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Inside Politics

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Bush's Favor; Gore to Concede, Aides Say; Bush to Make Overtures to Democrats

Aired December 13, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET

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

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore appears set to deliver his campaign swan song tonight. Will he concede to George W. Bush or to the nation's high court?

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Bush prepares to publicly assume the mantle of president-elect. How might his remarks ease the hurdles ahead?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's clear enough to say that the end is here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been a long and tortured trail for everybody, but it's over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: After a long and difficult journey, even many Democrats believe we have reached the end of the road to the White House.

ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff from Washington.

SHAW: Thank you very much for joining us.

About four hours from now, Al Gore is expected to end the presidential bid he had worked toward for much of his life, a battle he kept fighting until the United States Supreme Court apparently convinced him, last night, that this is indeed the bitter end.

An hour later, George W. Bush plans to speak to the nation, as the heir to the office his father held, an office he has waited five long weeks to claim.

CNN's John King begins our coverage of what promises to be the election finale.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice president will address the nation tonight, and several top advisers tell CNN that as he bows out, he will urge his supporters to respect the Supreme Court decision that doomed his hopes for a Florida recount.

It is a signature moment for the vice president and for a divided country.

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: It is probably one of the most important speeches in the history of our country, because what he says tonight is going to set the tone probably for the next four years.

KING: Governor Bush will follow with his first speech as the official president-elect and is rushing to speed up his transition process. Top advisers tell CNN, Mr. Bush is likely to visit Washington within days. The agenda: a conciliatory meeting with Mr. Gore, a courtesy call on President Clinton, and a roll-out of a national security team led by retired General Colin Powell as the choice for secretary of state.

The pace is dizzying, but this part of the remarkable post- election drama is, for the most part, choreographed. Rule one: Give the vice president plenty of room to exit gracefully.

RICHARD CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know you've got a lot of questions, but I'm going to have to defer until later this evening.

KING: The rush was the result of a Supreme Court ruling that left the Gore camp angry, furious, frustrated, and out of acceptable legal and political options. Sources say the vice president made the decision to bow out after concluding the high court had effectively blocked any chance of changing the Florida results. Some advisers and allies urged a symbolic fight anyway: a continued push to count the votes even if they would never be added to the official totals.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: When it becomes very public that the loser is the winner, that will stand our democracy on its head.

KING: But sources tell CNN campaign chairman William Daley warned that many Democrats would revolt, and Mr. Gore in the end decided fighting on would hurt the country and perhaps scar the party and his own now uncertain future.

Some Gore loyalists already talk of a rematch in four years, but others aren't so sure.

JAMES THURBER, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: I think the party and others will move on, move on to other individuals that are ambitious and who want to get the nomination, and I think he's probably going to be -- quote -- "a senior statesman" in the party at a very young age.

KING: Unity is the Bush theme now. Outreach to Democrats viewed as the urgent priority once the vice president brings the extended campaign to a close. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: And as one often confusing chapter ends, another begins. In Washington today, talk of bipartisanship on the one hand, raw anger from some liberal Democrats on the other. Ask a top adviser to Al Gore what next in his political career, they say simply, I don't know.

This much, though, is certain: 5 1/2 weeks from now, George W. Bush becomes the 43rd president of the United States -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King, and we're going to ask you to stick around for a few moments. We want to hear from two other correspondents and then talk to all three of you.

For more on what the vice president is expected to say tonight, let's bring in CNN's Jonathan Karl.

Jon, what are you hearing?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the vice president's aides are using the words like "statesmanlike" and "gracious" to describe what the vice president will say tonight, saying this is a message to the country that it is a time to move on and it is time to heal.

The vice president, of course, has already written a concession speech. He wrote a concession speech that he was all set to deliver on election night. I spoke to one person very close to the vice president, who said, this speech will be different than that one, because he said the election night concession speech is a speech that you are essentially giving to your supporters. It's -- you're consoling your supporters, you're thanking them for all their efforts.

This speech is something different. This is a speech that is to the entire nation, and it is not so much a thank you note to your supporters, although there will be an element of that, but it's an effort, in this person's words, this is about helping people heal and about moving forward.

The vice president's aides are saying he is very much at peace with his decision, and saying that, you know, it's not an understatement to say that this may be the most important speech of his life -- although they are quick to add that it is the moment that makes the speech, it isn't the speech that makes the moment, and pretty much, whatever he would say right now is something we would all listen to and would be considered a very important point in his career.

Also, the vice president has, even before this decision had come down, directed all of his aides not to criticize the Supreme Court and not to question the legitimacy of George W. Bush's victory, although many of the vice president's top aides are very eager to do just that. As one of his senior aides told me, I will -- I will criticize the court as soon as I'm off the payroll -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, how much do we know about whether the vice president is getting a lot of help writing his remarks? Is he seeking advice from the outside? Is he leaning on just the people near him? How is that taking place?

KARL: The vice president has a very tight circle of advisers on such matters. In the end, he very much keeps his own counsel.

If you remember, when he was writing his speech for the Democratic National Convention, that was largely his own work product. He carried his laptop around with him for the weeks before the speech, worked with his aides on it. Those top aides -- really, it's a circle of three. Of course, you have Bob Shrum, who is considered one of the real great Democratic speech writers, somebody who wrote speeches of course for Teddy Kennedy. Also Carter Eskew, who is perhaps the member of Gore's inner circle who knows him best, somebody who goes back to his days as a reporter for "The Nashville Tennessean." And then a younger aide, Eli Attie is also -- in the last few months has become a very important adviser to the vice president on such matters.

That's the team that will be working with him on this speech, although they all say that in the end this is the vice president's own work product.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jon, stay with us still, because now we want to go out to Austin, Texas to our Candy Crowley.

Candy, what have you learned about what Governor Bush is going to say this evening?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Judy, I'm told that this will be a tone-setting speech, a "coming together" sort of speech. It will be set in the House chamber in the Texas legislature, which is dominated by Democrats. Bush will be introduced by the speaker of the House, who is a Democrat.

The message here is I have worked with these Democrats in Texas, we have gotten things done, and I can do the same thing for the country. It will at the same time try to pull the country together to what, one aide called, seize the moment and use this time after so much bitterness and so much partisanship, and seize this opportunity to pull the nation together.

I am told that there will be some general goals, but nothing specific in the way of legislation: that this is much more of a broader view of what George Bush needs to do first, says an aide, and that is bring this country together.

We know that the governor has pretty much settled on his national security staff and his senior staff, but there will be no talk of that this evening, because an aide said, this is about bringing the nation together, and that in and of itself deserves this evening all by itself. There will be plenty of time to put up people and legislative agendas in place, but for now, what George Bush has to do is reach out to the nation and begin this healing process -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley, who's in Austin. Jonathan Karl, I want to thank both of you. Jonathan Karl here in Washington. And turn back just quickly to John King.

John, you said the vice president urging the people around him not to criticize the Supreme Court. But how much of what they are saying and talking about now is second-guessing, talking about what might have been? How easy or how difficult is it to put this behind them?

KING: Well, the staff obviously very busy now making arrangements for the vice president to bow out. Ever since election day second-guessing about what might have been: What might have been had he won the state of Tennessee? He would be the president-elect of the United States. What might have been if he had carried the state of West Virginia, a reliably Democratic state? He would be the president-elect of the United States. What might have been had they not challenged the Florida count in the initial process, the protest phase, allowed the secretary of state to certify quickly, and then do a contest and ask for a statewide recount with a statewide standard? Had they done that, some lawyers believe they might have ultimately succeeded.

A lot of second-guessing, but we're told from the vice president himself, he has told his staff, keep your heads up, be proud of the campaign we have run, I am proud of the campaign we have run, now it is time to do what's right for the country. We'll worry about everything else after that.

As he says that, though, the vice president, among those he's called today, John Sweeney, the president of the AFL-CIO, some other phone calls to indicate the vice president is thanking his top supporters and perhaps keeping some options open here.

WOODRUFF: What do you mean by that, John?

