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Larry King Live
Which Candidate Deserves Florida's 25 Electoral Votes?Aired November 22, 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, tempers flare on election day plus 15: Miami-Dade County says no go to manual recounts. George W. Bush OKs an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a Florida judge rules on counting dimpled ballots. Meantime, GOP running mate Dick Cheney suffers a slight heart attack.
Joining us, Gore campaign attorney Dexter Douglass in Tallahassee, squaring off with Bush campaign attorney Barry Richard in Miami. Plus, partisan perspective from Congressman Peter Deutsch, Florida Democrat, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from the sunshine state. And since there's talk of electoral intervention by Florida's legislature, we'll hear from the House majority and minority leaders. Then a debate between Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan -- he's in Florida to observe the recount -- and GOP Senator Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas. He was in Florida earlier this month. All that, and another A-list roundtable, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We begin with a medical update. Here with us in Los Angeles is Dr. P.K. Shah, the famed cardiologist, director of the division of cardiologist -- cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
He's not your patient, but from what we know, from the information we've gotten, what happened with Dick Cheney today?
DR. P.K. SHAH, CARDIOLOGIST: Well, it seems like one of his arteries or one of his grafts -- we don't know for sure -- developed a severe blockage and triggered a small heart attack. And what the doctors were able to do is they did an angiogram and confirmed that, and then placed a little -- tiny metal slinky like device called a stent to keep the artery from collapsing. And these devices, called stents, are now commonly used to open blockages in the arteries and prevent them from collapsing again.
KING: Is the balloon also used?
SHAH: Yes, in general, whenever you do a stent, you also wind up using the balloon to deploy the stent inside the artery and open it up so it sticks to the walls.
KING: The fact that there was a mild heart attack prior, does that indicate anything worrisome?
SHAH: Depends on how big a heart attack had occurred and overall what his total function of the heart is. If the heart function is still very good, then the prognosis is generally very favorable, but if there has been extensive damage in the past, then any more damage with heart attacks kind of cumulatively adds up
KING: The doctor said they didn't think stress of the election played a role. Is that a guess?
SHAH: Well, it's very difficult to tell for sure what triggered this event. It is known that stress can actually bring on a heart attack or angina in someone who already has the disease. And it's quite possible, that all the things that have been going on in the last couple of weeks have kind of triggered something in the arteries.
KING: All right. How concerned should we be that Dick has had three heart attacks prior to a major bypass surgery 12 years ago?
SHAH: You know, these days there is life after heart attack, and it ultimately depends on how well he takes care of himself.
KING: It's up to him now, right?
KING: He's got to exercise, right?
SHAH: Lose weight...
KING: Lose weight.
SHAH: .. and use a more healthy diet. I've noticed on TV that he is a little heavy, and I think weight loss, diet, exercise, keeping the cholesterol way down with medication, diet and exercise, I think that's some of the things we can do to prevent reblockage.
KING: And how long will a stent hold?
SHAH: In general, once you put a stent in a native artery there's about a 15 to 30 percent chance that within 6 to 9 months it may reclog. But if the stent is placed in a vein graft, which is used to bypass, then the chances tend to be higher. Somewhere between 30 to 50 percent will reclog within 6 to 9 months.
KING: And finally, not to be too personal, I had this happen to me three years ago, 12 years after -- 10 years rather after a bypass surgery, and I've felt fine for 3 1/2 years. Does that mean my stent has held?
SHAH: Yes. Once you escape the 6- to 9-month period, in general, if the stent has stayed open during that long, it's very unlikely to reclose after that.
KING: So his prognosis should be good as long as he takes good care of himself.
KING: Thanks, Dr. Shah.
SHAH: Any time.
KING: Dr. P.k. Shah, director of the division of cardiology Cedars-Sinai.
Let's go down to Tallahassee. Dexter Douglass is the attorney for the Gore campaign. In Miami, Barry Richard is the lead Florida trial counsel for the Bush campaign.
Dexter, are you surprised that they have appealed the Florida Supreme Court decision, attempting the Supreme Court to hear it?
DEXTER DOUGLASS, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Well, Larry, in this case, everything changes by the hour, nothing is surprising anymore. This was I think signaled that they would probably do this, so we're not really surprised.
KING: Barry Richard, are you surprised or were you part of that decision?
BARRY RICHARD, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: I wasn't part of the decision. We've got about 22 cases pending in Florida in five cities, I was down in West Palm Beach arguing one of the cases this morning in addition to following the others. So I just really didn't have anything to do with that decision.
I'm not surprised, because...
KING: Barry, let me interrupt. Let me hold you right there because we have made contact on the phone -- we invited him earlier today -- Dick Cheney from his hospital bed at George Washington University Hospital is joining us. How are you feeling, Dick?
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I feel pretty good, Larry.
KING: Well, you sound great.
CHENEY: Well, it's -- you've been through this procedure yourself, I'm sure...
