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Special Event

The Florida Recount: Democrats and Republicans Maneuver for Political Advantage

Aired November 14, 2000 - 10:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHERINE HARRIS, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: Governor George Bush, 2,910,482, Vice President Al Gore, 2,910,192.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: New vote totals in Florida reinforce George W. Bush's narrow lead...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREN HUGHES, BUSH CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The votes in Florida have now been counted and Governor Bush won.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: ... As the Gore campaign fights for more time to check ballots by hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN CHRISTOPHER, OBSERVER FOR GORE CAMPAIGN: I see a yearning in the country for the votes to be correctly counted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES BAKER, OBSERVER FOR BUSH CAMPAIGN: When is it going to end? I ask you, when is it going to end?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: With tempers flaring and no end in sight, a prayer for patience in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have sustained us in crises over contested presidential elections at crucial times in our history. There is no panic in heaven.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN special report on the Florida Recount. We begin with anchors Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff in Washington.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you for joining us. In Florida tonight, George W. Bush is 300 votes ahead of Al Gore. But the vote counting is not over. There is yet another deadline that we'll be waiting for tomorrow. And the level of angry rhetoric between the Bush and Gore campaigns is on the upswing.

Quickly, the latest developments: Florida's secretary of state this evening announced Governor Bush's 300-vote lead is based on locally-certified returns from all 67 Florida counties. They had to report in by 5:00 Eastern. Miami-Dade County has voted against carrying out a manual recount. However, two other heavily-Democratic counties, Palm Beach and Broward, may go forward with manual recounts. They have until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow to send the secretary of state of Florida written justification for such actions. The Gore campaign calls that requirement unfortunate and inexplicable. Meanwhile, the Bush campaign wants the hand counting stopped, calling it an attempt to reinterpret the election.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Now, a closer look at all of these developments, beginning with the newest vote totals.

CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher spent this tense day watching and waiting in Tallahassee -- Mike.

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, it was very interesting and Florida secretary of state finally got her wish, a certified statewide result. But a final count is still several days away.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOETTCHER (voice-over): One step closer to declaring the winner of her state 25 electoral votes, Florida secretary of state announced that all 67 counties had submitted certified results leaving only one major state-mandated deadline to go before Florida's count can be committed to Bush or Gore: Friday's count and certification of overseas ballots.

HARRIS: And the race for the president of the United States, these certified results from Florida's 67 counties for the top two candidates are as follows: Governor George Bush 2,910,492, Vice President Al Gore, 2,910,192.

BOETTCHER: The total gives Governor Bush a 300-vote edge. Florida Judge Terry Lewis gave the secretary of state the right to certify the results, rejecting a Democrat request that Tuesday's deadline be postponed. But he warned her to also consider the arguments of counties that might want to later submit updated recounts by hand, like Palm Beach County, which is to begin its manual recount early in the morning.

A state court administrator delivered the judge's opinion. TERRE CASS, COURT ADMINISTRATOR, SECOND CIRCUIT: The secretary of state is directed to withhold determination as to whether or not to ignore late-filed returns, if any, from plaintiff canvassing boards until due consideration of all relevant facts and circumstances consistent with the sound exercise of discretion in all other respects.

BOETTCHER: Secretary of state Harris, a Bush supporter, said she would give counties who want to conduct more recounts until 2:00 p.m. Wednesday to provide explanations why they need more time.

HARRIS: I'm requiring a written statement of the facts and circumstances that would cause these counties to believe that a change should be made before the final certification of the statewide vote.

BOETTCHER: However, since the election controversy began in Florida, Harris has vigorously opposed the need for hand counts. And Gore campaign officials accused her of planning to quickly shut down all further recounts.

WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Secretary Harris' effort to cut off the vote counting in Florida by imposing a new requirement on counties in Florida, which are still counting, is both unfortunate and inexplicable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOETTCHER: Now, if Florida's secretary of state decides to go ahead with a final certification and not include those hand recounts from three counties, expect a vigorous legal battle from the Democrats.

Mike Boettcher, CNN live, Tallahassee.

WOODRUFF: There was a great deal more action in other Florida courtrooms and among canvassing boards. Here is some of what else went on there today. The hand count was completed in Volusia County, with Al Gore getting a net increase of 98 votes. But officials there are still appealing the 5:00 p.m. deadline today. They had wanted more time to review ballot challenges.

