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Gore Campaign Asks Judge to Order Manual Recount of Disputed Ballots; Bush Campaign Insists All Vote Have Been CountedAired November 28, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe this is a time to count every vote and not to run out the clock.
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BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore's lawyers try to put his contest of the Florida vote count on a faster track, concerned that time may not be on their side.
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JAMES BAKER, OBSERVER FOR BUSH CAMPAIGN: We are entering new, uncertain and controversial territory.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush hires more lawyers to hold up his end of this unprecedented election battle while he tries to switch the focus to planning his presidency.
SHAW: Plus, it only looks like another recount, but it's prompting some harsh words in Palm Beach County.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're quickly getting the impression that what went on here in Palm Beach County was simply a crap shoot.
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ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.
In Florida at this hour, a court hearing is due to begin on an emergency motion filed by attorneys for Al Gore. They have asked a judge to require an immediate hand recount of disputed ballots in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. It is part of the Gore camp's effort today to speed up his legal challenge of Florida's election results as polls suggest more Americans appear to be getting impatient about the process.
Our John King is covering Gore here in Washington -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, urgency now the key word to be attached both to the legal strategy and to the political strategy. The vice president made his nationally televised address to the American people last night, appealing for patience. Another public appearance today, as he once again made the case that in his view some more than 13,000 votes in Florida still to be counted, yet to be counted even once he says. The vice president trying to convince the American people that he not only has every right but also every reason to fight on.
KING (voice-over): The vice president made another appeal for patience, but mixed in a call for the Florida courts to hurry up.
GORE: Seven days, starting tomorrow, for a full and accurate count of all the votes.
KING: It was an effort to convince the public there will be a clear winner soon enough and an effort to pressure the judge hearing Gore's court challenge in Florida. The Gore legal team wants its challenge heard quickly and proposed a schedule that asked the court to begin reviewing contested ballots from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties tomorrow; calls for a circuit court ruling on the vice president's case by next Wednesday, December 6th; would have any appeals to the Florida Supreme Court resolved by December 9th so that the case is settled by the December 12th deadline for certifying Florida's electors.
GORE: I understand that this process needs to be completed in a way that is expeditious as well as fair. We cannot jeopardize an orderly transition of power to the next administration, nor need we do so.
KING: Governor Bush's lawyers say they need more time. The vice president says that's unacceptable.
GORE: I believe this is the time to count every vote and not to run out the clock. This is not a time for delay, obstruction and procedural roadblocks.
KING: The image of a court reviewing contested ballots is critical to a Gore team fighting the growing public perception that the election is over, that the vice president's challenge is a lost cause.
The economy was the official subject of this lunch hour sit-down with Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. But Summers is interested in staying on if Mr. Gore ultimately wins the White House -- this picture, part of the Gore campaign to persuade the public that victory is still a possibility.
(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: And as the vice president made that case again in public, his campaign team also again busy behind the scenes lobbying key Democrats to stay the course and support the vice president. Democratic governors the subject of one conference call today, the Gore campaign making the case give the vice president's case in court a chance to play out. They are pushing, though, very hard for the judge to very quickly move to the public look at those ballots. They believe having the American people literally see a judge suggesting the vote is still under way, the fastest way and the best way they can counter the growing public perception that this is over and the vice president should concede -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And John, this daily check on the same question: How about that Democratic support around the country? Does it seem to be holding up even as you say public support, according to the polls, is beginning to slip away?
KING: Holding for now. Most Democrats telling the vice president's office they believe it will hold through the end of this week, that their phones are not ringing off the hook yet. Therefore, they're in no rush to tell the vice president that time is running out.
But they do believe with the U.S. Supreme Court hearing coming up, with the key decisions to be made by the judge hearing the contest in Florida to be made in the next few days that we run into a deadline, artificial, but a political deadline of this Friday, this coming weekend for the vice president. If he cannot then show public evidence that he is indeed making up lost ground, that a judge agrees with him that those votes have never been counted, that he's going to have to think long and hard about packing it in.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King here in Washington -- Bernie.
SHAW: Now to George W. Bush's camp and its take on the latest legal maneuvering. Our Candy Crowley is covering Governor Bush in Austin -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, basically, the answer from the Bush camp is that the time set by the trial judge in Florida is just fine with them. They will not go along with the vice president's suggestions. They point out that, first of all, Gore's own lawyers have tightened this timetable by various things that they have done in court, and now that they're running out of time, they want to compress the Bush legal team's time, and the Bush team won't stand for it.