KING: Well, this is a man who now has to decide whether he wants to run again. He will face pressure and urgings from some loyalists to do that, to take a little bit of a break here. And aides say that's his No. 1 priority: be graceful here, meet with Governor Bush, say and do the right things over the next week or so, and then take a break. Relax, calm down with his family, have a much more calm period to assess what has happened, not only these past few weeks, but the past year.

Plus what some say: Maybe he should run again. Maybe he should make the case: Look, I won the popular vote. I was robbed in Florida. "We were robbed" could be a message to the Democratic base. Others say perhaps the presidency of a university, maybe some time to write. And if he wanted to run again, he should expect to have plenty of company in the Democratic field next time. That's one thing he's being told even today.

WOODRUFF: John, are there any individuals around the vice president who are being given particular credit or blame for what has happened?

KING: Oh, I think you will see, in the Democratic Party, and certainly some within the Gore campaign group -- this is a pretty tight-knit group at the end of the campaign -- quite a bit of turmoil early in the campaign when you had all the turnover -- this a group that has pulled together. There is, again, some questioning about the legal strategy. Should they have just asked for statewide recount? Should they have proposed a statewide standard to be safe, to guarantee themselves the most time?

Some lawyers will say that was a fatal mistake. Should they have done other things during the campaign? Should they have pulled their money out of Ohio? Should they have spent more time in Tennessee? There will be a lot of that. People who get credit: Even though they have lost in the end, people give David Boies a lot of credit for the legal case they put together. One man who gets a lot of credit in town, not only from the Democrats, but from the Republicans, is Bill Daley, the chairman of the campaign, the man who came in late.

He was given credit for turning the campaign around, also given credit for late last night and early this morning, when there was a lot of conflicting advice, of saying to the vice president: I will do whatever you ask me to. But if you try to fight on here, you will not win. And you will cause a revolt in the Democratic Party.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King, here in Washington, thanks very much -- Bernie.

SHAW: Now that Al Gore appears ready to stop, his top aides in Florida are packing up and moving out of their recount headquarters. Bush camp officials are doing the same.

But as CNN's Gary Tuchman explains, the going is much tougher for the Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a house that's now available to be leased after four months as the Florida campaign headquarters for Al Gore.

MARCUS JADOTTE, GORE FLORIDA DIRECTOR: I think we're all surprised at the court's action, and now dealing with the aftermath. It hasn't sunk in yet.

TUCHMAN: This is where the vice president's top lieutenants in Florida and volunteer workers toiled during the campaign and the recount effort. But now everybody is moving out. And many here can't believe it.

TASHA COLE, FLORIDA SCHEDULING DIRECTOR: It hasn't hit me yet. I'm sure, you know, over the next couple of days and weeks, it will probably start to sink in. You know, we have to travel to D.C. And, you know, the Inaugural comes up. I mean, at this very moment, it hasn't sunk in yet that he's not going to be president.

TUCHMAN: As Florida's undervotes started getting counted this past Saturday, many of these Gore workers thought their candidate might be on the verge of the presidency. But then came the U.S. Supreme Court stay and the ruling late Tuesday night. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You felt emotional, but you had a sense of pride. You did everything that you could.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day I woke up realizing how good I felt about what I was doing, and glad that I was here, and would not trade it for anything, wouldn't trade these three days and this recount, as hard and confusing as they were, for anything.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Most of these people had planned on being here for a while longer to watch hand counts get completed. But now they move on elsewhere, thinking about what might have been.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Tallahassee, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: the mood on the Hill -- Chris Black on lawmakers and their reactions, as the presidential battle winds down. Plus: Jeff Greenfield and David Broder on the very long road to the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: In a few hours, Al Gore will make his next move official, all but certain to clear the way for George W. Bush. On Capitol Hill, the likelihood of a Republican White House is sinking in. And lawmakers are considering the task ahead.

CNN's Chris Black reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Congress turns the corner from campaign mode to the Bush administration, the man who expects to preside over an evenly divided Senate made the rounds, setting the groundwork for a Bush agenda.

DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are moving forward on the transition. Things are going well.

BLACK: Many lawmakers, including the moderate Republicans who invited Cheney to lunch, say they are exhausted from the partisan fighting and eager for a new tone.

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: We all encouraged Vice President Cheney to make sure that we could work together in a way that I think develops the strong consensus for bipartisanship and usher in a new era of cooperation here on Capitol Hill.

REP. CHRISTOPHER COX (R), CALIFORNIA: The campaign that Governor Bush ran -- now president-elect Bush -- was tailor-made for this circumstance, which surely he could not have anticipated.

BLACK: Even a staunch Gore man, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, says the vice president needs to make the break clean, and concede. SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH CAROLINA: This has been a long and tortured trail for everybody -- and a lot of passion on all sides. But it's over. I mean, this is over.

BLACK: A leading Democratic centrist says the new mantra is bipartisanship.

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: We can't do anything by ourselves. Bipartisanship is not going to just be a political theory. It's a political necessity.

BLACK: But some Democrats cannot contain their anger, furious at the Supreme Court for making what they say was a political call.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: I don't see where America is so anxious to close this anger until we fully appreciate everything that has taken place. One thing we know is that Al Gore got the popular votes. And we had every reason to believe that he had them out of Florida as well.

BLACK: Senator Majority Leader Trent Lott, who used his power this year to block Democratic initiatives, says next year will be different and difficult.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: There's a great potential for people to have resentment, or say: Well, we're going to resist this in every way. But it shouldn't be that way. It doesn't have to be that way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACK: To avoid that way, Lott says Congress should finish up the lame-duck session quickly and get out of town to give the healing a chance to begin -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Chris, were you able to find out what those Republican senators said to Dick Cheney behind closed doors?

BLACK: Judy, there was -- they were very happy, obviously. They're thrilled that Bush is going to be president next year. But the senators are very realistic. And what they told Dick Cheney, according to several senators who were in the meetings, is: You got to be realistic. And you can't do too much too soon. You have to be bipartisan. No one is saying the agenda has to be modest. But that seems to be the upshot.

WOODRUFF: All right, Chris Black, reporting from the Capitol. Thanks -- Bernie.

SHAW: Joining us now for more on the impending finale of this presidential race, David Broder of "The Washington Post" and CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield. Jeff and Dave, I want to begin with a three-part question. No, given the way this election ended, what does it do to the country? What does it do to Republicans? What does it do to Democrats -- David?

DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Do I get my choice of the three?

SHAW: Yes.

BRODER: I think it's been very polarizing and damaging for people who are closely involved in politics and government. I think the feeling among them has been that neither party behaved particularly well, that the courts and the legislature in Florida did not distinguish themselves and the splintering in the Supreme Court gave no great sense of confidence about that most revered of all the institutions. I'll leave the next one to Jeff.

SHAW: Jeff?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I was hoping for the essay part of this exam, but OK. I think among Democrats there's going to be a division. I think they're going to be a fair number of bitter enders, including members of the core Democratic constituencies, ardent liberals, I think a lot of African-Americans who felt they were either deliberately or by inefficiency prevented from voting, particularly in Florida.

I think the potential there is for the same kind of feeling toward Bush that a lot of Republicans had toward Clinton for different reasons, that he is illegitimate. That as Dick Armey once said of Clinton, he's not my president. I think among more mainstream Democrats, in fact I heard yesterday from one pretty prominent Democrat, he's hoping that the Democrats put the compromises on the table first because it's his view that the country so wants a kind of centrist, effective, bipartisan government that whichever party makes it clear that they're willing to compromise first is going to get a lion's share of the credit.

And so I guess we're going to have to see among Democrats whether or not the bitter enders or the compromisers have the upper hand when the new Congress meets in January.

SHAW: Now looking at the Republicans, what do you see as perils and opportunities for Governor Bush?

BRODER: Well, for the Republicans, Bernie, I think this is like a Christmas present where you get a shirt that you really like but the tie that came with it is really ugly.