There is an increase of four votes for Gore in Broward County after a sample recount of about one percent of the vote there. A Broward County circuit judge would not order a full recount there but would not stop recounting either. He said the county should wait for a Florida supreme court ruling.

Election officials in Miami-Dade County completed a manual recount of just three precincts and it has decided against going forward in all precincts. The original returns in those three precincts went overwhelmingly for Gore.

Meanwhile, Palm Beach turned in its returns on time. The canvassing board in that county voted to start hand counting 430,000 ballots tomorrow morning and then try to turn those results in late. SHAW: To try to bring some sort of clarification into this incredibly complex situation in Palm Beach County and, for that matter, the rest of Florida, we're joined here in Washington by CNN legal analyst and "BURDEN OF PROOF" co-host Roger Cossack and CNN election law analyst Kenneth Gross.

Ken, starting first with you, in this grab bag of legalities, what case should we keep our eyes on?

KENNETH GROSS, FORMER FEC OFFICIAL: This case that's working through the state courts now about the deadlines is probably the most significant case because this is essentially a state court case. And the Bush campaign has filed a suit in federal court and has introduced the federal courts to the system, trying to get a federal question there. But I think this is ultimately going to be decided by the state court because we're talking about state statutory interpretation. So, this Volusia County case that's working -- that will work its way up, I think, is an important one.

SHAW: Roger.

ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I agree with Ken that clearly this is a state court case and I agree that clearly the Volusia County case is the one talking about whether or not there is recount or not and the counties have a right to have a recount is the one that we have our eye on.

But remember, there is another case out there. And that is the one that has to do with whether or not these so-called butterfly ballots of Palm Beach were so deficient that they caused the voters not to be able to really express what they wanted to do and, in fact. therefore put a pall, if you will, all over the election.

There, Ken, is your potential federal court question, because if that is found to be the case, we now have a constitutional issue and there you are in the federal courts.

SHAW: Let's project to after January 20th when the 43rd president of the United States is seated in the White House, because of the controversy on the ground in Florida. Can we expect a backlash? Can we expect retribution?

In sum, I'm asking you: Are these public officials, these judges, secretary of state, sitting right in the middle of a political mine field?

GROSS: I'm concerned about that. I'm not only concerned about the backlash and the legitimacy of the next president, but I'm concerned about the court system itself. We've looked to the court system for impartiality, and now it seems that they're getting ensnared in the political scenario. And the law and the politics coming together is not a good thing.

COSSACK: That's the problem here. We saw it once before in the impeachment where we saw the Senate in a sense trying to act as a jury and yet was heavily politicized. Now we are seeing it again. You know, the law, if anything, and maybe I'm being naive, should at least appear to be as pure as it possibly could be and not be influenced by politics. But in this case, we see politics all over it. And therefore, what I'm concerned about is that the people will begin to really lose confidence in whatever legal decision is made here.

SHAW: Last quick question, after the recounted ballot results are announced, sometime maybe Saturday, since the deadline is midnight Friday, you still will have recounting going on. How long is this going to go on?

GROSS: Well, the recounting may continue. And I think whatever decision is handed down on Saturday or whenever that decision is made, they'll be another volley of legal action. So, that's not going to be the end of it short of one of the candidates actually conceding. And that doesn't appear to be on the horizon.

COSSACK: What's going to happen here is eventually there is going to be this time when it gets so stretched out that a court will have to step in and cut it off and say, no, the time has come and we need to cut it off, and, of course, there's going to be a disappointed party and again this thing that we're concerned about, all of us are concerned about is this, this pall of was it really the right election or did politics take over?

SHAW: Roger Cossack, Kenneth Gross, thank you -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And now to the two men you might call presidents in waiting, and they have been waiting and waiting and waiting. Their strategists and spin meisters have been weighing each fast-breaking development and what they may eventually hold for their candidate.

We hear first from CNN's senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley. She's with the Bush campaign in Austin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the Bush camp, there is nothing more powerful than simple addition.

KATHERINE HARRIS, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: Governor George Bush, 2,910,492; Vice President Al Gore: 2,910,192.

CROWLEY: The way the Bush team figures it, that's Bush three, Gore zero.

