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Larry King Live
How Long Will America Have to Wait for a President-Elect?Aired November 10, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, three days and counting, the unprecedented wait for a president-elect goes on.
Joining us, Gore campaign senior adviser and former White House counsel, Jack Quinn; Bush campaign adviser and former U.S. attorney general, Dick Thornburgh. Also, Democrat George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader, and New York City's Republican mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Plus a roundtable discussion with Bob Schieffer, anchor and moderator of CBS' "Face the Nation"; Pulitzer Prize-winner Bob Woodward, assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post"; and ABC News Washington correspondent Ann Compton. All that and much more next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with late news of the day. We go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Governor Gary Johnson, the Republican governor of New Mexico, is standing by. And as we understand it, governor, Republican officials have filed an emergency request with a state judge to impound the state's ballots.
Is that all of the state's ballots or just those in Albuquerque?
GOV. GARY JOHNSON (R), NEW MEXICO: Actually, this isn't an action by the Republican Party, but there are about 600 votes. If the current trends continue, this may be the only one-vote race in the country, and that may be Gore winning or Bush winning. But it's going to be closer, I'm going to predict, than any race you've got on the charts right now.
KING: But when the final tabulations are in, it could be a one- vote win?
JOHNSON: That's the way it is right now. Right now, Gore is up 119 votes with about 600 votes left to tally, but those are the early absentee votes that have allowed Bush to close a 9,000-vote gap to this point, having counted about 67,000 of those ballots. So we're down to the last 600, and again, if trends continue, it's going to be one vote, Gore or Bush.
KING: What about the charges of problems in Albuquerque raised by Republicans?
JOHNSON: Well, you know, really the problem with this whole -- this whole race was that the news media called New Mexico so early. They should have never called New Mexico. New Mexico was a close race. We knew right from the start that there was a problem. So it makes it appear as though this was a late problem, didn't realize it happened. You know, we were on top of it from the very beginning.
And when I say we, the entire state, Democrats and Republicans alike identified the problem. And again, it's just too bad that we were put into the Gore column when clearly it was undecided.
KING: So is there -- do you think there's going to -- obviously, if it's that close, is there going to be a recount?
JOHNSON: Well, if it's that close, you know, as a citizen of the state...
KING: Has to be right.
JOHNSON: Yes. Well, I -- as a citizen of the state, I would want to make sure that that vote count is correct.
KING: Right. That's -- all you want is the right score, right?
JOHNSON: All we want is the right score, and again, everything that's going to get talked about tonight, I think everybody will agree with that. All everybody wants -- anybody wants is just the right score.
KING: Thank you, governor. You've got a great state.
JOHNSON: Well, come out and go skiing once this is over with. We're going to have a great season.
KING: Thank you very much. Yes, I hear nothing but great things. Governor Gary Johnson, the Republican governor of New Mexico.
Let's go to Tallahassee, Florida. Bob Crawford -- he's commissioner of agriculture. He's a Democrat. He did vote for George Bush. He was an elector in '92, cast a ballot at that time for Clinton-Gore. And he is sitting in for Governor Bush on the Florida state election canvassing commission.
What's the situation right now, Robert?
BOB CRAWFORD, FLORIDA ELECTION CANVASSING COMMISSION: Well, Larry, it's going real well. We've completed the recount. We now have 66 of 67 counties that we have an unofficial report of the tally, and we hope to have a certified vote of all counties by Tuesday.
Then the only thing left will then be to get the overseas absentee ballots, which should be by Friday at 5 o'clock.
KING: Now, explain something: How can you certify on Tuesday if you don't have final until Friday?
CRAWFORD: That will be the first certification of all of the in- state ballots, which will include all of the county ballots cast on election day, plus the absentee ballots that came in at the county level. So that we certify. Then we add to that certification, once we receive all of the overseas absentee ballots, those ballots have to be into this state by 5 o'clock on Friday. And that's when we will count those, and that's when we'll have our final certification.
KING: So the count could go over into the weekend, then, next weekend?
CRAWFORD: The count will likely go -- that's correct. We'll begin the count Friday at 5 o'clock, and that will start at the county levels. Once they finish with their work, then they send all of that to us here in Tallahassee. We review it. We recalculate it. And then as soon as we've got everything done, we're going to certify the final, final vote, which will be, we believe, a legally valid vote that comports with all the laws and rules and the constitution of Florida, and will produce hopefully 25 votes for one of the candidates.
KING: For whatever that candidate may be, because absentee votes could go to Gore, too, right? This is not a done -- open-and-shut case?
CRAWFORD: No question about it. That's right. As all this is counted, it could be George W. Bush or it could be Al Gore. And whoever gets the votes, we're here to make sure that they're appropriately applied and that it's fair and the integrity of the system is carried out. And we're going to make sure that happens.