What they like about it is, of course, for the first time in almost 50 years they have control of the entire elected government in Washington, D.C. Both houses of Congress and the White House. But the ugly part of it is that their control is so narrow on Capitol Hill and their win for the White House was so shaky that many of the real conservative core of the party suspects already that they're not going to get the kind of policy changes that they hoped for in 1994, when they took over the House and Senate or that they would have liked to have had with their first Republican president in a long while.

SHAW: Jeff?

GREENFIELD: Yes, I think David's absolutely right about that. In fact, it's very interesting to see that even a couple of weeks ago there was some grumbling on the more conservative part of the Republican conservative axis that what's Andrew Card doing as the chief of staff? Wasn't he one of George Bush's father's more mainstream fellows. We can't have Tom Ridge, the governor of Pennsylvania, as secretary of defense. He opposed aid to the Contras.

And I think on that level, the idea that you're hearing -- in fact, we just heard it in Chris Black's piece that a lot of moderate Republicans say, you know, compromise, bipartisanship. That is never what the core constituency of a party ever wants to hear, and we did in fact hear Tom DeLay, the majority whip, just a couple of days ago suggest that no, this was a golden opportunity for the conservative agenda because now we have the presidency and the Congress and other people the next day said wait a minute, Mr. Whip, it isn't that simple.

So I think in some ways the battle between the elements of the Republican camp may be more interesting than the Republican-Democratic battle.

SHAW: And very briefly, starting with you, David, what must Al Gore say and not say tonight?

BRODER: Well, I'm confident that he will be gracious in defeat. When he left the presidential race in 1988 after the New York primary, he did so with enormous compliments to the Democrats that he had been in a very bitter fight with, and I expect a similar kind of statesmanship and generosity from him tonight.

SHAW: Jeff?

GREENFIELD: When Vice President Nixon in 1961 had to announce that he had lost to John Kennedy in a joint session, he said afterwards in our campaigns, no matter how hard fought they may be, no matter how close the election may turn out to be, those who lose accept the verdict and support those who win. That's what he said publicly.

Privately, I believe he always believed that John Kennedy had illegitimately taken that election from him and I think that helped color what had happened when he actually got to be president. So, two quick questions for Gore. What will he say publicly? What will he believe privately?

SHAW: Jeff Greenfield, David Broder, thanks very much.

GREENFIELD: Thank you.

SHAW: And there is much more ahead on this expanded, two-hour edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come, the difficult decision of the nation's highest court and the lasting impact of that ruling.

Plus, a look at why some voters feel cheated by the political process.

And later, 36 days after Election Day, and just hours from a conclusion. Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson on how we got here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: After 36 days,the presidential election is all but over. Here are the latest developments: Vice President Al Gore is expected to end his presidential quest in a nationwide television address about 3 1/2 hours from now. Gore's move toward concession followed a United States Supreme Court decision that effectively stopped any further recount of ballots in Florida. Early today, he ordered his recount staff in Florida to pack up and go home.

George W. Bush is keeping a low profile as he prepares to become the nation's 43rd president, following five weeks of bitter legal fights. Bush plans his own televised statement one hour after Gore's. Aides say that it will be an effort to heal the division caused by the campaign.

Many Democrats, particularly minorities, seems stung by the Supreme Court ruling. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson took part in a demonstration in Tallahassee. Jackson has called for an investigation into allegations that thousands of African-Americans were impeded as they tried to vote and some of their votes were not counted.

CNN will carry live Al Gore's speech to the nation tonight at 9:00 Eastern. And at 10:00 p.m. Eastern we will carry Governor Bush's speech from the Texas state House of Representatives chamber in Austin.

SHAW: That U.S. Supreme Court ruling did more than bring to an end the disputed presidential election, it also revealed that the justices are as deeply divided as the American people.

Our senior Washington correspondent Charles Bierbauer reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Supreme Court in its decision effectively halting Florida's recount split philosophically and ideologically. But Justice Clarence Thomas says this is not a political court.

JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I plead with you that whatever you do, don't try to apply the rules of the political world to this institution, they do not apply. Now, you can criticize and there are basis for disagreeing, but it's not the model that you use across the street. They're entirely different worlds.

BIERBAUER: Across the street is Congress. Chief Justice Rehnquist encountering reporters after Thomas' remarks concurred, "absolutely, absolutely."

Justice Thomas told visiting high school students the court's 5-4 opinion was difficult.

THOMAS: The last few weeks have been exhausting, I mean, for the entire court, but in a lot of ways, it shows the strength of our system of government.

BIERBAUER: Justice Thomas said there was passion in the court's deliberation, but no self-interest. The passion was most evident in the four dissents to the ruling. Justice Stevens: "The identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This court itself is divided quite often, but there is no question, the division among the justices in this case was as intense as we have seen in recent years.

BIERBAUER: But is it lasting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have a lot of respect for each other and there is not going to be any lasting damage to the internal workings of the court. The justices often decide very difficult cases and then they move on.

BIERBAUER: The lasting impact may lie in public and political arenas.

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL: That is going to be very bitter for many people who believe that this was all about stopping the count from taking place to begin with.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BIERBAUER: The bitterness could be reflected if, when, the next president names a new Supreme Court justice, who must be -- excuse me -- who must be confirmed by the Senate, an intensely political body that will be divided 50/50 -- Bernie.

SHAW: Charles, what is this? How rare is this? In having rendered one of the century's most controversial rulings, justices of the nation's highest court explaining themselves publicly the next day?

BIERBAUER: Sheer coincidence, Bernie. Justice Thomas had agreed to do that meeting with the high school students for C-Span quite some time ago as part of their regular justice program, and there he was. He told the students there, timing was quite fortuitous and shortly -- in fact, even while Justice Thomas was speaking, the chief justice wandered by the press office to thank his staff there and that's when we had a moment to ask him two quick questions. One was about the political nature, where he agreed with Justice Thomas, and the other was I asked him how he felt about all those audiotapes about his courtroom being played and he was -- said he was surprised by how positive the response had been. Would there be more, I suggested? He said, well, not every case, but rare ones -- Bernie.

SHAW: Well, think of what would happen if there was a television camera in the courtroom?

BIERBAUER: I have often suggested that.

SHAW: Thank you, Charles Bierbauer -- Judy. WOODRUFF: Now that would be something.

SHAW: Yes.

WOODRUFF: This presidential election has been extraordinary in many ways. Last night was no exception. We got word of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision almost exactly at the same time as when we retracted our call declaring Al Gore the winner of Florida on election night 35 days earlier.

Here's a look back at that moment and how events unfolded on CNN last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: ... as CNN right now is moving our earlier declaration of Florida back to the too-close-to-call column.

Twenty five very big electoral votes and the home state of the governor's brother, Jeb Bush, are hanging in the balance. This no longer is a victory for Vice President Gore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: CNN has just learned that the United States Supreme Court has reached a decision. It has come down and, as you know, we've had all our people at the court around the clock.

CNN's senior correspondent Charles Bierbauer is there and, in effect, we are standing by now for the word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: And the word, of course, was the Supreme Court slamming the door shut on any further recount of ballots in Florida -- another chapter in this very unusual election saga.

Up next on INSIDE POLITICS, some African-Americans say their votes didn't count. Will that factor into the legitimacy of the next president?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: In Florida, some African-American voters are questioning the legitimacy of a Bush presidency. Citing allegations of voter irregularities, civil rights leaders say black voters were disenfranchised and they are urging protests around the country.

CNN's Bill Delaney reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the march in Tallahassee, Florida, and promising more to come all over the country -- voters.

PROTESTERS: We want justice! We want justice!

DELANEY: Led by Reverend Jesse Jackson, minorities, union members.

PROTESTERS: Recount the votes!

DELANEY: Who say George Bush will be president because they weren't counted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There should be a recount because America can do better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to discourage African-American folks a lot. Because we see that justice was not due to all and justice was not given to all, they will not come out and vote.

PROTESTERS: There is no justice!

DELANEY: Tens of thousands of African-American votes, protesters said, were not counted in Florida alone, because machines didn't work, or because registered voters' names weren't on official lists at polling places. Jackson said the loser won.

REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Driving while black and now voting while black -- the election was essentially taken and stolen. You must get your votes in the public booth, not the private chambers of judges who are your political allies.

DELANEY: Jackson called for a continuing series now of nonviolent protests against what he called "an illegitimate election."

(on camera): Anger over the vote is not limited to Florida. In other places, too, there is a lingering sense an historic turnout for minorities has led to an historic injustice.

(voice-over): In Newark, New Jersey, with the 19th largest African-American population in the country, a sense of history, that the long struggle to enfranchise blacks had come to this.

TERRY FARMER, SOCIAL WORKER: A lot of people waited their life just for this right, the right to vote, the right to have the count. For them not to go into those counties and make sure that each vote was counted is outrageous. And the rest of the world was looking at this.

DELANEY: As George W. Bush begins his presidency, African- Americans will be watching and listening with particular intensity. Many say if they had been heard on Election Day, he wouldn't be there at all.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Tallahassee, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: And here in the United States capital, our Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno has been looking into this anger -- Frank.

FRANK SESNO, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Bernie, some of that anger does track right back into Washington, right up to Capitol Hill. The Congressional Black Caucus is really faced with something of a decision now, and that is how much of that anger that's demonstrated there in Florida -- it's going to project into its daily doings here in Washington.

There are some who feel that this issue, much like impeachment for the Republicans, is an issue that will resonate and echo forward and should be used in some fashion politically to remind the public, and certainly African-Americans, that there was something very wrong here, in their view. Others see this as an opportunity to and in fact the necessity to move forward and leave this go.

Others see this as an opportunity and, in fact, a necessity to move forward and leave this go -- not to forget it, because the sentiments run quite deep -- but for example, Representative Chaka Fattah, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, put out a statement earlier today in which he harshly condemned the decision of the United States Supreme Court, but then said, of course, we recognize this as the highest court in the land, and said, essentially, we have to move forward.

What the Congressional Black Caucus will be looking for now, Bernie, are some signals from president-elect -- to the man they believe clearly is president-elect, George W. Bush, and that is first and foremost, something largely symbolic, and that is a meeting.

SHAW: Well, also, is there any thinking that perhaps this could be -- this anger could be an opportunity for Governor Bush?

SESNO: Well, Governor Bush stood at that podium at the convention, at his convention and said he wanted to run an inclusive campaign. We know that Governor Bush is considering Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, two prominent African-Americans, for his cabinet. He wants to be -- he has said he wants to be an inclusive president.

But let's look at the election results: 90 percent for -- of the African-American vote for Al Gore, 10 percent for George W. Bush. So, yes, it's an opportunity, yes, he is articulated an inclusive compassionate conservatism, but now as a result of this, he is going to walk into some very deep, lingering suspicion, and out in the land, and in the Congress, among the Congressional Black Caucus, he is going to have his work cut out for him.

SHAW: Frank Sesno, thank you.

And when INSIDE POLITICS continues, Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson on Al Gore, George W. Bush, and the high court.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Joining us now with their take on how this election has been decided: Margaret Carlson of "Time" magazine and Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard." Margaret, did the Supreme Court in any way mar its reputation as an institution above bipartisan with this decision?

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, Judge John Paul Stevens, I think, will leave a lasting impression on our impression of the Supreme Court in his dissent. Here's a Ford appointee, a moderate Republican who said that, you know, for all time we will judge the Supreme Court through what they did here, which was -- you know, what the Bush people needed to do at all costs the last 30 days was to keep us from counting, anything but counting. And in the last moment, it was the Supreme Court who did it, and they did it in a broken, fractured way, and Justice Stevens didn't let it go. I think it was a very powerful dissent.

TUCKER CARLSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Justice Stevens is a moderate Republican?

M. CARLSON: Isn't that -- he is a Gerald Ford appointee.

T. CARLSON: That's true.

M. CARLSON: He's a voice of reason.

T. CARLSON: And David Souter is a George Bush appointee, but I don't think he'd be considered a moderate Republican either.

I mean, clearly the decision, as Margaret said, was fractured, but then at a certain point somebody had to decide, and it struck me -- it was either going to be the Supreme Court -- the Florida Supreme Court, which is probably more politically tainted, or the Florida legislature, which of course is by definition political. So you come down to a limited set of options, and this is probably the least political, therefore the best.

WOODRUFF: The least political?

T. CARLSON: Well, sure. I mean, less political than the Florida legislature.

WOODRUFF: Margaret, how important are the words that Gore speaks tonight, or do we just -- whatever he says, we move on?

M. CARLSON: Well, I think there's a sampler in -- you know, that my daughter used to have, which is this is the first day of the rest of your life and so it's quite important. If he has any political future, it begins tonight. And we always say somebody is about to give the most important speech of their career, we say that about conventions, we -- but this time, I think it might be true, and it's so important that, you know, he's writing it himself -- maybe he is a micromanager, but he is writing the speech himself. And his demeanor will be very important. He's not the person who's most in touch with his feelings, but whatever bitterness is there -- and I think I would be tormented for the rest of my life if I thought I had won but didn't get it -- so that has to be tamped down and the conciliating nature has to come out.

WOODRUFF: Tucker, you agree it makes a difference?

T. CARLSON: Well, let me -- I -- you know, first, if he comes out and says, today is the first day of the rest of my life, or any other needlepoint throw pillow saying from the '70s, he'll be my hero.

I do think he has...

M. CARLSON: I thought you were going to say, he'll be as cliched as Margaret Carlson.

T. CARLSON: No, no, no, not at all.

No, I do think, though, he needs to say, bottom line, George Bush is my president as well as the president of every Republican in this country, and he can't withdraw. He needs to concede, he needs to make that, I think, really clear.

WOODRUFF: Does he need to use the word?

T. CARLSON: He needs to make the point really clearly. He needs to speak, I think, directly to people who supported him to -- roughly or almost precisely half the country and say, this is my president and your president now. And I think after the speech, he needs to call off people like Jesse Jackson, and specifically Jesse Jackson, who are saying, we're going to spend the next four years attempting to discredit this new president, George W. Bush. I mean, Gore is in contact apparently every day with Jesse Jackson -- this is not helpful rhetoric, at this point anyway.

A year from now when Bush has proven to, you know, make controversial decisions or whatever, attack him on those, but I -- it doesn't help anybody to make those sort of statements right now, and I think Gore can do something about it.

WOODRUFF: Margaret, whatever Gore says tonight, does Bush begin this presidency from a position of weakness?

M. CARLSON: That's a hard -- that's so hard to say. I mean, it really depends on how he acts with this. If he is presumptuous, if he does a victory lap, if he does chest thumping, I think it's going to be very bad. People -- most people I think may be suspect that he didn't actually win, especially since the popular vote is out there and there was so much controversy about this, but he has to show some humility and approach it with, I need your help, I can't do it alone, and then, you know, he'll be given a little bit of time. I don't think he's going to be given a big honeymoon. Of course, no one is these days. I mean, Clinton -- I think "Time" magazine declared, you know, his presidency a failure before the inauguration, because he hadn't named his entire cabinet, so there's no honeymoon...

WOODRUFF: I remember that.

M. CARLSON: There is no honeymoon for anyone.

T. CARLSON: I do think, though, at some point, Republicans -- some of -- and you've heard I think Tom DeLay and Trent Lott both made noises to this effect that, gee, we as Republicans control the entire federal government now. And so, you know, to -- in some sort of theoretical way, sure, Bush is starting in a position of almost profound weakness. On the other hand, in a much more literal way -- I don't know -- that is a position of strength if your party controls everything.

M. CARLSON: He was hurt in some ways by Tom DeLay saying, you know, we'll never concede to a Gore presidency, we'll declare holy war. That rhetoric was very -- as harmful to Bush as anything Jesse Jackson did during this period. In fact, I think Jesse Jackson was quite controlled during this period. He is out there today, but -- no, he was pulled back by the Gore people and told not to do that. In fact, it was Roger Stone and the Republicans that went down to Miami and acted up.

