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Presidential Election Still in Doubt; Result Teeters on FloridaAired November 8, 2000 - 3:00 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNARD SHAW, ANCHOR: The United States has a new president. He's the Texas governor, George Walker Bush, who tonight defeated Vice President Al Gore.
CNN's White House correspondent John King is in Nashville.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, CNN is told by two senior Gore campaign officials that the vice president placed a phone call to the Texas governor, the vice president now in his motorcade due here in downtown Nashville in just a few minutes, to deliver remarks to the supporters left gathered here.
We're told he called Governor Bush and congratulated him on winning the election, and in brief remarks here tonight to his supporters, and of course to the American people, will wish the governor well.
We're told the statement will be very brief, and that the vice president plans to meet with his senior campaign staff tomorrow. He did wish the small group of aides with him at the National Hotel when the results became clear, he did wish them very well, we're told, and thanked them for their help in this election. Obviously a very emotional moment.
Many of the most junior members of the staff flowing here now into a pouring rain in Nashville to hear the vice president, Tipper Gore, and the Liebermans come to address what they had hoped would be a victory rally, this always the toughest, not only for the candidates but also for the junior staffers who have never been through something like this and believe all along they are going to win.
But again, we are told the vice president will concede the election in his brief remarks here tonight, his political future up in the air. This is a man who served eight years in the House, eight in the Senate, eight as vice president, now narrowly losing what he had -- been his lifelong dream, winning the presidency of the United States.
SHAW: And Joe Lieberman, of course, will retain his seat in the United States Senate. Where is Senator Lieberman? KING: Senator Lieberman was here in Nashville, and he will come here with the vice president tonight. He and Hadassah Lieberman, his wife, were at a hotel in downtown Nashville with the Gores watching the results come in. They were told a short time ago to gather up their group and come on over here.
SHAW: John, are you hearing any expressions of, We came so close?
KING: Well, certainly, even in the last 48 hours, they were saying that if they lost, that they would come very close. The little margin, no margin for error, in their strategy in the final days. Now, that, of course, a tribute to Governor Bush in the way he prosecuted this campaign. Already, as we've discussed earlier, some finger-pointing at Ralph Nader for drawing away liberal votes from the vice president.
And the greatest frustration, of course, throughout the Gore campaign, how should the vice president try to strike the balance between trying to get some credit for the successes of the Clinton administration, but to escape the personal failings and the personal controversies of the president?
So of course they feel in this campaign that they came very close. Look at the electoral count. But the vice president lost here at home in Tennessee, his aides saying he will have to take responsibility for that, although this state has trended Republican very quickly in the past six to eight years. Bill Clinton's home state of Arkansas gone Republican as well.
And again, one of the key differences, the coalition Bill Clinton and Al Gore formed in 1992 and then again in 1996 included a few of those Southern states that the Republicans have been successful at in the prior presidential elections, especially in the Reagan years.
And we've just been told that the vice president's motorcade has arrived, so we expect to see him in just a few minutes.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John, it's Jeff Greenfield. Has anyone in the Gore campaign come to grips with the possibility that we -- as we look at the popular vote, that Al Gore might be the one who wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote?
KING: Well, remember, all week long the speculation has been just the opposite...
KING: ... that George W. Bush might win. And the people in the Gore campaign consistently said that they believed they would win the popular vote and the presidency because they believed the results as we went West, that he would run up a pretty good margin in California. They believed that he did carry Washington State.
So did they assume -- they have assumed all along the possibility that he would win the popular vote. But as they assumed that, they assumed he would win the presidency if he did so.
Never in our discussions this week did anybody in the Gore campaign say, You know, we're a little worried we might win the popular vote and not the electoral college. They thought they would go hand in hand, especially because they thought he would win California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York. It appears he will win all those states. They were hoping for Florida, that's the other big one.
So they thought that if they won the electoral college, they would do so by winning big enough in those big states, even though they would win fewer states. They knew that all along. They thought they'd win big enough to win both.
GREENFIELD: They're also telling some people, you know, they're ready for a popular vote loss, because, by God, this is what the founding fathers had in mind. There's got to be some exquisite irony -- I'm not saying it's going to happen -- but the numbers look like it could happen the other way.
KING: It could happen the other way, and if that happens -- and there will be anyway, the what-ifs? What is the one or two states we could have done? And again, if you look at this very close electoral map, if they had turned Tennessee's 11 electoral votes around, West Virginia elected a Democratic governor tonight, unseating a Republican, yet Al Gore lost this state that had voted Democratic in eight of the last 10 presidential elections.
States like Iowa came his way, or it appears it will come his way, but very close at the end. So there will be a lot of questioning as to why Al Gore could not run stronger in traditionally Democratic states, and why a man from Tennessee could not do at least a little bit better in the Southern and border states.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John King, there in Nashville. You said the motorcade with the vice president has arrived, so we're going to be keeping a close eye on you. We'll come back to Nashville as soon as the vice president is ready to speak.
But right now, we want to go back to Austin, where Candy Crowley is with another of Governor Bush's media people. Candy?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am, Judy, but let me first give you a little information about the phone call between the vice president and Governor Bush. I'm told that it took place about 2:30 this morning Eastern time, the vice president, of course, congratulated the governor. The governor said to the vice president that he was a formidable opponent and a good man. He then said, "We gave them," meaning the American people, "a cliffhanger."
Bush also told the vice president, "I understand that this is hard," and told him to be sure and give Mrs. Gore his best.
So that's what we know about the phone call, which took place between the vice president and the governor just a little over a half an hour ago. Let me now talk and turn to Stu Stevens, a media consultant for the Bush campaign. So how many emotions were -- did you go through tonight?
STUART STEVENS, BUSH MEDIA ADVISER: Oh, about 4,000, up and down. But Karl was steady as a rock, and he kept it in.
CROWLEY: And was there a point when you thought, It's over?
STEVENS: No, no. I mean, Florida always looked good, and the scenario for us to win with Florida was always there.
CROWLEY: If you had to look back over the last 17 months and find a turning point when you thought, This is it, he's going to become president, was there one?
STEVENS: The debates. He entered the debates slightly behind. It was the linchpin of the Gore strategy to win the debates and disqualify the governor, and the governor won every debate decisively.
CROWLEY: And yet you had a -- that September was a very sort of dark time for you. Did you feel like the debates turned that around?
STEVENS: Yes, it was a turning point in the campaign.
CROWLEY: If there's a single quality, single issue, what was it that you think turned this ever so slightly, very small edge for the governor?
STEVENS: I think that now President-elect Bush has a remarkable ability to connect with people and to relate to them, and I think that and his promise to change the tone and to really elevate the tone of politics in America, people responded to. And that was a consistency. He said it when he announced in Iowa last June, and he said it last night in Austin.
CROWLEY: So tell the truth. Have any of you all been talking about transition, moving to Washington, any of that stuff, for the last couple of days?
STEVENS: I may be the only one, but no one's -- I don't think so, no.
CROWLEY: There was an awful lot of confidence in this campaign over the last couple of days that some of us thought was beyond the empirical evidence that we saw. How much of that was real and how much of that was, you've just got to have that confidence going into the last two days and send up that signal?
STEVENS: Well, I've learned that Texans are a confident bunch.
CROWLEY: OK. And certainly this governor is.
STEVENS: Yes, absolutely.
CROWLEY: Stu Stevens, media consultant for the Bush campaign. Back to you in Atlanta.
SHAW: Thank you, Candy.
As John King indicated, Vice President Al Gore's motorcade has arrived there outside the campaign headquarters in Nashville. The crowd is assembled. John says that Mr. Gore will likely make a very brief statement. Senator Joe Lieberman, the wives of both candidates, will be with them. And then presumably after that's done, Governor Bush will appear in Austin, and we will have heard from both these men tonight, in a very historic race.
WOODRUFF: That it certainly has been, and certainly the counting of the votes has almost been historic.
We want to -- I want to take a -- have our viewers and us take a quick look here at the state that turned the corner for George W. Bush, the state of Florida. Here it is, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting. Look at those numbers.
GREENFIELD: It's an 11 (inaudible).
WOODRUFF: George W. Bush -- right, about, what, 11,000 votes ahead out of, what 5.6 million?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. ANALYST: Almost 6 million votes.
GREENFIELD: You got -- this is, this is 1976 all over again, where Jimmy Carter won Ohio by a margin of about 10,000 or 11,000 votes, won Mississippi by about 15,000 votes, and that was the presidency. You are talking about an 11 -- less than an 11,000-vote margin out of 5.5 -- 5.6 million votes cast.
SCHNEIDER: And let's look at the Nader vote, if we have it.
WOODRUFF: Yes, look at the Nader vote, that's what I'm curious about.
SCHNEIDER: We have it.
WOODRUFF: In the state of Florida. We have it, whether we can pull it up right now -- here...
SCHNEIDER: Here it is. Well...
WOODRUFF: All right. Ninety-five thousand.
SCHNEIDER: Eleven thousand-vote margin for Bush, and Nader gets 95,000 votes. I think one of the fingers of recrimination is going to be pointed at Ralph Nader.
SHAW: And he doesn't care.
WOODRUFF: Just quickly, I know, Jeff, you want to say thing. Bill, of the 99 percent reporting, does that include absentee and all these other things that we said were hanging out there that we didn't know about for so long?
SCHNEIDER: I believe it does. I don't want to be held to that, but I believe it does.
WOODRUFF: So the 1 percent we haven't heard from is going to be it. I mean, the -- you know, that's going to...
SCHNEIDER: When we have 100 percent, that is supposed to be it.
WOODRUFF: No, you know what I mean. I mean, when the -- you know, the absentees over and above.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, well, they were -- they count the absentees, precinct, county by county, and they report them along with the returns from the people who actually voted.
GREENFIELD: Just want to point out that if -- based on what we have found or what you have found, you and your team, about the Nader vote, breaking about 6 to 1 for Bush...
SCHNEIDER: Sixty percent, yes.
GREENFIELD: ... you can actually plausibly assert that Florida cost Al Gore the presidency, Nader cost Al Gore Florida. You do the logic.
SHAW: John King, you're standing by in Nashville. Any talk there among the Gore people about a possible recount anywhere, especially given what we've just talked about, 11,000 votes?
KING: We have to assume no, Bernie. Early on tonight, they were saying they were not raising that possibility because they thought they were going to win. And now we know that the vice president has called Governor Bush and wished him well and congratulated him on winning, and that he plans on making a very similar but brief public statement here.
So we have to assume, if the vice president were coming out to make a public concession speech, that he has no plans to challenge the results. Obviously if some state's numbers came in differently than we believe them to be right now, that would change the circumstances. But if the vice president were actively planning to challenge the results, we assume he would say nothing tonight, or at least say that he was not prepared to concede defeat.
But we are told he will indeed concede here just a few minutes from now.
And you see the faces here, depression in the crowd here. And I was just thinking just moments ago, having conversations with senior Democrats in Washington this past week about what would Al Gore do if he lost this election? He has lost his home state of Tennessee, a very Republican state, and he is a man, even though he was the Democratic Party nominee, who does not have a lot of friends among the Democratic Party.
And think back to past nominees who have lost. My first presidential campaign, Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts, a man who has become a mystery man in Democratic circles and in political circles. Al Gore must be facing a very tough night tonight, having come so close to winning his dream, this the son, of course, of a legendary senator here, his father said years ago his son was born to be president. Tonight his son came up just short.
SCHNEIDER: Well, John, let me -- it's Bill Schneider. I want to ask you a fairly delicate question. People will blame lots of forces on this narrow defeat.
You mentioned Gore's weakness in the Southern and border states. My question is this, has anyone ever mentioned the possibility of an anti-Semitic backlash among some Americans? Has the campaign ever considered that that might materialize and might lead -- they might be seeing it in those Southern and border states and in states in the West as one possible factor in his defeat?
KING: It was discussed right after the choice was made in speculation, and most of the Gore campaign people said privately they did not believe that would be the case. And in the final days, we have heard no discussion of that.
And in the Southern states and even in states like West Virginia and Kentucky, one of the reasons we have seen, or two reasons, I guess, we have seen the vice president struggle, one, Governor Bush made quite a bit, and so did environ -- anti-environmental groups, or at least energy industry groups, making the case that his environmental record was too extreme and would cost jobs in coal country, and cana -- in places like West Virginia and Kentucky.
And Governor Bush, and the Gore people give him credit for this, was able to frame through the debates, make the case that Al Gore was a big-spending liberal, not a DLC new Democrat. So there will be some finger-pointing at Ralph Nader, again some finger-pointing at Bill Clinton, especially when you look at elderly voters.
The Roosevelt elderly have passed on. These are now Eisenhower elderly, is -- in the words of one top Gore campaign official, and they may support the Democrats on Medicare and Social Security, but they are more culturally conservative. And to see Governor Bush and the vice president split the elderly vote in Florida tells you a lot about what happened tonight.
But also remember three presidential debates, three debates in which the vice president was believed to have the advantage, even among his own senior staff, they say three debates in which the best he did was perhaps a draw or a slight victory in the third debate. By then, Governor Bush had done quite well by himself, and his aides, the Texan's aides, believe had positioned himself to win this race. WOODRUFF: John King, having said all that, to what extent do the Gore people think if it hadn't been for the whole Monica Lewinsky affair, that Al Gore would have been in much, much stronger shape going into this election?
KING: Oh, I think not only just in the Gore campaign, Judy, throughout the Democratic Party, and certainly within the Republican Party, almost a universal view that this vice president would have been a prohibitive favorite had the president not been impeached, because of the effect that that had.
