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Inside Politics

Election 2000: Florida Supreme Court Refuses to Order Miami- Dade to Continue Manual Recount; Bush Camp Petitions U.S. Supreme Court

Aired November 23, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



CRAIG WATERS, FLA. SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: The writ is without prejudice.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The Florida Supreme Court rules once again, upholding the decision of one Florida county, despite Vice President Al Gore's objections. And, will the U.S. Supreme Court step in? Looking at the latest legal moves on this national holiday.



GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to wish everybody, all my friends and family, a happy thanksgiving!


BLITZER: The Florida standoff marches on, with neither candidate able to count the presidency among his thanksgiving blessings.

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.

BLITZER: Thanks for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer. Bernie and Judy have the day off.

With most Americans celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, one might have expected the Florida political roller coaster to slow down a bit today. Indeed, the two presidential candidates, George W. Bush and Al Gore, are spending the day at home with their families, and just one Florida county, Broward, continued with its manual vote recount.

But with the clock ticking toward a 5:00 p.m. Sunday deadline for three counties to turn in manual recounts, the Gore team was dealt a disappointing blow by the Florida Supreme Court, one that could significantly dampen their chances for victory.

But Gore lawyers signal they are ready to keep fighting past the Sunday night deadline if necessary.

We were awaiting news conference from Gore attorney Kendall Coffey in Miami, but in the meantime, we go to Tallahassee and CNN's Kate Snow.

Tell us what's going on, the latest, Kate?

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the legal team for Vice President Al Gore has not really been taking a holiday today on Thanksgiving; they have been hard at work. They had filed a petition earlier this morning with the Florida State Supreme Court, asking the Supreme Court to get involved in what's happening down in Miami-Dade County. Specifically, they asked court to intervene, and essentially force county to restart process of recounting the votes. Late afternoon, this request was denied, their petition denied by the Florida Supreme Court.

Joining me now is Ron Klain, who is a senior legal adviser to the Gore campaign and was much involved in all of it.

Let's start with decision that came out of supreme court. Surely, you were a little bit disappointed with that.

RON KLAIN, ADVISER TO GORE CAMPAIGN: Well, of course we're disappointed. We'd like to see these votes counted sooner than later, but the Supreme Court today made it clear that in rejecting our request to order a count now, they are leaving open the path for to us get those votes counted later in other action in the Florida court. It's important that there be a full, fair and accurate count of those votes under Florida law. That will happen. We'd rather sooner than later, but it's going to happen.

SNOW: And the way you think it's going to happen, you are now prepared to file a contest to contest specifically in Miami-Dade County. Tell me when do you plan to do that?

KLAIN: Yes, we will certainly contest. If indeed, as they've said they're going to, the Miami-Dade board files a return of votes that's incomplete, that leaves out thousands and thousands of ballots of people that went to polls and voted and have a right to have their votes counted. If those votes are counted, we're going to contest that return, because it leaves out too many people, and we'll file that here in Tallahassee in court, probably Monday morning.

SNOW: Does it have to wait until the state certification on Sunday night, or could you do it sooner?

KLAIN: Well, I think it's unclear. I think we're going to file it as soon as possible. Obviously, it's a holiday weekend up here, I think, but our anticipation is we will file it Monday morning, perhaps soon, to make sure that those ballots in Dade County that people cast get counted. Those people have right to have their votes counted, and that's what we're fighting for.

SNOW: What about that December 12th deadline that looms when you have to have your electors chosen -- they have to have their electors chosen in Florida, or they may not be part of process at all. Is there a chance that by filing contest, you jeopardize that December 12th deadline?

KLAIN: I don't think so. The supreme court in its opinion earlier this week which set the Sunday deadline for getting returns in, set it so there would be adequate time for contest actions by both campaigns to dispute returns that are still disputed. The Bush campaign has moved to contest the results in some counties. We're now going to contest the results in Miami-Dade County. The courts left time to do that. It will be a tight timeline, but the courts move very fast down here. I don't think that's going to be a problem at all.

SNOW: What if on Sunday might, Vice President Al Gore is ahead and has enough votes to put him over George W. Bush, do you still go ahead and contest Miami-Dade?

KLAIN: Yes, we expect the Bush campaign will be pursuing contests. We're going to pursue contests, at least with regard to Miami-Dade.

You know, the important thing is get the vote tally right. Voters have been left out in Miami-Dade. They have a right to be counted, and we're going to pursue this action to make sure those ballots are counted in a full, fair and accurate way.

SNOW: So the vice president would not, on Sunday night, after this 5:00 deadline that we've all been talking about, he would not be prepared to come out and claim that he is president of the United States at that point?

KLAIN: Well, I think it seems there will be legal action by both sides at that point. Hopefully, the courts can wrap it up very, very quickly. But the fact of matter you know, to know who's the president, the votes have to be counted, they have to be counted the right way. That didn't happen in Dade County, and we're going to make sure it happens.

SNOW: How intimately involved is the vice president in these decisions. You have been meeting throughout the day today. Is he in on all those phone calls?

KLAIN: No, he has been taking day with his family. Bill Daley, our campaign manager, consulted with him a couple of times this afternoon, but it's been a family day for the vice president and his family. They're enjoying Thanksgiving, and that's what he's been focused on today.

SNOW: But just to be clear, he did sign off on this decision to go ahead with the protest -- excuse me, the contest?

KLAIN: You know, absolutely. I think he has made it very clear that what he wants is the people of Florida who went to polls and voted, get those votes and counted. I don't see why that should and political issue at all. I think people in both parties should support that, that if someone took trouble to go and vote, that vote should count.

SNOW: OK, attorney for the Gore campaign, senior legal adviser, Ron Klain, down here in Tallahassee with us, appreciate you joining us.

KLAIN: Sure.

SNOW: We'll send it back to you -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Kate Snow in Tallahassee, thank you very much, thank Ron Klain as well.

Here in Washington, Gore's lawyers are preparing their response to George W. Bush's appeal asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop all recounting in Florida. That filing is expected just about an hour or so from now. With his legal team busy in Florida and the nation's capitol, the vice president spent a quiet day at home with his family.

Our Patty Davis joins us now with some details -- Patty.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, in the midst of all this fast breaking news, we have not heard from Vice President Al Gore today. He is in official residence behind me.

But the Gore campaign certainly disappointed there. It had been hoping that it did not have go this route, go back to court, and contest the Miami-Dade results there and try to compel them go back and recount those hand ballots by hand.

The -- obviously, the Gore campaign now saying that thinks that it can overcome George W. Bush even without Miami-Dade County involved, they're saying Broward County as well as Palm Beach County. They think that they can get enough votes. They remain optimistic to put them over the top.