T. CARLSON: I would say demonstration for demonstration -- I have a running tally back at my office, unfortunately, I forgot to bring it -- Jesse Jackson wins for demonstrations, though.

M. CARLSON: Yes.

WOODRUFF: So as we look back on Al Gore, is he going to be viewed as a principled fighter, or a sore looser? Or does -- whatever he says tonight going to wipe away whatever happens?

M. CARLSON: You know, there was nothing -- there was no sore loser in him up until now. Do you -- I mean, I just didn't see that. I thought he was doing -- I mean, this was the closest election we've ever had. The margin of victory was very small and -- smaller than the margin of error -- and so he wanted the votes counted. There is nothing sore loser about that. That begins today.

T. CARLSON: That's right. It's a tough -- I mean, he may and probably does believe that he lost unfairly, he may or may not have a point, but that's a very tough -- politically, a very tough pose to maintain for four years. I mean, it's four years until another election and you just -- that's a note that grows old quick.

M. CARLSON: But he stops fighting today and becomes gracious tonight.

T. CARLSON: We'll see.

WOODRUFF: All right, the two of you were gracious.

T. CARLSON: Well, thank you.

M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Tucker Carlson, Margaret Carlson, thank you both, and see you soon.

And stay with us for a second hour of INSIDE POLITICS, as we look ahead to the final act of election 2000. We'll have more on the "it's over" speech Al Gore is expected to give tonight and how George W. Bush's -- Bush will declare victory when he goes before the cameras. Plus, the historical perspective on this White House contest -- unlike any other.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The verdict is all but in on election 2000: Al Gore is set to cede the White House to George W. Bush tonight. But, will the animosity linger on?

SHAW: We will consider how the American people may judge the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that set the presidential end game in motion.

WOODRUFF: Plus: an election for the new millennium? We'll review the bugs in the Y2K vote.

SHAW: And welcome back to this special two-hour edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

He said that once -- in the words of Al Gore, as he reportedly joked with some staffers today, "this was some election night!" Gore is said to be upbeat, as he prepares to end his five-week long, post- election campaign about three hours from now. George W. Bush will follow with his own primetime address designed to be his debut as president-elect.

But, first, Gore will set the stage for Bush and for his own political future.

Our Jonathan Karl has more on Gore, bowing out a day after the United States Supreme Court ruled against him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The battle finally over, the Gore team is packing its bags -- lawyers, political strategists, and volunteers closing their makeshift headquarters in Tallahassee.

At about noon, behind closed doors, the vice president gave his first farewell speech of the day via speaker phone to his legal team, thanking them for creating -- quote -- "the greatest virtual law firm in history."

During the call, the vice president invited members of his legal team to a holiday party at the vice presidential residence, and then jokingly told them -- quote -- "my house is the one with the people out front yelling, 'get out of Dick Cheney's house.'"

Gore's aides are using words like "gracious" and "statesman-like" to describe the vice president's speech tonight. As one top adviser said -- quote -- "this is about helping people heel and moving forward." Republicans have the same hopes for the vice president's speech.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: I've seen other senators say that the most important speech perhaps at this juncture will be the one that is made by the loser rather than the winner, and I expect he will be magnanimous. I expect he will ask the American people to join him in supporting the next president of the United States.

KARL: Most senior Democrats agree that it is time for Gore to concede, although some, expressing outrage at the Supreme Court decision, are suggesting he should fight on until the Electoral College votes are actually cast and counted.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: The man has gone through a lot, and for those people who say that he should withdraw, they should walk in his shoes. I think it's a personal decision, it's a political decision, and we have to recognize it just doesn't concern him, it concerns our Constitution and it concerns the feeling of the American people.

KARL: And Jesse Jackson held a rally in Tallahassee, protesting what he called an "illegitimate" victory for George W. Bush. Afterwards, in an interview on CNN, Jackson said Bush will be a president without the moral authority to lead.

JACKSON: He'll be the president legally, but he does not have moral authority, because his crown did not come from the people, it came from the judges.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: The vice president has directed his aides not to criticize the Supreme Court. But anger with the court's ruling runs deep among the vice president's allies, both on and off his staff. As one staffer told me: I will criticize the court as soon as I'm off the payroll -- Bernie, Judy.

SHAW: Jonathan, I'm curious, do you think, as he prepares for this speech tonight -- this very important speech tonight -- the vice president will draw inspiration from his mother and also his father, the late Tennessee Senator Al Gore Sr.?

KARL: Well, it's interesting. When Al Gore Sr. lost his run for reelection back in 1970, the senator from Tennessee, he went and took a job, a very high paying job, with Occidental Petroleum, and was asked about that high pay he was getting. And his father said: "Well, if they send me out to pastures, I will graze in the tall grass." That was a quote from his father back in 1970.

But when Vice President Gore gave the eulogy to his father when his father died, he talked about his own advice that he gave to his father at that time. His father told him: If you had given 32 years of your life to public service, given all you could, and you were thrown out unceremoniously, what would you do? And paraphrasing the vice president, what said he in the eulogy was: He said, Dad, I would take the 32 years -- Bernie.

SHAW: Jonathan Karl, thank you. Now to the man who is poised to become the 43rd president of the United, and what he hopes to accomplish when he speaks to the nation tonight: George W. Bush is in Austin, Texas.

And so is our Candy Crowley -- Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is the man of the hour -- just not this hour.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nice to see you all.

CROWLEY: The Bush family has taken political and personal blows in the past, says a friend. And the governor now wants to give the vice president room to do things his way.

BUSH: I woke them up.

CROWLEY: So George Bush was seen but not heard to say much as he waited out the evening speech of Al Gore. What follows will be the first speech of the second Bush era. The governor, says a senior staffer, will deliver a tone-setting speech. He will talk about seizing the moment, and using it as an opportunity to bring people together, to put national interests above partisan ones.

LOTT: I want him to make a very positive, unifying sort of speech. He needs to reassure the American people. I think he needs to ask for their help and their support. And I think he will need to make some commitments of his intentions.

CROWLEY: There will be talk of general goals, but no specifics, no word on a Cabinet or the senior staff. Bush has had his national security team and senior staff largely locked in and waiting to go. But the announcements will wait a bit longer. Coming together, says an aide, is the most important message tonight. And it stands alone. Bush will use the Democrat-controlled House chamber of the Texas legislature as the backdrop for his address.

He will be introduced by the House speaker, a Democrat. Message: Some of my best friends are Democrats. I have worked with them. And we got things done. For Bush, reaching out will mean going an extra mile. His campaign says the governor hopes to meet with the vice president, among others, during a visit to Washington, now sooner rather than later.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Bush often flashed his bipartisan credentials during the campaign. But this is now beyond political. It is beyond philosophical. This is about practicality. George Bush must now move this nation forward. And he cannot, until he pulls it together -- Bernie.

SHAW: Candy, apart from the last point that you just made, will the governor say anything to the far right of his party?

CROWLEY: This is a speech that is not sort of aimed at one facet of a party or another. It is sort of aimed at Americans. But I will tell you, largely, it is aimed at Democrats. They believe that, by having this in this chamber, and having the House speaker, who is a Democrat, introduce him, that this is sort of the symbolic way of George Bush extending an olive branch to the Democratic Party.

He will have kind words for the vice president. So this is not about George Bush's party. This is largely about the nation and about Democrats.

SHAW: Candy Crowley, in Austin, thank you -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: We are joined now by two longtime observers of and participants in Washington and its politics: Democrat and former United States representative from the state of Indiana, Lee Hamilton, and on the Republican side, former education secretary Bill Bennett.

Lee Hamilton, we heard some pretty strong words from Jesse Jackson. We have heard strong words from others today. How deep is the divide out there in the aftermath of this apparent end of the election?

LEE HAMILTON (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think the divide is quite deep. They are going to be a lot of Democrats -- perhaps others as well -- who resent the victory by Governor Bush, now president-elect Bush. But I also think it's a manageable kind of divide. And, if the president-elect exercises extraordinary political skills -- which he'll have to do -- he'll be able to make some modest progress in the next four years.

WOODRUFF: Bill Bennett, does he have those skills?