CHENEY: ... but no, I feel good and everything's looking good. We did a stent today. But everything's fine, and the catheterization looked good, so I should be out of here in a day or two.
KING: Dr. P.K. Shah is in the studio. We just talked to him about this. He's director of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai. And I know you had it done at George Washington, which is where they did your surgery, right?
CHENEY: That's right. I did bypass here about 12 years ago and the docs here have taken some great care of me over the years.
KING: I know when it happened to me -- were you scared, Dick, this morning?
CHENEY: No, it's one of those things where I had learned, had drummed into me properly so over the years that any time you feel something that might be cardiac-related, you go check it out. And that's good advice for everybody, but especially anybody who has a history of coronary artery disease, as I do.
KING: And now, so they did the stent. I guess you get to watch that, don't you?
KING: Kind of weird...
CHENEY: ... and the initial test when I first came in didn't show anything, any changes at all, but we decided to go ahead and do the stent anyway -- not the stent but the catheterization anyway -- and since I was already here. And that's when they discovered that I did have a blockage in one small artery and decided to go ahead and proceed to do the stent, made that decision actually while they were doing the test.
KING: Yes, they do it right there.
KING: Was the blockage in a new artery or in a graft?
CHENEY: No, it was a new artery, not in a graft. The grafts were fine, and there had been -- aside from this one location, there had been no progression of the disease over the last many years, which was good news.
KING: Does this mean, Dick, that you have to now take double the care and attention to yourself?
CHENEY: That's true, but you've got to do that anyway. And it's a healthy reminder of the importance of behaving yourself, getting plenty of sleep, watching what you eat, avoid all of those bad habits.
KING: And how about stress?
CHENEY: Well, I -- frankly, it may sound hard to believe, but I have not found this last couple of weeks as stressful, for example, as, say, the Gulf War. Really comparing the relative stress in different situations, my time in the Pentagon during the Gulf War was far more stressful.
KING: Is there a sort of a feeling now like -- with regard to the election, it's out of your hands?
CHENEY: Well, it's kind of felt that way for about two weeks. We've...
... and I can report that when they got in there today they didn't find any pregnant chads at all, Larry.
KING: And Dick, is there -- if you assume this post -- and that's always a big if with the way this goes back and forth every day -- are you fully capable of doing any duties that the president may ask you to do, because the vice president's duties are encumbered on what the president asks him to do?
CHENEY: Sure, yes. No, there shouldn't be any problems of any kind like that. Obviously, I'd always follow my doctor's advice. In that kind of situation, it's the only fair way to proceed. But we don't anticipate any trouble.
KING: No doubt about you serving?
CHENEY: No doubt about my serving. All we have to do now is get elected.
KING: So you don't get Thanksgiving in McLean, though; you get it at the hospital?
CHENEY: I'm going to be here at GW tomorrow. They may bring me some turkey from home.
KING: Yes, you're allowed to eat that.
CHENEY: Well, Alma Powell, as a matter of fact, called this afternoon and offered to cook our turkey, so we've accepted that offer.
KING: Dick, be well. We'll see you in a few days.
CHENEY: All right. Good to talk to you, Larry.
KING: Thank you.
That's Dick Cheney, from his hospital bed at George Washington University Hospital.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Barry Richard and Dexter Douglass right after this.
KING: Now we are back with Dexter Douglass in Tallahassee, attorney for the Gore campaign, and Barry Richard in Miami, lead Florida trial counsel for the Bush campaign.
I interrupted you, Barry, you are happy it's going to the United States Supreme Court. Do you think they will hear it?
RICHARD: It's impossible to predict what the Supreme Court is going to do.
You had asked me just before we took the break about whether this had been planned and I think one of the interesting aspects about this and what's different than anything I have been involved in before is the tremendous speed at which everything moves. There is just no time to plan something in the normal course. You've got to plan everything in advance. So, this was planned for with all of the other options.
KING: So, when I asked you that last night and you said there was certainly thinking, you have to think alternatives quickly in a case where you have a deadline and there is never a case like this.
RICHARD: That is correct. You not only have to think, you have to have all of the potential papers that you might file in any given court prepared. So we have been preparing papers in every court that we might have go to under any circumstances.
KING: And Dexter, is that true of the other side as well?
DOUGLASS: Yes, it is. And, also, you might add that we have all kinds of briefs and parts of briefs ready to put together in a lot of instances, too. It is very complicated but that is why I say nothing surprises you and everything changes, hourly it seems. And we try to stay ready and I guess, Barry, you have the same problem, don't you?
RICHARD: This is the Mr. Potatohead of the legal world. We just pick up the next piece and stick it on, wherever it's appropriate.
KING: Now, Dexter, were you surprised that the Miami board stopped counting?
DOUGLASS: Well, I was surprised at that. I thought they would go ahead. Of course, I wasn't on the ground, so I wasn't expecting it. And I think it is being addressed, I believe.