KING: Commissioner, do you think we have seen the end of the butterfly ballot?
CRAWFORD: I think the butterfly ballot is probably -- has flown south to Mexico with the monarch butterflies and doesn't need to be coming back.
KING: Do you -- can a lawsuit -- you're a veteran in Florida affairs. Can a lawsuit get an injunction to stop the official count from being recorded to send the electors in December to Washington?
CRAWFORD: I don't think that that's going to be the course of action, Larry. I think that once we come up with a certified count, it's my belief personally that the candidates at that point, you're going to have a winner and you're going to have a person who's not going to win. And I think it's going to be in the best interest of the losing candidate and the best interests of this country for them to step forward and get this over with. And I think -- I think that's going to happen as soon as we do the certification.
KING: Thank you, Bob. Bob Crawford, the Florida commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, and he's sitting in for Governor Bush on the Florida State Election Canvassing Commission. They're working hard at trying to redress all of this and come to a true, exact count.
When we come back, Jack Quinn, the Gore campaign senior adviser and former White House counsel, and following Jack, we'll talk with our old friend, Dick Thornburgh, former governor of Pennsylvania, former United States attorney general. We'll be right back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There was a count on election night and there's been a recount in Florida, and I understand there are still votes to be counted. But I'm in the process of planning in a responsible way a potential administration.
There's been a series of ongoing meetings that the secretary and I have had on a variety of subjects so that should the verdict that has been announced thus far be confirmed we'll be ready.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Jack Quinn joins us now. He was with us last night, the former White House counsel and Gore campaign senior adviser. Both "The Washington Post," Jack, and "The New York Times" have criticized your side jumping in on these lawsuits factors and the Palm Beach factors, saying let the count play out first, let citizens file lawsuits, stay out of it. Your reaction?
JACK QUINN, GORE CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, look, I think the citizens' interest is what's really important here. This is not about Al Gore. It's not about George Bush. It's about whether or not people had the opportunity to vote.
I understand the criticism about running to the courts and having a litigation strategy. I must say, I'm a little surprised to see this news tonight that in fact it was the Bush campaign, the Republican Party that went to court in New Mexico to impound ballots. And -- but look, Larry, what I think we all need to do is take a very deep breath here and make sure that we proceed in a deliberate, dignified, slow- paced fashion that will best serve the American people.
We've got to make sure that at the end of this process, whichever of these men is determined to be president of the United States, has the support and confidence of the American people and the trust of people around the world, other governments. So we've got to carry this out in a manner that has less rancor, less name-calling, less accusatory rhetoric, and that really gets us to a result that as Americans we can be proud of.
What we want out of this whole thing is an accurate, fair and complete count of the ballots.
KING: Everyone is saying, Jack, that if the positions were reversed, you'd be doing what they're doing and they'd be doing what you're doing; that's the nature of politics.
Is that correct?
QUINN: You know what, Larry? I believe with all my heart that the folks down in Austin, the folks in Nashville, the folks in the Gore side and the Bush side are patriots. They care about this country. And at the end of the day, they want the American people to be confident in the outcome of this election.
We all need that. We all have a shared interest in that. That is the single-most important thing.
We want to make sure that all the ballots in the state of Florida are counted. If the Bush folks want ballots counted in New Mexico or Iowa or Wisconsin or anywhere else, they have every right to do that.
We have a process under way by which ballots are being hand- counted in the state of Florida in four counties. That process, which is allowed under state law, should be allowed to continue.
KING: And that could change the vote, right?
QUINN: Well, we certainly believe it could change the vote, and that's why we're engaging in that process. Florida state law allowed us to engage that process as of 5 o'clock this night. The process has been engaged. It should go forward, and god knows, no one should try to interfere with that process and not allow there to be a complete and full and fair count.
But as I've said, you know, at the end of that, we all need to assess the situation and see where we are.
KING: We want an honest pick. Jack Quinn -- that's what we want, right? We want the guy with the most votes in each state to get that state's electoral votes.
QUINN: You know, we want the democratic process in this country to work.
QUINN: We don't want -- we don't want millions of Americans at the end of the day to feel that that their voice...
KING: Left out.
QUINN: ... has not been listened to.
KING: Now, let's bring in Dick Thornburgh, who is the former U.S. attorney general, the former president of -- former governor of Pennsylvania, and one of the great regulars on this program during the -- is someone going to play you on Sunday night in the Simpson saga?
DICK THORNBURGH, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: They couldn't find a guy handsome enough.
KING: I hope it's Robert Redford.
Well, what do you make of all of this? You're a lawyer, you're an attorney general. People have a right to sue if they feel disenfranchised.