WILLIAM BENNETT, EMPOWER AMERICA: Yes, sure. I mean, I think everybody who knows George Bush -- George W. Bush -- concedes that when he says, "I'm a uniter, not a divider," that he's telling the truth. The record suggests that in Texas, as well. I think he's going to get a chance to do what I think God made him to do. He's very good at this. But I have to say, I think that Jesse Jackson makes himself ridiculous here.

There are divisions. But I do not think Jesse Jackson speaks for most of the people who disagree with George W. Bush. I think most Americans, most Democrats believe, and will give George Bush that moral authority, and will concede that moral authority as he goes into office. I expect Jesse Jackson to speak like Jesse Jackson. But I don't think most Democrats would say he doesn't have the moral authority. I don't think that's true at all.

WOODRUFF: Lee Hamilton, when you talk about needing extraordinary skills, what skills are you talking about here?

HAMILTON: First and foremost, I think president-elect Bush must know what he wants to achieve, what his goals are. And he must know how he wants to get those goals. And he must be willing to fight for the resources -- personal and money -- to achieve those goals. Secondly, I think he has to reach out -- as your program has suggested here -- not just to members of the Democratic Party, to the country, but also to some of the Republicans. He's going have to have very solid support among the Republicans.

He's going to have to be conciliatory. He's going to have to be flexible. He's going to have to recognize that he won this election by a hair's breath. And he is going to have to govern, of course, from the center.

WOODRUFF: Bill Bennett, you make the point that he has those skills. And yet it's also been observed that Texas, that Austin is not Washington, that there is -- there are Democrats here who feel much more strongly about their agenda than perhaps Democrats in Texas.

BENNETT: Well, you know what they say in Texas: It's same as the United States, except there is just more of it. It's pretty wild and wooly down in Texas. Look, I agree with Lee Hamilton. He said two interesting things. And they are not contradictory. One is that he has to fight. And he will have to fight for his agenda and his beliefs. And he should fight for them. He campaigned on them. I think he needs to remember what he said he would do during that campaign and fight for it.

But how he goes about it -- the style, the approach -- needs to be strong. He needs to fight. He needs to be firm. But he needs to be someone who is prepared to meet people halfway. Compromise is one of the rules of this city: a willingness on principle to compromise, not a willingness to compromise on principle.

WOODRUFF: And especially so, Lee Hamilton, given the make-up of the Congress: the Senate, we well know by now, 50-50, the House just a few votes apart.

HAMILTON: Well, the obligation will be not just on the president-elect. There is obligation on these congressional leaders too, to come forward and to meet the president. I think the president will be

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Are you talking about Democrats or Republicans or both?

HAMILTON: I'm talking -- absolutely. I'm talking -- look, this election is over now. The American people will give the benefit of the doubt to the new president. The Congress should give them the benefit of the doubt. They should work as much as they can with him. And so I think the obligation cuts both ways. Obviously, Governor Bush, president-elect Bush, has that obligation, but so do the members of Congress.

WOODRUFF: And, Bill Bennett, some of the Republicans agree the burden is on the Democrats. Is not the burden also on some Republicans who have some issues, some agenda in mind, that just may not be workable right away? BENNETT: Oh, yes. Listen, I've heard people say: We are there. We are at our moment. Our moment is here. We are about to be delivered the promise land. No, everybody has to give a little bit. But, look, Ronald Reagan was president and he had to face Democratic majorities in both houses. This is not a -- you know, the worst situation a Republican president has ever faced. That's for sure.

And I think George Bush's campaign was -- hit so many centrist themes, that it will be natural for him to proceed in this way. I think -- again, I think he's got the personality to do this right. And I think that he will try very hard to do it right. I'd hope he does not speak to any particular segment of the Republican Party or Democratic Party tonight. He should speak to all America. He -- this is the first time we hear from him as the president-elect of the United States, I think, in most people's minds.

WOODRUFF: I want ask you both to be very specific. In the first two months of his presidency, Lee Hamilton, what should George W. Bush try to do to send the right signal?

HAMILTON: He's got to get very good people around him. He's got to indicate that he has a program, that he's taking charge, that he's the president, that he knows exactly where he wants to go in terms of domestic policy and in foreign policy. He must strive very hard to get some victories early on to show that he can move this country in the right direction. Electoral reform, incidentally, is one area that he should focus on, in my view.

WOODRUFF: And, Bill Bennett, specific accomplishments?

BENNETT: Yes, I think that's right. I think that's exactly how he would show a solicitude and concern for people who have objected to this election, to say: We've got to do something about the elections. We've got to do something about some kind of standards and so on.

But again, I think the distinction -- William James once made the distinction between toughness and callousness. He needs to be tough. He needs to be strong. American people want firmness in their leader, whether it's a Democrat of a Republican, but he can't be callous or appear to be callous.

And I would just echo what Lee said. There's not just an obligation on him. There's an obligation on the Congress, too. That is, they can't appear to be intransigent. They can't appear to say, as people have been urging from the left, we're not going to do anything. This is an illegitimate presidency. Forget it. We'll see you in four years. They will, I think, earn the wrath of the American people as much as any extreme group on the right who would say to George W. Bush, you know, you must buy our agenda completely.

WOODRUFF: All right, Gentlemen. We are going to leave it there. Bill Bennett, thank you very much. Lee Hamilton, I thank you both. We appreciate it.

BENNETT: Thank you. HAMILTON: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thanks. And when INSIDE POLITICS continues, a look at the Florida Supreme Court and its options following the United States Supreme Court ruling. We'll have a live report from Tallahassee.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: In its historic ruling on the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to the Florida Supreme Court. And that raises this question, what will Florida's highest court do now, if anything?

Joining us in Tallahassee to talk about that Susan Candiotti and Mike Boettcher. First, to Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Bernie. Today, Florida's Supreme Court spent much of this day doing probably what a lot of Americans have done already or will be doing tonight, and that is poring over that U.S. Supreme Court decision sent back to these seven justices.

In fact, that decision flattened this court's attempt to conduct a manual recount of all those undervotes throughout Florida's 67 counties, a recount that was stopped in those ballots, 9,000 of them from Miami-Dade County; 3,300 from Palm Beach County. Those ballots remain under lock and key here at the Florida Supreme Court. The rest of the ballots sent up here, nearly a million in all, are just a few blocks away over at the Leon County Courthouse.

Now, the Florida Supreme Court will at some point attempt to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court and it does have a number of options before this court. First of all, they could decide on their own to come up with a new standard as to how to determine a voter's intent.

It could also ask the parties involved to submit briefs. Could possibly set oral arguments on this matter, or could send the whole thing back to the Florida legislature to consider rewriting Florida's election laws which the U.S. -- which the Florida Supreme Court based its decision on earlier in the week.

These are all of the options before this court, but for this day, it made no public statements, instead choosing perhaps like the rest of America to wait to see what Vice President Gore has to say and Governor Bush. All of that happening later this night.

Bernie, back to you.

SHAW: Susan, I'm curious, is there a time frame for when the justices in Florida's highest court might respond to the United States Supreme Court?

CANDIOTTI: No, there is not, and we expected throughout this day we were told by court spokesman that we might be hearing from the court as to what its plans are. But according to the officials -- court officials here, this Florida Supreme Court can take its time, as much time as it wants to respond to the highest court in the land.

SHAW: Thank you, Susan Candiotti. Now to a man who might consider himself or you might think of him as a member of the Florida legislature. He's been covering it for a long, long time, Mike Boettcher. What's the story now on the legislature?

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, what a difference a day makes. Yesterday, the House voted 79-41 to approve a slate of electors for George W. Bush. Today, the Senate, after last night's Supreme Court action, goes into session at 1:00, adjourns in 12 minutes, and says we're going see what Vice President Gore has to say tonight. Let's listen now to Senate president John McKay who informed the full Senate about the action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCKAY (R), FLORIDA SENATE PRESIDENT: We've successfully negotiated unchartered waters in the past few weeks and it is my intention that we will not run aground as we continue. Therefore, out of respect for the vice president, we will wait to hear his comments this evening before taking further action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOETTCHER: Now the Senate says they will reconvene at 2:00 tomorrow. But frankly, Bernie, they will reconvene in recess if there is a concession speech or a withdrawal speech, whatever it's called, they will reconvene and recess and then leave the session open for a final sine die on the 18th of December.