Now there is question of, if Al Gore does lose the election here in Florida, it is certified on Sunday night, what is public perception? Will the public remain behind him? Doug Hattaway, the Gore spokesman, said earlier this evening that he thinks not, he thinks the public will remain behind Al Gore because it wants to see a full, fair and accurate count; it wants the person who really won this election to walk away with Florida and become the president of the United States.

As you said, the Gore campaign is also battling in federal court. Many fronts here, state court, federal court. 6:00 p.m. tonight, it's expected to file its reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court. It is saying that the U.S. Supreme Court does not need to get involved here, that state court is enough; this is not case which federal jurisdiction should take precedence -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Patty Davis, just outside the vice presidential residence here in Washington, thanks for joining us.

Let's get some more now on the Bush campaign's petitions before the U.S. Supreme Court and the likely Gore arguments. Joining us now Bob Franken, who's standing by near the Supreme Court -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Bush campaign claims there are constitutional violations with what's going on in Florida. That's why they've come to Supreme Court. The Gore campaign will argue that the Constitution, the U.S. Constitution, is strongly on their side. First of all saying that the principle here is that every voter has a constitutional right to have his or her vote counted.

And secondly, they will say that the Constitution makes it absolutely clear that elections are state matters, not federal matters. They will be quoting article two of the Constitution. And for those of us not memorized it, it's probably good to have a refresher court here. It's says, "Each state shall appoint in such manner as the legislatures thereof may direct a number of electors" et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That will be the fundamental argument that they'll be making against the Bush claim that the 14 amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing equal protection under the law is really just not principle argument, that the article two that was just stated really means this should stay in the state courts, should not be part of a federal court litigation, particularly before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now you might be asking, why the Gore campaign is not considering appealing the Dade County decision by the Florida State Supreme Court the U.S. Supreme Court. That would be a route that could be taken. The official, on-the-record response, Wolf, is that this is not federal question at this time, but privately, the various lawyers in the Gore campaign admit the obvious, which is, that they would have a great difficulty coming to U.S. Supreme Court and contradicting the very arguments they are making against the Bush campaign. That could be a problem later if they have a unfavorable result in Florida. They may have argued themselves right out appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Bob, given the urgency of this matter, any expectation to how long it will take the supreme court here in Washington to make a decision on what, if anything, to do.

FRANKEN: Well, they could, of course, rule today or they could wait for a while. The deadline probably is December 18th, when the board of electors, the Electoral College members, are supposed to make their vote.

BLITZER: Bob Franken at the U.S. Supreme Court, thanks for joining us.

The Texas governor meanwhile spent the day with his family, as his attorneys await word form the Supreme Court.

For the latest from the Bush camp, we go to Candy Crowley. She's just outside the governor's mansion in Austin -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, first a sort of holiday- like reply to what is coming out of the Gore camp. That is, that even if George Bush should win and the certification of Florida should come Sunday, as expected, it's expected that the Gore camp will not concede, because there will be further action, this from senior adviser Ari Fleischer.

Today is Thanksgiving, and that is probably the last thing the American people want to hear on a day like today.

As far as what the Bush campaign might do should Al Gore win on Sunday night, what I got was that they were not going to speculate at this point.

A senior aide to Bush also pointed out that it is not at all clear to the Bush campaign, given the kinds of public statements a lot of Democrats have been making, that allies and supporters on Capitol Hill of Vice President Gore would be all that enthused about Gore continuing on should Bush win that recount on Sunday.

So as for the man himself, the governor of Texas, he was enjoying the holiday out and about with family. Mrs. Bush, the governor and their twin daughters went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner, and it won't surprise you that they had turkey. Since then, the governor and Mrs. Bush have taken off for his ranch in Crawford. He's not expected back until the weekend.

What the Bush camp is waiting for on the legal front of course is some sort of reply from the Supreme Court.


MINDY TUCKER, BUSH CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: Our belief is that the fact the supreme court here in Florida changed the rules of election after the election, violates several different statutes, several different clauses, federal and state law, and we'd like for them to take a look at that at Supreme Court level. As far as I know, we have asked for expedited procedures to make this move a little bit quicker than usual, but it hasn't. We have not received any response yet.


CROWLEY: Also on the legal plate for the Bush campaign, their appeal that some of those veterans' overseas vote be recounted in about 12 counties down in Florida. Some of the legal team is enjoying Thanksgiving day off. Others are still writing briefs -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Candy, how optimistic are they are that the U.S. Supreme Court here in Washington will agree to step in and consider what Florida Supreme Court has done?

CROWLEY: You know, it's hard to get a straight answers outs of lawyers as you know, because they give you sort of very evenhanded analysis of what's going on. Clearly, they think this was their best chance, because they sort of circumvented the 11th circuit of appeals, which have the chance to take it back there, as I understand it, if the Supreme Court should turn them down. But there certainly is hope there. Otherwise, they wouldn't have filed, and that's pretty much of the answer that you get.

BLITZER: Candy Crowley in Austin, Texas once again joining us.

Thank you so much.

Let's get some legal perspective now on all of these court battles, and we turn to the CNN legal analyst Greta Van Susteren -- Greta.

Greta, first of all, this decision from the Gore campaign to contest the Miami-Dade result on Monday morning after the 5:00 p.m. Sunday deadline, give us a sense, what does that mean?

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it almost means -- here's the way it works: In the state of Florida, you can protest the vote, which is where we are now. Once you have protest is over, you have a certification. Once the certification is done, you can then go into a procedure called a contest. What is it means is you go to court, but when you have a protest, you go to the canvassing board; you ask them to recount the votes, or check the votes or you do your complaint.

In a contest, you go to court, but what's so interesting is you can have almost the same remedy; you can have a judge order a hand count if there's been some problem with the tabulations. So it's more of a psychological or a political issue than it is a legal, since can you almost get the same relief in court that you could from the canvassing board. It's just a different person that makes the decision.

BLITZER: But it does signal that even if Gore doesn't get enough votes in the recounts in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, they're not going to give up Sunday night.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know. That's for Candy Crowley to answer and you, Wolf, you political people, but you know, it seems like from what the Gore people are saying, is that they intend to go to court and do what's within the Florida election law, which provides them at least a forum to contest the election.

BLITZER: And in the Florida Supreme Court ruling that came down the other day, they did leave open the opportunity for each side to contest various results. This was built in their timeframe, given the December 12 deadline for selecting electors in Florida.

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh absolutely. The Florida Supreme Court was well aware of the fact that if the protest process didn't satisfy both sides, they could move to next process, which is a contest, which is quite routine, and they built that into their decision, the timetable. That's why they put that 5:00 p.m. deadline of Sunday.