They also note that the judge in the case has already halved the normal amount of time one would have for this contest of the Florida election results.
So basically, bottom line, the answer from here is no.
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KAREN HUGHES, BUSH CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: ... having come up short in all those counts and all those times, Vice President Gore is proposing to make up yet another set of rules. He proposes yet another count and yet another deadline. Common sense does not allow it.
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CROWLEY: The Bush team has its own calendar in mind. As we say, they will follow the judge's ruling that they can get all of these arguments into the court dockets by Friday.
The Bush team, by the way, has recently been beefed up.
CROWLEY (voice-over): The Bush legal team called in reinforcement and amassed in Tallahassee for assaults on several fronts: on what the Gore campaign calls for 10,000 uncounted votes in Miami-Dade.
IRVIN TERRELL, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Those 10,000 nonvotes are about 1.6 percent of the votes cast in that county. If you look at other states and other counties, other states outside Florida and other counties in Florida, you find that in 34 -- at least 34 counties in Florida, there are higher percentages of nonvotes.
CROWLEY: On Gore team complaints that a -- quote -- "mob" intimidated Miami-Dade County into calling off a recount.
FRED BARTLIT, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: The air in the room when they made the decision was calm. It was relaxed. There were no shouts. There was no pressure in the room.
A statement under these circumstance about a mob storming a counting facility is designed to heat up the situation.
CROWLEY: On whether those Palm Beach County ballots were, as Gore supporters claim, illegal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the law is that if anyone has a concern with the form of the ballot, that has to be expressed before the election, not after the election. And
CROWLEY: And on 218 Nassau County votes the Gore camp is disputing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one at no time declared these votes illegal. They are not nonvotes. They are not overvotes. They were real votes. They were counted in the original count.
CROWLEY: While lawyers in Florida and Washington defend his claim to the title president-elect, George Bush is in Texas leading a kind of transition in exile. There are meetings with Andy Card, chief of staff in waiting. Transition chief and running mate Dick Cheney is expected to join Bush at his Crawford ranch later this week. It is secluded enough to raise the question whether possible Cabinet interviews could take place there. ANDY CARD, BUSH ADVISER: I think you'll find that we'll have a few people coming down, but we're not putting any out -- out any big schedule yet. We're waiting to see what happens. Obviously, we're very attentive to what's going to be happening in Washington over the next several days.
CROWLEY: The transition talk has inevitably fired up discussion of familiar names in the Bush rolodex: Colin Powell possibly as a secretary of state; Condoleezza Rice as a possible national security adviser; governors Frank Keating or Marc Racicot as possible attorney general; and perhaps, in the mode of bipartisanship, someone like former Senator Sam Nunn, a moderate Democrat, as defense chief.
CROWLEY: But because they walk a fine line between trying to project certainty and trying not to seem presumptuous, the Bush team says they publicly reject all of this talk of specific Cabinet names as just another Washington parlor game -- Bernie.
SHAW: Candy, I'm curious, in beefing up the Bush legal team, is this mainly to counter Gore's lawyers' moves or is it possibly a move to break new ground by filing counterlawsuits?
CROWLEY: I think this is in response to the number of issues that were out there. They, in fact, had these lawyers onboard a couple of days ago. This is the first time we've seen them in public. But they really felt spread very thin between the Supreme Court. There's also possible action, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. And really there are sort of at least four county issues ongoing.
So they felt the need to bring in more lawyers that could deal with the specifics of the Florida law, and so they wanted to sort of beef up the team.
As far as I know, the last we heard, certainly from James Baker and from anyone in the Bush team, they're not going to take anymore lawsuits. Right now, what they're doing within Florida, at least, is just contesting the contest.
SHAW: Candy Crowley in Austin -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Meantime, the Bush and Gore camps also are preparing to take their election dispute before the United States Supreme Court on Friday. Initial legal briefs were due about an hour ago.
CNN's Charles Bierbauer joins us now from the high court with details -- Charles.
CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, we've had a short time to take a look at these briefs which are, needless to say substantial, but let me give you kind of a synopsis of both of them. Looking first at the Bush brief, which is, of course, asking the Supreme Court here to reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court in Florida. In fact, to vacate that judgment, saying that the Supreme Court in Florida did not have the authority to extend the vote counting deadline.
The parties were both asked to explain to this court what the impact of such a reversal would be and the Bush brief says that the vacating of the decision by the Florida Supreme Court would confirm that the secretary of state in Florida had the authority to certify the results of the election based on returns received by the statutory deadline of November 14th. That would be the first automatic recount. That would cut back and actually increase the margin of the Bush declared victory back based on the November 14th count.
What other impact might that have? The Bush brief notes that it might also have the impact of mooting some of the filings made by the Gore campaign. For example, the Miami-Dade County vote certification did not begin until after November 14th. So, it might have the effect of making it impossible for Miami-Dade to begin recounting.
Then moving to the Gore brief. The Gore brief says in somewhat more broadly couched term, that the Florida Supreme Court decision did not constitute a retroactive change in Florida law, and coming to its bottom line, it asked that the Court here simply affirm the judgment of the Florida Supreme Court. It says to do otherwise would undermine the authority of the judiciary to decide the meaning of law. Taking a much broader brush approach to this.
This brief was written by Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard who indeed showed up here at the Supreme Court. Lawyers don't usually deliver all their briefs in person, but he came here to express the view that there really isn't anything that the Supreme Court needs to do.
Here's Professor Tribe.
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LAURENCE TRIBE, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: We conclude in the brief that we have just filed on behalf of the vice president that there is really no legal basis whatsoever for the governor's claims -- the claims of Governor Bush that either considerations of fairness or considerations of federalism or the laws of Congress require any interference with what the courts of Florida have done.
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BIERBAUER: In other words, Professor Tribe said the that U.S. Supreme Court should step aside because there's no remedy that is needed -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Charles, we've learned that the Supreme Court has indicated that after the arguments conclude on Friday, that it will make available an audio recording of those arguments. How unusual is that?
BIERBAUER: Well, audio recordings are usually only available at the end of the term, and transcripts of the arguments are available through a transcription service for a fee, which I think is about $5 a page if you want it the same day. It's very unusual. But the Court recognizes the unique circumstances that will be before it on Friday, and so the Court has authorized on a slightly delayed, but nonetheless on the same day basis to provide an audio tape. However as the chief justice said yesterday, he does not intend to bend or break his longstanding rule against cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Charles Bierbauer at the Supreme Court. Thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: Now, let's talk about the legal issues at hand with attorneys for the Bush and Gore campaigns.
First, a member of the vice president's legal team, Ron Klain. He joins us from Tallahassee.
Ron Klain, in the final written argument before the Supreme Court just filed this afternoon, as you know, at one point your side categorically says quote, "this case does not belong in federal court." Why not?
RON KLAIN, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Well, because the case raises only issues of state law.
The Florida Supreme Court interpreted some conflicting statutes under Florida law and did the very modest thing of moving the deadline for filing election returns by five days. We understand it's an important election, obviously, and an important dispute, but that doesn't make that state law ruling a matter for federal constitutional review.
Above all, Bernie, our goal has been simple. It's to move this thing forward as quickly as possible, to get the votes counted as quickly as possible. And the Bush campaign's efforts to drag this out, to bring in the federal courts, is just another element of delay.
SHAW: Now let's move to Leon County and Judge N. Sanders Sauls. You're asking this judge to appoint special masters to review the ballots from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. What are you hoping to find? What do you expect to find?
KLAIN: Well, what we expect to find are the votes of people who went to the polls on November 7 and voted. Some voted for Al Gore; some voted for George Bush. But there are hundreds of them, hundreds of them, whose votes are on those papers and have never been recorded.
You know, when they looked at these ballots in Broward County, they find that 25 percent of them had votes on them. And in Miami- Dade before they stopped counting, again, 25 percent of them had votes on them. That means there are literally hundreds and hundreds of votes on these ballot cards that have never been looked at by human beings; that have never been counted. And we're asking the court to find a way to count those votes and add them to the total.
SHAW: Judge Sauls has given Vice President Gore and of course you, among the lawyers, two days to produce a witness list. How many witnesses are you planning to bring? And, more specifically, will one of those witnesses be the secretary of state, Katherine Harris?