THORNBURGH: Sure they do.
KING: They should -- in fact, if you feel disenfranchised, you should go to court, shouldn't you?
THORNBURGH: Well, one of the great strengths...
KING: I mean, if I were a citizen, I'd go to court if I felt my vote didn't count.
THORNBURGH: One of the great strengths of this country is that we do live under the rule of law, we depend on an orderly process. In the case of elections, the rules vary from state to state. But there's a count, there's a recount. There's the counting of absentee ballots and then there's a certification of electors in presidential elections. And we're going through that process now.
And obviously, it's going to be hard-fought at every level. There's going to be differences.
But I frankly have got to say I'm amazed by some of the charges that have been raised in connection with in particular Palm Beach County.
KING: Charges like what?
THORNBURGH: Well, the notion that if people vote on a single ballot for two different candidates for the same office and that ballot is thrown out, that there's something irregular about the process. On the other hand, if somebody claims that they didn't follow the instructions to vote for the person that they really wanted to vote for and ended up voting for someone else, that that vote should somehow be recast in some way.
I've been an election observer throughout this country and in other foreign countries, and there isn't a single jurisdiction where if you vote twice for one office or if you claim you made a mistake, that vote is going to be retained and counted.
KING: Some years back, Dick, in a congressional election in Massachusetts, which was overturned in a primary, the judge got the physical ballots in front of him and saw that while the two candidates were punched, one of the punches didn't all the way -- didn't go all the way through. In other words, they didn't rip off the tab on the back end. He credited that to the candidate whose went through, and they overturned the election.
So shouldn't you, if you did vote this way -- and you realize you're not a thief, you don't vote twice -- shouldn't you go to court?
THORNBURGH: Well, I think the process here gives you ample opportunity to say, oops, I made a mistake and ask for another ballot. There was a lot of advertisement and a lot of hearings on this particular form of ballot that's now decried as the butterfly ballot. It's been used there and elsewhere in a number of elections.
But the point that I'm trying to make is that there's a lot of grasping at straws going on here, and to be sure, this process should be orderly, all the rules should be observed to the -- to a t. But I think, as Jack said, it's time to take a deep breath and look at what the essentials of our elective process are. And that's one person, one vote.
KING: Do you believe that if this situation was reversed, both sides would be acting the same way they're acting?
THORNBURGH: Hard to say. It's entirely possible. But we live under a rule of law, fortunately, where that determination is finally made regardless of who the parties are, one hopes.
KING: Supposing -- and this is a hypothetic, but we like those things in this business -- supposing they count all the absentees, the service ballots and Gore wins Florida, will the Republicans continue to challenge in Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico?
THORNBURGH: If they have good grounds, I would expect they would. But once again, that's a little too hypothetical, and I think...
KING: But it could happen, couldn't it? I mean, Gore can win, can't he?
KING: Or are you saying he can't win?
THORNBURGH: Oh, no. I think that's what we're going through this process for, to determine who actually is the winner. And I think that both of the candidates should have long ago said that they're going to respect the outcome of this orderly process, which has provision, although it may vary from state to state, but it has provision for very precise rules to be followed, and frankly, give up some of these bizarre theories about why a vote was unfair or unjust.
KING: Always good seeing you, Dick.
THORNBURGH: Thank you, Larry. Good to be here.
KING: Stay well.
Pirates got a new manager, maybe, Dick. Maybe.
THORNBURGH: Keep an eye on them. They're going places.
KING: When we come back, we'll talk to the governor of Iowa and the chairman of the Republican Party in Wisconsin. There's conflict there. And then we'll get into our panels. We're going to have great guests coming. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: The way to get these results is frustrating, frustrating to all of us in both campaigns and to the American people obviously as well. But calls for a declaration of a victor before all the votes are accurately tabulated are inappropriate.
The waiting is unpleasant for all of us, but suggesting that the outcome of a vote is known before all the votes are properly counted is inappropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: There's trouble in the Heartland. Joining us from Des Moines is the governor of Iowa. He's a Democrat, Tom Vilsack and from Madison, Wisconsin, Rick Graber, who is the chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
First to you, governor, seven electoral votes. They're apparently going to Gore, a victory margin about 5,200. Karl Rove, the aide to Governor Bush, said today that the GOP may seek a recount. Have you heard anything in that regard?
GOV. THOMAS VILSACK (D), IOWA: Not specially, Larry. In fact, Karl yesterday said that Iowa was like Florida with an automatic recount process, which is not correct. We're still in the process of tabulating our votes. Absentee votes are still coming in that were postmarked prior to November 6th.
We have a series of challenged ballots that traditionally occur in elections and those are being reviewed. Our votes will be canvassed Monday and Tuesday of next week and the tabulations will be made at that time and our vote will be completed.