BLITZER: Were you surprised the Florida Supreme Court rejected the Gore campaign's appeal to force Miami-Dade to enter into a manual recount?

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know if I was surprised, but it certainly is like getting with a two-by-four right between the eyes by the Gore people, because psychologically, they wanted to have this matter resolved in a protest stage rather than in a contest stage. So it certainly is a blow to the Gore campaign, not so much that they don't have other legal avenues, but just that the momentum they would rather have from a strategic lawyer's standpoint, they rather contest it -- or they'd rather win at the protest than win at contest stage, but they may not even win at all.

BLITZER: Was there anything inconsistent in the Florida Supreme Court today rejecting the Gore appeal to force Miami-Dade into a manual recount, but the other day saying these three counties should go ahead with their manual recount?

VAN SUSTEREN: Look, the job of the Florida Supreme Court is not to write the law, not to invent the law; it's to interpret it. I noticed that earlier, a representative of the Bush campaign was critical of the Florida Supreme Court, said they rules after election. That's what the Bush people are saying. But that wasn't what the Florida Supreme Court did. What the Florida Supreme court did was they looked at the Florida law, they recognized there was an inconsistency, and it was their job to reconcile them and to avoid any problems with ambiguity.

Today, that was their job as well. They looked at the Florida law, they know that if the vice president or even Governor Bush, if the cards fall the other way, they want to contest. The law is there, the process is there. This is a dispute forum. What they tried to do is solve the dispute today, see if a mandamus action was the appropriate thing, to order Miami-Dade's canvassing board to continue the recount. They know there's another avenue so that all the votes can be counted, if indeed that's what you have.

BLITZER: They legal challenges will continue. Greta Van Susteren, thanks once again for joining us.

And here's the latest numbers from the ongoing hand recounts. George W. Bush has an official statewide lead of 930 votes in Florida. But canvassing boards report that recounts have given Al Gore a net gain of 225 in Broward County, and Bush has a net gain of 14 in Palm Beach County. So Bush's unofficial lead for now is 719. The numbers released by the canvassing boards do not include roughly 1,700 disputed ballots in Broward County. Palm Beach County has the day off, but it's board must still review about 300,000 ballots which are counted but not finalized, and as many as 10,000 disputed ballots.

Broward county is recounting contested ballots that have dimpled chad or have only one corner detached. Palm Beach County has similar rules, with an added factor of voter intent in some cases. Based on the Florida Supreme Court's ruling, recounted results must be submitted to the Florida secretary of state by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Sunday to be included in the official state total.

Dick Cheney may be down, but he's definitely not out. Up next, an update on the heart condition that sent him to the hospital for the Thanksgiving holiday. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: This evening, the Bush camp has something to be thankful for: the apparent quick recovery of its number-two man.

CNN's Eileen O'Connor has more on the improvement in Dick Cheney's condition.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vice presidential nominee Richard Cheney was allowed turkey with all the trimmings as he and his family gave thanks for a good report from his doctor at George Washington University Hospital. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, in a written statement from the hospital, said Mr. Cheney is "looking great." If he continues to progress this well, the hospital says, he will be released as early as tomorrow morning.

Cheney underwent angioplasty, a procedure designed to open an artery doctors discovered blocked after Cheney suffered a mild heart attack on Wednesday. His doctor inserted a stent, a kind of scaffolding-like device that will keep the artery open.

Cheney was in good spirits talking to his running mate, George W. Bush, who said he hoped Cheney would be out of the hospital in a day or two. Then Cheney did the dialing, calling his Democratic counterpart, Joseph Lieberman, to wish him a good Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, he had called into CNN's Larry King, denying that the stress of the last two weeks was the culprit in this latest episode, even joking about the battle over ballots taking place in Florida.


DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can report that when they got in there today, they didn't find any pregnant chads at all, Larry.


O'CONNOR: Through the hospital, the Cheney family expressed its appreciation for all the good wishes he had received from Americans.

(on camera): Doctors say they are pleased with the condition of the rest of Mr. Cheney's heart, despite this being his fourth heart attack, and they say he should be under no limitations. Cheney himself says that he is fit to serve as vice president, but now all he has to do is get elected.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.


BLITZER: There is much more ahead on this extended Thanksgiving edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Still to come: the legal battles over recounts in Florida, from Miami-Dade's decision to stop counting to Broward County's ongoing effort.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The supreme court said clear intent. There is a clear intent -- there intent is their voting for George Bush, and I'm inclined to give this to George Bush.


BLITZER: Counting the disputes ballots one vote at a time. And later, America's political divide: what the post-election gap tells us about the nation.


BLITZER: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but first, a look at some other top stories.

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, Israelis and Palestinians are mourning their dead, following the latest round of violence in the Middle East. In Gaza, an Israeli soldier was killed in a shootout today, and another died in an explosion. A Palestinian man was also killed in a bombing incident. Israeli forces have ordered Palestinians out of joint liaison offices in the area. Both sides have held funerals for recent victims of the fighting.

The Palestinians, led by Yasser Arafat, are getting outside help to overcome the effects of violence in the Mideast. It's coming in the form of money. Arab governments, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to the Palestinian territories. Donations could top $550 million. Arafat says hundreds of thousands of his people are unemployed.

Spain's prime minister led hundreds of thousands of protesters on a march through the streets of Barcelona today. The procession was in memory of former Socialist Health Minister Ernest Lluc, gunned down Tuesday night. It was the 21st killing this year blamed on the Basque separatist guerrillas.

It was one year ago today that a 5-year-old Cuban boy was rescued off the coast of Florida. The child's mother died, along with 10 others, when a refugee boat capsized. Over the next seven months, the custody case of Elian Gonzales dominated the headlines. After many court appeals, he was turned over to his father and returned to Cuba. Today, he remains shielded from the media. His family in Cuba says he has adjusted well and shows no signs of trauma.

There was another anniversary in the Big Apple today -- the 74th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Mickey Mouse left his election woes in Florida for New York City. He joined dozens of marching bands, balloons and floats for the festivities. And some 600 clowns spilled onto the streets in central Manhattan this morning.

When we come back, the latest on the battle over ballots from the frontlines.


BLITZER: It may be Thanksgiving, but that's not slowing the dueling lawyers for the Gore and Bush campaigns. Here's the latest on the battle for votes in Florida. In a blow to Vice President Gore, Florida's Supreme Court refused today to order Miami-Dade County to continue its manual recount of votes. Gore's lawyers had asked the court in an emergency appeal to restart the counting. Officials halted the recount yesterday, saying they could not meet the high court's 5:00 p.m. Sunday deadline for reporting adjusted vote totals from the presidential election. Gore hopes to gain enough votes from the recounting to overtake Governor George W. Bush and win the presidential election.