KLAIN: No, Bernie. We filed our witness list this morning already, about 10 hours ago. It had all of two names on it, two witnesses, both experts on this voting machine.
KLAIN: Both are experts on this voting machine.
We think that this case can be moved forward very quickly. We also filed this morning a very specific proposal to have all the ballots counted in seven days and the case over on the eighth day.
The Bush campaign opposed that motion and instead proposed two weeks of legal proceedings that would go right up to the December 12 deadline and would never have the ballots being counted.
So I think that if the American public wants this to be over, as I know they do and as we certainly do, the best way is to get the ballots counted, get them counted quickly, get it done in seven days and then we can move forward. We can know which of these two candidates actually got the most votes.
SHAW: OK. Ron Klain. Thanks very much.
KLAIN: Thanks, Bernie.
SHAW: You're quite welcome, sir. Now, let's hear from the other side. Bush campaign attorney Ben Ginsberg joins us from Tallahassee.
Mr. Ginsberg, in your final written argument to the United States Supreme Court today, at one point your brief says quote, "The Florida Supreme Court thus consciously and boldly overrode Florida's laws enacted prior to Election Day and replaced them two weeks later with laws of its own invention," unquote.
How do you persuade Chief Justice Rehnquist and the eight associate Supreme Court justices here in Washington that your claim is so?
BEN GINSBERG, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, the plain wording of the United States Code helps immensely in that, Bernie, because it says that among the bedrock principles of American election law is that you can't come up with new and different rules after Election Day for the purpose of counting ballots. That's a plain statement of Title III, Section 5 of the United States Code. And that, in fact, is what the Florida Supreme Court did when it usurped the prerogatives of the Florida legislature, as well as the executive branch here in Florida.
SHAW: Let's move now to Leon County and Judge Sauls. And I'm wondering, under the expanded law in Florida, the election law, I'm wondering whether you're fearful that the expanded language covering contest provisions might give Judge Sauls too much discretion.
GINSBERG: Well, I admit that there is a very confusing and statutorily truncated process in play now. One of the difficulties with what the Florida Supreme Court did is that all the time periods that the legislature considered some 10 years ago -- indeed a Democrat-controlled legislature -- for providing sufficient time for parties to answer is truncated because of what the Florida Supreme Court did.
And let's not forget the reason, we're in a time bind here. The Gore campaign decided to enjoin the certification by the Florida secretary of state and that's what's caused the delay in the ability to have a contest proceeding, but the due process rights of the parties remain in place.
SHAW: OK. One last quick question before you leave us. Your side has four days to answer the charges made by the Bush camp; charges concerning alleged ballot errors. What kind of evidence you do present to back up?
GINSBERG: Well, the total confusion that exists in those recounts, the subjective, indeed, almost nonexistent standards that existed in Broward and Palm Beach counties in which the Democrats on the election board were holding up ballots to the light to see if there were votes, where there were different standards used between the two parties, when indeed similar ballots within the counties were counted differently, where the election judge in Broward county, a partisan Democrat went so far as to admit on your air, Bernie, that indeed his partisan leadings did effect the way that he counted ballots.
That state of confusion, plus the plethora of lawsuits that the Gore campaign has filed is what's prolonging this process and creating the confusion, which in fact ties back to the very reason that the United States Congress passed 3 USC 5 back. And that's what the United States Supreme Court will be hearing this week.
SHAW: Well, it should be an interesting time in Judge Sauls' courtroom, shouldn't it?
GINSBERG: I would agree with that.
SHAW: Thank you. Ben Ginsberg from Tallahassee, thanks very much.
SHAW: You're quite welcome.
And when INSIDE POLITICS returns: the Florida legislature; the wild card in this fight over the state's electoral votes. We'll have a live report.
WOODRUFF: With Al Gore continuing to contest the election results, a special joint committee of the Republican-controlled Florida legislature met today. It is a move that could result in a special session and the appointment of the legislature's own slate of presidential electors.
CNN's national correspondent Mike Boettcher is in Tallahassee with the latest -- Mike.
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, they met for about three hours today. The purpose of this hearing, according to the Republican leadership, is to find out if they have the basis in law to go ahead with the special session and then, if they do that, to name Florida's electors to the Electoral College.
