought, she was behind, came up, learned about New York, every part of New York, Bensonhurst, upstate New York, and all of that, she did what you've got to, she worked for it and she got the fruits of her labor.
KING: Is she going to be a presidential possibility in four years?
BRUNO: Of course.
KING: Of course.
BRUNO: Well, she's going to be mentioned as one. Whether it's realistic or not, I don't know...
BRUNO: The media is never going to let that idea go away.
SCHNEIDER: Well, you know, she -- I can't think of another -- if Al Gore doesn't become president, I don't know of any other Democrat who has the national following that Hillary Rodham Clinton would have as Senator Clinton in the United States Congress. I mean, who is going to compete with her? Dick Gephardt is not speaker of the House, Gray Davis in California -- no one has the following that she has. If Al Gore is president, then both Hillary Clinton the senator and Al Gore the president in a way are both bearers of the Clinton legacy and when any issue comes up, if they ever disagree on some position it's going to be quite a story.
KING: And with Hillary there, right-wing talk show hosts will be in business for at least another six years.
We'll be back with our remaining moments. Don't go away.
KING: It's time now for thoughts about predictions.
Ben, what's going to happen?
BRADLEE: I think that they will wind it up fairly fast in Florida and I suspect they will wind it up for George Bush.
KING: And nothing will happen from the legal...
BRADLEE: Well, there will be a lot of wound licking, but nobody is going to rise up in the streets I don't think.
SCHORR: I basically agree with that. I -- from what you sense coming out of Florida, the recount will not change very much and it will be Bush. I don't think that the litigation, if there is litigation, will stop the transfer from taking place.
BRUNO: I agree with that. I think the recount will be quickly resolved. However, there will be legal battles going on, on the side streets and I think there will be a very strong movement to do something about the Electoral College.
SCHNEIDER: I agree exactly with Hal Bruno. He's been around and I think he knows exactly what he's talking about. There's going to be some movement. Now, I'm not saying it's going to succeed, because amending the Constitution, or even getting states to change their election laws is very tough. But there will be a lot of popular anger over this if Bush becomes president -- we don't know.
KING: A lot of anger that will manifest itself in a desire for change?
SCHNEIDER: Pressure on legislators, on politicians, editorial pages, newspapers -- there will just be a lot of pressure to do something about this outrage.
KING: What happens to legislation, Ben? BRADLEE: That's going to be -- that will be fun. It will not be the world's most impressive record, legislative record.
KING: An even Senate?
SCHORR: I think the important question, and we don't have enough time to discuss it, but you have -- government is going to be so divided, under so much pressure that it's going to be more difficult than it ever was to get anything constructive done.
BRUNO: We've had gridlock in this last session. Now we're going to have gridlock on top of the gridlock.
KING: So it's going to be a challenge, isn't it, for President- Elect Bush, if it is Bush, or Gore, if it is Gore, to pull this together, right, Bill?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, it certainly will be. But if it's Bush, remember something, we have a Republican House and looks like a Republican Senate, maybe a tie broken by a -- it could be a Republican vice president. It looks like the Congress will be Republican, the White House will be Republican for the first time in almost 50 years. It's been 1954 the last time we had Republicans in control of everything, and I think there are going to be a lot of people in the religious right and gun owners and supply siders who are going to say, now we want a payoff. So there will be a lot of pressure, if Bush is president, from conservatives finally to get a payoff for their support all these years.
BRADLEE: They'll lose...
BRADLEE: That will push the liberals over to vote with the...
KING: That will block them on the other side, right.
KING: So we could have stalemate, right, Hal? There could be stalemate?
BRUNO: I think the basic necessities of the country will be taken care of, as they always are, but anything beyond that, it's going to be very, very tough to move any kind of creative legislation.
SCHORR: Eisenhower in '53 brought in a Republican Congress. Two years later, they lost both houses.
BRADLEE: That's right.
KING: Yes. This is the off-year thing.
BRADLEE: What if one of them -- what if Bush makes a couple of outstanding Democrats in his cabinet?
SCHNEIDER: That would be a very smart thing. I think he's got to do something to show he's bipartisan.
SCHNEIDER: But it's interesting, the last three experiences we had with unified government were under Democrats, under Clinton in 1993 and '94, under Carter in the '70s, under Lyndon Johnson in the late '60s, those were not successful and happy experiences for most Americans.
KING: Stay tuned now, we have a special late edition wrapping things up with Bernie, Judy and Jeff. And we thank Ben Bradlee, Daniel Schorr, Hal Bruno and Bill Schneider for joining us, and our guests earlier as well.
It goes on, doesn't it? We'll be back tomorrow night with a panel of journalists looking at exit polls factor. Will it be over?
Bill Maher joins us on Friday, and Saturday night, little break with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Montel Williams.
Stay tuned for Bernie and Judy and our man Jeff. Thanks for joining us and good night.
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