KING: Right now, I think.
DOUGLASS: Yes, it is my understanding that a writ of mandamus was filed with the third district court of appeal and it's being briefed or maybe it has been briefed. I don't known when the hearing is, but I would presume it will be promptly.
KING: Barry, were you surprised at that ruckus today? at what this has come to on both sides?
RICHARD: Let me just mention with respect to what Dexter just said. I just received word before we went on the air that the petition in the third district has been denied by the third district court of appeals without oral argument.
No, I'm not surprised at the ruckus. I'm actually surprised that we have had less of that given the time and the nature of this proceeding.
KING: With that denial, Dexter, where do they go from here?
DOUGLASS: I wouldn't say. I don't know the grounds of the denial. I would assume, if there is a basis for it that something would be filed with the Supreme Court. KING: So. Barry, if they don't start recounting, now they go to a higher court, if Miami never recounts, there is always going to be a major fuss over this, isn't there? If Miami never recounts and just submits what it had on November 8th, we are going to have a tainted view of this. People are going to be screaming, right?
RICHARD: Well, it depends on how you look at it. Miami never had any basis or never suggested any basis for counting in the first place. They just began the count with -- they had no indication of any problems. They didn't do a prior count that indicated any difference in the tabulation. They just decided to count. Then they arbitrarily decided not to count, then they arbitrarily decided to start again.
So, I'm not being critical of the board, but what I'm saying is that if have you have a situation in which there is no need or reason to begin in first place, then you can't really be critical of the board if they decide to discontinue, especially when they are faced with a November 26th deadline, and have to decide whether they have the resources to do all of it. You certainly wouldn't want to do it partially and try to turn those figures in.
KING: How about, Dexter, those 10,000 ballots that they said they were going to count where no president was picked?
DOUGLASS: Well, those probably have a lot of votes in them, and I think the people that voted, if they are valid under the law, they should be counted. But, I'm not familiar with what's going on down there on the ground. So I wouldn't want to make any comments that might be interpreted one way or the other as having some efficacy for positions being taken.
On at the hand, I will be very anxious to learn why the mandamus petition was denied, the writ, and we will look forward to finding that out. It seems to me that they could have sent -- may have sent them back to the circuit court or may have anticipated it being decided in the Supreme Court. But I don't know and I presume, Barry, you haven't...
KING: Barry, do you know details?
RICHARD: My understanding is they denied it. They did indicate in the denial that there was no prejudice to the plaintiffs seeking an audience before the Florida Supreme Court.
KING: All right, let me get a break, come back with some more moments with Dexter Douglass and Barry Richard. And then we'll meet a Congresswoman, Republican of Florida, a Congressman, Democrat of Florida, get their read on all of this.
Curiouser and curiouser, we'll be right back.
KING: Couple of quick more questions, Barry, if Gore can't make it up in Palm Beach and Broward County all of this other stuff is moot isn't it?
RICHARD: Yes, it is.
KING: Would you agree, Dexter, if Gore doesn't take the lead in Florida all this is extraneous?
DOUGLASS: I think that would be correct. By the time that the Electoral College meets, actually, the deadline, I believe, is the 12th of December for the people to be selected and in that regard. So, what has to be done, has to be done quickly, and has to be done right away and that is the way we have done it.
I think Barry will tell you, as he pointed out, none of us has ever been in anything that moved this fast and this many courts at one time. And it has been a great experience and we have been working with great lawyers and great clients. And I think both of us are very pleased to have been a part of this, because it has been handled, at least on the legal plane, by very good lawyers working against each other but together. And I have certainly enjoyed working again with Barry. He is an excellent, excellent lawyer.
RICHARD: That is mutual.
KING: Barry, a couple of just final quick thing for each of you: Barry, can the U.S. Supreme Court move real quickly? For example, let's say gore does take the lead in Florida, could the U.S. Supreme Court hear this on Monday?
RICHARD: Sure, the U.S. Supreme Court could do just about anything it wants to do. But, the answer is absolutely, and it has taken cases that quickly.
DOUGLASS: Well, I think briefs are due right away, aren't they, Barry? Somebody told me tomorrow.
RICHARD: I know that we filed the petition for certiorari today. I don't know whether there has been an order for briefs to be filed. Ordinarily, when you file the petition, the brief comes at a set time. I don't know if there have been any orders accelerating it. If you know that, then you are a step ahead of me.
DOUGLASS: I was told that, but I haven't verified it. But it seems very likely that that would be the case. And, of course, we will be working on that, and I doubt if Barry and I want to make any comments as we haven't seen the documents.