The Democrats say there's no need for this. There's already a certified election total. But the Republicans say that they fear what will happen in court in this contest action could jeopardize Florida's voice in the Electoral College. They called an expert, John Yoo, who is a constitutional expert from the University of California at Berkeley, and he said that the legislature had an obligation, a duty, to call a special session and name the electors.
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PROFESSOR JOHN YOO, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW EXPERT: That you sit in a time of amazing constitutional controversy, and I really think that much of what will happen turns on your decision alone; and that is a heavy and difficult responsibility, but it is your constitutional duty, and I don't think it would be appropriate to avoid that duty by waiting until the last minute.
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BOETTCHER: But Representative Gottlieb -- Kenneth Gottlieb of Florida, who is a Democrat, argued that this committee is being used and is being used to provide a backstop for George Bush to be elected. He says that this whole process is a sham.
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KENNETH GOTTLIEB, FLORIDA STATE HOUSE: Are we meeting to set the stage for a special session to guarantee the presidency to George W. Bush? We should not serve as an insurance policy for a Bush presidency. We should serve to ensure every vote is counted and the real winner, whoever he may be, receives Florida's votes to be the next president.
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BOETTCHER: Now, the committee convened -- will convene tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. They adjourned at 4:00 p.m. today. They'll go to 5:00 p.m., at which time they can vote to recommend to the leadership of the House and the Senate in Florida to go ahead with a special session. If they do that -- there are some Republican members on the House side who would like to get that going by Friday -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Mike, as I understand it, there are, what, eight Republicans and six Democrats on this special committee...
BOETTCHER: Absolutely. WOODRUFF: Do you assume they're going to vote right along party lines -- Republicans for the special session and so on -- and the Democrats against?
BOETTCHER: Absolutely; right on party lines. And one interesting thing today: They thought that they would have to get Governor Jeb Bush to either sign the legislation or, after they pass it, let it sit for seven days so it becomes law. They're being advised now by their legal experts that, because of the separation of the executive and the legislative branch, that the governor can't even get involved, can't even sign it, doesn't have to, which works in the Republican's favor, they say.
WOODRUFF: All right, Mike Boettcher, thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: There is much more ahead on this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS as we await the start of an emergency hearing in a Florida courtroom. A hearing from vice president -- rather, a motion from Vice President Al Gore which calls for the immediate recounting of ballots in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. When that hearing begins, we'll bring it to you live.
Up next: They are packing up the ballot express and taking their complaints on the road. We'll have the latest on the recount controversy in Palm Beach County. Also ahead: Who is footing the bill for this legal battle to win the White House? Our Brooks Jackson follows the money. And later:
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GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've got to listen to this CNN here to tell me what I think. I can't make up my own mind.
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SHAW: We already know where former president Bush stands on this current election controversy. But what about the rest of America? Our new poll numbers are ahead.
WOODRUFF: Let's review today's developments in the continuing battle for Florida's crucial presidential electoral votes. Lawyers for Al Gore are in court this hour, seeking a recount of some 13,000 questionable ballots. Gore wants a state judge to order a hand recount of disputed ballots in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.
In Washington, today was the deadline for the Gore and Bush campaigns to file briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court. Arguments are scheduled Friday on whether the results of manual recounts should be included in the election totals. In their filings today, Bush lawyers asked the justices to overturn a Florida Supreme Court ruling allowing the recount. Gore lawyers argued that the Florida court should have the final say.
Absentee ballots are the focus of a lawsuit from Seminole County, Florida. A judge in Tallahassee today scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on claims that Republicans were allowed to correct thousands of applications for absentee ballots. A GOP official was given permission to add missing voter identification numbers to the applications.
The lawsuit, brought by a Seminole County Democrat, argues that all of the counties 15,000 absentee ballots should be thrown out. George W. Bush got nearly 4,800 more absentee vote than Al Gore in Seminole County. Republicans say there was nothing illegal about adding those numbers.
SHAW: Today also was the deadline for filing briefs in the dispute over Palm Beach County's butterfly ballot. The Florida Supreme Court is trying to decide whether to hear the case challenging the legality of the ballot. The butterfly ballot had candidates' names on both sides of the punch-holes. Some Democratic voters say they were confused by its layout. They say they wanted to vote for Al Gore, but punched the hole for Reform Party Candidate Pat Buchanan by mistake.