A, it brought a challenge from Bill Bradley in the primaries, it didn't turn out to be much of a serious challenge, but it did siphon off time and resources. In the view of many of those moderate to conservative Democrats, it pushed Al Gore to the left. And a lot of discussion, a lot of distress in the Democratic Party, of course, in the months after Al Gore clinched the nomination, that he let Governor Bush seize the center back.
But certainly, you asked about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Had the president not been impeached, this would have been a vice president who could have run on a record of 22 million new jobs, deficits turned into surpluses as far as the eye could see, pretty hard to beat.
Of course, most people thought President Bush would be pretty hard to beat coming out of the Gulf War. The recession then hurt him. So the vice president likely still would have faced a stiff challenge, but had the president not been impeached, a lot of these cultural issues, the cultural conservative issues, might not have factored as much -- any -- nearly as much.
WOODRUFF: Well, clearly a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on tonight, and will continue to go on in the days ahead.
But John, you know, there are people saying -- who say, well, why -- Al Gore still, despite the Lewinsky scandal, despite impeachment, could have openly embraced the successes of this administration and said, I had nothing to do with the personal failings of the president, and just been more open and more direct about it, rather than sort of taking one step forward and one step back, as he seemed to do throughout part of the campaign.
KING: He did do that in the primaries, when he was forced to step out and say, you know, the president was his friend, but he was repulsed by the president's behavior. What a lot of Democrats don't think he did a very good job at was finding that balance.
In the very end, we did hear in the last 72 hours in every speech, and he did say this from time to time, we shouldn't say the vice president never mentioned Bill Clinton, because he did. He would say, Bill -- you gave Bill Clinton and I a chance to turn around the economy. But that was generally it, a quick, passing reference, never about how the Democratic Party had changed.
But think again to another ramification. Bill Clinton, love him or hate him, widely regarded as the premier politician of his generation, he was kept in the stable, if you will, because the Gore campaign had such fear that he would turn off swing voters. Had the president not been impeached, the president could have been out campaigning in every state, not just one or two states, at the end.
GREENFIELD: In fact, John King, I was watching President Clinton courtesy of C-Span Friday night in California, doing one of these ad- lib speeches that he is a master of, resting his forearm on the podium, making the argument in plain, simple, clear language about keeping the prosperity going, and it did occur to me that whatever else you think of Bill Clinton for good or ill, there is almost nobody who can take a complicated issue and frame it in a way that people can understand and respond to the way the president can.
And maybe the problem was that he couldn't transfer that skill to Al Gore.
KING: Well, a lot of Democrats watching Al Gore would agree with that point completely, Jeff. On the point of Social Security and the Bush plan to partially privatize, to allow people to invest some of their payroll taxes in private accounts, the vice president made a case against it, but if you timed out that little portion of his speech, often it would take a minute, two minutes, or more.
One of even Gore's staffers said the other day, that's something Bill Clinton would do in 20 seconds, and people would understand it. So the vice president obviously not the communicator that the president is. Everybody knew that coming into this race. Al Gore, one of the reasons he said he would run as his own man, one of the reasons in every speech he said, I may not be the flashiest politician, but I will stand by you and fight by you.
He tried to cast himself as the anti-Clinton in a good way, saying that he might be a little stiff, but that he would be truthful and honest and always stand by his people.
But we hear the crowd firing up a bit behind me, turn around, they see some of the staffers coming out and the security forces coming out to check the stage to make sure all is well.
There will be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking, a lot of questioning of the vice president's political skills.
SCHNEIDER: John, I wanted to -- Bill Schneider -- just to ask you a quick question. The Bush campaign people just said that they thought George Bush won it in the debates. Do the Gore people believe that the debates were really a very bad experience for Al Gore, and that they made some serious mistakes there?
KING: Yes, they do, because if you go back and look at the polling data, he had quite a bounce out of the Democratic convention, a pretty good week afterwards as he and Joe Lieberman traveled the country. Then there was a bit of a pause, and they believed that if they had a strong first debate -- top Gore aides were saying before that first debate in Boston that they thought it could be a knockout punch. They were going that far as to say they thought if the vice president turned in a strong performance in debate one, that the race would be over then.
Obviously, something quite different happened. Governor Bush acquitted himself quite well, by all accounts, including those among Democrats. Democrats said he wouldn't answer this question, or he didn't answer that, or he ducked and dodged this. But in terms of politically, coming out of those debates without causing himself any damage, Democrats privately gave him quite a bit of credit.
And they were quite upset at the vice president. And we know from sources within the White House, among those who thought the vice president did not handle himself well and was not aggressive enough in defending the administration's record and running on it was the president himself.
WOODRUFF: John, we're watching some of the people in the crowd holding up Gore-Lieberman signs, trying gamely to make the best of what is clearly a difficult, tough night for all of them.
As you describe this setting, to sort of tell us where we are, what building is this, what building is that in the background? Talk about some of the emotions on the part of the Gore campaign. I -- I mean, we're thinking about Al Gore's -- how he must feel, about the president, how he must feel about his whole experience. Clearly, we're not going to know a lot of this because it's going to be kept private. But a lot of questions about those things.
KING: Well, Judy, this side is the war memorial in downtown Nashville. It's a beautiful building. And those you see here in the crowd, most of them still quite depressed. These are the hardy of the hardiest, many of them the campaign staff, much of this crowd here Al Gore's campaign staff.
As you can see from the faces, most of the people still left over relatively young people, those who worked in the trenches for Al Gore most consistently. And they're trying to rally their own spirits here as they wait to hear from the man they worked so hard for these past months, many of them several years or more.
But the truth has settled in here, and there's a lot of glum faces walking around. And they'll try to console themselves by listening to the vice president, but you can see it in their faces here, they thought they were going to win, and indeed they came quite close. That probably makes dealing with this all the more harder.
WOODRUFF: John, at the same time, the polls, to the extent any of us believe those polls, and we do believe them a little bit, anyway -- Bill Schneider just said, "Of course we do" -- Al Gore was running several points behind for some period of time. In fact, he was running behind for a year and a half, and then caught up a little bit around the time of the convention, and stayed up, but then has been down again.
So I guess the expectation is on the part of some of us, is that they must have been ready to some degree to lose tonight.
KING: Well, I think some of the more senior staffers understood the hurdles in front of them, but, I mean, Candy Crowley made this point a bit earlier, a great many people, not only in the Gore campaign but throughout the Democratic Party, underestimated Governor Bush from day one.
They just could not believe that a man, Al Gore's, you know, say what you will about his political skills, he's a man of great intellect, he's been out ahead on issues like the environment and arms control, served in the House for eight years, the Senate for eight years, vice president for eight years.
Many of them just simply did not believe that in the end the American people would pick Governor Bush, in office just six years, his first elective office, over a man who had served for 24 years and had been part of an administration, the president's impeachment aside, the president's personal failings aside, that had a pretty impressive record to put forward to the man people.
WOODRUFF: John, John, we're looking at this -- this is the war memorial, is that what you described it as, this building, where this is taking place?
KING: Yes, this is the war memorial building. We're told this crowd being asked to wait just a few minutes longer because the vice president is backstage just putting the finishing touches on his remarks. He's expected out any minute now.
This is the scene, Judy, it's right in the center of downtown Nashville, a little bit of an irony there too, about 45 miles from here -- 45 minutes from here driving is Carthage, Tennessee, where the vice president has a farm just over the river in Elmwood, Tennessee, actually. His mother still lives at the family farm in Carthage, Tennessee, the compound his late father, Senator Albert Gore, Senior, lived on for many, many years.
Nashville, though, a Republican town, this state more and more Republican, it has a Republican governor, two Republican United States senators. So this an odd, odd time for the vice president tonight, to be conceding a presidential election not only in his home state but in a home state he lost tonight in the balloting.
GREENFIELD: And in fact, John King, as we look at this scene, some advance man with great care set this -- what was supposed to be a victory celebration, you look at that shot we saw a few minutes ago, those columns, that enormous American flag designed behind it.
And as I look at these folks in the rain, it's -- what is it, 2:27 Nashville time, because it's 3:27 here in the East -- and you must wonder, all these people who threw their heart and soul into a campaign, who slept on floors, who went into New Hampshire and, you know, brought their sleeping bags, who subsisted on incredibly bad food and low if no wages.
And you have to pause, whatever your political feelings, and look at these folks and think that the dreams that are dying tonight are not just the dreams of Al Gore and Tipper Gore and the Democratic Party, but all these thousands of people who -- I think for whom defeat was almost inconceivable, as opposed to the senior staff people that you described.
KING: That's certainly right, and it's as true as Republicans as it is Democrats. I can remember young kids in the Bush campaign back in 1992 who couldn't for the life of them believe that President Bush, a hero to them, could possibly lose the election. You see much the same that here, and, you know, we are always accused of being jaded cynics and the like.
When you're traveling these campaigns and you spend a year or more on the road, it is oftentimes these youngest of the kids, they're the ones who get the bags to your hotel rooms, they're the ones who hound the senior staff when you can't get them to return a phone call. They're the ones who send you the faxes and do -- and send you the schedules. They help you out a great deal, most of them -- a lot of them even take a year off of college to do something like this.
And we should give them credit, whether they're Democrats or Republicans, for the hard work they do, and at a moment like this, it's very hard for them.
SHAW: Texas Governor George Bush has defeated Vice President Al Gore. Mr. Bush with 271 electoral votes. Now let's look at the national raw vote now, with 93 percent of the precincts reporting. You see the figures here, Bush 49 percent, 45,851,046 votes. Gore, 48 percent, 45,664,147 votes.
GREENFIELD: Bernie, the vice -- the governor's plurality is now under 200,000, and the more the votes come in, the more that plurality shrinks. We are soon going to approach Kennedy's margin over Nixon, which was 110,000, and if you don't count the Alabama votes, because he wasn't on the ballot there, people will tell you John Kennedy never got more votes than Dick Nixon.
And I think to -- I'm being a dead duck, irrelevant, forgive me, but it's late, I think there's a really good chance that Al Gore will get more votes out of the American people tonight than George W. Bush.
SCHNEIDER: Or if he does do that, then that'll cause some questions about the legitimacy of Bush's election. And will be -- there'll be a great deal of controversy over that. And by the way, when Kennedy won with that small plurality, the electorate was much smaller.
WOODRUFF: Do we know what the total Nader vote is at this point, does anybody -- Bill, do you have access to that?
SCHNEIDER: No, I think it'll be coming up...
WOODRUFF: Can we look at that number?
SCHNEIDER: ... on the board if we...
WOODRUFF: We're getting (inaudible)...
SCHNEIDER: We're getting it in a second, we're told. SHAW: And as we report to you from Atlanta, CNN headquarters, on this election night, they're standing in the rain in Austin, Texas, where victory is in the air, and they're standing in the rain in Nashville, Tennessee, we just saw and heard from John King.
We're waiting for Al Gore to show up to make his concession speech. John reports that the vice president is putting some final touches on those remarks. And they've asked the crowd to hang in there just a little bit longer and he will appear.
WOODRUFF: We want to look at the numbers, the raw numbers, from the state of Florida, Bernie. Here they are. Again, tight, tight, tight. Ninety-nine percent of the precincts reporting, 49 percent to 49 percent. Look at the difference, 2,887,000 to 2,876,000.
SHAW: Less than 12,000.
GREENFIELD: Ten thousand.
WOODRUFF: Less than 11,000.
GREENFIELD: Ten thousand eight hundred votes.
WOODRUFF: Ten thousand and some votes. John King in Nashville, any sense that the vice president may be hesitating because of this popular vote count that is so close, and not just nationally, but in Florida?
KING: Well, Judy, CNN is double checking the vote count, county by county, in the state of Florida. We are going through that exercise to make sure that that vote count is accurate and that indeed George Bush has won the state of Florida.
WOODRUFF: John King, I know you said a moment ago there was no indication that the governor would -- I'm sorry, the vice president would challenge the results tonight, but what about this notion that Jeff just brought up once again that al Gore could end up the popular vote winner?
KING: Well, if they end up the popular vote winner and there's not a controversy about the results in Florida, you would not really have much to argue about as the results in Florida are so tight. We're told the vice president was coming here to deliver a concession speech, that he had called Governor Bush -- excuse me -- and he had already spoken to Governor Bush.
There's an echo behind me you can hear in the crowd here. But the vice president is still backstage. We're waiting for him to come out.
The echo comes -- they have a big screen you can see behind me. From time to time, they're showing various newscasts. And if the news is disappointing to this crowd, they tend to cut them off. But again, we know the vice president is backstage. We've been trying to reach more of his senior aides to find out reasons for the delay, but unsuccessful in doing so. But we were told when he came over he had already called Governor Bush, he had wished him well, and that he would deliver a brief concession speech here tonight.
WOODRUFF: I think we're all sitting around wondering what it is that he may be doing backstage, perhaps talking with the people around him.
SHAW: Were I Al Gore, I don't think I'd be that terribly much in a hurry to rush out there and make the concession. This has to be one of the most difficult things in this man's life.
KING: Intensely frustrating. You know, historically, when Richard Nixon lost in 1960, he was urged by many people to challenge the vote in Illinois. And he decided in the end not to do it because he said he didn't want to create a constitutional crisis.
WOODRUFF: Now what are these people yelling? Let's listen and turn our sound up here.
"Recount." They are saying, "Recount."
GREENFIELD: There's no reason to think that this election was going to end any less bizarrely than it began. I don't believe I've heard this chant in Senate and gubernatorial races. And loyal fans yell, "Don't concede." But I don't believe I've ever heard this on the eve of what we think is going to be a candidate's concession.
WOODRUFF: Concession speech.
SHAW: Al Gore knows that it's very important to go out properly and with style.