KING: I thank you both very much. We'll be seeing a lot more of you. Two of the finest, Dexter Douglass and Barry Richard. When we come back, we'll meet Congresswoman Lehtinen -- Congresswoman Ros- Lehtinen and Congressman Peter Deutsch and get their slant on this. By the way, LARRY KING LIVE will be live over the weekend, Saturday night, and a special Sunday night. Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern, a live edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back. Joining us now in my old former town of 20 years, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, and Congressman Peter Deutsch, Democrat of Florida. We'll start with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, were you surprised, Congresswoman, that the Florida Supreme Court ruled that way?
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R), FLORIDA: Surprised because I think the rule of law should be the rule of law all the time and not be manipulated to fit the certain circumstances. And I think that the decision today by the Miami-Dade canvassing board to stop all manual recounts was the correct one.
After all, remember the Supreme Court did not say that we -- they had to do a manual recount. They only made sure they would all be in by Sunday. It didn't say that it didn't even speak to the validity of the vote count, but what happened in the Miami-Dade canvassing board is that that manual recount should have never taken place in the -- at all, Larry, because the rule of law is very simple.
It says that these are ballots that are being made especially to be counted by a computer. They're not made to be touched by human hands and every time that we tug and we touched and we pulled one, what would happen is that you would end up with a perforation where there was none before. And there was no allegations of voter fraud or machine malfunctioning in Miami-Dade. So that manual recount should have never taken place.
KING: Congressman Deutsch, I know other states have different rulings. Illinois does count the tabs in the chads. I think Texas does, too. Were you surprised that Miami-Dade stopped counting?
REP. PETER DEUTSCH (D), FLORIDA: Well, I was shocked that they stopped counting. Obviously, I have a different take of the Supreme Court than my good friend, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen does. The Supreme Court, I expected that decision, because, first of all, Florida law provides for manual recounts.
As you just mentioned a number of other states do for a very clear reason, because they are more accurate. The computers cannot read partially detached chads or dimpled chads or holes in chads, and the only way to do that is by visual inspection.
So what we did in Broward County, it was completed, over 500,000 ballots. Very well done. Four people at each desk: Two supervisor election people, a representative of the Bush campaign, a representative of the Gore campaign. There were literally no allegations -- there were sheriff's deputies in room -- no allegations of eating chads or smoking chads or drinking chads at all.
And all that Vice President Gore wants, I think all the American people want is a fair accurate count. And I would be shocked in Supreme Court of Florida allows Miami-Dade to defy its order to have fair and accurate count.
ROS-LEHTINEN: ... the Florida Supreme Court did not order Miami- Dade County to do the count. This is certainly a decision to be made by the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board and they made it and it should have never taken place in the first place. And when you talk about, Peter, hanging chads and what we say is the Democratic Party has changed rules in -- right in middle of the game.
And this was on Election Day, this was standards that Palm Beach County was using to determine chads and which vote was valid. It says, but a chad -- and this is from the supervisor of elections -- but a chad that is fully attached bearing only an indentation should not be counted as a vote. An indentation may result from a voter placing the stylus in position but not punching through. Thus an indentation is not evidence of intent and now they change the rules.
KING: Congressman Ros-Lehtinen, let me get a word in. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, do you count it strange that there are 10,000 ballots in which nobody voted for president?
ROS-LEHTINEN: I think that human error happens all the time.
ROS-LEHTINEN: But that does not mean.
KING: 10,000 no votes for president is not strange to you?
ROS-LEHTINEN: When you compare it to what has happened in other elections and what could happen in other elections.
KING: Are you saying there are there are ballots in Miami, frequently with 10,000 no votes for president of the United States?
ROS-LEHTINEN: I think it's very clear to see on ballot and that's what machine count is for. But I'll tell you what is strange. What is strange is what the Florida Democratic Party is trying to do to disenfranchise our servicemen and women's votes. Now, this is -- this is -- a memo -- this is a memo they have circulated.
KING: We've got limited time, Congresswoman. I'm going to have to give Congressman Deutsch some time here -- Peter.
DEUTSCH: Let me respond specifically to comment that she made on the military overseas ballots, and let me be very direct very clear on that. The statement that Al Gore tried to stop our service people from voting is the most outrageous comment I believe I've ever heard in my life and it's literally at the level of a blood libel. Al Gore did not do that. There were many overseas ballots that were rejected, but there were rejected by the canvassing boards in the 67 counties in Florida, most of which are Republican counties. Now I don't blame those canvassing board members for trying to stop servicemen and women from voting and in fact what has been determined is that there is a conflict between Florida law and federal law regarding some of these ballots and I, along with, I think, all Americans, do not want to see one serviceman ballot rejected because all those ballots should be counted.
KING: I got...
ROS-LEHTINEN: But Peter, the Democratic Party sent all the lawyers protest sheets so they...
DEUTSCH: The Republican Party sent out a memo as well. Each party sent out a memo -- each party sent out memo --
KING: This is an appropriate question. Do you two think you can work together in the next Congress?