KING: There's no automatic recount. Can a candidate ask for a recount?
VILSACK: A candidate on the ballot or who receives votes can request a recount in a single or multiple counties. It actually has to be a county by county request.
KING: Any chicanery charges thus far?
VILSACK: Not to my knowledge. This is the first that I've heard of any suggested problems with the Iowa situation.
KING: OK, Rick in Wisconsin. You said today that while the state has a long, proud tradition of fair, clean elections, they're gravely concerned that tradition is coming to an end. What do you think went wrong in your state?
RICHARD GRABER, WISCONSIN GOP CHAIRMAN: We're just terribly concerned with what went on. There was a fairly well-publicized report of a New York Democrat operative who appeared in Milwaukee, in a downtown Milwaukee rescue mission allegedly offering cigarettes in exchange for votes for the vice president. We've asked the district attorney in Milwaukee County to review that matter, that investigation is underway.
We also brought to the district attorney today 22 additional reports of irregularities, things such as voters voting multiple times in multiple locations, voters receiving multiple ballots, things that really do call into question the integrity of the election in Wisconsin and we're deeply concerned about it. KING: Are you going to officially file something? Have you stated anything officially, any lawsuits?
GRABER: We have not filed any lawsuits. What we have done is refer these matters to the district attorney in Milwaukee County. As reports come up in other counties, and we have had reports in other counties, we will refer the matters to those district attorney's.
KING: If Gore were to win in Florida, will you go ahead with protests in Wisconsin?
GRABER: Whether or not there's a recount in Wisconsin, I think this is a critical matter that deserves investigation. It deserves a thorough report and we've asked the district attorney to do that. I think the citizens of Wisconsin deserve an answer to these rather serious claims.
KING: Governor Vilsack, do you think in the end we will have a president selected properly?
VILSACK: Well, Larry, I know we will. The fact is that there are processes in place in each of our states that will allow for an orderly decision to be made. I think at the outset of your show we talked about a fair and accurate and complete count and that's ultimately the goal and I think that's going to be achieved.
I think the real challenge, however, is to make sure that Americans do not feel like they've been disenfranchised. I think there are several folks down there in Florida who feel that their vote has been taken away from them and there has to be a process by which that is decided in a way that America generally accepts. Once we get to that point. I we'll have a president. I think we'll rally round that president and we'll move forward.
KING: Rick, do you think we will?
GRABER: I think, in the end, we'll have a fair process. I think, though, that this process has to come to a close. People want a president-elect. And if this gets embroiled in lengthy litigation, I think it's going to be harmful to the country and I hope that it doesn't go that way.
KING: Thank you both very much. Governor Tom Vilsack in Des Moines and Rick Graber in Madison, Wisconsin. When we come back, the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani and the former Senate majority leader, George Mitchell.
KING: We now welcome two very distinguished, successful Americans. In New York -- they're both in New York -- is George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader and the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. Mitchell, of course, a Democrat and Giuliani, a Republican. Both put America first.
George, what's your read on all of this? GEORGE MITCHELL (D), FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, Larry, it sounded to me like you've achieved a consensus on your show here this evening that there's going to be an orderly process in our system. It is done state by state.
I have confidence in the state officials to do the right thing and to make sure that there's a full and accurate count. And I think there will be a president known well in advance of the inaugural date of January 20th, and the president will be inaugurated then.
KING: Rudy, how do you see it?
MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: Pretty much the same way. I think too much has been made of describing this as a crisis and I get offended by those people who, you know, talk about America being a Banana Republic.
The reason there are difficulties in figuring out the winner of this election is because it's the closest election in the history of the country. I mean, this is a very, extraordinarily difficult thing to do when you have two men who virtually are even in the popular vote. They're separated by a tenth of a percent.
Who knows how much they're separated in the electoral vote? Maybe one or two. So this is a tough thing to do and I think it's being done as well as we can do it given how close this election is.
KING: In other words, Senator Mitchell, this would be the same if we had no Electoral College? We'd still be fighting, waiting for the final votes for the popular vote, right? We wouldn't have a winner tonight?
MITCHELL: Well, in fact, Larry, I expressed no opinion on the Electoral College, but if you have no Electoral College and you have a close popular vote you would by definition have to have a national recount. You wouldn't be able to limit it to one or two or three states, so that's one of the factors that clearly it has been discussed whenever the Electoral College has come up.
KING: Rudy, if you voted on a ballot that was obviously -- things went wrong, wouldn't you have complained? Wouldn't you possibly have filed suit as an American citizen?