GREENFIELD: Perhaps. I mean, I'm sure that's right. On the other hand, we're looking at these numbers. These numbers are stranger, closer, more bizarre than any election perhaps in 40 years, and as I say, an election that took the twists and turns that this one did, I don't think -- I wouldn't be surprised at this point if an unidentified spacecraft landed at National, and an alien got out and made some speech to Al Gore. It's been that kind of a night.
WOODRUFF: I think we've waited now a sufficient number of minutes since we know his motorcade arrived at this location that it is appropriate for us to ask questions about what is the delay all about...
SHAW: He could be talking...
WOODRUFF: ... because presumably there were remarks that were prepared either before he left the hotel or on the way over.
SHAW: Well, John reported that he wanted to add -- that he actually wanted to put some finishing touches to his remarks. He could be on the phone with Bill Clinton.
GREENFIELD: And in fairness, I think some of our hunger to hear the remarks of Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush may be influenced by the lateness...
WOODRUFF: Have something to do with how tired we are.
GREENFIELD: ... of the hour. So I don't want to -- press bias is always a danger. And I don't want our viewers, assuming they're conscious, to...
WOODRUFF: That's right.
GREENFIELD: ... take too much from this.
SCHNEIDER: And we are wondering when he comes out to speak, will he say, "It appears that I have lost, we will be checking the figures very carefully," or will he make an absolute concession? We'll be listening very carefully to how clear a concession speech he makes.
SHAW: And the speech is very important, which is why he apparently is still working on it, as John King reported.
WOODRUFF: In a night that has been a roller coaster from the earliest vote count when we had given Florida to Al Gore, and then when we and other news organizations pulled it back, it has been up and down and up and down. And for Nashville, Tennessee, it's down.
SCHNEIDER: Kind of reminds me of the polls over the fall campaign, which were back and forth and back and forth and ended up too close to call. And it turned out they were right.
WOODRUFF: That's right. That's right. That's right.
John King, you are there. Tell us from your perspective what you're seeing and hearing.
KING: Well, Judy, we're told the vice president has been made aware of the fact that the secretary of state of Florida is saying this race right now somewhere in the area of a 600-vote margin. Now what Gore aides are saying is that they don't have to ask for a recount, that if that is the final result there would be an automatic recount under Florida state law because the results are so close.
So we're told what the vice president is working on now is exactly what to say out here. He has already called Governor Bush. He has already congratulated him and wished him well.
And he has to come out now and make a public statement, one aide saying that the vice president could just come out and say that if the results stand, it appears Governor Bush will win, and if that is the case he wishes him well. But we're waiting to hear from the vice president. He's backstage here at the War Memorial, this another remarkable twist and turn on a very remarkable night.
SHAW: And John... WOODRUFF: ... explain for us what that is. What is it that the secretary of state of Florida exactly is saying?
KING: Well, I'm told by our people at CNN that right now the secretary of state of Florida is saying that the margin is somewhere in the area of 600 to 700 votes based on the current count. Now we have not heard a final count from the state of Florida. And we obviously need to have that final count. Governor Bush is still said to be ahead. But in most states, indeed probably in every state, if the margin is so narrow there's an automatic recount just to double check and triple check the results. So if the final result in a state as big as Florida was under 1,000 votes, you can be sure there will be a recount.
SCHNEIDER: Six hundred to 700 votes is like one floor of a condominium in South Florida. It's a very, very small number of people.
GREENFIELD: And I would say, Bill, to underscore that point, it's a very, very small number of people that could determine the presidency in a race...
GREENFIELD: ... that about 100 million people cast votes. But I'll just say it again. I don't know why we thought that this race, which began with Florida being called for Gore, and we mapped out the difficulty that Bush would have, pulled off the table, declared for Bush, Bush declared the president, speculation about the transition, who was to blame. And we are sitting here at 20 of 4:00 in the morning waiting to see whether the vice president of the United States will concede or come out and say, "It ain't over till it's over."
SCHNEIDER: That's right. And this could go on and on. God save us.
SHAW: Well, John, that's why I posed that question about 15 or 20 minutes ago about a recount. But it's become even more of a prospect because of this 600- to 700-vote separation.
GREENFIELD: Do you mind if we say one more time...
KING: If that margin holds, Bernie, yes.
GREENFIELD: ... I'm sorry, no, no, John, I'm sorry, go ahead.
KING: I was just simply going to say that if that is the final margin, what we're being told by senior Gore aides that this would be consistent, I'm not familiar with Florida state law, but I am familiar with many other states that if the margin is that small there would be an automatic recount.
GREENFIELD: I was simply going to observe that part of what you are hearing is not exhaustion. Trust me, folks. It is I think a state of stunned disbelief...
GREENFIELD: ... that a presidential election could be coming down to whether a few hundred vote margin in the state of Florida will or will not stand. I am simply saying we have never, never seen anything like this before.
SHAW: The upshot is every vote counts.
SCHNEIDER: And we have seen Florida tonight in three different colors. We've seen it first given to Gore, then put in the tossup category, then given to Bush.
WOODRUFF: I think everybody who is watching would like to know if they have to have a recount in the state of Florida how much time does it take to do something like that, Bill Schneider?
SCHNEIDER: That I can't tell you. It depends -- it can vary state by state. I assume they do it...
WOODRUFF: Is it all in a computer and they can just check...
SCHNEIDER: ... It probably varies county by county. They tend to control their own election machinery. But imagine they will try to do it very, very quickly.
SHAW: Don't forget the absentee ballots.
SCHNEIDER: Most of them have been counted. But there are a few which come in from overseas. Often just a couple of thousand come in from like overseas military that are counted later.
GREENFIELD: Let's make one other thing clear. We still have not called the state of Wisconsin. And we still have not called the state of Oregon. But again, my apologies to those fine people, those states are completely irrelevant at this point. Whatever happens in Florida determines the presidency of the United States.
WOODRUFF: They're not irrelevant, though, Jeff, to the popular count in this election.
WOODRUFF: They may be irrelevant assuming George W. Bush, that this lead holds and he wins the state of Florida. They may become relevant if something happens in this recount.
GREENFIELD: No, because of Florida winds up in Gore's column, he's the president of the United States.
WOODRUFF: Well, that's a big switch.
GREENFIELD: That's what I'm saying. Those states will not determine who the president is. It's only up to Florida, which we have called, oh, I don't know three or four weeks ago I guess now for George W. Bush.
WOODRUFF: Do we have any new information about Oregon? Let's go to Candy Crowley right now in Austin.
CROWLEY: Judy, something to report to you here in this very unusual night. The vice president has recalled the governor and retracted his concession, saying that Florida is too closer right now.
Now the Bush campaign reaction to this at this moment is to say they believe they have Florida, according to the governor of Florida, of course Jeb Bush, they believe they're about 2,200 votes up with only one precinct yet to count. So they believe they still have Florida. But, again, the vice president has called Governor Bush and retracted his concession, at least for the moment.
SHAW: So, Candy and John, well let's ask a logical question if we can think clearly enough at 3:42 in the morning. Does this mean that neither Governor Bush nor Vice President Gore will be making public statements now?
KING: We will see the vice president in just a few minutes.
SHAW: OK, that is confirmed. And presumably Mr. Bush will be -- or feel compelled to respond then.
KING: Bernie, if I could give you just a little bit more of the detail to confirm what Candy has just reported, we're told the vice president decided to do this after Bob Butterworth, the attorney general of the state of Florida, a Democrat and a key Gore supporter of that state, reached out to Bill Daley, the chairman of the Gore campaign and said, "Hey, wait a minute, not so fast. The situation here on the ground in Florida is not certain yet."
The vice president, after all the networks called the state of Florida, thought it was the right thing to do to call Governor Bush and concede. And we're told he did so. Now backstage here he is rewriting his speech.
And we're told he would give a much more general speech talking about his campaign for the presidency, how he wanted to move the country forward. And it looks like he will urge his supporters to just hang in there and keep waiting for the final results. He's not ready to give this up just yet.
SHAW: Why am I tempted to say, "Only in America."
WOODRUFF: Does anybody know right now what the Florida count is? Can we call that number up here at CNN? I'd like to look at at least the number that we are privy to. In the state of Florida again with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, 2,890,321 to 2,884,000. Jeff Greenfield, do some quick subtraction.
GREENFIELD: Six thousand one hundred more or less...
GREENFIELD: ... John King is reporting in fact that the Gore campaign was told that the margin isn't 6,000, which is what our board is showing, but in fact 600. You know...
WOODRUFF: What would they be basing that on?
GREENFIELD: ... I assume later counts than we have.
SHAW: Six hundred to seven hundred was what he said.
SCHNEIDER: Six hundred to seven hundred in the state of Florida.
SHAW: Well, when a fellow party member, who happens to be the state attorney general, Bob Butterworth, gives you a call and calls your campaign manager and says, "Hold it just a minute, don't go out there and make a flat-out concession," what do you do? You listen to him.
GREENFIELD: I think when you are about to concede the presidency of the United States, you're darn right you listen to them.
WOODRUFF: I am told by our executive producer Sid Bettingfield (ph) that what's going on right now is CNN is checking discrepancies between the VNS, which is the Voter...
SCHNEIDER: News Service.
WOODRUFF: ... News Service, which is the numbers you're seeing here, discrepancies perhaps between those numbers, the numbers the Associated Press is reporting, and the numbers being reported by the Florida secretary of state, Mr. Butterworth, who we just heard John King quote as having put it down to a 600- to 700-vote margin rather than a 6,000, actually a little less than 6,000 -- no, 6,000.
SCHNEIDER: Sixty-one hundred.
WOODRUFF: Six-thousand-one-hundred-vote margin we see there. I have to say I've been covering elections for 24 years. I've never seen one anything like this.
GREENFIELD: You know, yes. And beyond...
WOODRUFF: Jeff, have you?
GREENFIELD: ... speechless is absolutely -- no, not close. This is the kind of election that bad political movies or not-so-bad novels necessarily are written about. It is simply stranger than fiction.
WOODRUFF: Think about what Mark McKinnon told Candy. He said, "We were totally in the darkness when we saw the networks, CNN, calling Florida for Al Gore." And he said, "Then our spirits were lifted again when Florida was taken out of the Gore column and put uncertain."
And look at, here we're looking at a huge crowd of people in Nashville, who up until a few minutes ago were looking total blackness in the face. And now they're spirits are revived.
SHAW: Wherever you're watching CNN's live nonstop coverage of this Election 2000 tonight, whether it's in the United States or around the world, what's happening is this. Just in case you're getting up somewhere and you're saying, "You're still here?" Yes, we're still here.
The basic story line out of the United States is that Texas Governor George Bush has defeated Vice President Al Gore, Mr. Bush garnering 271 electoral votes. Right now, the scene has shifted to Nashville, Tennessee, outside the Gore campaign headquarters and Austin, Texas, outside the governor's campaign headquarters. What we're waiting for is a concession statement from Vice President Gore.
What we've learned is that there's a question about the closeness of the race in Florida. And therefore, Mr. Gore's concession statement is not likely to be categorical.
We assume that after Mr. Gore comes out and addresses these very faithful supporters by the thousands in the rain -- it's chilly there -- then Governor Bush in Austin will have something to say. We continue waiting.
So if you're just getting up and wondering, don't these people know how to go to bed and go to sleep, no we don't. We can't leave until we've heard from these two principles on this very historic political outcome in the United States presidential race for the White House.
WOODRUFF: I don't think I have the vocabulary to describe what we have witnessed tonight literally from the very early part of the evening when Florida was coming in for Gore, and then Michigan. And then when we found Gore was not -- that Florida was not in Gore's corner after all, and slowly, slowly, slowly the numbers built up for George W. Bush, at 2:18 this morning Eastern time, Bernie, you called the presidency for George W. Bush.
We learned soon after that, about 2:30, we were told later Al Gore called George Bush on the telephone, congratulated him, said he'd run a good campaign, words to that effect. The crowds gathered.
And here we are an hour and 20 minutes later...
SHAW: You know, we're grasping for words. But I cannot wait until "INSIDE POLITICS" is on the air Wednesday, 5:00 Eastern time, and I cannot wait to hear Bruce Morton's reporting on this.
WOODRUFF: We may still be sitting here.
SCHNEIDER: Oh, yes.
SCHNEIDER: It will be marvelous.
GREENFIELD: You may not have to wait. You'll be right here... (CROSSTALK)
SCHNEIDER: Hold it.
WOODRUFF: On the telephone with us a gentleman named Ed Kast, who is a Florida election official. Mr. Kast, can you first give us your title?
ED KAST, ASSISTANT DIVISION DIRECTOR, FLORIDA DIVISION OF ELECTIONS: I'm the assistant division director for the Division of Elections.
WOODRUFF: And can you clarify for us exactly what the vote count is at this moment in Florida?
KAST: It stands right now at 2,904,198 for Governor Bush and Mr. Cheney and 2,902,988 for Vice President Gore and Mr. Lieberman.
WOODRUFF: And what is that separation? I'm doing quick subtraction myself.
GREENFIELD: About 1,300 votes, is that right, Mr. Kast?
KAST: Yeah, roughly that. I don't have a calculator in front of me. I'm sorry.
WOODRUFF: Is there a mechanism, Mr. Kast, by which the state of Florida would automatically do its own recount if the candidate numbers were close enough together?
KAST: Yeah. The state requires an automatic recount, unless the candidates tell us differently, at less than one-half percent.
WOODRUFF: And less than...
GREENFIELD: Now Mr. Kast...
WOODRUFF: ... one-half percent.
KAST: Yeah, .5 percent or less.
WOODRUFF: And we at that point?
GREENFIELD: Oh, yes.