ROS-LEHTINEN: Well, I think we can. I think that the Republican Party has proved that we've been in power now for several years. We have a good, strong bipartisan way of working things out. And I think that we'll do that in the Senate as well where the Republicans still maintain control, and...
KING: Apparently, the -- the election in Washington now has the Democrat ahead. It may be 50/50.
DEUTSCH: Larry, I think that again, if we have a fair and accurate count, whoever wins -- this is not about electing Al Gore or electing George W. Bush. It's about having fair accurate count, and whoever wins after that I look forward to serving.
But I think what we're seeing unfortunately is really extra-legal activities, like what happened in Dade County today to stop the recount, and what, unfortunately, Governor Bush himself have has alluded to in terms of the Florida legislature doing something unprecedented, that I'm sure the American people will not allow, to supersede the will of people in Florida and elect to send electors to Washington.
KING: I've got to jump in. We look forward to having both of you back, especially up in Washington. Put the two of you together and do an hour. Thanks Congressman Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Peter Deutsch. When we come back, two state representatives will discuss the possible role of the legislature in all of this. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The court cloaked its ruling in legalistic language, but make no mistake, the court rewrote the law. It changed the rules and it did so after the election was over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The state legislature might well get involved. Joining us from Tallahassee, State Representative Mike Fasano, a Republican, and he's Florida House majority leader. And also in Tallahassee, State Representative Lois Frankel, Democrat, Florida House minority leader.
Mike, my friends of constitutional repute tell me that the legislature is the final determination of who the electors are. That's in the article or section 4 of the Constitution. You're the guys that decide it. Is that true?
MIKE FASANO (R), FLORIDA HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: That is true if there's not a remedy found before that time, Larry. We have 6 million people who voted in the state of Florida, and we need to make certain that their voices are heard. And if the Democrats or whomever continue with court case after court case, we may not have 25 delegates on -- 25 electors to vote on December 18th.
KING: Lois, do you fear that if Gore were to win in Florida, that your legislature will go to electors pledged to Bush?
LOIS FRANKEL (D), FLORIDA HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Well, if you were to ask me this question yesterday, I would have said that's impossible, but from what I've heard in the last 24 hours, it sounds more and more likely that they are unwilling to allow Al Gore to win this election fair and square.
KING: And they legally can do that, can they not?
FRANKEL: Well, that's questionable. I mean, 6 million voters went the polls in Florida. They've expressed their will. We've been trying to count those votes for more than a weed now. That's been obstructed. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled and has said, let the recount continue, at least until Sunday.
I think I express the sentiment of all Floridians: Let our votes, let's count those votes, and it would be plain and simple wrong for the Florida legislature to inject itself into this process right now.
KING: Congressman, do you feel that you may have to?
FASANO: Are you talking to me, Larry?
KING: Yes. Do you feel you may have to get involved?
FASANO: Well, the only way we would get involved is, like I said, if a remedy is not found. Larry, we've got -- we've got to do something if the court cases continue. There is a deadline, and you know, some would wonder whether the Gore camp has an ulterior motive here that they don't want Florida to count, that the people of Florida's 25 electors would never be able to vote, and therefore, Gore would have enough votes to win the presidency without Florida.
KING: Are you saying, therefore, Mike, that you might very well choose the electors with the Republican majority in the House and Senate in Tallahassee?
FASANO: There is a very good chance that that may happen if they are not appointed prior to December the 12th. Yes, sir.
KING: And Lois, that looks like a possibility, doesn't it?
FRANKEL: Well, let me say...
KING: With the constant legal battling, it's going to be thrown into your laps, isn't it?
FRANKEL: Well, Larry, let me first respond to my friend Mike Fasano. It is really almost silly to say that Al Gore does not want the votes in Florida to count. Al Gore and the Gore campaign spent many, many hours, weeks, months campaigning in Florida, a lot of money, and he believes that more people voted for him than for George Bush.
But we're at a point now of frustration, and I think, as I said, I express a sentiment of many Floridians and the rest of the country: Let's just get these votes counted. The Republicans have tried to obstruct the recount in every way possible. Perhaps they want to get to a situation where they can say, hey, let's forget about the will of the voters, let's call a special session of the Republican-controlled legislature, and let's snatch the vote away from the Florida voters.
KING: Do you want a special session, Mike?
FASANO: I only want a special session if a remedy is not found. You know, Lois just said that Republicans are on obstructing the process. Miami-Dade decided they were not going to have a recount today. Within minutes, Mr. Daley came out and said that the Gore campaign was going to take the canvassing board to court. That's another legal battle that's going to slow the process down, that's going to put another hurdle before us in selecting the 25 electors. And if they continue to do that, then the legislature has an obligation and a responsibility to the 6 million people who voted on November the 7th to select those electors so we are represented on December 18th.
KING: One gets the feeling the legislature is going to be in the news in the coming days. We thank you both.
When we come back, United States senators...
FASANO: Thank you, Larry.