GIULIANI: New York City has been known every once in a while for election irregularities, so we have a long history of litigating these things. What you have to do is complain at the time and then you do a paper ballot. Let's say, you go into the voting booth, you come out you feel you made a mistake. You complain then. You get an affidavit ballot and then that gets counted.
KING: What if you didn't know you made a mistake until you went home and everyone is telling, you know, we voted for Gore, we voted for Buchanan.
GIULIANI: By and large, it would be over with. I mean, you can't the next day say, oh, gee, I made a mistake. I want to go back and change it. Otherwise, you'd never have any finality to these things.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll get the Senator's thoughts on that. George Mitchell and Rudy Giuliani, and then our panel will assemble: Bob Schieffer, Bob Woodward and Ann Compton.
By the way, tomorrow night on "LARRY KING LIVE," normally we run taped highlight shows, Cuba Gooding and others were supposed to be with us. That will be delayed for a while. We'll play it in a couple weeks. Tomorrow night Frank Sesno will host a live edition of LARRY KING LIVE with top journalists discussing this. And then we're back Monday with more guests. We'll be right back. Don't go away.
KING: Senator Mitchell, did you agree with the mayor's assessment?
MITCHELL: Well, I think obviously the law is in most places. I'm not familiar with New York law, specifically, that you have to make a complaint at the time, But I think in this case where you had an extraordinary number -- this is not an isolated incident, this is four percent of the ballots cast, nearly 20,000 people, I think that raises a broader, more general issue that will have to be decided by the courts there.
KING: Mayor Giuliani, are we going to have a conflicted, if that's the right word, presidency?
GIULIANI: I don't think so. I think that next week, next Friday, the votes in Florida will be counted. These other challenges, hopefully will be resolved by then. We will know who under our law, which is the Electoral College, is going to be the president. And then I fully expect that everybody will support that president. Whoever loses, I think will be gracious, patriotic, put the country first.
And today, I think I was very heartened to see signs of that. You know, yesterday, maybe everybody was taking positions. But today, don't you think the tone changed on both sides?
KING: I think Jack Quinn changed here tonight than he did from last night.
GIULIANI: Yes, yes, and I thought all of the discussion of putting together a cabinet was put in terms of, we've got to be prepared, as opposed to anybody claiming victory. So, I think everybody is taking a more responsible tone right now.
KING: Conversely, if, supposing the write-in votes and Gore wins? Do you think the Republicans might be angered enough to continue this battle in Iowa and Wisconsin?
GIULIANI: I think once the votes are counted, I think once we get to next Thursday, Friday, whoever is ahead, whoever has the electoral votes, assuming there isn't some amazing thing that comes up about fraud on either side, but, assuming it remains the way it is, I think you will see Al Gore support George Bush or George Bush support Al Gore, depending on how it comes out.
KING: Senator Mitchell, you agree?
MITCHELL: I do, Larry. I don't know if it will be next Friday. I'm not sure of the timing.
KING: That's right, because they said it could go into the weekend.
MITCHELL: Well, when a decision is made, I think both should and will accept it. And I think that the American people will demand that.
You know, Larry, there have been many close elections in the past, none as close as this, and the legitimacy of the president has not been really seriously challenged. Lincoln was a minority president, Woodrow Wilson was a minority president. There have been many elected with less than half the vote.
KING: Will there always be a stigma, though, Senator, if one guy got the popular vote and he isn't holding the office? whenever an argument develops, someone will say more Americans voted for the other person?
MITCHELL: Well, I don't know if I'd call it a stigma. It's a fact of life. Harrison and Cleveland had that. I'm not sure many Americans lose a lot of sleep thinking about Harrison and Cleveland now. It's a fact of life that obviously will have an effect. I think a greater effect will be the closeness of the margin in the Congress. You have an almost exactly evenly divided Senate. You have a very closely divided House. I think it's going to be difficult for either one of them to take...
MITCHELL: ... bold new initiatives. Well, I'm not so sure stalemate. I think it will require bipartisanship and a consensus to get anything through. I think the major changes that don't find support at all in the other party are not likely to go anywhere.
KING: Mayor Giuliani, were you quoted correctly as preparing to work with Senator Clinton?
GIULIANI: Absolutely, sure, same idea in the same spirit. Hillary Clinton has been elected the senator of my state. I'm the mayor of the largest city in the state of New York. I need to work with the senator. And I've worked two Democratic senators and a Republican senator and the good of the city and the state comes first. It's exactly the same idea that Senator Mitchell is talking about and you are talking about. The election is over. We now move on and we all have to try to govern. And maybe something good will come out of how close things are.
KING: How do you mean?
GIULIANI: It will require the man that wins to really reach out maybe even more than is normally the case and see if we can solve some of this gridlock in Washington.