The vote count in Palm Beach County also remains under scrutiny. A conservative group today conducted an examination of the ballots.
CNN's Bill Delaney is in West Palm Beach.
BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Where the ongoing parade of electoral charge and countercharge might have moved on by now, in Florida's Palm Beach County, a so-called ballot express, symbolic of 10,000 uncounted votes Democrats say would have won Florida for Al Gore.
While across town in West Palm Beach in the same room the county concluded its manual recount in Sunday night, Larry Klayman of the conservative group Judicial Watch, Inc. won the right under Florida's Sunshine Laws to reexamine the ballots.
LARRY KLAYMAN, JUDICIAL WATCH INC.: It's quite clear that the authorities to be, whether they're Democrat, Republican or the state of Florida, don't want the American people to know what went on here and we're quickly get the impression that what went on here in Palm Beach County was simply a crap shoot.
DELANEY: The idea: to create an eventual report on just how each ballot, possible all 462,000 of them were judged for one side or the other in Palm Beach. Only Palm Beach Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore allowed to touch ballots. And in the wake of last week's recount ordeal, at times she got touchy.
THERESA LEPORE, PALM BEACH COUNTY ELECTIONS SUPERVISOR: I don't know. You know, I went through 462,000 cards. I cannot remember every single card, sir. DELANEY: Klayman focused on examining 5,900 disputed ballots in Palm Beach. Democrats filed a motion in circuit court to prevent reexamining these ballots.
DENNIS NEWMAN, DEMOCRATIC ATTORNEY: Our objection is looking at them today, particularly the challenged ballots, and that seems to be the ones that he wants to look at because there is an election contest, as you know, and we want the ballots segregated.
DELANEY: Judicial Watch said it expected the process in Palm Beach to take several days.
DELANEY: Tomorrow, at 9:00 a.m., Judicial Watch and Democratic lawyers will be in circuit court here in Palm Beach for a hearing. Judicial Watch to complain about the fees Palm Beach County wants to charge for this reexamination. Palm Beach County wants $1,152 an hour.
Democratic lawyers will be, as we just reported, asking for some relief from the -- the Democratic lawyers will be asking for the ballots, the contested ballots, -- I'm sorry. I have gotten confused here. The Democratic lawyers asking for those contested ballots not to be included in the examination process. The reason for that is that they believe that they could eventually be used as evidence in the contest,
Now, the problem with all of that, of course, is that the Judicial Watch says they've already looked at those ballots. They've already looked at half of them and will finish the other half by tomorrow afternoon -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Delaney. That's perfectly all right. There is so much to keep track of here. It's hard to believe that you can keep track of what you have already talked about. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.
And we want to tell our audience that at this hour in Leon County in Tallahassee, Florida, in a courtroom there, Judge N. Sanders Sauls has begun to hear arguments on an emergency motion from the Gore team requestion to have a special master begin counting certain disputed ballots immediately in Miami-Dade and in Palm Beach Counties. We're going to keep an eye on that hearing and, of course, we'll bring you any developments as they take place.
When INSIDE POLITICS continues: The high price of victory. The Bush and Gore legal warriors. Brooks Jackson on the best that money can buy.
SHAW: And very quickly, we put you inside the Tallahassee, Florida courtroom of Judge N. Sanders Sauls, this is the emergency hearing, and the judge indicated yesterday he is going to speed things along. This is Dexter Douglass, the attorney for Al Gore. Let's listen.
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DEXTER DOUGLASS, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: ... the conclusions of law and then there would be a possible notice of appeal for either party or all parties at that point. That's the 6th of December. I like that day, because it's my 71st birthday and I am still alive -- sort of. But the 7th, which is Pearl Harbor Day, if we do have a notice of appeal, there would be simultaneous exchange of appellate's and appellee's briefs. We'd be in the Florida Supreme Court on Friday the 8th for a hearing. We would hope for a Florida Supreme Court order on the 9th. Now, that gives the court very few days, the Supreme Court, to deal with this matter before the 12th.
If this matter is not concluded before the 12th, then we are running into a situation that it was not anticipated we would run into by the court, the Supreme Court, when it entered its decision, which caused all of this to be kicked off eventually. So we feel that in order to do anything that is meaningful and to have the Supreme Court have at least some time -- and they're familiar with all the facts in this case and -- except what we developed in this record -- and they know the issues and they know the pressures that are involved in getting this matter decided by the judiciary of the state of Florida so that it will be decided in a manner in which the electors can then be selected.