KING: ... Carl Levin and Tim Hutchinson, and we'll get the view from the United States Senate of all of this, and then our panel. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: All we are asking for is that the rule of law be respected and upheld, and that all the votes be counted in a way that is consistent with Florida law. We don't know what the final count will show, but we are strongly committed to seeing that all the votes are fully and fairly counted within the law. And that, of course, includes all military ballots that are legally cast as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now joining us from Miami is Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, a Gore campaign recount observer, and in New York, Senator Tim Hutchinson, Republican of Arkansas. He was in Florida earlier in this process, and he's visiting family up in the Northeast.
Senator Levin, if you're the recount observer in Miami, you have nothing to observe. Do you have a comment?
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), GORE RECOUNT OBSERVER: We also were in Broward County today, too, and things were very, very calm in both places, as a matter of fact. One of the things that my constituents in Michigan want to know is really two things: Is everybody who voted being counted, and secondly, are these institutions working in a thoughtful, serious way so that chaos isn't reigning? And I was really very pleasantly surprised when I got to both Miami and to Ford Lauderdale, that things in the counting rooms are very calm, very serious, people are civil.
KING: Were you surprised that Miami -- were you surprised that Miami stopped?
LEVIN: I was. I thought that the Supreme Court here ruled quite clearly that the county should continue, and that may in fact go back to the Supreme Court tomorrow. But you know, courts are here to resolve disputes,and the fact that both parties have taken matters to court should not surprise people. That's what courts are for in election contests.
KING: Senator Hutchinson, were you glad to see your side of the ledger go to the -- attempt now to go to the United States Supreme Court?
SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: Well, I think that was the appropriate step. My colleagues on the Republican side in the Senate, I think our great frustration is the constant changing of the rules after the election, and whether it was the changing of the certification date, as the court ruled yesterday, or whether it is the subjectivity in determining how these chads are counted. And if Al Gore should pull into the lead on the basis of dimpled ballots that have never before been counted in the state of Florida, I think that that is a bad circumstance to try to approach the White House. KING: Senator Levin, is that a good point?
LEVIN: Actually, the rules here were not changed. This was an interpretation of existing law by the Florida Supreme Court as to what the rules are. It was never confronted with this kind of an issue. But these kinds of chads are, have been counted by these counties around Florida in this election.
They've been counted for instance in Massachusetts. Very clearly in a MasterCard Supreme Court case, in an Illinois Supreme Court case, they addressed this issue. As a matter of fact, where courts have looked at this effort to mark a chad, courts have said that the voter's intent is what must dominate. This is a democracy where we want voters to be counted, who go to the polls and wait in line to vote. So, there's nothing unusual about this kind of a manual count.
HUTCHINSON: Larry, if I might, the fact is that for the last 10 years it's been the policy they would not count dimpled ballots in the state of Florida. And I heard a Democrat attorney from Florida just earlier on CNN say that it's a very ad-hoc process.
Well, that's our objection. It is very subjective. And it is, in fact, changing moment by moment and that's no way for this process to move forward. I think it's unfortunate that Vice President Gore has pushed us to this precipice. I think he wants to win too badly.
LEVIN: I think both parties feel that about the other party and it's a mistake to make these kind, it seems to me, of excessive, rhetorical attacks. Both parties want to win equally. Both parties have gone to court. Both parties, in many states have both challenged elections, have gone to court.
Chads have been counted this way in Florida in this election and before. It is nothing new in Florida. And, as a matter of fact, in the state that Governor Bush represents, this is exactly the way they count ballots. They look for the voter's intent.
HUTCHINSON: No it's not.
LEVIN: That is the key thing. Look for the voter's intent.
HUTCHINSON: It is true but in Texas the statute is quite different and you in fact must be able to show evidence beyond the dimple that gives clear evidence of the intent of the voter.
LEVIN: Let me read you the Texas statute. It's not beyond a dimple. All you have to show is an indentation in the chad from the stylus, which indicates -- let me read it -- which indicates an ascertainable intent. That's all Texas requires. That's exactly what they're doing in Florida.
HUTCHINSON: A lone dimple is not sufficient to ascertain the intent of the voter and that's the problem that we are everything with the counting in Florida.
(CROSSTALK) KING: Are you fellows going to be able to work together no matter who is president if you have a 50/50 Senate?
LEVIN: Absolutely, and I think that the stronger our institutions are, the more we rely on the courts, whatever the outcome is, the better off we will be. These attacks on court opinions weaken our institutions and, it seems to me, make it more difficult for us to work afterwards. But we will work together.
KING: The question, Senator Hutchinson, is will you work together?
HUTCHINSON: We will work together but the court decision really usurped the role of the legislature in Florida and it's important for us to speak out.
But, yes, we are going to work together. I think the world of Senator Levin and I look forward to working with him on a 50/50 or 51- 49, whatever basis we have next year.