KAREN HUGHES, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, BUSH CAMPAIGN: The votes in Florida have now been counted and Governor Bush won. They've been recounted and Governor Bush won. The counties have now certified their votes to the secretary of state, and again, Governor Bush won.

CROWLEY: But even as Bush aides claimed another victory in this open-ended game, they are aware hand counts in key Democratic strongholds could bring new math into the equation. Tuesday night, the Bush team argued that save for the overseas ballots, this contest is over and anything more is foul play. HUGHES: If they go forward after today's deadline, these Democratic counties are no longer recounting, they are reinventing, attempting to reinterpret the results of the election and the intentions of voters by subjective, not objective means.

CROWLEY: Bush strategists are battling on legal and political fronts to question the validity of the hand count. They suggest Florida's secretary of state could turn back hand count revisions for reasons including undue delay in reporting, insufficient reason for the hand count, and lack of uniform standards or procedures.

On the legal front, the Bush camp has already filed papers with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where it will re-argue its contention that hand counts without uniform rules in specified, heavily Democratic counties dilutes the votes in other counties where ballots were not subjected to the same scrutiny.

At times, the legal and public relations arguments coalesce as they did early Tuesday, when the Bush campaign's main man in Florida suggested that the Bush team would drop all legal efforts if the Gore campaign would merely accept the vote count as it was reported at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.

JAMES BAKER, OBSERVER FOR THE BUSH CAMPAIGN: We have had multiple counts. We have had multiple recounts and selective manual counts. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to bring this to a close and we sincerely hope that this proposal will enable us to do so.

CROWLEY: It was a nonstarter for the Gore campaign, which believe the hand count will put the vice president in the lead. Still, the offer was a way for Bush campaign to try itself as looking for a reasonable solution.

(on camera): Bush strategists think the clock ticks with them. They believe once the overseas ballots are counted, probably sometime Saturday, if Bush remains in the lead the pressure on the vice president to give it up will intensify.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Austin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And now for a look at strategy from the other side, we turn to our John King, who's following the Gore campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice president's team says it's focus is the last count, not the latest count.

WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It is time to end these tactics and move ahead with what we all want, and that is a timely count of these votes.

KING: Gore team failed to win a court order forcing Florida to extend deadline for certifying the results, but the judge said the secretary of state should not act arbitrarily, and rule out accepting amended returns from the hand recounts still under way.

DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: She violates that, she violates a court order. I don't think there's any chance in the world she's going to do that.

DALEY: The goal of all of us is to get a fair and accurate count, one that confirms the opinions and decisions of the people of Florida.

KING: The vice president's campaign chairman made the rounds on Capitol Hill to make sure there was no dissension in the Democratic ranks, and the early reviews were positive.

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: The question before us is whether we want closure so badly that we are willing to accept a president of the United States even when every reasonable step to determine whether that is the individual that the voters actually wanted to be president has been taken or not.

KING: The Gore camp maintains confidence the manual recounts will turn the tide. But there are concerns about the court of public opinion, that if the secretary of state once again declares Governor Bush the winner, that the public will want an end to all this. So the Democrats are raising pointed questions about whether Harris is being fair.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: I think everyone should acknowledge hat she was a Bush co-chair in the state of Florida. This is not someone who is not interested in the outcome.

KING: Some Democrats were a bit disappointed that Daley could not predict when all this would be over.

(on camera): The Gore team is banking first that the manual recounts continue, and next that they will turn up enough additional votes for the vice president that the secretary of state will have no choice but to accept amended returns.

John King, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: The votes, they're cast, so what are the candidates campaigning for now? Just ahead, some thoughts from our Bill Schneider.

WOODRUFF: Then we'll be joined for reaction by two partisan insiders. This and more as our CNN special report on the Florida recount continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: This time a week ago, the election seemingly was nearing and end and so was, it appeared, the campaigning.