KING: Do you buy that, Senator Mitchell? Maybe, like, if it's Bush, putting a couple of Democrats on the cabinet or reaching out more in such ways?
MITCHELL: I think it will happen out of necessity. Whichever one, if elected -- if the Senate is 50 to 50, or 51 to 49, and you need 60 votes to do anything in the Senate, any president, anybody with any common sense -- and certainly both these men have common sense -- will know that he's got to reach out to some on the other side in order to get anything done. So, I think there will be that effort.
Now, how it plays out, remains to be seen, particularly in the House of Representatives, which is usually a little bit more partisan and difficult.
KING: And we can never close any of this without asking about Mayor Giuliani's health.
Mitchell, you're always all right.
How are you doing, Rudy?
GIULIANI: I'm doing a lot better since the Yankees won the World Series.
KING: That improves everything, doesn't it?
GIULIANI: That was the best medicine. It's better than radiation or hormones or anything else.
KING: Are you feeling well?
GIULIANI: I'm feeling pretty well, yes.
MITCHELL: I have to say, Larry, he looks pretty good. I've been chatting with him here. He looks all right here.
KING: By the way, I sat next to him when the Yankees won the second game. The mayor and I almost got hit by Piazza's bat when he threw it, because we were sitting right there. And I will tell, George, the mayor has serious problems with regard to his baseball fan-dom. He is a wacko. He is a fanatic.
MITCHELL: I just want to tell you, that next year, Larry, it's the Red Sox and the Cubs in the World Series and the Red Sox the winning one.
KING: Well, we'll both go to that one, won't we, Rudy?
Thank you both very much. Two terrific guys, George Mitchell and Rudy Giuliani.
When we come back, Bob Schieffer, Bob Woodward and Ann Compton. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: And now our panel of experts, Bob Schieffer -- they're all in Washington -- the anchor and moderator of "Face the Nation," which, by the way, he is also the chief Washington correspondent for CBS News. "Face the Nation is doing very well this season. It beat ABC's "This Week" twice in the national ratings and last week it tied "Meet the Press" in the ratings for Washington. Congratulations to Bob.
And congratulations to our other Bob, Bob Woodward, a regular here on LARRY KING LIVE, assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post," Pulitzer Prize-winner and his new book comes out next week, "Maestro: Alan Greenspan's Fed and the American Economic Boom." Bob will be with us a few nights next week discussing these problems and when all of this is settled will come on to discuss, fully, the book.
And, also in Washington, Ann Compton, one of the best journalists in the business. She covered both the Bush and Gore campaigns this year and was in Nashville on Election Night.
All right. We'll start with Bob Schieffer. Simply put, what do you make of this?
BOB SCHIEFFER, ANCHOR, CBS "FACE THE NATION": I don't know. I'm demanding a recount.
It's the most unusual. You know, Larry, when I was a little boy, I actually -- I didn't cover it, but I was there in Texas in 1948 when Lyndon Johnson won that Senate seat by a grand total of 87 votes.
SCHIEFFER: If you'll remember, some of the people down in South Texas voted in alphabetical order...
... and later they found out when they checked the voting rolls. But I've never seen anything like this one. It's just astonishing.
KING: Bob Woodward.
BOB WOODWARD, "WASHINGTON POST": The question is "Where is Shakespeare?" He might be able to do it justice.
KING: When you left us on Tuesday night, Bob, we were in a quandary over where this was going, and when we all left the studio, we didn't know who was going to win. Gore was, I think, ahead there, but no projection.
WOODWARD: And we were -- we were warning each other about Dewey beats Truman headlines that turned out to be correct, and then a couple of hours later, I guess a lot of people declared Bush the victor, and then that was taken back obviously. KING: What do you make of it?
WOODWARD: It's the most difficult story to cover. It is uncharted territory obviously.
One of the things -- I mean, there is a lot of talk about comity and let's everyone take a deep breath. Obviously, that makes sense. At the same time, the two candidates here and the people behind them and their supporters have an immense stake in this, and somebody has got to figure out what is the exit strategy. At what point has there been enough counting and recounting and debate and say, OK, this is it, it's over, too much overtime, the game has ended?
KING: Yes. Ann Compton, a lot of people are saying that if the positions were reversed, both sides would be acting the same. That's politics.
ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU: I think that's probably true. Look, I've covered both OF these guys. They're very establishment candidates . They're both from long political families. They respect the institutions that run the government. But we should have seen this coming.
For weeks, we've called this race too close to call. And then on election day at about 10:30 in the morning, two Democratic officials briefed us in Nashville saying that there are problems down in Palm Beach, and they said we have lawyers on the ground and we've been in touch with the Justice Department. Our radar should have gone up right then.
KING: Yes. And done what?