SCHNEIDER: Oh, yes.
WOODRUFF: OK, I'm just getting you to verify it.
KAST: Sure, I understand.
SCHNEIDER: How complete is this count? KAST: We've still got our overseas absentee ballots that will be coming in. And they'll be required to come in, or allowed to come in up to 10 days as long as they're postmarked as of November 7.
GREENFIELD: Excuse me, but based on your knowledge, can you estimate at all roughly how many of those votes we're talking about, even roughly?
KAST: No, I can't give you an estimate of what's there, other than I can tell you that in 1996, there was roughly 2,200 of those that were counted in the 10-day count.
SHAW: And what are you doing, Mr. Kast, to secure the ballots already counted throughout Florida?
KAST: The ballots are secured the county level. I'm not quite sure I understand...
SHAW: Any extra moves? Given the seriousness of this situation, is your office making any extra moves that you normally wouldn't make to ensure that everything stays in position so that when you conduct this recount...
KAST: No, the county supervisors of elections are responsible for that. And they're very used to recounts on other issues and other candidates and races. We will have a couple of counties that have not counted their absentee ballots anyway. So...
WOODRUFF: Then how many -- you started to say. You say you still have overseas ballots. And you said it will take 10 days to count those. What other ballots that are still outstanding?
KAST: Well, there are some other counties that have not reported their absentee ballots that would normally have to be into their office by November 7 at 7:00 p.m.
SHAW: Which counties?
KAST: As I look at our web site, I see Citrus has not reported theirs. And Hendry, Hillsborough, and a couple of others, Okeechobee it looks like.
GREENFIELD: And where are those counties, if you can tell us, Mr. Kast? Are they up in the north? Are they in the panhandle?
KAST: Well, they're really kind of spread all over the state.
GREENFIELD: There's no way you can characterize what...
KAST: No I sure can't.
WOODRUFF: How many? Hillsborough is a large county.
KAST: Hillsborough is, yes.
SHAW: What do you think of all this, Ed Kast? KAST: Well, at 3:50 in the morning, I'm not sure I'm thinking.
WOODRUFF: You said a moment ago that the law -- it's a state law that requires an automatic recount if the vote is under, what did you say, a half of one percent?
KAST: Less than half of one percent.
WOODRUFF: And unless you said the candidates request otherwise.
KAST: Well, there is a provision in there if a candidate notifies us that they don't wish to have a recount, then we're not obligated.
WOODRUFF: But we can presume that's not the case this time.
GREENFIELD: OK, Mr. Kast, I just want to review the bidding because we may be talking about the outcome of the presidential election here. Right now, Governor Bush is leading Vice President Gore by we think -- it's 1,310 votes if Judy's math is right. You've got roughly based on the past a couple of thousand overseas absentee ballots, and an unknown number of absentee ballots from Hillsboro and a couple of other counties, is that right?
KAST: That's right.
GREENFIELD: So -- I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but is it a fair statement that we do not yet know who has won the state of Florida?
KAST: We've got George Bush ahead. But it's not -- those are preliminary and unofficial figures. They're not by any means official.
SHAW: And as we talk to you, Mr. Kast, just to tell you that we're looking at a live picture from Nashville outside the Gore campaign headquarters. And I just saw the teleprompters with the see- through...
SHAW: ... glass that you can see on your left and right as you're giving a speech. I take that as a very positive sign, as do apparently these people here. And it would seem that the vice president's arrival on that podium, that stage, is imminent.
WOODRUFF: Yeah, I recalculated, Bernie. I see 1,210 votes separating them. And that's without -- now that's in other words 600 votes in either direction could change it. Maybe that's what Mr. Butterworth is referring to.
But that's without the overseas ballots, which you, Mr. Kast, you said in 1996 were you said around 2,200?
KAST: That's correct.
WOODRUFF: And then the absentee ballots from these other counties that you listed -- Hillsborough, Okeechobee, Hendry, Citrus, and some others. Would you assume those run in the dozens, the hundreds, or the thousands?
KAST: I would not even hazard a guess.
SCHNEIDER: Are you telling us that none of the absentee ballots have been counted in those counties, or just some of them?
KAST: No, it's not that none of them -- it's some of them.
SCHNEIDER: Some of them. So it's not the full absentee ballot.
SHAW: What are you hearing from your other colleagues up and down the state? Are you folks talking to each other tonight, or what? What's...
KAST: We have talked to the supervisors of elections and some of their staff just as a matter of course for the night. A lot of their reporting is done via file transfers and Internet reporting. So it's kind of an automatic update thing. But we've talked to them.
SHAW: What are they saying?
KAST: It's been a lot of work. And it's been a very heavy turnout.
WOODRUFF: What are the -- I assume you've been done this for some time, Mr. Kast, working in the elections division. What are the odds that there could have been a miscount somehow here?
KAST: Well, I've only actually been in the elections division for five years. So as far as a miscount, I really couldn't tell you. I know in the last presidential election as well as the last gubernatorial election we didn't have a problem on miscounts or problems of that nature.
SHAW: Ed Kast, tell us what happens tomorrow now. What procedures, what steps, given what's...
KAST: Tomorrow, the counties will start their canvass and do their official reporting to us. And they'll provide us all of their official results that will include the initial absentee ballots.
We'll consolidate all 67 counties and come up with the state canvass report and issue that. And then 10 days later, we'll come up with a second canvass that will only record those overseas absentee ballots.
WOODRUFF: And how long would it take to conduct a recount, Mr. Kast?
KAST: If we're thrown into a recount or if there is a recount, they'll start that just as soon as we notify them, which will probably be first thing tomorrow morning.
WOODRUFF: And how long would that take?
KAST: I'm sorry, I do not know.
WOODRUFF: But is it days, hours, I mean, that's what we're trying to figure out here.
KAST: Yeah, that part -- it would just depend on how long it takes them to recount.
SHAW: Well, wouldn't it be a minimum of 10 days if you have your 67 counties filing a consolidated report, then you have a canvass report, and then you said 10 days later you have a second canvass report? Wouldn't there still be a 10-day separation?
Did we lose Ed Kast?
WOODRUFF: We may have.
SHAW: Oh, he certainly was a lot of information.
GREENFIELD: He was.
SHAW: He certainly was a lot of information.
WOODRUFF: Just quickly to recap, he said according to the official count -- and he said he's the assistant division director for the election division in the state of Florida, the official count, 2,904,198 for George bush, 2,902,988 for Al Gore. That is a difference by math anyway of 1,210 votes out of almost six million votes cast in the state of Florida.
GREENFIELD: Not bad for 4:00 in the morning math, Judy. And I'll tell you that, at the risk of restating this, we are now looking at the single most bizarre election night...
WOODRUFF: Not only that we've covered, but...
GREENFIELD: ... I think you're going back to a lot of history. We are on the -- consider 100 million Americans have voted. And at 4:00 in the morning, we are talking with a very well informed local election official in the state of Florida who I think basically is telling us that with these numbers we cannot say with certainty who has won the state of Florida and therefore the presidency of the United States.
WOODRUFF: And just a reminder, we're looking at crowds in Nashville, Tennessee, the Al Gore crowd of course, and in Austin, Texas, the George W. Bush crowd. The reason these Florida votes are so important is that Florida, whoever wins the popular vote in the state of Florida gets those 25 electoral votes. And one or the other of them has to have those votes in order to be elected president. SHAW: Let's take a look at the national raw vote right now, just to refresh ourselves of where the numbers are. Look at this, 94 percent of the precincts are in.
GREENFIELD: The margin, Bernie, if I may, 151,000 votes out of 92.7 million votes cast. We are now in Kennedy-Nixon territory.
SHAW: Robert Novak in Washington, wake up.
SHAW: Bob Novak?
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN ANALYST: Yes?
WOODRUFF: Have you ever seen... ?
SHAW: What are you thinking about? Did you...
NOVAK: Well, listen, I was a reporter for the "Wall Street Journal" in 1960, and stayed up all night on the Kennedy-Nixon count.
And there was speculation, which lasted well into the morning hours of the next day whether Vice President Nixon would challenge the election, would go to court. And he didn't.
But I think this actually beats that. I think once every 40 years is enough for something like this. But the thing that I don't really understand is - and I didn't get it when you were talking to Mr. Kast, was whether all the precincts have now reported? Is that your understanding?
SHAW: No, they've not. No, they've not. Because, he mentioned Citrus, Kenndrick (ph) ....
NOVAK: No, no, no, those are absentees. I'm asking about all these Broward County precincts.
NOVAK: Are they all in now?
GREENFIELD: He said that -- I asked him that question and he said everything is in, except those absentee ballots. Some absentee ballots in a few counties, and the overseas absentee ballots that were postmarked no later than today, and will arrive in the next ten days. Some of them -- many of them -- they are coming military personnel.
NOVAK: Well, the Broward County, which of course is heavily Democratic, have you had any more of those precincts coming in? They could really turn this around.
GREENFIELD: They seem to be all in.
NOVAK: But if they're all in, I would think that, assuming there is not some great counting errors being made, there is the advantage is with the Republicans, because they usually do better with absentee ballots. And particularly absentee ballots from some of these small counties he mentioned.
And also -- more particularly, the 2000 expected ballots from overseas, most of those presumably would be military, and that would be an edge for Bush. I'm speculating, of course. I don't know any more than you do. But that would be the guess.
WOODRUFF: Bob, are you aware, in American political history, of a concession phone call being retracted?
NOVAK: Not at the presidential level.
NOVAK: They've been ...
WOODRUFF: Or any level?
NOVAK: Well, I think there have been some at local levels certainly. When they jumped the gun. But never at a presidential level.
GREENFIELD: Well, I can recall governors' races ...
NOVAK: This election has to go back to 1876, which I did not cover, which was the Tilden-Hayes election, which was settled. Where they stole the election from Governor Hayes in New York, and settled it with a commission.
GREENFIELD: Yeah, but in that race, Bob, Samuel Tilden ran well ahead of Rutherford B. Hayes. That was a corrupt bargain.
We're talking here, not about corruption, but about a race that is so close nationally -- now 150,000 votes -- so close in the state that will decide this election, that we literally cannot assert who has won the national popular vote. And I don't think we're in a position to say who has won Florida with any certainty yet. I mean, it is absolutely unprecedented.
SHAW: Nor can we go home.
NOVAK: That's quite well. And what is ... what is fascinating ...
WOODRUFF: Go ahead, Bob.
NOVAK: What's ...
WOODRUFF: Go ahead, Bob Novak.
NOVAK: What's fascinating is that you find that in some of these other states, which of course are irrelevant, because whoever wins Florida wins the election.
But it's a dead heat in Wisconsin, too. I mean, this is a dead heat nationally, and it's a dead heat in state after state. It was just about a dead heat in New Hampshire. So neither of these candidates really sold the public.
GREENFIELD: Are you suggesting, Bob, that we could end up with recounts in other states, as well?
NOVAK: No, I don't think so. I think if they can settle this Florida business one way or the other, we'll have a president.
WOODRUFF: You know, it's one thing to say it's a close race, but clearly, part of what's been going on with the roller coaster nature of it tonight, is the fact that we are a news organization.
And there are news organizations out there that have been anxious to call these results just as soon as we were able to. Based on exit polling, interviews with voters as they left the polling places. And also, based on key precinct sample precincts around the different states.
So it's the news organizations that are frankly creating part of what's going on tonight. The atmosphere, the ups and the downs.
SHAW: We gotta go to ...
WOODRUFF: John King, you are in Nashville where they clearly feel like they've been lifted up and pushed down, and lifted up again.
KING: Confusion reigns, I think the theme for the night right now, Judy. The Vice President backstage here at the War Memorial in Nashville.
We have been led to believe we would hear from him any minute. Now we're told we will hear from Chairman Bill Daley. Chairman Bill Daley of the Gore Campaign will come out and speak to this crowd.
And one senior aide telling us a few moments ago, for now, the Vice President will keep quiet. Stay behind the scenes here and keep monitoring the developments.
Unclear whether Mr. Daley will say he's calling it a night, and will wait until tomorrow. Or, whether they will continue to monitor results. But for now, this crowd, up and down and up and down and up and down in its mood, will hear from the Gore Campaign Chairman, Bill Daley.
And as you're seeing, right now we're in the middle of an up. And here he is, Billy Daley, the former Commerce Secretary, the brother of the Chicago mayor, and the chairman of the Gore campaign.
WOODRUFF: Before he speaks, John, CNN will confirm there will be a recount in the state of Florida. And CNN moves it to the undecided column, and back from George W. Bush. BILL DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Please. Thank you very much. I have some news to share with all of you tonight. Now, let me say, I've been in politics a very long time. But I don't think there's ever been a night like this one.
Just an hour or so ago, the TV networks called this race for Governor Bush. It now appears that their call was premature. Let me be very clear about this.
According to the information supplied by the Secretary of State of Florida, with 99.9 percent of the vote counted, there is a margin of only about 1,200 out of millions cast, with over 5,000 votes left to be counted.
This is a very significant -- for a most important reason. And that is, for under Florida state law, this triggers an automatic recount. And as everyone knows in America, this race has come down to the state of Florida.
Without being certain of the results in Florida, we simply cannot be certain of the results of this national election. Let me add that Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman are fully prepared to concede and to support Governor Bush, if and when he is officially elected President.
But this race is simply too close to call. And until the results -- the recount -- is concluded and the results in Florida become official, our campaign continues.
So let me -- so let me -- yeah! So let me -- so let me -- so let me thank all of you -- let me thank all of you on behalf of Vice President Al Gore and Senator Joe Lieberman, for waiting out here so late tonight. And we hope to have you back very soon.