Our political analyst Bill Schneider joins us now to talk about what a difference a week makes -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it is a week after the election and the campaign is still going on. The strategist and the field operatives have simply relocated to Florida. But the votes have been cast. What on Earth are they campaigning for now?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Answer? Public opinion, which should then translate into procedural advantages in the vote counting process. The Bush campaign strategy is to push for closure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAKER: It is time to bring this to a close.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THEODORE OLSEN, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: The American people are entitled to a resolution of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time to move on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM NICHOLSON, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Enough is enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: The Gore strategy is to push for fairness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER: We want to be able to defend ourselves, to defend the rights of the voters of Florida to have a fair outcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DALEY: I hope that our friends in the Bush campaign will joins us in our efforts to get the fairest and most accurate vote count here in Florida.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Fairness above closure? Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: While time is important, it is even more important that every vote is counted and counted accurately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Gore has had the advantage -- so far. The public is not demanding immediate closure. A poll reported in Tuesday's "New York Times" asked Americans whether it's a big problem that we don't yet know who the next president will be. Over 60 percent said no.

People can live with some uncertainty for a while.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Good evening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: But with the announcement of the statewide count, the advantage may shift to Bush. A poll reported in Tuesday's "Washington Post" asked, "Should the candidates accept the recount in Florida when it's completed, even if they think the voting there was unfair?" Or "Should they ask the courts to consider whether the voting was fair?" Two-thirds of Americans say the candidates should accept the Florida recount, don't take it to court.

Now, the secretary of state, who is a Bush supporter, must decide whether to amend the results to include manually recounted ballots in several counties. That's fair, says the Gore campaign.

WARREN CHRISTOPHER, OBSERVER FOR GORE CAMPAIGN: And so I would hope the judge would give that kind of an extension to allow the completion of the count in those four counties.

SCHNEIDER: That's not fair, says the Bush campaign.

BEN GINSBERG, ATTORNEY FOR BUSH CAMPAIGN: It is not accidental that the Gore campaign asked for the manual recount in four large counties in which their margins were the biggest in the state.

SCHNEIDER: OK, say some Gore people. You want fairness?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: There should be a statewide hand recount of all the ballots cast in the state of Florida.

SCHNEIDER: We can't do that, say Bush's people. We need closure.

THEODORE OLSON, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: A statewide recount would take forever.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: There are two unknowns now left. One is the results of a manual recount. Gore is betting on that. After all, he's running behind. Why not take a gamble? The other is those overseas ballots. The Bush campaign is betting that those ballots will widen his margin, and that, too, is unknown -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

And when we come back, we will hear the thoughts of Joe Lockhart, who worked in the Clinton-Gore White House, and Craig Fuller, who worked in the White House of President George Bush. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Now for reaction to today's many developments in the Florida recount are Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary to President Clinton, and Craig Fuller, who served on the presidential transition team for Governor Bush's father and was his White House chief of staff.

Gentlemen, thank you for being with us.

JOE LOCKHART, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Good to be here.

WOODRUFF: We're hearing the Bush people argue for closure, get it over with, get it behind us, let's move on. We're hearing the Gore people say, fairness, even if it takes a while it's OK. Are these real arguments Joe Lockhart or are they just -- or we just arguing the presidency all over again?

LOCKHART: Well, I don't think we're arguing the presidency. It seems to me you can strip all of this away and there's two arguments. The Bush people know that by where they are in the process now they win. They want to keep that. The Gore people I think in their hearts believe that if there was a fair counting of all the votes, they would win. So they're arguing for fairness here and getting all the votes out.

It seems to me the much more powerful argument is let's have the will of the people heard, which is what Gore arguing, and what the Bush people are arguing is, I've got to think, more has to do with raw politics and hanging onto the presidency.

WOODRUFF: The Gore people are arguing for the people and the Bush people are doing something else?

CRAIG FULLER, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm not sure that I see it quite that way. I do think that the American public are fair, I think they're willing to let some time pass to get this decided. But they also believe in deadlines, and I don't think you can let deadlines go by one after another and not bring this to closure. And I think within the next few days it does have to come to closure. WOODRUFF: Joe Lockhart, what about the Karen Hughes argument today? You know, if we go on with this, it's not just recounting, we're reinventing here?

LOCKHART: Well, we're not reinventing, and some of what Ms. Hughes was saying was really insulting to the people involved, the people who are actually counting. She has been suggesting for days that those public servants in there are somehow corrupt because they're trying to count votes. That's insulting to those people there.

But there's also an intellectual disingenuous to their argument, because, as you know, there have been -- the Bush people picked up some 400 votes from manual recounts, and now they're arguing that manual recounts per se...