Now, there are obvious reasons for why we are concerned with this. You know, I think we are seeing here by some of the proposals being made which would run to the 13th in this court, which are -- to the 10th or whatever, 11th, somewhere in there -- that means if it stays in this court that long, the Supreme Court is just not going to have an opportunity to rule on whatever is before it as a result of this contest, which we are entitled to have under the statutes in the law.
Now, I think, Your Honor, it's easier to cause delay than it is to move a case. We all know that from many years of experience. If you want to delay something, it's easier to do it. It's easier to put it off and particularly in court proceedings, because if you have skillful advocates, if it's to the advantage of a client and he insists, obviously, you can legally and perhaps ethically, delay and delay, as long as you can to keep a decision from being made when it -- your client wants it put off. It's much easier to do that than it is to make something happen so a resolution can be done.
In this case, it's far easier for the attorneys who are not responsible for moving the case, in this case the attorneys for Governor Bush and for the allied people, Secretary Harris' side, to put obstacles in the path of a final and fair resolution of this matter until December the 12th is here and upon us, and then we're there, than it is for our client to obtain and move the case for a final, full and accurate count that the people and he deserves, as well as the voters of Florida.
Whoever wins is not material to my argument. Obviously, we think and hope that the vice president, when they count these votes, will be the winner in Florida. But we don't know that until they're counted, and neither does anybody else.
I see where people just seem to assume that if you count these votes, our client wins. If you don't count them, let's hold them off, hold them off, our count loses -- our client.
The country loses if we hold this off. The only fair thing to do, your honor -- and we urge the court to do it -- is to move this on this schedule or one that gives the time to take this case to the Supreme Court, file the briefs, have it heard, and have them make the final decision on this before the 12th. And then that is the only...
SHAW: This is Vice President Gore's lawyer, Dexter Douglass. You heard him refer to the date December 12th several times. He obviously is concerned about that date, December 12th, as the constitutionally mandated date for states to choose their electors.
Judge N. Sauls Sanders -- Sanders Sauls rather, Judge Sauls is hearing the argument from the Gore side. When Governor Bush's attorney steps up, we'll go back to Judge Sauls' courtroom -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, of course, we're spending much or out time these days talking about legalities, looking at courtrooms. Meantime, there is consideration in both camps, particularly in the Bush camp, about planning for a presidency. We've heard much talk about the transition.
Joining us now to talk about, White House chief of staff John Podesta.
John Podesta, thank you for being us with us.
JOHN PODESTA, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Good evening, Judy.
WOODRUFF: The Bush camp and particularly vice presidential nominee Dick Cheney are suggesting that it's the political arm of the Clinton administration and not federal bureaucrats who are denying them the support they need to get the transition under way. Are they correct in making that charge?
PODESTA: Of course not. Actually, what is preventing the expenditure of federal taxpayer funds is the statute that Congress passed in 1963. When they originally passed the law, they were very clear about what should be done, what shouldn't be done, and that an apparent president-elect had to be clear so that frankly the administrator of the GSA wasn't selecting our president. And I think the GSA is trying to follow the law. They've consulted with the Justice Department. And we're going to try to do everything that we can to make sure that whether Vice President Gore or Governor Bush ultimately is the president-elect, that we are prepared to have the best transition, the most professional transition that we can.
WOODRUFF: Can you say, no uncertain terms, that you and no one else, or anyone in the White House, played a role in the General Services Administration decision not to support the Bush transition? PODESTA: Their lawyers looked at this and they informed us of their decision. I think, again, Judy, if you go back and look at the legislative history it's quite clear on this point. So I don't think there's really any dispute if someone would bother in that camp to go back and look at this and examine what the Congress intended when they passed the statute originally.
WOODRUFF: But did you have conversations with the GSA about this?
PODESTA: They informed us of their decision. I didn't personally have conversations nor did the president.
WOODRUFF: And you -- did you urge them to go one way or another on this?
WOODRUFF: John Podesta, the president said -- President Clinton said yesterday that he would like to offer transition assistance to both the Bush and the Gore camps. Can this Presidential Transition Act that you referred to, can it accommodate such a thing?