As expected, lawyers for Bush called on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Florida Supreme Court ruling that allows the recounts to continue. The Gore camp is expected to file its response in the next half hour.

BLITZER: Joining us now with the latest on the situation in Miami-Dade County is CNN's Frank Buckley.

Frank, what's going on, if anything, in Miami-Dade county today?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you know, the manual recount is not continuing here, the canvassing board here in Miami-Dade County ordering that stop yesterday.

We can tell you that we've heard from the Gore campaign that it isn't clear if the vote in Miami-Dade County has been certified. And election's officials here tell CNN that in fact the vote has been certified, and so all of it has been sent to the state. So from the point of view of Miami-Dade, the vote has been certified.

To paraphrase David Leahy, the election supervisor who spoke with one of the spokesman from Miami-Dade County, Michael Villeal Fada (ph); he said that the canvassing board is adjourned and this issue is in the courts now. That's Not a quote, but a paraphrase of the election supervisor.

The certification took place on three dates. On November 9th, the main vote was certified. This after the mandatory recount that took place in Miami-Dade County after the election. You'll recall that the first vote took place and then there was an automatic recount. So that certification took place on November 9th. A certification took place on November 15th. This was a supplemental certification. A 1 percent sample of three precincts as they attempted to determine whether or not a manual recount would be helpful in Miami-Dade County. You'll recall that only six votes were accrued in net gain for Al Gore. But that was sent as a supplemental certification on November 15th, and then finally, the overseas absentee ballots were certified in a supplemental certification sent to the state on November 17th.

And so in that context, there were three certifications that took place, and from the point of view of Miami-Dade County, the entire vote here in this county has indeed been certified -- Wolf. BLITZER: Frank, like Broward and Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade is heavily Democratic. What do they say to you when you say to these Democrats who are their at the canvassing board, why not simply bring in many more teams of counters to get the job done by that Sunday deadline? Why do the Democrats, if you will -- and there is some criticism in the Democrats in Miami-Dade -- why did the Democrats insist on just getting a lot more volunteers and getting the job done, if possible, by Sunday?

BUCKLEY: Well, the counting was not done by either of the parties, either the Democrats or the Republicans. Yes, there were Democrats and Republicans present during the counting. But the actual counting took place over control of the counting, and so you had a canvassing board, a three-member canvassing board, and then you did have 25 teams of county employees. Some of them from the election's departments, others who were just brought in from other county departments. So that was the decision made by the county, not by either party, and that was in fact one of the arguments put forth by the Democrats. They were saying, look, we can count more. We think that more votes should be counted, and we would gladly supply more people to complete the vote.

In fact, there was an argument at one point put forward by the Republicans when they wanted to do the entire group of ballots when, on Friday morning -- this is very confusing, because it goes back and forth. But on Friday morning, you'll recall, it was decided by the canvassing board that they would only concentrate on 10,750 undervotes. At that point, the Republicans said no, we think if you're going to do this at all, you should count all of the ballots.

And so both sides at one time or the other have suggested bringing in more people. They've suggested that they would bring in more to complete the vote.

BLITZER: Frank Buckley in Miami-Dade County, thanks for joining us.

And let's get the latest on the developments in Broward County, just north of Miami-Dade.

We turn to CNN's Susan Candiotti -- Susan.


Vice President Gore's camp very pleased with the results here this day. He picked up another 88 votes from the 327 ballots that were considered here, ballots that previously did not register in a machine one way or the other for either candidate. The canvassing board is made up of two Democrats and one Republican. They looked at each punch-holed ballot. They studied dimples. They studied at partial punctures on each card. They looked at the ballot in its entirety, and then they would make a decision: Is this a vote for bush? A vote for Gore? Or not vote at all?

And there was acrimony. Sitting across from the canvassing board were partisan observers, whose job it is to watch, not inject themselves, participate in the proceedings. So sparks flew when a local GOP attorney was registering complaints about the process, and the board's chairman did not like it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if we did our business based on a affidavit. You had a attorney come in here and provide you with a false affidavit about the Illinois case, which was cited by the Florida Supreme Court.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need a deputy on standby to remove somebody that is out of order, please. I am not going to put up with this, sir.

You have not been asked to speak. I have told, you, We are bounded by the Florida Supreme Court. I am not basing my decision here today on anything that someone says in an affidavit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We provide a court transcript, your honor, and we simply ask that in light of you receiving this information, yesterday, that you should receive it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It you would like to make it part of the record, then you can make it part of the your record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that'S all that I am asking, your honor.


CANDIOTTI: Another occasion at one point when this attorney was objecting, the canvassing board chairman actually, said, if you don't excuse yourself, now, I am going to ask you to be excused. At that juncture, a couple of sheriff's deputies and one in plain clothes nearly got to the point where they were going to escort this Republican attorney from the room. But then, tempers cooled down and the counting went on.

Indeed, this consideration of the dimpled ballots will resume in the morning. A 12-hour day is planned. So this canvassing board is very serious about trying to meet the Florida Supreme Courts's deadline -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Susan, when the three members of the canvassing board that are going over those disputed ballots, are they all usually in agreement when they say, one should go for Bush, one should go for the Gore? Or is it usually 2-1, and they line up sort of in a partisan fashion, two Democrats versus one Republican?

CANDIOTTI: You know, we've watched for that, Wolf, and it seemed like we got differences across the board. At times, yes, it was a 2-1 vote, the two Democrats disagreeing with the Republican. But then we would see the Republican and the Democrat siding at times. And so, it seemed to be a real mixed bag of those votes and not weighted one way or the other. It was a very methodical process, and from all accounts, a fair one. I shouldn't say from all accounts. The Republicans continue to insist that this is not a fair process, it is a very subjective one, in their view. And the Democrats say, look, they insist, as they have all along, that all we are looking for here is a fair accounting of all of the votes, and they believe this is it.

BLITZER: And is anyone there speculating, Democrats or Republicans, or anyone else, about how many more potential votes presumably, will there be in net gain for Al Gore, there could be in Broward County?

CANDIOTTI: It's pretty hard to pin people down on numbers. The Democrats don't want to do it. But they will tell you that they think that they can do very well in terms a few hundred more votes. Now the key, of course, is Palm Beach County. They admit, the question is, naturally, whether they could make up enough votes from Palm Beach County. Democrats say, they still think it is possible. The Republicans absolutely disagree. When we talked to them in background, they told us that they think that maybe there is a difference of a fewer than 100 votes. They don't think that Vice President Gore can make up the difference. But at the same time, they're keeping up their battle to try to stop this process, so clearly, there is some worry.