WOODRUFF: That's part of the current total.

LOCKHART: That's part of the current total. So I don't see the Bush people saying, well, we'll throw those votes out and let Gore win by a hundred. It hasn't been -- it hasn't made that argument, because you know that these arguments aren't genuine.

FULLER: Actually, I think the fact that Governor Bush's numbers improved is a sign that they really are looking at this and raising legitimate questions about hand recounts. It changes, the technique changes. We're making it up as we go along.

LOCKHART: But they haven't said, well, we think hand recounts -- they have said hand recounts...

WOODRUFF: Are inherently bad.

LOCKHART: They're inherently bad, but they haven't given them back the 400 votes.

WOODRUFF: Craig Fuller, what about that point, quickly?

FULLER: Well, I think they -- I think -- look, there have been three recounts, George Bush has won all three. I think they want to see this come to a conclusion quickly, and I think you can't change rules as we go along.

WOODRUFF: Craig Fuller, what about the Gore argument that you don't want one -- if one voter or 10 voters mistakenly -- made a mistake that can be corrected, why not correct it? You want to reflect the will of the people.

FULLER: Well, nobody wants somebody vote not to be counted or to be miscounted. The fact is there is a process in place. State legislatures put it in place with the laws -- it's the law of the land in Florida. They did the best they could.

I think you have to reach the best possible outcome, not the perfect outcome of knowing how -- what was in the mind of every voter who went to the polling place that day. LOCKHART: I have so to disagree with one point there, which is I think exactly what the Bush people want now is not to have these people vote, because I think they know in their hearts, as the Gore people know, that if the true will of the electorate of Florida was known Gore would win. And right now, they are trying to hang on by any means possible to the presidency. And they don't want these votes counted because they're afraid of what the results will be.

WOODRUFF: We hear the Gore and Bush camps just 180 degrees apart on this. I'm hearing you two gentlemen, both of whom have worked in the White House, you're almost 180 degrees, if not that. Do you see a way to resolve this where the other side -- the side that loses is going to be able to accept the results? Craig, do you?

FULLER: I think that when one of these two individuals is declared president there's going to be a surge of energy and support behind that person by the American people and even by partisans. I think that's the way the country works.

WOODRUFF: But we're not close to that point yet, are we?

FULLER: Well, I'm not sure we're that far away from that point. Someone is not going to like the result. Somebody is going to be thrilled by the result. But in the end, people are going to come together behind the person of the president.

WOODRUFF: Are you so sure of that?

LOCKHART: You know, I don't know, because I think the American public is willing to give this time and they want to know what the final vote is. And right now, it's being thwarted by potentially the secretary of state, certainly by the legal strategy of the Bush campaign.

They're going to want to know did we do everything we could to get the count, and if we didn't, they're going to want to know why. And right now, they don't have a good answer.

WOODRUFF: And if she certifies final, final results Friday night at midnight after the absentee ballots are in, Craig Fuller, and you still don't have the manual recounts finished...

FULLER: Well, if George Bush wins for a fourth time, I think it ought to end there. That's my view. You know, 12 years ago we were in the middle of a presidential transition. We had a transition office. There's a lot of important work to do between now and January 20th. We ought to be moving...

LOCKHART: But there's nothing more important than every vote counting. There's nothing more important to our democracy, and no one should want to be elected in a situation where the public is unsure.

WOODRUFF: Both arguments make a lot of sense. Let's see where we go from here.

Joe Lockhart, Craig Fuller, thanks very much. FULLER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you. And when this CNN special report continues, a closer look at the people at the center of election 2000 and the big legal guns coming to Florida to fight for the Bush and Gore campaigns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: How's this for understatement? There is so much legal maneuvering going on in the state of Florida it may seem like the state is holding a bar association convention. The phrase high- powered aptly describes some of the legal heavies brought in by both the Gore and Bush campaigns to protect their interests. Who is who?

CNN's Brooks Jackson explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who are these guys? Some of the best-known legal talent in the country is facing off in the Florida recount fight. Joining the Gore team -- David Boies, a $700-an-hour trial lawyer who seldom loses. His grilling of Bill Gates helped win the Microsoft case for the government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Was it within the last two years?