COMPTON: Looked twice. I think what astonishes me most, this is part of the last election I'm going to cover before everything is wireless: my telephone, my computer. And yet, we deal with voting machines that where you usually -- you use a pin to punch holes in things, where it's as close to hand ballots as we're going to get.
The idea that all of this isn't like an ATM machine, where you punch in your pin code, you punch in your candidates, and it says, are you sure?
KING: Bob Schieffer, in "The Washington Post" today, Leon Panetta, former chief of staff, said the first step of whether either of these guys can be leaders of the country is taking place right now, and neither side is handling it very well. Do you agree?
SCHIEFFER: Yes, I sort of do agree. And as a matter of fact, I talked to Leon Panetta today and he told me a little something else. And I thought he had a very good idea. He said, you know, we've got all these dueling press conferences going on, first one camp, then the other -- one gives a sound bite, and then the other guy says I'll raise your sound bite and make something, an even harsher statement.
He said, what I would really like to see is to see Jim Baker and Warren Christopher, the two representatives of the two camps, hold a joint press conference and say, we're going to go through these ballots, we're going to check to see that there's not fraud, and then we're going to accept the results.
We'll see if that happens, but I thought it was a rather good idea.
KING: Bob Woodward, if you voted on one of these butterfly type things, went home and found out you voted incorrectly, and were infuriated and your friends had it, might you be angry enough to sue?
WOODWARD: Well, you really don't have grounds for a suit there. What you did is made a mistake. It was a stupid ballot. It was confusing, but there really wasn't enough to it to say, I have grounds for filing a lawsuit, quite honestly.
KING: So you don't think that question is going to be off the board?
WOODWARD: No, no. But I think one of the interesting questions here is these are politicians, Gore and Bush, and one of the things politicians from both parties do is they take and adopt two-track strategies. And what's happened here is they're both trying to talk happy and calm, and on the other side, they are playing tough.
And if you look at -- you go back to the '60 race, where everyone thinks Richard Nixon was nice about it and said, oh, I'm not going to challenge the vote in Illinois where there was a difference of 8,000 votes, you go back. There was a piece in "The L.A. Times" today and look at the newspapers at the time, and you find that Nixon and his people did challenge, not only in Illinois but in 11 other states.
KING: Ann, are we going to have a status quo or a stalemated government no matter who wins?
COMPTON: Oh, can you imagine trying to take over on January 20th, Larry, when you've gotten perhaps not all of the -- not a majority of the national vote and you may have come so close on electoral vote. It's going -- and you're also facing a Congress which is very nearly 50/50. What does it say about the voters this year? What does it say when the election was so close all year? And now we have two candidates who are just neck and neck, trying to get to the finish line, and a split Congress here in Washington. If there were ever have a time when journalists would have the chance to cover that government we always said we wanted to cover, that was so bipartisan, put aside partisanship and went for what was good in the country.
The other I think you're going to see, Larry, is you know how much we've talked about campaign finance reform over the last several months. Well, throw it out, it's electoral reform. How are we going to improve everything from the local ballots all the way up to the way the networks project winners on election night? All of that is going to probably to go through dramatic changes in the four years between now and the year 2004.
KING: And when we come, I'm going to ask about the man who may have changed the election, Ralph Nader, right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: As Governor Bush talked today about thinking about a Cabinet and putting together an administration, this was the -- autumn in Washington, Al Gore and the folks playing touch football.
Bob Schieffer, Bob Woodward, Ann Compton. Bob Schieffer, did Ralph Nader decide this election?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I said on election night that if George Bush starts looking around for people he needs to thank, he may want to think about giving Ralph Nader a Cabinet post, because I think Ralph Nader had a great deal to do with George Bush being elected. It was very close in a lot of states, and I don't think there's anyway you can say that Nader did not spell the difference in a lot of those places.
KING: Bob Woodward, why wasn't Gore able to get Nader to leave?
WOODWARD: Well, that's exactly the problem. I mean, I think it is a mathematical certainty that Nader cost Gore the election. I mean, there's no the argument about that when you look at the numbers here.
What Gore should have done is spotted this early and found some way to talk Nader down and out of it. Now, talking Nader down and out of any position he holds, as we all know who know Ralph Nader, is almost impossible.
But it was a legitimate candidacy. We allow third parties, and it's part of the mix. But the price for Gore is perhaps not being president.
KING: So, Ann, was Nader successful or not?
COMPTON: He was not successful in doing what he set as his benchmark: get 5 percent of the vote so that the Green Party could have $12 million, or whatever the mix would turn out to be, two years from now when there are congressional elections and four years from now when there's another president. So he failed on his own.
