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Election 2000: Drake University Students Comment on Florida RecountAired November 15, 2000 - 11:50 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: As we've mentioned, we have viewers joining us from around world on CNN International, and so they, like us here in the U.S., are getting a giant civics and elections lesson on this.
Let's go to a real classroom where they really study this stuff. Let's bring in our Jeff Flock, who is at Drake University, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Jeff, good morning.
JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Daryn. The class is American Electoral Process, and I guess it doesn't get any better than this in terms of having the nation and the world be your textbook. The professor is Arthur Sanders (ph). He's let us come in this morning to get a sense for were these students are.
And I guess my first question is to you is, as you watch this unfold, even as late as this morning, does it worry you what you're seeing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, not at all. I think this illustrates an interesting point: that the American people aren't ready for a drastic conservative or a drastic liberal change. That we're somewhere in the middle.
FLOCK: I want to get a sense for where people are coming from. Hands? On a wide shot, perhaps.
Gore supporters? Hands?
And Bush supporters?
OK, typical college campus, maybe skewing a little bit to the Democratic side.
Is this a problem? Are your views based on partisan feelings, or are they independent of that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, they're pretty independent on whoever wins this election will eventually become president.
FLOCK: OK, solve this for us. How should it come out? Give me a sense for how this ought to work out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It ought to just be off the votes that we've already taken and we should just recount them and get an accurate number.
FLOCK: Well, does anyone have a problem with this recount, though? We seem to have a couple of recounts. Some people say we ought to quit the recounts, what do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that a recount is in order in Florida. But they need to do it everywhere in all the counties. That's the only fair way to do, to make sure that the Republicans and the Democrats are satisfied.
FLOCK: Anybody else got an opinion on this, on the notion of hand recounts? Is there a problem with having hand recounts only in some counties and not others?
Yes, go ahead, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What major problem I have with hand recounts is there is no standard. In each county they count them differently. In one county, they started counting them one way, stopped, changed it, and then changed it again. If you're going to have hand counts, you need to have some kind of standard, uniform way of counting what the thing is, instead of trying to figure out what the intent of the voter was.
FLOCK: I've got to ask you about the process. Is anybody either disgusted or energized by this process one way or the other?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think that this teaches us a lot about it, and it's really good that this is happening so the people can really get a sense for what's going on.
FLOCK: Professor Sanders, you're about, I'm told, about two, or a week or two behind in your typical syllabus, but this has been an extraordinary opportunity, hasn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes -- no, I don't mind being behind, since we're leaning more about the way American politics works and doesn't work, and what the warts are and what the good things are, than you could possibly imagine before planning a course.
FLOCK: Do you think these students have a concept for how big a deal in history this is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As much as you might expect from college students who are just learning about what this is like in history. But, yes, I do think they have a good sense of that.
FLOCK: Far backs, I should ask you directly: Do you have a sense for the gravity of what's going on here, or do you feel that, do feel it's all...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, definitely. Being a journalism major, I feel that this is a big step for American journalism, and then also for American politics.
FLOCK: How are we doing -- American journalism?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that we should just end this. I am concerned with what other people are thinking in other countries because they don't understand our electoral process, and I think that's a big problem, and many Americans don't understand electoral process, and I don't know what we should do about it.
FLOCK: I'm going to have to make that the last word. Thank you so much, Professor, appreciate your letting us come in here and listen. The class is American Electoral Process. Boy, we're all getting an education these days.
That's the latest from Iowa. Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live.
KAGAN: Jeff, thank you very much. Can you imagine what the final exam is going to be like in that course?
STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: This is an A.P. course this time around.
FRAZIER: And remember, that was Iowa, too, where all of this started with the Iowa caucuses, about a million years ago.
KAGAN: Yes, it seems about ten years ago, exactly.
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