BILL GATES, CEO, MICROSOFT: I honestly don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JACKSON: He won a billion-dollar settlement in a price-fixing suit against vitamin makers. Years ago, he successfully defended CBS in a libel suit brought by William Westmoreland, the former U.S. commander in Vietnam. Lately, he's suing Ford over their troubled Explorer SUVs.

On the Bush legal team, Ted Olson, a conservative scourge of the Clinton administration. He's a friend of Ken Starr, and represented Whitewater witness David Hale. Among other clients over the years, President Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra case and Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel.

Gore's team includes Laurence Tribe, a professor at the Harvard Law School. A liberal, he led the attacks that kept Reagan nominee Robert Bork off the Supreme Court. Also on Gore's side, Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. Attorney in Miami who won a voter-fraud case representing the mayor of Miami. He also represented relatives of Cuban castaway Elian Gonzalez.

Both sides have veteran election lawyers -- Ben Ginsberg on the Bush team, former chief counsel of the Republican National Committee, now a Washington lobbyist for clients including Jacksonville, Florida. And on the Gore team, Bob Bauer, long-time lawyer for the Democratic Party's House and Senate re-election committees.

(on camera): It's not clear which of these lawyers will be paid or how much or whether they'll work for free.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: When our special report continues, we will take a closer look at the latest legal maneuvering surrounding the recount in West Palm Beach.

SHAW: Plus. we will get perspective on exactly how all these recounts are being carried out. And later, what a candy bar and a little girl named Ruth have in common with this year's presidential contest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: The legal wrangling in Palm Beach County is so involved it's difficult to keep up with. First there's the controversy over the legality of the manual recount. Then there are lawsuits by voters who say the ballot was too confusing. And if that's not enough, there was a battle to find a judge to sort through it all.

CNN's Mark Potter has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jorge LaBarga was the sixth Palm Beach County circuit court judge asked to rule on the vote cases. The first five recused themselves because of alleged bias or ties to attorneys who filed the lawsuits. After a brief hearing, Judge LaBarga issued a ruling that enabled the Palm Beach County canvassing board to certify their election results. In doing so, he said it was OK with him if the board also began a county-wide manual ballot recount.

JUDGE JORGE LABARGA, PALM BEACH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: The canvassing board is hereby permitted, pursuant to section 102.166 Florida statutes, to conduct a manual count of the ballots if they so feel.

POTTER: Attorneys for Palm Beach County voters who claim they lost their vote because of confusion over the butterfly ballot applauded the judge's ruling.

GARY FARMER, VOTERS' ATTORNEY: We are very pleased with the Judge LaBarga's ruling today. This is the first judge in the state of Florida in this election who has ordered that a manual recount may go forward.

POTTER: The judge also denied a motion to move all the Palm Beach County election lawsuits to Tallahassee, the Florida capital. In a hearing scheduled for the morning, he must now decide whether to grant a request from the Florida Democratic Party that he order the canvassing board to also count so-called dimple ballots, ballots which were not fully punched out by the voters.

BEN KUEHNE, DEMOCRATIC PARTY ATTORNEY: When a person makes a real attempt to vote a ballot -- and you could look at any of these questionable ballots and you would decide, wait a minute, I know that person intended to vote.

POTTER (on camera): Still to be determined is what happened to the nearly dozen lawsuits filed by Palm Beach County residents, most of whom want a new county-wide presidential election declared because of confusion over the ballot design.

Mark Potter, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: So, how are all these recounters deciding if a ballot is good and exactly to whom a questionable vote goes?

CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken gives us a close look at the painstaking recount process.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It appears chaotic, but Florida election officials insist it's organized chaos surrounding official counters who must sift one at a time through thousands of ballots. State law sets out a specific recount choreography.

The statute requires at least two counters, one Republican and one Democrat. One examines the ballot and shows it to his or her partner. Each is put into a pile, Bush, Gore, other or questionable. These questionable ballots, in dispute because the two sides can't agree on the voter's intention, are dealt with later.

In Volusia County, these tabulators examine so-called optical scanner ballots, looking for instances in which the voter did not mark his or her preference clearly enough for the scanner to read. In Palm Beach County, where punch cards were used, officials looked to see exactly which hole was punched in each card and sometimes ran their thumbs along them to see if there were hanging bits of paper, the now- famous chad, which might have foiled the machines.