BLITZER: Susan Candiotti in Broward County, joining us once again. Thank you very much.

And up next, the new political map. A finely-balanced election reveals a great divide. Judy Woodruff talks about the relative positions of the Republicans and Democrats with two experts.


BLITZER: Besides it's incredibly close result, this election has demonstrated that the political map of the United States is changing rapidly.

Judy Woodruff say down recently with two expert political analysts, Stu Rothenberg or "The Rothenberg Political Report" and Mark Gersh of the National Committee for an Effective Congress, to dissect the new map.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: It's been said that this election demonstrated the American people not deeply split, but evenly split. Let's talk about this fascinating map, county by county.

What does this map show, Stu -- let me turn to you first -- in terms of Bush voters versus Gore voters, just when you look at it, what does it say?

STU ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Well, I think the thing that strikes to me immediately, Judy, is that the vice president did extremely well on the West Coast and in the Northeast and in certain areas of the Great Lakes states, but most of Middle America went for George W. Bush. It shows that the larger, rural, agricultural part of the country went reliably Republican, but urban areas went much more Democratic, and suburban areas are starting to split.

WOODRUFF: Mark Gersh, look a little bit deeper than that -- what are we seeing here, in terms of the urban, suburban, rural vote?

MARK GERSH, NATL. CMTE. FOR EFFECTIVE CONGRESS: Well, despite the fact that the vote was even between the two candidates, there was a sharp diversion of how they reached their parity status. For one thing, even in the suburbs, if you look at the close-in suburbs, close essential cities, Al Gore did fairly well there. But in the places that are referred to in some areas as ex-suburban areas, where new voters are moving, George Bush did strikingly well there, and that's the part of the county where the population growth is in fact the greatest.

WOODRUFF: Why is that.

GERSH: Well, I think that these voters are probably more a little bit more culturally conservative, they're probably not quite as highly educated, and they're younger. And that -- what's very interesting about that, in the 20 fastest growing countries in the country that have a 100,000 or higher population, George Bush won that by a 2-1 in a 600,000 vote plurality among those 20 counties, twice, in fact, what his father had in 1988 when he won by a comfortable margin.

ROTHENBERG: Judy, some of this, let me just add -- some of this has to do with ideology and regions. If you look at some of the suburbs, in the Northeast, for example, the areas that we thought of as classic, suburban upscale Republican suburbs, you find that they're behaving much more like Democratic examples.

WOODRUFF: Give us an example of what kind of places?

ROTHENBERG: Well, just two examples. In Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, a Philadelphia suburb, and in New Jersey, Burgeon County. These are upscale areas, used to go Republican in the mid 70s; in the '76 election for example, reliable Republican, where now they've switched and they've voted for Al Gore. These are the older, more moderate Republicans who have become even older, more modern Democrats. And so an area that...


ROTHENBERG: I think, well, in is conjecture, but my guess is that a lot has to do with social issues. It has to do with issues like guns, and abortion, and religion and politics, and I think that these moderate Republicans are somewhat uncomfortable with a sunbelt Republicanism ideology and have gone Democratic.

GERSH: I think that's true. I that think the younger voters in fact are culturally more conservative, probably more ambivalent about the gun issue and probably even the pro-choice issue. If you look at northern Virginia, a very close Senate race between George Allen and Chuck Robb, Chuck Robb did very well in Arlington, Alexandria. They're much more effected by the culture of Washington D.C. In Loudon County, a half an hour, 45 minutes from the nation's capital, George Bush and George Allen both did very, very well there. And Loudon County's population, which was 86,000 in 1990 is projected to be 163,000 in 2000. These are voters who are happy to live further away from the center of the city. They are more conservative, younger, and I think that probably a little less well educated, but that's where the future is seems to be demographically.

ROTHENBERG: And I think another example, great example, is Gwinnett County, wouldn't you agree, Mark.

GERSH: Yes, absolutely.

WOODRUFF: Outside of Atlanta, yes.

ROTHENBERG: Suburban Atlanta. This is a county, according to my figures in 1988, 88,000 people voted in that election, and this year, 189,000 voted; 100,000 more voters, and it went about 2-1 for George W. Bush. This is again the conservative suburbs. And part of that is region. Virginia -- Mark talked about Virginia. I am talking about Georgia. You compare that to the New York or New Jersey suburbs, or even the Chicago suburbs, you see significant difference in who you are, and what are suburbanites?

WOODRUFF: In other words, are you saying liberals tend to want -- moderate to liberals may want to live in a different part of the country from where moderate to conservatives live? I mean, can you draw that kind a sweeping conclusion?

GERSH: Well, I believe that. I think probably the more moderate to liberal are more attracted to the ambiance of the central city, but the people out further in the suburbs are more interested in the lifestyle out there, and don't travel into central cities as often on Saturday evenings and Sunday evenings as people who live closer in. They probably are less likely to read "The Washington Post," more likely to read their local journal out there. I think there is very a difference in the culture and lifestyle of those place.

One more point I wan to make, though, Stu mentioned Gwinnett County. What's very interesting about Georgia, and in fact two other counties in Georgia are also among the top 20 fastest growers. Georgia is going to have two more electoral votes in the 2004 election. If you look at some of these fast-growing counties in Georgia, and in Texas, and in Arizona and Colorado, they're going to have seven more electoral votes. All of us are conscience right now of getting the 270 electoral vote. This is the 2004 election, George Bush would be closer to 270 before even he got to Florida.

ROTHENBERG: I think that one of the things about these suburbs I just to mention to toss in, Judy. First of all, your question was really a little bit of a chicken or the egg -- are they conservative because they're living in Gwinnett, or did they move to Gwinnett because they're conservative. I think one thing that's different is the population patterns in these northern suburbs have been either stable or losing population, some of these areas. Montgomery County and Pennsylvania is not growing in population, but in Gwinnett, it is. And I think that some of this is the younger professional being attracted into the area with good schools, people buy houses, single- family homes, and so it's a younger, more mobile population that I think is probably more sensitive to some of these Republican issues.

GERSH: Probably more sensitive to the idea of a tax cut actually. I think that has played very well out there.

WOODRUFF: Let me also quickly ask you all about the Pacific coast of the United States and what we see. Yes, there a number of blue counties, Democratic Gore-vote counties out here, but some red ones as well. What's going on out in the West Coast, to the extent as any different from what you all have described in the South and the Northeast.

GERSH: The West Coast is a very different place. You have to really divide The West Coast up into two regions. The Pacific Northwest -- Oregon, Washington and California -- are more Democratic than Republican, although the Republicans have both houses of the Oregon legislature, and there I think the voters are evenly balanced.