Thank you very much. Good night.
WOODRUFF: Well, Bill Daley, the chairman of the Gore Campaign, you just heard it. We're all -- I think we can hardly believe our ears. He said until the results are official and certified in the state of Florida, we are going to continue our campaign.
He did say that the Vice President and Joe Lieberman are fully prepared to support the Bush-Cheney success, victory, if and when they are certified elected. But he's saying that hasn't happened yet.
GREENFIELD: He's also saying we will not be hearing from the Vice President or Senator Lieberman tonight. There will obviously be no concession speech. In fact, there will be no statement at all. He bid the crowd good-night.
I don't know if he wants them to sit around until the recount is done. Or, would like them to go home and get some sleep. But we are in a state of political suspended animation, the likes of which has never, ever happened. SHAW: We do not have a winner in our Electoral College count, because the state of Florida is now rated officially as a toss--up.
WOODRUFF: John King.
KING: Well, the Vice President will not be waiting here at the War Memorial. He and Senator Lieberman have returned to their hotel in Nashville.
The senior staff will regroup there and try to assess what to do next on this remarkable roller--coaster night. If you wouldn't take our word all night that we've never seen anything like this before, take it from Bill Daley, the son of the legendary mayor of Chicago, the brother of the current mayor.
The Daley family has been through quite a bit in American political life. And he, perhaps speaking for all of us tonight, when he said we've never seen anything like this. One would hope we never see it again. Just how long this has taken and how much energy tonight.
But the Vice President, we're told, has gone back to his hotel. He has been up now for more than 52 straight hours, and he will meet with his senior staff back at the hotel to decide what to do next.
WOODRUFF: John -- go ahead, Bernie.
SHAW: No, go ahead, if you have a question of John, because ...
WOODRUFF: Since I would want to -- we were going to look at -- no, I think we're going to let John take a breather here. We want to look at the map, but Bernie, go ahead, you were going to make a point.
SHAW: No, let's look at the map. And you go ahead and report that. But I have to wonder, if Gore is not going to talk, then obviously the Governor from Texas is ...
GREENFIELD: Well, maybe we'll be hearing from Candy Crowley momentarily? Let's just find out what -- Florida has gone from too close to call, to Gore, to too close to call, to Bush, to too close to call.
I suppose Nader can have some hopes that he might carry Florida in about a day or two. But this is truly amazing.
SHAW: And that's as Campaign Chairman William Daley indicated, with 99.9 percent of the votes counted.
WOODRUFF: This is the electoral map. As we said, the state of Florida, which originally we had put into the Gore column, and it was back to too close to call, then it went into the Bush column.
Now, it is once again too close to call. And this is the corrected electoral vote total at this hour, 4:11 AM, November the 8th, the year 2000: Al Gore -- 249; George W. Bush -- 246. All this, because the state of Florida will undergo an automatic -- they've announced they will conduct an automatic recount, because the vote in that state was under half of one percent difference.
SHAW: And CNN believes there will not be a winner determined in Florida until later today, Wednesday, when there will be an automatic recount.
GREENFIELD: I'll tell you one thing that's going to be recounted, and that is the way we count votes. Because I have a hunch that there's going to be an enormous amount of scrutiny about a system that calls a state for both candidates, and then at 3:00 in the morning, winds up for neither.
WOODRUFF: I want to clarify something. If I left the impression that we know there will be a recount, let me amend that to say it appears that there will be a recount in the state of Florida.
And I think it's also important to say the gentleman we talked to from the election division in the state of Florida said they still need to wait for -- what is it? Overseas ...
SHAW: Overseas and absentee ballots, yeah.
WOODRUFF: ... absentee ballots. And he said that is a ten day process.
SHAW: I think I left the impression that there would be a definite recount.
GREENFIELD: What we know in Florida is ...
SHAW: The key word is appears.
GREENFIELD: Bill Daley told us as much. What he said is -- and what Mr. Kast said was -- when the vote comes in, and it's one--half of one percent -- which it is way less than that -- there is an automatic recount triggered.
So I think the original impression you left was almost certainly correct in the first place, Judy.
WOODRUFF: It apparently is going to happen.
GREENFIELD: Unless one of the candidates says they don't want it. And believe me, they both -- I'm sure one of the candidates will want it.
SHAW: Candy Crowley, we just heard Al Gore's campaign manager say until the results of the recount become official, our campaign continues.
CROWLEY: Well, we'll have to take his word for it. I don't think you're going to hear from George Bush until there is some definition of what's going on in Florida. I can tell you that at the Governor's Mansion they are trying to figure this out at the moment. People we've been able to talk to throughout the night, suddenly we can't get them on their phones.
So I'm assuming there's some sort of meeting going on, trying to figure out what you do with the crowd that you've got out here? And, how you deal with a concession that was then retracted.
What we are now hearing is that Don Evans, who is chairman of the Bush Campaign, who is a very close friend of Governor Bush's, will be making an appearance to say something to this crowd. He, of course, would be the counterpart to Bill Daley.
So we are expecting to hear from him out here shortly. And, boy, aren't we in limbo!
SHAW: Well, Karl Rove, the chief strategist for the Governor, was on CNN a few hours ago. And he very testily criticized the networks for calling Florida for Vice President Gore. One can only imagine what he's thinking now, and saying!
CROWLEY: Well, I don't know what he's saying, as I've been unable to get a hold of him. But I imagine that they're looking very carefully at those Florida numbers, trying to figure out where those absentee ballots -- in which counties they are -- so that they can figure out if they're more likely to be Republican or Democratic.
And of course, take a look at the history of overseas ballots, and see how they trend.
SHAW: And we see this worker wiping with a towel, the podium, because it's been raining off and on where you are there in Austin, as we await the appearance of the campaign chairman, Don Evans.
CROWLEY: Yeah, we're told he's on his way, Bernie. So it shouldn't be too much longer before what they have to say. But clearly, this means that Governor Bush won't be showing up -- well, at least anytime in the next hour. You hate to look too much further ahead than that, at this point.
GREENFIELD: Candy, I just want to put in one word for our profession. I know that you have been out there it must seem like days. And for all of us who are up at 4:00 in the morning, I think we all, now, have to have a powerful feeling of sympathy for our brothers and sisters in the print profession.
How would you like to be the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper tonight? Hold -- you know, tear out the front page? How about tearing out your hair three or four times?
WOODRUFF: I want to say a few nice words about people like Candy Crowley and John King ...
GREENFIELD: In the rain!
WOODRUFF: ... and all of your colleagues, who we don't see, because they're on the other side of the camera. And scurrying around to help you. Because you folks have been out there in the elements literally all day and all night.
And while we're here in this comfortable, air conditioned and heated studio. There's no rain coming down on us, other than the rain of approbation from some folks who may not like the calls we've been making! And the anxiousness that we've been putting behind those calls.
SHAW: While we're waiting, let's take another look. Let's revisit our national raw vote total now, to show you how much closer it is. It's getting ever closer.
Look at this. With 95 percent of the precincts reporting ...
WOODRUFF: Twenty-six thousand.
GREENFIELD: Twenty-six thousand votes separate Governor Bush and Vice President Gore, out of 93.5 million votes cast.
GREENFIELD: Let me say that again, What is it -- 26 -- 27,000 votes separate Governor Bush and Al Gore, out of 93 million votes cast. That's with 95 percent reporting. And everytime we report, the margin shrinks.
And we can't -- the way this night is going, this thing could end in an absolute dead heat.
You could have a dead heat in the popular vote.
WOODRUFF: I'm looking ....
GREENFIELD: That's right.
SHAW: Notice the uptick in the Nader vote here, from two percent to three percent.
GREENFIELD: Two and a half million votes for Ralph Nader.
WOODRUFF: Whoa. I'm looking again at 1960, when the difference between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, 118,000 votes. We are significantly closer than that.
GREENFIELD: Now, remember, we got five percent of the precincts left to go.
WOODRUFF: That's right.
GREENFIELD: That's a few million votes. And if the trend continues, Gore is going to catch up and pass Bush.
WOODRUFF: And as you pointed out a little while ago, Jeff Greenfield, on an election year you know very well -- Hubert Humphrey- Richard Nixon, 510,000 votes.
GREENFIELD: About a half a million votes.
GREENFIELD: And that's a landslide, compared to this number.
WOODRUFF: As I look down these totals on this chart here, that CNN gave us. Before tonight, going back to 1920, there's nothing any closer than the Kennedy results in 1960, when it was 118,574. As you just said, we're at 20-something-thousand, and there's still some votes out.
GREENFIELD: Yeah, and that's why -- Bill, you're the numbers guy, but if you watch these numbers shrinking, does it suggest to you that with five percent of the vote in, that with this pattern we can begin to speculate about maybe Gore surpassing Bush?
SCHNEIDER: No, we don't know what the remaining five percent of the votes are, where they come from. And some of them are going to be absentee ballots. These things don't go in trends. They have to do with where the votes are located that haven't yet been counted.
But I point out, you know, Pat Buchanan got about half a million votes there. Zero percent of the national vote total, but he got about a half a million votes.
GREENFIELD: It's a very good point.
SCHNEIDER: Which I think George Bush maybe is looking at and saying he could use some of those Pat Buchanan votes.
SHAW: Well, we will have been on the air for 12 hours in less than 45 minutes. We started at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
WOODRUFF: It seems like only yesterday.
SHAW: Indeed, it was. But when we came on the air and we were reporting to you around the world, the emphasis was on three words: turnout, turnout, turnout.
This just confirms it. It confirms it doubly so. It also confirms the might and the muscle and the effort of organized labor, of The National Rifle Association, of civil rights groups, of special interest groups, that have spent more than -- what? $3 billion total?
GREENFIELD: That's the cost of this election. And this election will be in the history books forever! Children 100 years from now will be learning -- every vote counts! Look at what happened in 2000.
WOODRUFF: Right, right.
GREENFIELD: No, Bruno.
WOODRUFF: It's a painful way to teach the lesson of -- how, Bruno, let's see, how many of these elections have you covered? HAL BRUNO, CNN ANALYST: Every one since 1960. I was a reported in the Chicago bureau of "Newsweek" in 1960, when we had all those precincts missing on the West Side of Chicago. But also, in downstate Illinois. We knew that the Democrats had Chicago, and downstate, that was Republican precincts missing.
SHAW: And all those dead people voting!
BRUNO: Yeah, well, it wasn't so much that in those days, it was just where were those precincts and what was happening to them. This is even -- that was -- had the faint taint of corruption to it. This does not.
But this is even more bizarre. Never have we seen anything like this in the entire history of the country. It's interesting, in Florida, along with the absentees missing, the only county that is not totally complete right now in our model, is Broward.
Which I remind you, is Gore territory. So there's every reason in the world for Bill Daley to do exactly what he did.
WOODRUFF: Now why -- that's a little confusing to us now, because at least some of us thought we heard the Florida elections official say that all the counties were in.
BRUNO: Yes, yeah.
WOODRUFF: I have to confess, I didn't hear him say that.
BRUNO: I heard him say that, too. But when you look on our models that all of the networks are using, every county except Broward is complete at this time. That's the one place where there still are some votes out.
But he's also right in saying that I think most of what is out may be the absentees.
WOODRUFF: Broward County is what area? What cities?
BRUNO: Broward County is Ft. Lauderdale, and it's just -- it's between Miami and Palm Beach. And it is heavily Democratic. We said very early in the evening this is the area where a Democrat has to have a huge margin in order to win the state of Florida.
GREENFIELD: Well, Hal, with the election -- the registrar that we heard reporting -- would his count be more complete -- could it be more complete than the network count that you're talking about?
BRUNO: You would think that it would be more complete than the network count.
BRUNO: But, with all that's going on right now, you can't be sure of anything. GREENFIELD: This may be a good time to put just a couple of the brakes on, because we do not want to be in the position of communicating, in any sense, information.
I think, Hal, all we can say is that the official on the scene has given us numbers which he represented were a complete vote, except for the numbers we've been talking about. Except for the oversea absentee ballots, except for some absentee ballots in the counties that he mentioned.
BRUNO: Yeah, he mentioned Hillsborough and Pinellas. And that's ...
WOODRUFF: And others.
GREENFIELD: What are those counties?
BRUNO: That's over around the Tampa area. And that would tend to be Bush territory.
SHAW: Well, he also said, Hal, that some of these areas are around the state -- Citrus, Okeechobee, right, and Hendry (ph)?
GREENFIELD: Yeah, Henry.
BRUNO: Yeah, and it's scattered, though.
BRUNO: It's not -- the only place where we think there's a block out, according to our model, is in Broward.
SHAW: A block out, what's that?
BRUNO: Well, I mean .. a block of votes.
SHAW: Yeah, OK. Well, if you are just joining us, just waking up, I hate to sound repetitious, but assuming that you might be getting up and wondering are these people still here? Yes, we are.
GREENFIELD: In our 12th hour.
SHAW: Twelfth hour. Judy's getting some information, so I'll shut up.
WOODRUFF: Well, I'll try to just clarify at least what CNN has done in taking the state of Florida -- and in other words, taking the red state of Florida, which meant that we'd given it to George W. Bush. And making it yellow again, on that map. Representing the fact that it's too close to call.
As it's explained to me, when we did this, it means that while we still believe that George W. Bush will have the advantage in votes in the state of Florida, we do not believe that he will have enough of an advantage over Al Gore to avoid a recount.
And that recount is what --- that prospect of a recount -- is what has caused us -- and we don't know, of course, what the recount will find. We have no reason to believe that it will change the numbers one iota. Other than just to continue to build them in the direction they're going.