They do this for hours at a time. Supervisors and police officials watch closely. Once a pile of ballots is completed, a deputy sheriff or a specially deputized election official goes to a tightly secured room, monitored on a TV screen. He picks up another blue bag full of ballots and delivers it to the table and takes the tabulated one away.

Except for a few brief breaks, the counters stay at their tables for seven-hour shifts.

DAVID CARDWELL, FORMER FLORIDA ELECTION OFFICIAL: A manual recount is incredibly tedious. When I mentioned that there were just these two counters, each one of them has to look at every ballot that's placed in front of them. They don't get up from the table. They sit at the table. The ballots are brought to them. When they're finished, the ballots are taken away from them.

FRANKEN: Over and over, the counters tabulate their ballots. The clock shows they average about three seconds with each one, more if there are disputes. And what about those disputes? The three member county board of canvassers votes on them, declaring the questionable ballots for Gore, Bush, other or in some cases, for nobody. Two out of the three board members must agree.

(on camera): It's slow going. Election officials say it could take the better part of a week to finish the job at least.

Bob Franken, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, it has been a full week since Election Day and there is still no official word on the winner. Coming up, our Jeff Greenfield takes on the question of whether Election 2000 has reached crisis stage.

And we'll find out how other countries see the election mess going on in the United States.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: There are still close races outside Florida. Here now, a look at those other battleground states. Unofficial results in Oregon give Al Gore a margin of 4756 over George W. Bush, too big a margin to trigger an automatic recount. Catching a mistake of reading 620 as 120 in New Mexico puts 500 votes back into the Gore column. The vice president now leading the Texas governor by 374 votes.

Fixing a clerical error and other vote certification in Iowa has trimmed Gore's lead there. He now leads Bush by 4,182 votes, and that has Iowa Republicans considering a recount. Bush continuing to lead in New Hampshire by 7,211 votes although, fixing proofreading and computer errors has trimmed Bush's lead by 958 votes.

WOODRUFF: As the counting and recounting of votes goes on in Florida, so has the business of everyday life. No firm election results means there's no president-elect. But what, if anything, does that mean to daily life in the republic?

CNN's senior analyst Jeff Greenfield ponders the notion of whether what's going on constitutes a crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: "Constitutional crisis." It's a tempting phrase to utter. It carries with it its own sense of importance, like "defining moment." But is this a crisis? Could it turn into one? Well, to use another tempting phrase, it depends upon what the meaning of crisis is.

(voice-over): Now here's a real crisis in the making. October, 1973: President Nixon fires Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in the midst of his investigation into Watergate. The attorney general and his top deputy leave rather than fire Cox. Federal agents seal off the special prosecutor's office. Could a president shut off an inquiry into his own behavior? It didn't happen.

A firestorm of public pressure forced Nixon to name a successor, Leon Jaworski, who demanded of Nixon those famous secret tape recordings. And that could have triggered a real constitutional crisis when a unanimous Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes. Suppose he had refused. One branch of government defying the order of another. But it didn't happen. Nixon turned the tapes over. The smoking gun of a cover-up was disclosed and the president resigned.

But this? Not even close, yet. What you have so far is the messy, inefficient business of vote counts. Instead of troops in the capitol, you've got lawyers in the courts. Instead of mobs in the street, street theater, and folks with a little too much time on their hands.

(on camera): So, could this turn into a crisis? Of course we're not talking about anyone seizing political power or some adversary from abroad sailing up the Potomac, but we could be talking about a transfer of power tainted by charges of foul play.

An angry challenge to the electoral vote when the new Congress convenes in January; a bitter refusal of the losing side to acknowledge the victor's right to govern; a new Congress that, for all the talk of cooperation, is frozen into inaction by a sense of icy bitterness that's grown over the past 20 years.

A crisis? Maybe not. But as an unhappy ending to the end of all of this, that will do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: Word on one other election. The U.S. Senate race in Washington state between Republican incumbent Slade Gordon and Democrat Maria Cantwell is still too close call. Gordon's lead has dropped to about 3,800 votes.

WOODRUFF: And coming up on our special report, a look ahead. The significant developments we can expect in the Bush-Gore contest.