Now, whether he dealt a blow to the two-party system, he seems to think he has. But I wonder, too, whether Americans were so divided going into this, so almost even on Republican-Democratic split, that it's not going to have a fundamental impact the way that we thought Ross Perot would have in 1992 when he get, remember, 19 percent.
KING: Let's take a call. Rocky Ford, Colorado, and then we'll have Bob Schieffer comment. Go ahead, Rocky Ford.
CALLER: Hi. Do you think that the news media is partly at fault in this by the way they keep covering the story?
KING: Yes, Bob, are we overdoing it? SCHIEFFER: No, I don't think we're overdoing it and I don't think we're at fault for telling the story but I think we made a bad mistake on some of these calls and I think that we need to go back and do a zero-based review of how we call these elections. I hope CBS is going to take the lead on that. If they don't, I hope some other network or some other news organization will.
We made some bad calls. They were embarrassing. We need to find out how that happened. We had need to look at the whole thing and review it because, I mean, this business of calling Florida, I mean, even more upsetting to me was the way we called the Senate race up in Washington state. You didn't have the national impact that Florida did. We called that very shortly after the polls closed. Then we pulled back the call several hours later and our pollsters told us, well, we still can't decide or make a call.
Well, it doesn't make sense to me that if you think you have the data to call it an hour or so after the polls close and then you pull it back but you can't make a call for the next couple of weeks, something's not right here. We've got to figure out what this is and we've got to correct it.
KING: We'll ask in a minute what these distinguished panelists think is going to happen. Then a closing word about a departing friend of ours. Don't go away.
KING: Waverly, Ohio. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. If after the overseas votes are counted in Florida and if Gore would take the lead, will the Republicans be interested in the revote in Palm Beach?
KING: I guess not, but Bob, what happens if Gore wins Florida? We asked that earlier. Do you think the Republicans will continue challenges in Iowa and Wisconsin or will they let it go?
WOODWARD: Well, obviously something will happen because they're not going sit down and take it and that's the problem as we were saying earlier. How do you get out of this? What is the exit strategy? Maybe they should sit down and agree by December 1st, we will have this settled. But you know how you get out of it some great mind is going to have to figure it out.
KING: Well, let's make that great mind Ann Compton. What's do you think's going to happen, Ann?
COMPTON: Well, these two men have too much invested. Look at the stakes. This is not just history. This is not just a job. It's the presidency of the United States. Al Gore has devoted virtually an entire 30-year political career to it. George Bush, at least his most recent political career.
So you can't -- I can't see either one of them stopping short of the -- whatever the ultimate nuclear political weapon is here and if the Republicans mean it's a recount or some other legal action, I can't imagine them not doing that.
KING: Bob, what do you see?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I hope that -- the country is much more important to me than whether Al Gore gets his final ambition or George Bush, and I think in the end that both men will come to realize that their first responsibility is not to their party, not to their campaign staff, but to the country. If they'll remember that, they'll do the right thing.
KING: By the way, Bob Woodward will be back with us again on Monday night, do you think the winner will be able to govern?
WOODWARD: I mean, in a sense it may be easier because this is such a trauma and there will be a sense -- I was thinking back about Nixon's Watergate troubles and how we were all talking at the time about, can the system and the government stand this? Can they take impeachment, possible removal and who charged out of the night other than Richard Nixon himself and resigned somewhat unexpectedly. And as he said, he impeached himself and spared the country the agony of a long trial.
KING: Are you optimistic, Ann?
COMPTON: I think so. Remember, Al Gore said his first mission would be campaign reform and George Bush calls himself a united, not a divider. Both of them are going to need those skills if they end up in the White House January 20th.
KING: Thank you all very much. Again, congratulations Bob Schieffer on the continued success of "Face the Nation" and Bob Woodward on the publication of "Maestro" and Ann Compton on always doing a terrific job. And Woodward will be back with us along with David Gergen and others.
A dear friend of ours, Julie Morts, producer on this program is going to get married tomorrow night to the wonderful boy named Jim Gallagher. And we're all going to that wedding. Normally, we'd be on tape on Saturday night with "LARRY KING WEEKEND," but because of the situation in Washington and Nashville and Austin and Florida, we're going to have a live edition of "LARRY KING WEEKEND" and Frank Sesno will host with an outstanding group of guests.
And one other quick note on a personal and national basis. Bernie Shaw announced today that he will be retiring from the news business and from CNN in February. He's been a legend in his own time, one of those stalwarts of network news who made cable news. He was first anchor on cable news. This was the first cable news network. So he's going to be etched in our memory. Long life, Bernie. You're a terrific guy. There'll be lots more said about him as we approach February. He will be sorely missed. They don't come like him. Bernie Shaw.
Stay tuned now for Jeff Greenfield. He's going to host a special edition of a town meeting in Palm Beach. Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend. Good night. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
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