But based on the fact that we expect that recount to come, because of the closeness of the vote, we have made the decision to move the state of Florida from the Bush column to the too-close-to- call.
SHAW: And to underscore again, Bill Daley said until the results of the recount become official, our campaign continues.
WOODRUFF: And that is something that could take days. Again, that's depending on what the -- I just want to say that it's not just the popular vote that's so close in this election.
We've gone back and we've looked, and we couldn't find an election going back 80 years where the popular vote was. But it's the electoral vote.
The closest electoral vote we see was 1976. It was 240 to 297. And this is even closer. This is even closer than any electoral vote and any popular vote that we've seen.
GREENFIELD: There's one that was closer. And it's what they call the stolen election of 1876. It's not on your chart, because it goes back ...
WOODRUFF: You're going back into the next -- because I just have this century.
SCHNEIDER: There were disputed electoral votes. The Congress, in a corrupt -- what is widely considered a corrupt bargain -- threw all the disputed electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes in return for ending reconstruction.
Samuel Tilden got many more popular votes -- the governor of New York. And for the four years that Rutherford B. Hayes served, he was called by Democrats "your fraudulency."
It was not a successful administration. But except for that, this would be the closest electoral vote, certainly in the modern history of the United States. Whichever way it comes out.
BRUNO: Yes, but we have not culled two states. We have not culled Wisconsin and Oregon. Now, if Florida were going to go to George Bush, he would win. And the other two were to go to Al Gore, Bush would win by one electoral vote -- one.
SCHNEIDER: 271 to 267 will be the final vote.
BRUNO: That's right. We don't know yet how close it will be, because we haven't culled those two states -- other two states.
WOODRUFF: Can someone tell us, either Hal or Bill, why we're still not able to call Wisconsin and Oregon, even though it's almost 4:30 in the morning, Eastern Time?
BRUNO: Well, in the case of Oregon, don't forget that everybody votes by mail there. And they count fairly fast, but it still can't be as fast a count as when you have polling places. There are no polling places there.
In Wisconsin, I don't know the answer to why it's so slow there, at this stage. At one point, everything seemed to hinge on Dane (ph) County and the Madison area there, which is Gore turf. And what Nader was doing.
We haven't heard anything from there in a long time, so I can't explain Wisconsin. But I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll check into it, and if I can, I'll come back here.
WOODRUFF: Maybe someone can give a call to the election folks -- official election folks in Wisconsin to see where that stands. And Oregon, for that matter. Be nice to give, I think, our viewers an update on all, while we're waiting to find out what George W. Bush is ...
GREENFIELD: Though we stress that the election outcome does not depend on Wisconsin and Oregon. It depends only on Florida.
WOODRUFF: The picture is ...
SHAW: Wow, look at this. Don Evans, Bill Daley's campaign counterpart, he's the campaign chairman for Texas Governor Bush, coming out to have a statement of reaction.
GREENFIELD: He's about to mount the stage. He has his prepared remarks. And we should point out that this story has pretty much completely buried the small fact that the First Lady of the United States was elected to the United States Senate tonight, from the state of New York.
Many of us thought that would be almost as big a story. After this election, maybe a footnote!
BRUNO: Nothing is as big.
WOODRUFF: Not only she, two other -- one other woman elected to the United States Senate, Maria Cantwell, for a total of 11. And then, with Mrs. Carnahan ...
WOODRUFF: ... Carnahan, there'll be 12 women in the United States Senate, which is a record.
Don Evans, a long-time close friend of George W. Bush.
DON EVANS, BUSH CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Thank you, thank you. Thank you all very much.
Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney asked me to thank you for all your terrific support and hard work. We hope and believe we have elected the next President of the United States.
The latest counts -- the latest vote count in the state of Florida shows Governor Bush winning that state by more than 1,200 votes.
They're still counting. They're still counting. And I'm confident when it's all said and done, we will prevail.
Thank you again for all your hard work, and all your efforts. And we look forward to a great celebration. God Bless.
WOODRUFF: Well, that was short and sweet.
SHAW: And very indicative of this cliffhanging atmosphere over this U.S. Presidential race at this moment.
GREENFIELD: You know, we should note that in 1960, when Richard Nixon came out, he gave a non--concession speech, which proved actually to be quite wise, given the closeness.
He came out and he said if the returns continue as they have -- and I'm paraphrasing -- it appears that President Kennedy will be elected, and I will be defeated. And he was right. I mean, at the time there was a sense of maybe that wasn't the most gracious thing to do.
And as the votes came rolling in from the West, Kennedy's lead evaporated. So here we have again, a non--concession, non--victory --- Bernie.
SHAW: Candy Crowley in Austin.
CROWLEY: Well, Bernie, that pretty much emptied this square. They are moving out in droves now. They were only down to about a sixth of what they were before, as the evening went on.
We had our first mass exodus when Judy said, oh, we may know about Florida in about an hour and forty-five minutes. And it was sort of downhill from there. So ...
WOODRUFF: Sorry about that, Governor Bush.
CROWLEY: They're now leaving, having heard from Chairman Don Evans. At this point, there is very little they can do without a concession, without the final results in Florida.
You heard from Don Evans that they fully believe, the way they're looking at it, that they will prevail in Florida. And therefore, prevail in the Presidency. But we remain in limbo here. And what can they do, but go to bed and see what happens tomorrow morning?
SHAW: John King, in Nashville, Tennessee. Whom do you have?
KING: Well, Bernie, I have a prominent Gore supporter who works in the movie business -- Rob Reiner standing by here in Nashville. Among the last to leave here.
Many left because of the cold rain. Some seem afraid to leave. They think maybe something else might happen tonight. If that is at all possible.
Let me ask Rob Reiner, you're a prominent Democrat, a supporter. But you work in the movie business. Could you sell a script like this?
ROB REINER, ENTERTAINER: No, no. You write this and they throw you out of the office. They say, you know, this is ridicules I mean; this is one of these "truth is stranger than fiction" things. You can't write something like this, nobody would believe it.
KING: Now, why are you here? You have a comfortable life; you could be home watching this on television.
REINER: Well, you know, I'm quite attracted to you, John, and that's why I'm here. You know, it's getting a little late. We're getting punchy, we're getting punchy. But let's face it; this is one of the strangest nights in the history of American politics. We had two moments tonight where we basically said, "Do we win this?" We've had two close moments tonight, so anything can happen. Even an important relationship between you and me could happen. Anything can happen tonight, John. That's how wild this night is.
KING: Hate to disappoint you. But I'm going to rule that out ...
KING: ... and throw it back to the studio.
SHAW: And we especially love your straight face too, John.
GREENFIELD: You know what, I think that somehow that that was absolutely in keeping with the way this night may be developing.
SHAW: That's right, what else could happen?
GREENFIELD: I had positive the landing of a spacecraft. I think we've gone one better with Mr. Reiner tonight.
WOODRUFF: Wait a minute; I think I see something landing there.
SHAW: Let's update again because of the time differences around this planet.
If you're just joining us, CNN's continuing live coverage of election year 2000 can tell you what is happening in the United States presidential race.
It is very, very close. And one state will actually decide the outcome of this, Florida, with its 25 electoral votes. Originally it looked like Vice President Al Gore had lost to Texas Governor George Bush. We were standing by awaiting a concession statement. Then word came that because of the counting of the ballots, the Gore campaign decided, "Wait a minute, this thing is too close." And then, we had a spokesman from Don Edwards in fact, the campaign chairman from Texas Governor George Bush, which just came out just a short while ago.
And I like this phrasing. He had a qualifier in there. He said, "We hope and believe we've elected the next president of the United States." He referred to the current count showing Governor Bush leading in Florida by about 1,200 votes. Well, that is where it stands. It appears as if there's going to be a recount of those Florida ballots. They're still having to tabulate absentee ballots. In other words, the battle to win the White House is not over in the United States. There is not a clearly defined 43rd president.
GREENFIELD: Bernie, I've just a statement by a gentleman named Bob Butterworth speaking. He's Florida attorney general, or speaking as the State Chair of Florida for Al Gore. And I'm quoting, "Whenever an election in the state of Florida is in the half of one percent, there is an automatic recount. As of right now, we do not even know how close this race is because there are still a few thousand votes that have not been counted. I understand they are in Palm Beach County, Broward County and couple of smaller counties. And no matter what the outcome, there will be an automatic recount. I would caution both candidates not to make any definitive statements right now because it is too close, maybe within a couple of hundred votes at the most. This may very well be, and probably will be, the closest election ever in the state of Florida at a statewide level. And it impacts the presidency of the United States." Again this is Bob Butterworth as both Gore State Chair and Attorney General.
SHAW: And it's that statement, and that conclusion which he relayed to Bill Daley, Vice President Gore's campaign manager, according to John King. And that started this whole process. And that's why we're still here reporting to you.
WOODRUFF: Well, when the clock started turning backwards after having been moved forwards.
GREENFIELD: It means that Hal Bruno's reporting earlier was, indeed, right on the money. There are a few thousand votes out. Broward County, Hal Bruno has told us, is Gore country. Palm Beach is a little different. Palm Beach is one of the wealthier communities in the United States. And we might expect it to be Bush country.
WOODRUFF: And he mentioned mentioned Hillsboro, which is near Tampa, St. Petersburg. I don't remember which, but I know it's one of those counties. GREENFIELD: In other words, nobody - what we now have is further definitive words on how indefinitive the vote in Florida is. Basically he's saying, "We don't know who won. And we won't know until this recount."
WOODRUFF: It sounds like we won't know at this morning juncture. It's now 4:35 or so, Eastern Time in the morning on Wednesday, November the 8th. And presumably it will be later in the day on Wednesday before we have a sense of what's going on.
SCHNEIDER: And this is handled by state authorities. That Attorney General in Florida is the Gore Campaign Chairman. Of course the Governor is George Bush's brother. But the Federal Government doesn't really have any role in counting and reporting ballots, even though this is a federal race. The election procedures are handled by the states.
SHAW: And not withstanding all the uncertainty about this fascinating story, as it's unfolded, it's been worth every effort by all the women and men here at CNN, and around the United States, to report this story to you. It's not over. It simply is not over.
WOODRUFF: And we can't tell you how many people have been involved. We're not wrapping up here by any means or maybe we are. We don't know.
SHAW: No, it's a thought I wanted to impart before I forgot it.
WOODRUFF: Well, you know, I mentioned a minute ago, Candy Crowley has been standing out there in a blustery day and in the rain, hard rain tonight in Austin. We've had John King and all of his co- workers. And there are many -- we have many more folks there that you will see on camera. They're all operating at a very tough circumstances.
We're going to show you, once again, the latest raw vote totals as we have them from the state of Florida. Now this says, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, it it's high, 49 percent to 49 percent, 2,000,733 to 2,902,509. What is that? 100 and how many votes?
GREENFIELD: 224 votes separate these two candidates. All right, 5.8 million votes cast. Let me say that again, 224 votes, at this juncture, with a reported 100 percent reporting, separate George Bush from Al Gore, and separate both these men from the presidency of the United States. I don't know how overstatement would possibly work in a race like this. Friends, take ...
SCHNEIDER: I think I've met some of those 200 people.
WOODRUFF: This is a state that both candidates have targeted all along. It is the state, well, since early summer you would have to say; they both were in there 12, 13, 14 times. The Bush campaign, and the Republican National Committee together, put I believe, $12 million or $13 million in. And here is Ralph Nader, 96,000 votes, two percent. The question is, Bernie, Jeff, Bill, does the Ralph Nader vote -- would it make a difference. I think we have to say, "absolutely."
SCHNEIDER: Do you think the Buchanan vote would make a difference? The Hagelin vote would make a difference. That's over 2,000 votes.
WOODRUFF: But it's a democracy. And every one of those people had a right to be on the ballot as they did the perquisites and so forth. We're not saying they don't have a right to be there.
SHAW: Let me add to our electoral porridge here and observe that, still, we have not been able to call Oregon or Wisconsin; Oregon with seven electoral votes, Wisconsin with 11. On top of this ...
GREENFIELD: The last time -- I'm sorry -- the last time we checked in with the national popular vote, the margin that separated George Bush and Al Gore was about 25,000 votes. In fact, here it is.
WOODRUFF: This is the national popular vote. Again it's very close-- 96 percent of the precincts reporting -- Al Gore on top. Al Gore on top, 47,123,818. I'm saying this out loud because we can hardly believe how close this is. George W. Bush, 47,063,000.
GREENFIELD: Al Gore, we were sort of speculating that as the margin shrunk this would happen. Al Gore -- let's just put this out in front as the headline of the minute. Lord knows what will be next. At this moment, Al Gore is 60,000 popular votes ahead of Governor Bush who has lead in the popular vote all night.
WOODRUFF: And where did those votes come from? I'm told they came from L.A. County, from California, and primarily L.A. County. That's an area that we would expect Al Gore to do well in.
GREENFIELD: But look at that. Keep that number up for a second because again, you're seeing history in those simple numbers. Ninety four million votes cast so far, and 60,000 votes separate the two candidates.
SCHNEIDER: With 96 percent reporting, we should there's still four percent of the vote out, which is, you know, several thousand -- tens of thousands of votes.
WOODRUFF: And according to the Constitution of the United States, no matter what the popular vote is, if you don't have the electoral vote margin, you don't -- you're not elected. That's what this whole thing is about tonight -- this morning.
GREENFIELD: It is -- I think Rob Reiner, before he began getting a little extra friendly with our John King, you know, said it very well. If you wrote a book or a movie script, a political melodrama, the studio had to look at you and say: This is absolutely ridiculous.