At that time, the Senate president will sound the gavel and call it quits. They will not vote on this. But the interesting thing is, Bernie, the electors will vote in the Florida Senate, so the Senate president will not have far to go after he sounds the gavel on that because he is one of the presidential electors for George W. Bush -- Bernie.

SHAW: And so, what happens? Do we still have as far as the House is concerned in the legislature two sets of electors, two slate of electors?

BOETTCHER: No, no, because it can't happen unless the concurrent resolution is passed. That means the senate proposed it -- I mean, the House proposed it. The Senate must concur, and the Senate, frankly, if everything goes as planned will not concur, and so this will never be part of the Florida record.

This will not have happened, basically, and the House is out there with their vote. There are some members who aren't happy with that because they believe the Senate left them out there yesterday. The House speaker Tom Feeney said we don't mind if this is made moot by the Supreme Court, but we don't want this to be made moot by inaction of the Florida Senate, and it appears that that is exactly what's going to happen here, Bernie.

SHAW: Sounds like there are going to be some hard feelings in Tallahassee. Thank you, Mike Boettcher.

BOETTCHER: Could be, could be.

SHAW: Yes, could be -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Up next, the Florida recounts and its lessons. Brooks Jackson on the possibility of changes before the next election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Over the last five weeks, the intricacies of the voting process have been scrutinized by politicians, lawyers and the public. The question, though, is what effect will this education on chads, recounts and election law have on the next national election?

Our Brooks Jackson, now, on the case for reform.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The impact is going to be felt for months and years. New machines, new laws, and more court fights, experts say, all are likely. Some legal experts say the Supreme Court's emphasis on equal treatment of all voters may encourage new federal lawsuits, especially by minorities.

PAUL BUTLER, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: There seems to be a new standard now that invites judicial intervention and litigation in federal courts in every election, whether its for local dog catcher or president of the United States. There's no way to keep this genie in the bottle.

JACKSON: The court's seven-member majority said, quote: "Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the state may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person's vote over that of another."

Some see a new federal standard anybody can use to challenge a state election, particularly minority votes and especially those saddled with error-prone punch-card ballot systems.

KENNETH GROSS, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: If your voting has thousands of overvotes or undervotes, and the next voting machine down the road doesn't have a lot of overvotes or undervotes, then you might have a legal case.

JACKSON: But state and local officials aren't waiting to be sued. They're acting now.

LARRY NAAKE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES: Unfortunately, when the 747 goes down then everybody all of a sudden becomes interested in air safety and reform.

JACKSON: County officials run elections. Through their national association, they've already set up a special commission to study election reform. NAAKE: We want to look at the ballots, the possibility of standardization of ballots. Obviously, we want to look at voting machines. What works, what doesn't work, what are the best machines? We want to look at poll workers, how they're funded, how they're educated, how they're trained? We want to look also at things like whether we ought to standardize the hours for voting and change the days for voting.

JACKSON: Also under consideration: weekend voting. State legislatures aren't waiting for any commission. All 50 meet next month, with election reform very much in mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be a big issue. I think there'll be bills in every state. I've been told that there's one state already with more than 100 introductions for election reform.

JACKSON: That state is California. States will be considering granting money to replace punch card voting devices, still used by 31 percent of U.S. voters despite increasingly obvious problems. Also on state agendas, wholesale review of recount laws to avoid another meltdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because every legislator, I think, knows this could happen in their state.

JACKSON (on camera): It's too early to know how far election reforms will go. But we do know, from the state house to the courthouse, they're coming.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: And there's still more on INSIDE POLITICS ahead, Still to come in the next half hour, the historical impact of this unprecedented election battle. Thoughts from Bill Schneider, and presidential historian Robert Dallek. Plus:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wouldn't be politics without second-guessing. And it's already begun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: Bob Franken on the Gore legal team, and those two words: What if?

And later: Garrick Utley on the public reception of the ruling that effectively ended the presidential race.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The legal war between Al Gore and George W. Bush is coming to an end. Here are the latest developments: the Texas governor preparing to become the 43rd president of the United States. Aides say he responded calmly and quietly to last night's Supreme Court ruling that prevented further recounting of ballots in Florida. Bush plans a televised statement 3 1/2 hours from now. It comes one hour after Gore's nationwide TV speech, in which he is expected to end his bid for the White House.

Florida's Republican-run Senate scrapped a vote today on naming electors loyal to Bush. State Senate President John McKay said he was postponing action in response to Gore's move toward concession. The Republican-dominated state House yesterday approved the slate of electors pledged to Bush.

And joining us now with some thoughts on this election: our own senior political analyst, Bill Schneider -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, remember that it was just one year ago that people were worried about something called the millennium bug. Well, it finally happened just in time for the real millennium. Only it wasn't the computers that failed at the dawn of the new millennium. It was the election system.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): The United States has never gotten a president in quite this way before. The popular-vote winner lost the election. The electoral vote is closer than it's been in over 100 years. The election was decided by the courts. Democrats went to court to get the votes counted.

WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: We urge everyone to let the counting, supervised by the independent judiciary, proceed without interruption to a speedy conclusion. All of these matters should be resolved by the Florida's judiciary, not by the politicians.

SCHNEIDER: Republicans went to court to keep the results from being changed.

JAMES BAKER, BUSH CAMPAIGN OBSERVER: This is what happens when, for the first time in modern history, a candidate resorts to lawsuits to try to overturn the outcome of an election for president.

SCHNEIDER: And for the first time ever, the United States Supreme Court decided who would be president by a narrow, highly partisan majority.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is America. When people vote, their votes are counted. They're not arbitrarily set aside because it's hard to count them.

SCHNEIDER: "Yes, we do," said the Supreme Court, not arbitrarily, but when counting them does not meet constitutional standards. Both candidates now have to make tough decisions. Gore must decide how strong a stand he wants to make on principal: the principle that came to define his campaign: Every vote must count. GORE: And we must not let those voices be silenced, not for today, not for tomorrow, not for as long this nation's laws and democratic institutions let us stand and fight to let those voices count.

SCHNEIDER: For Gore to say is, "I concede," is to say "I lost." Gore doesn't believe he lost. But if he takes that stand, he's encouraging Democrats to remain unreconciled to George W. Bush as the legitimate winner. Bush has to decide how he intends to govern. Conservatives were amazingly patient during this campaign. But now Republicans will control the White House and both houses in Congress for first time into nearly 50 years. There will be pressure on Bush to press a conservative agenda. But that's not the way Bush ran.

BUSH: I have worked with Democrats and Republicans in Texas. And I will do so in Washington. I will listen. And I will respect different points of view.

SCHNEIDER: Other presidents have taken office after intensely divisive conflicts. After the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln began his second inaugural address by saying "with malice toward none, with charity for all," a view not shared by his party. After the tumultuous events of 1968, Richard Nixon promised to "bring us together."

After Watergate, Gerald Ford told the nation, "Our long national nightmare is over." The division in this election was over the election itself. That makes it tough for Bush, because the issue is his own legitimacy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Americans did not vote for a partisan mandate in this election. That's why the results were so excruciatingly close for president, for Congress, and even in the states, where we're seeing the closest balance in state legislatures since 1952 -- no evidence there of a partisan mandate.

WOODRUFF: Bill, are people voting for a new breed of nonpartisan somehow?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I think they very well might be. You know, ask yourself: Which of all the candidates really captured the popular imagination in this entire year-long campaign? It wasn't Bush. It wasn't Gore. I would say it was John McCain, a man perceived as the least partisan figure in American politics. And I'd argue that what Americans voted for with this closely divided result was, in a way, John McCain's approach, even though his name wasn't on the ballot.

I think Bush should take that as a cue for the kind of administration voters want.