When you get east of Oregon, Washington and California, into Montana, and Idaho, and Colorado and Nevada, very conservative places, in fact more conservative than the South. So in fact, the West Coast itself is quite different. If you're talking about California, you're talking about the rest of the West Coast.

ROTHENBERG: But also, when you talk about California, Mark, you have to add in Hispanic voters and Asian-American voters. And if you look at the exits, Al Gore did quite well among Hispanics. Yes, Bush did relatively low for a Republican.

GERSH: Bush got 38 percent of the Hispanic vote according to a "Los Angeles Times" exit poll.

ROTHENBERG: And that's good. That's good for a Republican. But the fact of the matter is that those areas are still blue, because those voters are still Democratic.

WOODRUFF: And you see that in New Mexico and Arizona as well.

ROTHENBERG: Sure absolutely.

GERSH: Yes, we do.

WOODRUFF: All right, Stu Rothenberg, Mark Gersh, with the National Committee for an Effective congress, thank you both. And happy Thanksgiving.

GERSH: Same to you.


BLITZER: Still much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. When we return, George Bush's appeal to the nation's highest court, Al Gore's rejection by the Florida Supreme Court, and the latest on what the two candidates themselves are doing on this Thanksgiving day. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Contesting the Florida vote counts and appealing the Supreme Court, the latest strategies of the presidential candidates.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not popping the champagne corks quite yet.


BLITZER: Is there a clear winner in Washington's undecided Senate race? Why another election 2000 recount is on the agenda.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please take your card.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know we've finish voting machine. It's the counting that's getting the..,.


BLITZER: Our Bruce Morton goes in search of a better ballot.

Welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Wolf Blitzer, sitting in for Judy and Bernie.

At this hour, new developments at the U.S. Supreme Court, as Al Gore's legal team prepares to file a response to yesterday's petition from George W. Bush, one that challenged a Florida Supreme Court's decision allowing manual vote recounts in three Florida counties to count toward the final state tally. Earlier today, the Gore team was dealt a setback by that same Florida Supreme Court, when it refused to force Miami-Dade county to continue its hand recount. Miami-Dade shut down its manual count yesterday.


CRAIG WATERS, FLA. SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: The court has considered the petition for writ a qor wroteum (ph), writ of mandamus, prohibition, or such other writ the court deems appropriate under its all-writs authority, and alternative emergency petition for writ of mandamus writ, and the writ is denied without prejudice. To any party raising any issue presented in the writ for any future proceeding, no motion for rehearing will be allowed. It's sign unanimously by all seven justices.


BLITZER: But late today, the Gore team said it is ready to press on with a challenge to Miami-Dade's decision, even, if necessary, past the deadline of 5:00 p.m. Sunday.

Meanwhile, candidates themselves spent the holiday at home with family, George W. Bush in Austin, Texas and Al Gore here in Washington.

For the latest on how the battle for Florida is being played out in U.S. Supreme Court, we go to CNN's Bob Franken, just outside the Supreme Court building -- Bob.

FRANKEN: Well, Wolf, it is at this moment -- you could hear the bell tower striking the 6:00 Eastern Time. It is at 6:00 Eastern that the Gore campaign is about to file its response in this effort by the Bush campaign to get the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the matter of the hand recounts of Florida. The Gore campaign is going to say that contrary to the Bush claim that there are constitutional deprivations in Florida that require the U.S. Supreme Court to take this very quickly, the Gore campaign will say that, in fact. the constitutional, U.S. constitutional arguments are on their side, specifically that every voter in Florida has the constitutional right to have his or her votes counted, and that Constitution specifies in article two that the state should handle the matter of presidential elections. Those will be the arguments that are going to be filed in just a moment.

Now the question is, what occurs after that? The Supreme Court is being asked to really bypass its normal procedures and expedite consideration of this case for the obvious reasons -- because time is important. The court has done that on a few occasions, and it might say yes, it wants to do that. It could also reject the matter, saying it doesn't even belong in the federal court system, the Gore campaign was right, or it could say, perhaps it belongs in the federal court system, but should be considered in normal way. There is, in fact, an appeal of all this matter that is now at the 11th circuit of appeals, the court down in the food chain here. That is the court in Atlanta. It has already set up some procedures. That means that it could hear this case next week.

So, Wolf, it really comes down to the Supreme Court saying yes, no, or maybe.

BLITZER: The bottom line being, Bob, we really don't know have a clue what these nine justices are going to decide.

FRANKEN: They haven't done any interviews, Wolf.

BLITZER: Right, Bob Franken at the U.S. Supreme Court. Thank once again for joining us.

Now for more on Vice President Gore, a setback today at the hands of the Florida Supreme Court.

Let's go back to Tallahassee and CNN's Kate Snow.

Kate, tell us what happened?

SNOW: Well, where we're at right now, Wolf, is another round in this legal battle. The legal team for Al Gore saying that the vice president himself has signed off on further action. That being a contest of the Miami-Dade County official election results. They plan to contest those election results just as soon as Miami-Dade County certifies the results as a county.

Now they could certify the results before Sunday night, when they have to turn those results in to the state, and the state certifies the results. However, an attorney for the Gore campaign telling me that they don't expect that any of this would happen before Monday morning. Simply because of this holiday weekend, it's not expected that Miami-Dade County will go ahead and certify before Sunday night.

So probably on the Monday morning, we will see a contest filed here. Now I asked if they were doing this because they were afraid that they simply wouldn't have the votes they needed to win on Sunday night? Is that why they're talking about contesting? And they're very adamant that no, this is not they don't think they don't have enough votes. They say that they think with Broward and Palm Beach Counties that, in their words, if those counties are counted -- quote -- "fairly and accurately" then they will have the votes to put them over the top, to win over George W. Bush. That's what they say.

But on the other hand, I asked them, what if Al Gore seems to be the victor on Sunday night? Would they still go ahead, and challenge and contest the Miami-Dade County results. They said yes, they would, because they feel an injustice has been done to the voters of Miami- Dade County.

One more note on this, Wolf -- they will contest this matter here in Leon County. That's the way state law works here. If you want to contest an election anywhere in the state, you have to do it in Leon County circuit court. So that will happen here. And they say it's potentially possible that the judges here would end up being the ones to sort of hold up those ballots and try to discern what the voters intent was. It may come down to judges in Leon County trying to figure out voter intent, or they may be able to appoint their own people to look at it. But it may come down to those judges trying to figure it out, but of course then, it could end back at the Florida State Supreme Court again -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Kate Snow in Tallahassee, thanks once again for joining us.