You've got so many incredible coincidences from this one night, nobody would believe it. Let me get this straight, you've got a dead man elected to the Senate. The first lady elected to the Senate of the United States, a popular vote closer than any in history, and an electoral vote, popular vote count in one state that's going to determine the presidency that comes down to a thousand votes -- get out of here.
SCHNEIDER: Well, there have been a number of anomalies in this whole campaign with the lead shifted in the polls, five or six times in the last two months. And then after a couple of the debates - people said they thought Al Gore did a better job in the debates, and they started voting for George Bush. So this campaign has been very strange.
WOODRUFF: We're going to look at the Nader and Buchanan vote, nationally. Ralph Nader getting three percent of the vote, falling short of the five -- I believe it was five percent that he needed in order to be eligible for federal moneys -- 2,546,089 votes, and Pat Buchanan, 430,000. John King, two million votes to Ralph Nader when there is, what, 60,000? And Al Gore's in the lead.
KING: Well, Judy, you certainly know that, if this election goes the other way, and Governor Bush wins, now we will have even more of a case for the Democrats to point fingers at Ralph Nader. But that's one of what we thought might be the major plot at the beginning of the night, the Nader impact now falling down on the list here. The crown leaving here in Nashville.
The Gore senior staff back at the hotel. The Vice President now has been up more than 50 hours; I think approaching 50 hours now, because he campaigned non-stop. And let me just echo a point you and Bernie have made throughout the night, when you're working cable television, that means we've been up 55 hours as well, and our crews and producers standing out here in the rain doing incredible work under terrible circumstances. And we thank them. I'm sure they're doing quite the same in Austin. And we do this so we can answer people's questions. And we haven't been able to do that tonight.
SHAW: Gentlemen, and John, stand down for just a moment please. Let's go back to our balance-of-power desk here in our big newsroom here in Atlanta. Wolf Blitzer and Stu Rothenberg.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Bernie, we've been doing some historical review to see if there is any cases similar to this in the state of Florida.
Stu Rothenberg, who's been studying congress for many, many years, he's come up with one example. Stuart, tell us what that example is.
STUART ROTHENBERG, CNN ANALYST: Wolf, it's a 1988 U.S. Senate race, Connie Mack and Buddy MacKay, Buddy MacKay was then a U.S. representative, Connie Mack was a banker. When he went to bed that night --this was a U.S. Senate race as I say --when he went to bed that night, Buddy MacKay thought that he was the United States Senator. After absentee ballots were counted, Connie Mack ended up winning.
BLITZER: And I want to point out also that our excellent producer, Chris Gareno (ph), remembered that incident as well.
Let's take a look at the balance of power to see where it stands right now. And of course, we don't know yet who the next president of the United States is going to be. Let's take a look at the U.S. Senate. For example, the Senate, we now have 50 Republicans who will be in the next Senate, 49 Democrats. There is still one seat that is up in the air. That seat is in Michigan. What do we know about the race in Michigan?
ROTHENBERG: We know that it's too close to call, and that Debbie Stabenow, a congresswoman, has a narrow lead over U.S. senator, freshman Senator Spence Abraham. Out of three point million votes cast, just a few thousand votes separating the two candidates. It is a squeaker in a night of squeakers.
BLITZER: And lets, though, point out that even if Debbie Stabenow, the Democrat defeats the incumbent, Spencer Abraham, it will be 50-50. But either way, if the Democrats win the White House, or the Republicans win the White House, the Republicans would still be the majority in the U.S. Senate. Do you want to explain that, why that is the case?
ROTHENBERG: Well, simply if George Bush wins the White House, then Dick Cheney as the Vice President becomes the President of the Senate. And he's able to break a tie vote. On the other hand, if Vice President Gore becomes the President, and his running mate is Joe Lieberman -- he also ran for the U.S. Senate this year -- he'd have to resign his Senate seat. The sitting Governor in Connecticut is John Rowland, a Republican. And he would appoint a Republican to replace Lieberman in the Senate.
BLITZER: So as a result, the Republicans will retain their majority in the U.S. Senate irrespective of what happens in the presidential contest.
Let's take a look at the House of Representatives. We have reported the Republicans will retain at least a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
Stu, where does it stand right now?
ROTHENBERG: Well right now, Wolf, the Republicans actually have picked up one seat. However, there are a number of seats that are still in play that are actually leaning Democratically, where a Democrat has an advantage. Interesting, only one incumbent at this point has gone down, Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut. But there are a number of other seats in play - Congressman Jay Dickey of Arkansas is behind. Congressman Jim Rogan, a Republican from California is trailing, as is Brian Bilbray, another Republican. There are a couple other seats in...
BLITZER: Let me interrupt because, even as you were speaking Stuart Rothenberg, we were told by our executive producer, Sid Bentingfield (ph), it's now official in California, Adam Schiff, the Republican challenger, has defeated James Rogan, the Republican who was the House impeachment manager, in that race in California -- narrowly defeated. It was a close race. But we are now reporting the Democrat, Adam Schiff, a pick-up for the Democrats in the House of Representatives.
ROTHENBERG: And just to mention two other incumbents who are in trouble, Steve Kuykendall in California is in a very close race with Jane Harmon , a former Democratic congresswoman. She's trying to reclaim her seat.
And David Minge in Minnesota is in a very difficult race, not expected to be as tight as it is. But it's quite tight. It looks as though the Democrats are probably going to net a seat or two or three in the house, narrowing the Republican majority. But the Republicans are still going to control the House.
BLITZER: Two veterans were in very, very tight races, Clay Shaw in Florida, what do we know that race? He's the Republican 20-year incumbent at a difficult challenge from Elaine Bloom?
ROTHENBERG: Well I think we know by now not to call too many close races, to be sure that we know who has won. But it appears; it appears as though Clay Shaw may be hanging on by a fingernail. Throughout the evening, this race seesawed back and forth. First Shaw was ahead, then Bloom, now Shaw. But it's very, very close. There are going to be plenty of recounts in these House races. As we mentioned, there is a New Jersey race where incumbent Democrat, Rush Holt may have beaten former Congressman Dick Zimmer. I say, "May have beaten," because the margin is something like 56 votes.
BLITZER: And another major race in Connecticut, another 20-year Democrat incumbent, Sam Gejdenson, what happened to Sam Gejdenson?
ROTHENBERG: Well, he got blindsided by Rob Simmons, a Republican state legislator, former Hill staffer, former employee at the CIA, in a race in Eastern Connecticut that I think, Wolf, turned on a local issue. It had to do with Indian rights and Indian property. There were some residents in that Eastern Congressional District, which as become rather Democratic, who were very dissatisfied with Sam Gejdenson's performance. And as well, there were charges that he didn't live in the district and wasn't particularly responsive to local concerns.
BLITZER: Gejdenson was the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee. He goes down to defeat right now as a result of this challenge from Mr. Simmons.
As a result of all of this, let's recap: the Speaker of the House of Representative, Stuart Rothenberg, will remain Dennis Hastert.
ROTHENBERG: It certainly looks that way. I think the Republicans have to feel relieved, even if their margin is shaved, to maintain control of the House. They had much more exposure, much greater risk going into election day today than did the Democrats.
BLITZER: The Speaker of the House, who wanted to be the Speaker of the House, Richard Gephardt, must be majorly disappointed. ROTHENBERG: Well, you know, Dick Gephardt committed his heart and soul to the fight for the House. He passed on a presidential race. He was out campaigning full time for candidates, raising money. No this was Dick Gephardt's full bore to try to reclaim the House, and he didn't do it this time.
BLITZER: The Senate Majority Leader will remain Trent Lott, although very, very narrowly.
ROTHENBERG: Again, the Republicans suffered some considerable losses in the fight for the House, whether it's four seats or five, a number of the members of the class of 1994 went down - Rod Grams most notably - but some senior people as well. We mentioned Bill Roth before, as well as on the Democratic side. Obviously, Chuck Robb went down. You know it's interesting, if the Democrats could have just saved Robb, or maybe offered a real top-tier challenge to somebody like Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, we might actually see a Democratic Senate. But they fell just short.
BLITZER: In a major loss for the Republicans, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Bill Roth in Delaware, going down to Tom Carper.
ROTHENBERG: Absolutely, and Slade Gorton, another very senior member, a confidant of the Republican leadership. So the Republicans suffered some real damage in the Senate races.
BLITZER: All in all, if you take a look at the trends, what we see in this very, very close presidential race, what we see in the House and in the Senate, what conclusions can we draw as of this moment, which is almost 5:00 in the morning? We've been here for almost 12 hours right now.
ROTHENBERG: I think the obvious conclusion, Wolf, is this is a deeply divided country on the basis of partisanship between the Republicans and Democrats. There is no consensus on the direction of the country. The House is roughly equally divided. The Senate may well be equally divided. And we see a presidential race where the country is split.
BLITZER: And irrespective, if Gore becomes the next president, or if Bush becomes the next president, is all of this a proscription for gridlock in Washington, a legislative gridlock?
ROTHENBERG: It's hard to see how either party can really push a legislative agenda, a political agenda in Washington. In fact, if the Republicans were to narrowly win the White House and have Senate and House controls this narrow, I think the Democrats, starting tomorrow or the next day would be licking their chops about the mid-term elections in 2002. You know, we are headed for political gridlock for the next couple of years.
BLITZER: And finally, one last point, Stuart, you've been looking at these presidential races in the various states, and the gubernatorial and the Senate races statewide elections, a lot of split votes. Bush won several states. But the democrats picked up Governor races, as well as senatorial races.
ROTHENBERG: Yeah, in general, it was a good year for incumbents. Having said that, the Senate is something of an asterisk. It may well be that more sitting United States Senators were defeated this year than sitting members of the U.S. House. We won't know, probably, for a day or two. But in general, this is a good year for incumbents. But don't tell that to Republican Senators.
BLITZER: All right, Stuart Rothenberg, you've been with me all night. Thanks for joining us.
Back to the national desk.
WOODRUFF: All right, Wolf Blitzer and Stu Rothenberg.
And we're going to take an updated look at the national vote totals just to see where that stands right now. This is with 96 percent of the vote counted. Al gore remains on top of the popular vote, 49 percent. I'm going to call out these numbers, they're phenomenal, 47,368,827 to George Bush's 47,266,032. The spread being 102,000 votes.
GREENFIELD: One hundred two thousand votes -- but the thing I think is interesting to look at is, for the last, literally several hours, every time the popular vote has come up, Gore has picked up. And Gore was 60,000 votes ahead the last time we looked. He is 102,000 votes ahead right now. That's just about the legend margin in which Kennedy defeated Nixon. We got 96 percent of the precincts in. We don't, we can't tell you at this instant where the four percent are coming from. But ...
SHAW: Well, we were told initially that the initial uptick was coming from Los Angeles.
WOODRUFF: That was the last count.
GREENFIELD: What's left to come, almost by definition, has to come from the West because those are the only votes that are almost certainly not counted. Those votes, if they are from California, we think they might -- wouldn't you think though? That's a Gore state, so you would expect Gore to do a little bit better, because I'm wearing (ph) California.
So if it's 10:05 in the morning, I'm prepared to speculate that when all the votes are counted, Al Gore will probably -- that's all we can say -- have more popular votes than George Bush.
WOODRUFF: And in the meantime...
SHAW: In the meantime -- you were saying?
WOODRUFF: I was just going to say, in the meantime, let's look at the popular vote in the state of Florida, the state that all eyes are on tonight. This is with a hundred percent reporting, although we know they're still counting absentee ballots there. But at this moment, it's 49 percent to 49 percent, 2,902,733 to 2,902,509. GREENFIELD: This is the number we saw before. This is 224 votes.
WOODRUFF: Two hundred and twenty votes -- this is the same number. Florida again crucially important, because to be elected president you have to come out with more than 270 electoral votes. And neither George Bush nor Al Gore can get to that without the state of Florida.
SHAW: Well we're ...
WOODRUFF: Go ahead.
SHAW: No, you go ahead.
WOODRUFF: You wanted to make a point.
Bob Novak is in Washington. We're going to bring him in at some point, but Bernie, go ahead.
SHAW: Well, let's bring him in now, because my point can wait.
WOODRUFF: Bob Novak, have you ever seen anything like it?
NOVAK: No, this is really remarkable. And the shocking thing, of course, is that all the speculation by all of us uninformed talking heads about the possibility of George W. Bush winning the popular vote and Al Gore winning the Electoral College vote has just been turned on its head.
I agree that these votes are coming from California, and looks like -- although nobody can be definite about anything tonight, or this morning - it looks as though Al Gore will win the popular vote. But I would say that George W. Bush is still in a very good position in the Electoral College, assuming there's no huge misstatement in counting in Florida with a hundred percent of the ballots in. What absentee ballot have not been counted, what overseas ballots have not been counted, would tend to be in the Republican's favor. As it was mentioned, the fact that Connie Mack was elected to the Senate originally. When you went to bed thinking he had been defeated and was woke up with the electoral vote getting him a victory as a Republican Senator.
Republicans do have the advantage there. So I think we have a fair shot of a very disturbing situation, the first time since 1888 when very different circumstances prevailed of the electoral and the popular votes going to two different people.
WOODRUFF: Bob, I want to show you -- we have a slightly updated count from the state of Florida. I'm told more of the absentee ballots have been counted. And this gives George W. Bush a slightly larger lead...
NOVAK: This is the one they've been talking about.
WOODRUFF: ... by 906 votes. Earlier it was, I believe, 220 something. Now we're looking at 906.
NOVAK: Well that's a landslide.
WOODRUFF: A landslide?
GREENFIELD: That's a landslide. This is approaching a number that we were told by Mr. Kast a while ago, the Florida election official cast -- I'm sorry -- and that was reported by Bill Bailey for the Gore crowd. It's not 1,2001. This is about 900 and change. But the point is ...