PODESTA: Well, we've asked that question of the Justice Department, and they have concluded that we cannot provide it to both -- to both parties.
I would add, Judy, that this is the expenditure of the federal dollars that go, taxpayer dollars that go into the transition. Obviously, both campaigns are proceeding to think about personnel that they would select, and our administration, under the direction of the president, is going ahead and providing the kinds of -- preparing the kinds of documents that they'll need, the budget support, the important decisions that they'll have to face when they first come into office come January.
So all that work goes on, and we'll be ready to turn it over at an appropriate time.
I talked to Mr. Card from the Bush organization last night and I talked to Mr. Neal, who's Vice President Gore's designee today, and I'm happy to brief either one of them at an appropriate point on what we're pulling together and what we're doing. We want to try to provide as much help as possible.
WOODRUFF: I saw a news story today, John Podesta, that quoted anonymously aides to the president, President Clinton, saying that -- complaining really that they got, in their words, very little help from the administration of President George Bush back in 1992 when they were transitioning into the White House.
What is the feeling about that period? Is there any looking back?
PODESTA: Judy, I may be a rare exception here, because the people who were in the White House that -- when I came into the White House in January of 1993 were quite helpful as I moved in and provided me with the kind of support that I needed to get -- to get going. With regard to what was provided on the budget, that -- those kinds of issues, you know, that, I think, was worked out frankly.
The Bush administration and President-Elect Clinton's team didn't strike a deal on how to share information until December 5th, which is still off in the future in our case and Andy Card, as you know was -- represented the Bush administration at that point. So, it took them a little bit of a time to get the machinery oiled, if you will.
We have tried to get ahead of that by appointed this counsel that will handle the transition matters and try locate a smoother interface with the new team. But as I say, in my case, I got very good support from the people who were vacating the White House as we were coming in.
WOODRUFF: All right, John Podesta, White House chief of staff. We thank you very for joining us.
PODESTA: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it -- Bernie.
SHAW: As you know, the Bush and Gore campaigns have an army of lawyers in Florida fighting the war over the state's electoral votes. Some of these soldiers in suits are volunteers. But those demanding money -- pay -- don't come cheap.
Brooks Jackson checks out who is paying for the final push to the White House.
BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some of these lawyers are being paid and some are not. We may never know which ones or how much. Neither the Bush nor the Gore teams are saying. The Bush has raised $6 million in private donations to pay for the recount legal fight. They say it's all being disclosed on their Web site, but only $3 million has showed up there so far. It's dull reading. Bush says he won't take more than $5,000 per person.
Gore has raised only $3 million he isn't setting limits, so there could some very large gifts. We may know soon. His team now says it will disclose everything over $200 starting December 7th.
(on camera): Both sides say there's nothing wrong with high- priced lawyers volunteering their time for a recount fight, even if their legal work might determine who wins the White House. They say, legally, it's the same thing as somebody volunteering their time to knock on doors or hand out campaign literature for a candidate.
(voice-over): Other volunteers, hundreds of party workers, Capitol Hill aides and others have flown from out-of-state to work as observers and media spinners. Expenses paid by the parties or the recount funds. Some of those Republican volunteers took part in demonstrations, including this one according to "The Wall Street Journal." But spokesman for the RNC says nobody was paid expense money specifically to be a demonstrator.
And besides the recount, now there's transition money, too. Papers were filed Monday night in Texas to create the Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition Foundation, a tax exempt group that will raise more private millions to finance Bush transition expense. The General Services Administration has refuse to release $5 million in federal transition funs to Bush.
(on camera): There's a precedent here. Eight years ago, the Clinton team raised more than $5 million in private donations in addition to $3 million in federal transition funds.
(voice-over): Federal law limits private donations to presidential transitions to $5,000 per individual or $5,000 from a business corporation. But oddly, it puts no limit on so-called in kind donations -- gifts of good or services. The Bush team says it will accept only donations from individuals, subject to the $5.000 limit. No corporate donations of any kind, and no in-kind gifts from individuals beyond the $5,000 limit.
They say they'll disclose all donations on a new transition Web site which is in the works. The law requires full disclosure to the General Services Administration, but not until 30 days after the inauguration.
(on camera): So far, the vice president has not set up any formal transition organization or raised any private funds for a transition, either.
Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.
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