With their lawyers fighting for every possible advantage in Florida, the two presidential candidates are spending Thanksgiving with their families.

For the latest, we turn first to Candy Crowley. She's with the Bush campaign in Austin. And Patty Davis, she's with the gore campaign here in Washington.

Let's begin with Candy.

First of all, we did, Candy, have a chance to see Governor Bush earlier today? What, was he getting ready to jog, or had he just finished jogging? CROWLEY: We saw him a couple of times. One, when he was getting ready to jog, and then came back, and then when he was getting to ready to go out for Thanksgiving dinner, and then when he came back, and then when he went to Crawford. And that's where we have him right now, as he went to back his ranch in Crawford, about maybe 90 minutes from here. He should be back here at this point.

BLITZER: You know, Candy, is there any fallout from the -- I guess there was a little flap yesterday. The governor came out and said that the vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney had not suffered a heart attack. Later, the doctors said he had suffered a very slight, a minor heart attack. Any feedback, any problem as a result of the initial report that there was no heart attack that was corrected later?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, I asked specifically a couple of his top aides who do talk to him on a daily, sometimes an hourly basis, and said, you know, what gives here? I mean, the man had I'll be it a very small heart attack, he did have a heart attack. They say that when George Bush met with the press, that was not what the doctors were saying, that they had -- now maybe the doctors were saying that to the vice presidential nominee at that point, but that the Bush campaign did not know about the heart attack. But in terms of fallout, they've got bigger fish to fry at this point.

BLITZER: I guess that's a question that probably only interests journalist like you and me, who want to make sure we get specific and accurate information all of the times, especially when it involves the health of presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Finally, what's on Governor Bush's agenda today, tomorrow, the next couple of days, Candy?

CROWLEY: Well, he's in Crawford at his ranch. It's kind of where they chill. I mean, it's away from the hue and cry here. It's not up at the standards of what's going on in Tallahassee. But you know, there is a lot of activity around here and protesters, and he's been moving back and forth between the capitol. The ranch is very secluded. He can be alone there. He's obviously on the phone with senior advisers as well as with his legal team. And what they're watching for clearly is that Supreme Court decision.

I did talk someone involved in the legal process and not on the Bush team, said that there is an understanding of what basically has been reported so far, and that this is probably a longshot at the Supreme Court, but it was one that they though there was enough of a shot, that they really wanted to do it and make their case there.

BLITZER: All right, Candy Crowley, reporting once again from Austin, thanks for joining us.

Let's bring in our Patty Davis. She's here in Washington. She's covering the Gore campaign.

I take it you're still standing outside of the vice presidential residence over on Massachusetts Avenue here in Washington. Patty, have we seen the vice president today?

DAVIS: We have not seen the vice president today. In fact, he was secluded in his official residence here behind me. And we are told, however, by aides that he did -- he was involved in this decision to go forward with this new court action, this contest action, he was fully involved, and he did give his blessing to the action -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Do they anticipate that they're going to get speedy relief in Miami-Dade as a result of this contest, which will go forward Monday?

DAVIS: Well, they're certainly going to pursue this legal option, and it remains to be seen if they will pursue other legal actions. Nothing, Wolf, is speedy in this whole thing.

One thing we know for sure, a spokesman said, however, that come Sunday, when the results are -- the results come down, the court imposed deadline of 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, since they're going ahead with this court action, this contest action, that Vice President Al Gore will not be conceding the election. He's going to press forward -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I guess he's signaling a lot of nervous Democrats out there -- Senator John Breaux, for example of Louisiana, among others, who are saying, once it's certified, once the Florida Supreme court has made its decision, it's time to move on. What the Gore campaign is now doing is signaling, this isn't over, by any means, Sunday night, even if there are not enough votes for Gore to overtake Bush in those two Florida counties that are still continuing their hand counting.

DAVIS: Absolutely. And the Gore campaign, a spokesman, in terms of public perception, that's something they have to consider, not only Democratic reaction, but public perception -- will the support still remain behind Al Gore if George W. Bush is certified the winner in Florida. The Gore campaign is saying that it thinks so, that at least in its new public relations round here, after this decision came down, it thinks that the public is going to stay behind Al Gore, because it wants a full, fair and accurate vote count here in this election. It wants the person who actually got the most votes in the state of Florida to be the next president.

BLITZER: Patty Davis here in Washington, thanks once again for joining us.

And let's bring in one of our legal experts, another one of our legal experts right now, the former Florida elections director David Cardwell, who can shed some light on some of today's legal activities that have been going on in Florida.

Mr. Cardwell, thanks for joining us.

On the specific news that's broken within the past hour, hour and a half or so, that the vice president will contest whatever results are certified in Miami-Dade County, historically speaking, how likely will that contest, those contested results, how likely is it that the vice president could succeed in turning that decision around?

DAVID CARDWELL, FMR. FLA. STATE ELECTIONS DIR.: Well, Wolf, we've had a lot of election contest in Florida, but we've never had one involved the presidential election. So there's really no precedent here. We do have cases, though, that have involved local offices, where contest were filed, and the courts have in fact ruled on several occasions that either manual recounts had to be completed, but under the supervision of the court, rather than under the supervision of the canvassing board. And also, in some instances, where the count showed a different result, the courts had ordered one person one person out of office and placed another one in office. But we haven't had that happen with a presidential election ever before in Florida.

BLITZER: A lot of first apparently going on in this presidential election, in its third week now since the election.

What about the actual process that the Gore lawyers must undertake. The election is certified 5:00 p.m. presumably Sunday. They're going to contest the Miami-Dade results Monday morning. How does that work? What happens?

CARDWELL: Well, a contest, unlike a protest, is an action that's filed in circuit, which is our primary trial court. A protest, which is really just asking for a recount, is an administrative proceeding just with the canvassing board. So when you're in a contest, filing a lawsuit in circuit court, with a circuit court judge, and you have a range of remedies that the court can look to in the statute of the case law that apply as a result of the action. But the test is very high. In order to be successful in contest, you have to show, if you're the person filing a contest, that but four whatever action you're complaining of that did or not happen, the result of election would have been different.

BLITZER: Were you surprised today, Mr. Cardwell, that the Florida Supreme Court rejected the Gore campaign's appeal that Miami- Dade be forced into continuing a manual recount?

CARDWELL: Not really. I think the court's decision today in rejecting that appeal is consistent with their prior ruling in two respects. First of all, in that ruling, they showed some difference to local officials, and said that the local canvassing board could decide whether to do recounts or not. It then said that the secretary of state should accept the results if they did them. So by rejecting the appeal, they basically said, we're going to leave it up to Miami- Dade County's canvassing board. Second of all, they established a deadline in their court order of 5:00 p.m. Sunday. And in order for Miami-Dade to complete the recount, that deadline was going to have to be pushed back. So I think the court said, we set a deadline, we're not going to revisit that.