LEVIN: To say that a court opinion usurped something after a court has decided something is exactly the kind of attack on the court which, it seems to me, undermines public confidence. The court has decided. It decided unanimously. You might not like the decision.
HUTCHINSON: They rewrote a law.
LEVIN: They didn't rewrite a law. They do what courts do all the time, which is interpret law.
HUTCHINSON: They didn't interpret it; they rewrote it.
LEVIN: No, they interpret it and when the losing party doesn't like the opinion, then they say they rewrote it.
HUTCHINSON: That's not an interpretation; it's a rewriting.
KING: OK, fellows. Have a happy Thanksgiving, guys.
HUTCHINSON: Thanks Larry.
KING: Senator Levin, Senator Tim Hutchinson, when we come back, Daniel Schorr, Ron Brownstein and Roger Cossack. A live LARRY KING LIVE Saturday and Sunday. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Daniel Schorr. He's in Washington, senior news analyst, National Public Radio. In Tallahassee, Ron Brownstein, political reporter for "The Los Angeles Times" and a political analyst for CNN. And in Washington, Roger Cossack our CNN legal analyst. Daniel Schorr, events seem to change every other minute. What do you make of today's two big news? Gore is going try to fight the stopping of the recount in Miami and Bush is going to the Supreme Court to fight the Florida Supreme Court.
DANIEL SCHORR, NPR SENIOR NEWS ANALYST: Let me first say, I hear there's now a bumper sticker down in Florida, which reads: "Don't blame me. I voted for Gore, I think."
What's to make of it? If there is any way in which this thing can go into another court, it will be found. Neither side wants to give up. The relations between them are getting increasingly bitter. I would not have expected them to go to the Supreme Court having been turned down on almost similar grounds by the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta and yet they do.
If there's any court that it doesn't have a case, there will be a case there tomorrow.
KING: Ron, there is no precedent for this. Reportorially, what kind of story has it been for you?
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": It's astounding to try to keep track of. You know, it's proliferating on so many different fronts. It just sprawls out every day and it's a little like the CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll during the election where you had all these wild swings and you woke up one morning thinking Bush is going to be president. The next day it looks like Gore is going to be president. You know, Al Gore must have gone to sleep last night whistling "Hail to the Chief" and by noon today he's cursing Miami.
So it's an astonishing roller coaster for everyone who is part of it and it really has no end quite in sight.
KING: And do you think, Ron, as vituperative as it is, as we've seen on the show tonight, it's going to be very hard for these people to come together?
BROWNSTEIN: Extremely difficult, in some ways this is the bookend, I think, to impeachment. An election season that began with impeachment and this intense bitterness between the parties, each side feeling the others are sort of ideological extremists, is now ending in the same way. I mean, we have had an election probably as close to a tie as any presidential election since 1880.
And there's no way our system, really, can deal with the fact that it's very hard to say who won Florida, you know, no matter how many times we do this. So I think half the people in the country, since that was the split in the vote, are going to feel as though their side was ripped off no matter what happens.
KING: Roger Cossack, will the United States Supreme Court here the Republican appeal, do you think?
ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Larry, that's -- to answer your question, I probably would predict that -- I will predict that they won't hear the appeal. But having said that, you knows, there's no way to know.
But let me just tell you this: We were talking, as Ron Brownstein points out, the wild swings that go back and forth if tomorrow the United States Supreme Court says, no, we will not hear the appeal, and if tomorrow the court decides to order the Miami-Dade County to start the recount again, the swing goes the other way and Al Gore is back to singing "Hail to the Chief."
KING: And Daniel Schorr, is it becoming, Daniel, a pox on both thy houses?
SCHORR: Well, that's what the country is beginning to say and I must say it makes you almost nostalgic for impeachment.
At least we knew, it had a form, it had a content to it.
KING: A beginning and an end.
SCHORR: A beginning, a middle and an end and you more or less knew where it was going to go, once it got into the Senate because you could count.
Here, being able to count doesn't help you. Nothing helps you but this is not just a game that's being played here. Increasingly we begin to wonder how, which, whoever the president is going to be is, going to get along with the other party in Congress. There's a sense of increasing embitterment. Words are being used like overreaching, which Governor Bush said today, like rewriting the law, stealing the election. That's more like what you hear from Republicans in Congress.
And all that language will have to be lived down at some point if our country is to go on. And that's what really worries me.
KING: We'll be right back with more comments from Schorr, Brownstein and Cossack. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't forget, we'll have live editions throughout the weekend, Sunday night included. And tomorrow night on the program will be some of the top talk radio talk hosts in the country, including Ronn Owens and Neal Boortz and Jim Bohannon. We'll be right back.
KING: By the way, if you joined us late I'm sure it will be repeated later on news casts. We want to thank Dick Cheney very much for calling in tonight from his hospital bed to assure us as to how well his angioplasty went today. And now the impossible question for pundits, Ron Brownstein how is all this going to end?