WOODRUFF: And they're still counting.
GREENFIELD: They're still counting. And it is within not even 10ths of one percent at this point. It is clearly close enough to trigger that automatic recount, which could take a very long time.
SHAW: And our viewers and listeners -- and we are being heard on CNN Radio, worldwide, and nationwide -- you can understand why CNN is dwelling on this story. It is "the" story about the presidential race in the United States. We cannot call a winner.
It occurred to me that there are two other interesting stories that we haven't mentioned in the last 30 minutes, 40 minutes or so. The First Lady of the United States of America will become a senator from New York. She won her race in New York State.
Also, a dead man, the late Governor Mel Carnahan has done in death what he did not get a chance to do in life. He defeated the one-term Republican Senator, John Ashcroft of Missouri. The late Governor's wife, Jean, the widow, she will be going to Washington - a fascinating story.
GREENFIELD: She will be going to Washington unless the Republicans launch one of two possible challenges. One, they had speculated that a dead man is not legally qualified to receive votes. And second, we heard - I guess it's about 10 hours ago - the other United States Senator, Christopher Bond, thunderously denouncing what was going on in St. Louis. I think he used the - he came close to calling it "voter fraud." And that the margin is so close in Missouri, that will be challenged.
WOODRUFF: We have not heard the end of that one; we have not heard the end of that one.
SHAW: And what went on in St. Louis was that a federal judge ordered that the polls stay open, be allowed to remain open until 10:00 p.m., St. Louis time.
SCHNEIDER: Let me respond to some things that Wolf and Stu talked about because they deserve emphasis. Adam Rogan was -- James Rogan was defeated by Adam Schiff in California. He was targeted by Democrats, James Rogan, because he was one of the impeachment managers. That's one of the few cases which we can conclude that the impeachment issue has really backfired on Republicans, because he was their, the Democrats', number one trophy that they wanted to defeat in that House contest.
WOODRUFF: They had to spend a lot of money to do it.
SCHNEIDER: An enormous amount of money.
WOODRUFF: Millions and millions of dollars to do it. He didn't just fall of his own weight.
SHAW: You also remember Bill McCollum in Florida.
SCHNEIDER: Bill McCollum also an impeachment manager is defeated there. And that was also a critical vote.
I am impressed by, in all the strange things this evening, the House-- in the House; the Republicans' narrow majority has gotten narrower. In the Senate, we could have a 50-50 result with the Vice President, if it's Dick Cheney, or if it's Joe Lieberman of course, determining who has the majority. And well it wouldn't be Joe Lieberman because, if he's the Vice President, then they'd appoint a Republican.
GREENFIELD: That's why we know the Republicans will control the Senate.
SCHNEIDER: The Republicans will control the Senate. But it could be a 50-50 United State Senate. And we have no winner in the presidential contest. I mean, in every outcome, this is stranger than we could ever imagine.
SHAW: Put yourself in the position of foreign ministries, all around the world -- they've been watching what's been going on in the United States of America -- and who they are most likely to have to deal with. They were starting to think about various foreign policies, especially when Governor Bush talked about reducing the American profile in the Balkans, and et cetera, et cetera. How confused must other governments watching this story be?
GREENFIELD: Well I can tell you one thing; they don't know which lobbyist to hire.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
GREENFIELD: Normally, when a Republican replaces a Democrat, a whole new bunch of people go on the lucrative payrolls because they're supposed to have access. But if you're trying to figure out - if you're a foreign government or - let me pick up a Nader-like theme - if you're a big corporation - you don't know which former public official to hire on your payroll yet. It's got to be incredibly confusing.
WOODRUFF: What is five percent, while we're at it. I'm sorry, what is half of one percent of 5.8 million, which would be...
GREENFIELD: Two hundred and 90 thousand.
WOODRUFF: So, we are well within that range? It would trigger ...
GREENFIELD: One half of one percent of 5.8 million, yeah it's 29,000 votes.
SCHNEIDER: Twenty-nine thousand.
WOODRUFF: And we're well within that?
GREENFIELD: Oh yeah.
SCHNEIDER: There's no question that this will trigger a recount.
GREENFIELD: We're about 900 votes apart.
WOODRUFF: The question, I think, on all of our minds obviously is who's going to win ultimately. But beyond that, how long will it take?
SCHNEIDER: That's right. And how long will we have to stay here and watch it?
WOODRUFF: That's right. We know they're counting ballots, absentee ballots, right now in Florida. And at some point there will be, we assume, the announcement of an official recount. And how long that will take when you add in all the absentee ballots from overseas, not from overseas -- are we talking about a Wednesday or a Thursday or a Friday? We did hear the gentleman from the Florida election office say 10 days. By my count, that's November the 18th.
SHAW: Speaking of the phrase "absentee ballots," were going to revisit our call in Washington State in that Senate race. This is it: We are going to put back into the too-close-to-call column this race in which we earlier had projected the Republican incumbent Slade Gorton was going to go down to defeat. Officials in Washington State say the absentee ballots are being counted and they're not finished counting, so we back off.
WOODRUFF: You think somebody's trying to say -- you think the voters might be trying to tell the rest of us who are anxious to count these results before all the votes are in...
SCHNEIDER: We started this evening...
WOODRUFF: ... hey, could you please wait until they're all counted?
SCHNEIDER: We started this evening, I said the voters are of to minds in this election. They appear to be of two minds throughout the country. In just about every major race in the country, they are split down the middle.
GREENFIELD: Maybe one of the things that will happen with this election is, considering the way the calls have gone, whether George Bush or Al Gore gets elected, I think they're going to have an attitude toward the television networks that might not be friendly. We, or at least the election system, has caused both campaigns enormous agitive (ph) through this night.
WOODRUFF: CNN's political director Tom Hannan (ph) tells me it will be 10 days before that absentee ballot situation is clarified in the state of Washington.
SHAW: In Washington State.
WOODRUFF: So it will be presumably -- it will be November the 18th...
WOODRUFF: ... before we know whether it's Maria Cantwell who takes the seat over as a Democrat, or whether Slade Gorton retains that seat as an incumbent Republican.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, we do know that there's been an enormous surge of absentee balloting all over the country this year. Many states have made it much easier to cast absentee ballots. You don't have to have a reason. You can do it just for reasons of convenience.
SHAW: We're just pausing to just catch our breaths.
GREENFIELD: And it occurs to me we ought to say, because we just don't know who's tuning in, who's tuning out, I think it was about an hour and a half ago as we were waiting for Al Gore's concession speech and George Bush's victory speech, we suddenly got word that the Florida attorney general, who was also a Gore campaign chair, had called the Gore campaign, told them Florida was not decided by any means, that the vote was becoming incredibly close. Al Gore, who had called Gov. Bush to congratulate him on his victory, called and, as far as we can tell, for the first time in American history, retracted his concession speech.
Bill Daley, the Gore campaign manager, came out to a rain-soaked ground in Nashville and said, we do know who's going to win. And the Bush campaign chair did the same thing. Maybe we can -- I think we have Bill Daley's comments that he made in the middle of the night to a crowd of rain-soaked Gore partisans in Nashville.
Let's see if we can hear that now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. If I could, I have some news to share with all of you tonight. Now, let me say that I've been in politics a very long time, but I don't think there's ever been a night like this one. Just an hour or so ago, the TV networks called this race for Gov. Bush.
DALEY: It now appears that their call was premature.
Let me be very clear about this: According to the information supplied by the secretary of state of Florida, with 99.9 percent of the vote counted, there is a margin of only about 1,200 votes out of millions cast with over 5,000 votes left to be counted. This is a very significant for a most important reason, and that is for under Florida state law, this triggers an automatic recount. And as everyone knows in America, this race has come down to the state of Florida. Without being certain of the results in Florida, we simply cannot be certain of the results of this national election.
Let me add that Vice President Gore and Sen. Lieberman are fully prepared to concede and to support Gov. Bush if and when he is officially elected president, but this race is simply too close to call. And until the results -- the recount is concluded and the results of Florida become official, our campaign continues.
So let me thank all of you, let me thank all of you on behalf of Vice President Al Gore and Sen. Joe Lieberman for waiting out here so late tonight, and we hope to have you back very soon. Thank you very much. Good night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: That was Gore campaign manager Bill Daley, the former commerce secretary, telling a crowd that had been ready to hear a concession speech and then completely turned around on a dime and lifted up with the prospect that maybe there's a chance after all.
GREENFIELD: Turned around, by the way, having early in the evening looked like they were going to win...
WOODRUFF: Oh, yes.
GREENFIELD: ... then been suddenly brought down to defeat...
WOODRUFF: It was literally like this and like that.
GREENFIELD: ... and then...
WOODRUFF: This is Bob Butterworth of Florida, attorney general. Let's listen.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
BOB BUTTERWORTH, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is where we go. And of course I'm also the campaign chair of Al Gore, but that's secondary right now. My primary responsibility is to make sure everybody who voted properly, their vote will be counted.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: General Butterworth, what do you mean by tomorrow? First of all, let me remind you that we are into tomorrow.
BUTTERWORTH: We are in tomorrow. I'm sorry. Yes, we are into tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: No, no, no, no, I say that somewhat in jest. But what we are trying to do now is get a better time frame for when this decision, or when the outcome may actually come out. When will your workers actually sit down and start processing these numbers if they haven't started doing so already?
BUTTERWORTH: My voters are not doing that type of work. It would be supervised by elections and the various 67 supervisors throughout this state and their workers. Hopefully they'll give their workers a couple hours rest -- they need that -- and then they can come back.
Most of the elections in -- most of the ballots are actually counted in the state of Florida through an electronic means, through a computer, so it does not take that long. And there'll be watchers on both sides, on the Bush side, on the Gore side, on the Nader side, on the Buchanan side. So there'll be people that will be there from all sides in order to watch to make sure that the recount is really done appropriately.
So -- but we owe this to the people of this country because we're talking about a less than one vote, perhaps, for every five or six precincts in this state, which is much, much closer than the Kennedy- Nixon race of 40 years ago. So Florida owes this to the -- if in fact it's going to be Florida who determines who the next president of the United States is going to be, we owe it to the country to make sure that the appropriate person won the popular vote.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Attorney General, is there a definitive starting point then? You say you hope these folks get a couple of hours rest, you say there should be some oversight from all parties involved. Will there be a definite starting point, say two or three hours from now, later today? When does this begin county by county?
BUTTERWORTH: I don't know. I assume -- I'd like to have both of you to be able to go to sleep, too, I really would. And, you know, both of you are very sharp right now, as always, but we do need a couple -- that's up to the supervisors. They may have an A team and a B team and they can go ahead and do it right away. But the thing is, first we have to cast all of the votes, we have to count all the votes. After that it's determined that we will have the recount. And I think Florida owes it to the country that since we're so close that there will, obviously, be a recount, because anybody can ask for it if it's within a half of 1 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: General Butterworth, can you give us -- and don't mean to pressure you too much on this, but we're just trying to get a better handle on the time for how long this could possibly take. Can you give us a window where you think this might fall, maybe a short end and a long end as well?
BUTTERWORTH: Right. My position as attorney general of this state, I believe we owe it to the country to do it as absolutely quickly as possible. And if it only takes a short period of time in some communities, it should be done in a really relatively short period of time. In my election in 1986, which was relatively close, not -- in fact, it was not nearly as even as close as this one. Probably this is one-tenth as close as my election was, and my election was finished within about 4:00 or 5:00 the next afternoon. I don't see any...
WOODRUFF: We've been listening to a broadcast on our CNN affiliate WSVN in Florida. They've been talking with Bob Butterworth, who is the state attorney general. Even you can hear his answers really just as well as we can. He's explaining they want to get it done as quickly as possible. They don't think it will take that long.
But I don't believe, Bernie and Bill, that I heard him pin down on exactly how long it will take, he just said as quickly as possible.
SCHNEIDER: Well, he said the recount could be done -- he said his recount was done within a day, but I'm not sure that the recount includes the counting of those absentee ballots.
WOODRUFF: Well, the ones from overseas...
SCHNEIDER: The ones from overseas they can count up to 10 days.
WOODRUFF: ... the gentleman from the elections office told us earlier could take up to 10.
John King, you're still there in Nashville. Any news to report?
KING: Well, Judy, on a remarkable night of unpredictable, this predictable thing to report: The vice president, we're told, has gone to bed. He went back to his hotel, met with his senior staff for a while. No more public statements from the Gore campaign tonight. They will wait now for more official word from the state of Florida.
So the Vice President, we're told, has headed off to go to bed for the night. No public schedule now, we're told, at least not through the day tomorrow unless and until they get more definitive word. We are told to look for Bill Daley, the chairman of the Gore campaign, and Mark Fabiani, the deputy campaign manager for communications, to come out some time midmorning to once again explain their take on tonight's dramatic developments.
And we're also told -- remember earlier in the night we had reports of some Bush -- some Gore supporters -- excuse me -- in Florida complaining the ballot was arranged in a way that they thought they were voting for the vice president but they instead cast their ballots for Pat Buchanan. No one suggesting that was widespread at all, but Gore campaign officials telling us they have received steady complaints -- not a lot, mind you -- but steady complaints throughout the night from voters who said they thought they were voting for Gore, they voted for Buchanan instead. So look for the Gore campaign to arrange some sort of public statement by some of them in Florida tomorrow as this recount gets under way. We understand the Gore campaign wants those people to come forward in public and say if the votes are going to be recounted, they want their votes to be reconsidered and put in the Gore column.
SHAW: John King in the cold in Nashville.
Still no decision in the U.S. presidential race. CNN's live coverage will resume in just a moment.
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