BLITZER: David Cardwell, joining us once again, shedding some perspective, helping us understand the intricacies of Florida election law, thank you very much. And hand recounts are set to resume in Florida counties of Broward and Palm Beach tomorrow. Here are the latest figures as of right now: George W. Bush has an official statewide lead of 930 votes in Florida. But canvassing boards report that recounts have given Al Gore a net gain of 225 votes in Broward County. And Bush has a net gain of 14 votes in Palm Beach County. So Bush's unofficial lead for now is 719 votes. The numbers released by the canvassing boards do not include about 1,700 disputed ballots in Broward County. Election workers in Palm Beach County had Thanksgiving Day off, but they still must review about 300,000 ballots, which are counted, but not finalized, and as many as 10,000 disputed ballots.

Broward County is recounting contested ballots that have dimpled chad or have only one corner detached. Palm Beach County has similar rules, with an added factor of voter intent in some cases.

Based on the Florida Supreme Court's ruling, recounted results must be submitted to the Florida secretary of state by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Sunday to be included in the official state total.

Could a recount in Washington state play a factor in choosing the next vice president. Find out how when we come back.


BLITZER: Like some of their counterparts in Florida, Washington State election workers have spent the past couple weeks counting ballots. They weren't concerned with the presidential contest, but rather an extremely tight race for the U.S. Senate. And while it's not a likely scenario, that final count could actually affect the selection of the next vice president.

Greg LeFevre explains.


GREG LEFEVRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a scant 1,900-vote lead, millionaire Maria Cantwell declared herself the next Democratic senator from the state of Washington.

MARIA CANTWELL (D), WASHINGTON SEN. CANDIDATE: We are not popping the champagne corks quite yet, though. Washington law requires a recount, but I am confident that our state's exceptional process and our exceptional election workers have gotten the job done, and that the recount will show that we will be victorious.

LEFEVRE: The Northwest's growing urban class, fueled much by the young, less conservative technology workers, is changing Washington State politics. Cantwell, bounced from Congress in 1994, made a fortune as an executive at Real Networks in Seattle. She spent $10 million of it chasing down veteran Republican Senator Slade Gorton, who, the morning after the election, was slightly ahead.

SEN. SLADE GORTON (R), WASHINGTON: As we speak to you, I'm in the lead. LEFEVRE: But, as in Florida, the lead faded over time. This week, Cantwell pulled ahead. With a margin of less than 0.1 percent, a recount is automatic.

RALPH MUNRO, WASHINGTON SECRETARY OF STATE: Most of the recounting will be done by the end of the week.

LEFEVRE: Gorton has not conceded. Should Cantwell succeed, she'll join 12 other women senators, including first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, the most women ever in the U.S. Senate. Cantwell could bring a 50/50 party split to the Senate, raising an interesting scenario should the presidential election wind up in Congress. The House, with a Republican majority, picks the president, but the precisely divided Senate would pick the vice president, with Al Gore still sitting as vice president, potentially breaking the tie.

(on camera): As in Florida, there is a third party factor in this race, too. The Libertarian Party candidate for Senate won 3 percent of the votes, most of which might have otherwise gone for the Republican Gorton. Politics, though, is not a game of what if, but what is. And the state has certified for the moment that Cantwell is.

Greg LeFevre, CNN, San Francisco.


BLITZER: Chads -- they're just little pieces of paper, yet they're a big part of the America's election controversy. Is there a solution outside the USA.

Our Bruce Morton takes a look at how some other countries cast ballots, when we come back.



WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I was in Asia, I had a couple of people tell me you know, in some countries, people would be in the streets over there. Instead, we trust our system, and we have to trust it. Whether we agree with it or disagree with it, let it play out. I think it's going to work out.


BLITZER: President Clinton after playing a round of golf today near Camp David commenting on how the U.S. election compare to other nations.

Given the problems with ballots and recounts, could Florida use some suggestions from Democratic countries in other parts of the world?

In his campaign journal, Bruce Morton shows what he found at an international exhibit here in Washington.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have finished voting. Please take your card.

MORTON (voice-over): The Japanese, wouldn't you know it, have come up with this electronic voting machine. It asks for your identification card, then walks you through the questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to vote for this head of government, please press "vote." If you want to vote differently, press "amend."

MORTON: Eat your hearts out, Florida counters. And that's just one chad-less way to vote. The exhibit has others.

JEFF FISCHER, INTL. FOUNDATION FOR ELECTION SYSTEMS: This is a ballot from Ecuador, and it is a legislative ballot. This is a style known as the bedsheet ballot, obviously by the size.

MORTON: Pretty big bedsheet, all right. No chads, but lots of dirty laundry. Look it all -- more than 20 parties. Americans might flee in panic faced with this. The point, of course, is to use pictures and party logos, because not all the voters can read, though learning all those faces makes reading seem like a shortcut.

FISCHER: Each of these ballots of a voter's selection, each is a different political party.

MORTON: They used to do this in Senegal: keep the slip with the party you want to vote for, throw the rest away, which should have produced a huge local confetti industry. But they've gone now to one ballot with the logos. Lots of countries use logos and pictures. This is a Haitian ballot, because the voters can't always read. And then there are special cases. This Peruvian ballot comes with a template, an overlay, in braille, so that blind voters can make their choices unassisted. The exhibit also has ballot boxes -- old and wooden, newer and transparent. This accordion shape, which does not play music, and this one from Yemen with a tamper-proof seal like the kind they put on the minibar in hotel rooms. And there's a poster from a Palestinian election, teaching people how to vote. Maybe some posters next time, Palm Beach? And, of course, there are some punch- card ballots here.

Whatever, Fischer says, the aim is to be fair, not perfect.

FISCHER: I don't know that perfection is what we really want to set up for ourselves. We need to find a free system. We need to look at fair systems, transparent systems, that ultimately are going to reflect the will of the people.

MORTON: And in the meantime, keep counting, guys.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have finished voting. Please take your card.

MORTON: We know we've finished voting, machine. It's the counting that's giving us fits.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


BLITZER: And that's all for this expanded holiday edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go on-line all the time at CNN's

These programming notes: Florida Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings and Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will be discussing the Florida recount tonight on "CROSSFIRE." That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. CNN will also have a special report, "The Florida Vote," tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. And I'll be back at 8:00 p.m. with our special edition of "THE WORLD TODAY."

For now, thanks very much for watching. Happy Thanksgiving. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "THE MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.



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