BROWNSTEIN: Boy, it's hard to see how the end comes. The most -- the cleanest end in some ways would be if would be if the recounts go forward through Sunday and Al Gore simply does not have enough votes to overcome George W. Bush. The problem is with Miami dropping out, that could become the basis for a contest to the result even if Gore falls short. I suspect that we're going to see a lot more maneuvers, but the fact is by December 12th the state has to agree on electors. The thought of the state legislature coming in here is an explosive, I think, possibility. especially since Governor Bush's brother is the governor here. And you know, there's still a few more cards to be played.
The problem, Larry, is that neither one of these guys can get far enough ahead of the other that maneuvers seem futile. I mean, no one can get an insurmountable lead and I think that until we hit that December 12th deadline they may keep twitching. You know, sort of striking at each other wherever they can.
KING: Roger, what's the difference between a contest and protest?
COSSACK: A protest is what we have just gone through, Larry. That's an argument about the way the procedure went for the vote, the way the votes were counted. All these things we've heard about chad and all the other issues we've heard.
Now once a decision is made, then a contest could be filed under Florida law and that contest by the loser would say, we believe this whole election was wrong, that fraud was done or I think the statute almost is so broad that it says for almost any reason and then the whole election is reviewed one more time. And of course, that's what the Florida Supreme Court was concerned about by setting these dates that we've heard set so soon because they want to get room for a contest.
KING: Do you think, Roger, then that both these candidates, whichever one loses Sunday night, will contest?
COSSACK: Larry, the way it looks right now, if I had to predict, I would say they will contest. I guess what the country is waiting for is for somebody to stand up and show a little statesmanship and say, you know, this has gone far enough, I give up. Aren't I a wonderful person and the whole country should love me. But certainly, the way it looks now, the statutory authority is there for them to contest, and it doesn't seem like any of them will stop.
SCHORR: Larry, I have a dream. It's only a dream. I have a dream that the two candidates get together and say, let's declare a government of national unity. We split the Cabinet between us.
KING: That's some dream. With all the fight that's gone on, Daniel, do you think that it's now virtually impossible for either one of these guys to give up?
SCHORR: I do agree this is impossible. They have fought too hard. They've invested too much of themselves in it, and there's too much prestige riding on it. Furthermore, they're both under great pressure from their parties behind them and yes, I don't think they can give up.
KING: Ron Brownstein, is there any good that can come of this? BROWNSTEIN: Yes, do I think that something along the lines of what Dan Schorr was talking about. I mean, the fact is this election showed that the country is about as evenly divided between the parties as it's been in the last hundred years. We have a 50/50 Senate. If Bush wins, it would be the second narrowest Electoral College majority ever. And the fact is that neither party can roll the other.
The only was to get things done is to establish bipartisan cooperation in Congress and in the country and I think this whole incredible episode has to sober the winner. Sober the winner into doing things like appointing people from the other party to their Cabinet, maybe even adopting some of the ideas of the loser. Maybe even giving the loser a job, you know, like Franklin Roosevelt did with Wendell Wilkie after 1940.
But they're going to have to find ways to reach across party lines because one side simply doesn't have enough strength to roll the other in this environment.
KING: Extremes then, Ron, of the right and left will be diminished?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, that's going to be the challenge for whoever wins because the problem with Congress is it's even divided but it's polarized. It's not there are a vast number of centrists. You've got a lot of conservative Republicans, a lot of liberal Democrats in the House.
So whoever wins is going to have to show a lot strength to reach out to discipline the extremes of their party and try to reach out to the moderates of the other because otherwise, Larry, they are headed for disaster. If either guy tries to impose an ideological agenda in this environment, it is a recipe for a one-term presidency.
KING: Roger Cossack, do you see any happy legal ending?
COSSACK: Well, yes, I would say the best thing that could happen would be and I know that my Republican friends are going to be angry, would be if the Supreme Court turns this down. And the reason is because at least that will put an end to that part of the legal wrangling and at least get things back to square one.
You know, I've been involved in these kinds of lawsuits, perhaps nothing quite as great as this, and these things take on lives of their own and the parties who get involved in them get angrier and angrier and there's just no backing off.
KING: Thank you all very much. Daniel Schorr, Ron Brownstein, Roger Cossack. Daniel, next time you're on, which could be tomorrow the way things can go here, give us your next dream. Stay tuned now for a special edition of "NEWSSTAND" and then a special hour edition of "THE SPIN ROOM" following that. Tomorrow night, radio talk show hosts will tell us what their listeners are saying. And we'll be hearing from the likes of Ron Owens and Jim Bohannon and Neal Boortz. We thank Dick Cheney for being part of program tonight, and remember LARRY KING LIVE live over the weekend, Sunday included. Stay tuned for "NEWSSTAND" and good night.
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