And later, the surprisingly sweet aftertaste of a long forgotten presidential election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris has become a main figure in the process of choosing a president. News reports have called the Republican, quote, a flamboyant and controversial figure in Florida politics. CNN's Deborah Feyerick has more on the person at the center of certifying Florida's ballots.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a power Katherine Harris may never have dreamed of.

HARRIS: The final result of the election for president of the United States in the state of Florida will be announced.

FEYERICK: The presidency of the United States in Florida's hands with Harris, the secretary of state, at the center of the legal battles, battles that will decide which hand recounts will be included in Florida's final tally.

HARRIS: In accordance with today's court ruling confirming my discretion in these matters...

FEYERICK: Harris began her political career in 1994.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: I'm Katherine Harris and we are drawing the line in this sand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: The fourth-generation Floridian served four years as a state senator before running for secretary of state against Governor Jeb Bush's choice. But once in Jeb Bush's cabinet, the party loyalist rose quickly, becoming co-chairwoman of George W. Bush's presidential campaign in the Sunshine State, even traveling to New Hampshire to help him in the primary. Harris was a Florida delegate at the Republican convention --ties, Democrats say, that make her an unfair arbiter.

CHRISTOPHER: Her plan, I'm afraid, has the look of an effort to produce a particular result in the election, rather than to ensure that the voice of all the citizens of the state would be heard.

FEYERICK: But political colleagues say Harris has acted properly and praise her work in cultivating overseas business.

TOM FEENEY, FLORIDA SPEAKER DESIGNATE: Secretary Harris, when she was a senator, was very aggressive advocate for economic development and international trade for Florida. She recognized we're really the gateway to the Caribbean, Latin America and South America.

FEYERICK: But news reports have criticized Harris's travel expenses -- some $100,000 last year -- triple those of the governor. And though Harris will long be linked to the elections, critics say Harris has spent little time on election-related work.

BEN WILCOX, COMMON CAUSE FLORIDA: My experience has been that Secretary Harris is not really interested in election issues. She, for the most part, allows her division director to run the division.

FEYERICK (on camera): Harris' current job, under the Florida state constitution, will be eliminated altogether in the year 2002. The multi-millionaire has said she is interested in running for the U.S. Senate.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Tallahassee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: Tomorrow, when you and your friends are together, casually mention this year's presidential election reminds you of a popular candy bar. Here's Garrick Utley to chew over the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Question: What does this fading, early 20th century advertisement have to do with Al Gore's concern that he could win the popular vote and lose the election?

(on camera): The answer lies with the last presidential candidate to suffer the same fate, Grover Cleveland. Who was he and what was his personal legacy that we can still enjoy today for 75 cents?

(voice-over): Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, won his first term in 1884. Then, as now, politics loved scandals, preferably sexual. This cartoon of a baby crying, "I want my pa," was an example of political attacks on Cleveland for having fathered an illegitimate child in his younger years. And when the 49-year-old bachelor became the first president to get married in the White House, to 22-year-old Frances Folsom, he faced ugly rumors that he beat her.

Then, as now, the public was angry at the political influence of the big money of the special interests of that Gilded Age. Cleveland fought for cleaner government, and he confidently approached his re- election day. But as we know, Benjamin Harrison won the electoral vote that year, although Cleveland received 100,000 more popular votes.

(on camera): And so, like other defeated candidates, Grover Cleveland had to decide what to do with the rest of his life. He and his wife moved to New York City where he took a job with a law firm and here they had their first child. Her name was Ruth and she is a story.

(voice-over): The baby became a national celebrity in newspapers and magazines, particularly when she moved into the White House with her parents after her father ran again for president and was elected to his second term in 1892. But for Grover Cleveland, happiness, personal and political, would not last. The nation fell into an economic depression. And at his party's convention in 1896, Cleveland didn't even seek the nomination.

And later still, 12-year-old Ruth fell ill with diphtheria and died. Who knew then that one day she would be Grover Cleveland's most enduring legacy? For Grover Cleveland's flesh and blood would be commemorated not only in bronze and marble, but in chocolate, peanuts and corn syrup in a candy bar as President Grover Cleveland's baby, Ruth.

Garrick Utley, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: You like Baby Ruth. That's all for now. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us.

SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw. Good night from Washington.

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