WOODRUFF: I'm sure he's listening. Bill Schneider, thanks -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you. You know, probably no group will debate the contested election more, and longer, than presidential historians. A very distinguished member of that group joins us now: Robert Dallek of Boston University.

Professor, the American people, their political system, their legal system: Your read on what has happened?

ROBERT DALLEK, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, Bernie, it's been a very difficult election, probably the most difficult since 1876. And I think what's happened is -- it's Bill's point -- I think people are turned off by politics. Indeed, there's a project at Harvard called the Vanishing Voter Project.

And what's most striking to me in this election is the fact that only 51 percent of the electorate turned out. And now George W. Bush is going to get to White House with less than 25 -- indeed, even less than 24 percent of the electorate supporting him. I think people were drawn to McCain because he speaks out against the corruption in politics, if you want to call it that. People are unhappy with the American political system. And they don't turn out to vote.

They don't find either candidate -- didn't find either candidate very compelling. And I think something has to change here in order to recreate a kind of enthusiasm. George W. Bush has a great challenge in front of him. And that's to create some enthusiasm and some optimism and hope that American politics can be different from what it's been in the recent past.

SHAW: Can Bush draw inspiration from history?

DALLEK: He sure can. I mean, he needs to look at the fact that, when there is a kind of crisis -- and I don't mean to suggest that this has been some awful crisis. It's nothing like the Civil War, nothing like the divide in this country over Vietnam. But it was a political crisis. And a crisis presents an opportunity. And so he has a chance, I think, to step forward and offer a kind of leadership that could make him a successful president.

And that's the great challenge now as he enters the White House next year.

SHAW: Well, how will history treat this election that was undecided for 36 days, this election which only last night the United States Supreme Court issued its historic ruling, and during the daylight hours today -- the day after -- you had a member of the United States Supreme Court saying publicly, "We are not political, and the chief justice, Mr. Rehnquist saying, "I agree"?

DALLEK: Well, I don't think historians will quite view it that way. I think they will see the court as having been tainted by political partisanship. I don't think it will stand the court in good state in the eyes of historian. It's the only time in American history that a presidential election has been decided by the Supreme Court.

This election will go down as a -- maybe something of a low moment in American political history. We're surviving this. We will survive it. The government will go forward. Our institutions are quite sturdy. But this is not a shining moment in the history of American democracy.

SHAW: But finally, what would you say to the Americans who populate this democracy as, from coast to coast, they wonder: Where are we as a nation of people at this moment?

DALLEK: Well, I think we're at a point where we're disillusioned about government, and this is not something which has just happened in the last six or seven months or a year. I think this goes back to John Kennedy's assassination. I don't think the country has gotten over that yet.

I think the Vietnam War, the -- Johnson's credibility gap, I think Iran-Contra, I think Bill Clinton impeachment scandal -- I think there's been a kind of falling away from faith in and attraction to the presidency and attraction to politics. And what I think people want is a heroic figure again. They have no heroes, they have no leaders is the feeling.

And I think if somebody can step forward -- and if it's not George W. Bush as president, then someone in the next election steps forward -- I think they could command a great mandate if they show some leadership and principled attitudes as to where American politics should head in the next few years.

SHAW: Professor Robert Dallek, Boston University, thanks very much.

DALLEK: My pleasure.

SHAW: Ours, too.

And when we return, how will history treat the Gore legal team? Bob Franken on the strategy as the questions and criticism begin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: Over the next weeks and the next months and perhaps the next years, Al Gore will likely be subjected to the political equivalent of Monday morning quarterbacking as his campaign is carefully analyzed to determine what went wrong.

His legal team faces a similar fate, with every argument and every motion also subject to scrutiny.

Bob Franken reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wouldn't be politics without second-guessing, and it's already begun. What mistakes did the Gore team make with its legal strategy? The key questions being whispered: Why didn't Gore's lawyers formally petition the courts right away for a complete manual statewide recount? Instead, Gore made a televised offer to George W. Bush.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If this happens, I will abide by the results. I will take no legal action to challenge the result, and I will not support any legal action to challenge the result.

FRANKEN: But that was just PR, and Bush rejected the offer. At the time, the Gore lawyers were merely seeking recounts in areas that were considered Democratic strongholds. Not only, say Democratic critics, did that look opportunistic, but Republican attorneys were able to pounce all over it, charging that different treatment of the voters in different Florida counties amounted to a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Even at the Supreme Court, Gore's attorney couldn't offer standards for a statewide recount.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTICE DAVID SOUTER: I think we would have a responsibility to tell the Florida courts what to do about it. On that assumption, what would you tell them to do about it?

DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Well, I think that's a very hard question.

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA: You'd tell them to count every vote.

BOIES: Well...

SCALIA: You'd tell them to count every vote, Mr. Boies.

BOIES: I would tell them to count every vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: Question: Why did Gore's lawyers emphasize the need to determine the intent of the voters, getting all tangled up in the meaning of chads, hanging, dimpled, and pregnant? Democratic attorney Lanny Davis emphasizes he has the benefit of hindsight.

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL: There is no doubt that early on it would have been better had we just defended punctured ballots and not dimples.

FRANKEN: And why, the critics ask, was so much time spent by Gore's lawyers focusing on the recount phase of the battle at the expense of the time needed to contest the results?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we know how long it's going to take to do these things?

FRANKEN (on camera): Five U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that time had run out on the Democrats. Now, Republican lawyers were also criticized for some of the risks they took long the way, such as the attempt to avoid a statewide recount. But they won. Bob Franken, CNN, the Supreme Court.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And joining us now, former Federal Election Commission official and CNN election law analyst Ken Gross.

Ken, we obviously do have the benefit of hindsight now, but looking back -- and you not only looked over this Supreme Court opinion, you looked over all the opinions that have been handed down in the last years -- is there anything significantly different the Gore team could have done that would have landed them in a better place?

GROSS: Well, as you say, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and lawyers are constantly being second-guessed when they lose. So it's a little unfair at this point to make that judgment.

They ran out of time, and if they had gone directly to the contest phase and skipped the protest phase, presumably there would have been enough time. But then again, they're vesting all their marbles in one judge in Leon County -- it might have been the wrong judge; it might have been Judge Sauls again. And they would have -- then they wouldn't have had the opportunity to avail themselves of any of the provisions under the protest.

So it seems like a lot of time was taken up, but you really don't want to skip parts of the procedure that could help you.

WOODRUFF: What about the legal wisdom, Ken, of their -- whether they should have asked for a statewide recount in the court?

GROSS: Well, here we go again, you know, second-guessing the situation. I think that what the law provides under the protest phase is that you go in there and attack where they were perceived to be problems: undervotes, where there were ballot problems. And that's where they went. Looking back at it, it looks like they just went to the Democratic counties, and that's where they did. I think if they had to do it all over again, they would have gone the statewide route.

WOODRUFF: You've had the opportunity of really poring over this decision yesterday. What do you see in there that people who care a lot about the outcome of this election ought to know?

GROSS: Well, I think one of the legacies of this opinion is that it is based on the equal protection provisions. We as lawyers, first of all, didn't even think the Supreme Court would take this case, and then of the federal questions that were introduced, most people thought that was the weakest one. They thought, well, the Article II provision was going to be the stronger provision.

Now they based the decision on equal protection. That has implications for elections down the road. If people in one county are using a ballot mechanism that's registering undervotes disproportionately to people in other counties, they may now have a federal claim under the Constitution to challenge the results of that election, if it's a close election. That could be a real legacy in this whole matter.

WOODRUFF: And you're saying they may have opened up a Pandora's box, or they have opened up a Pandora...

GROSS: I believe they have.

WOODRUFF: And in -- and -- and that's the sort of thing that we could start seeing immediate repercussions I think. I think you could see people bringing suits...

GROSS: We can...

WOODRUFF: ... in the near future.

GROSS: That's right, and...

WOODRUFF: Or do they have to wait for the next election perhaps?

GROSS: Well, I think you're going to see -- it'll only come up, of course, in a close election. We'll wait until the election. But it could be a local election and it raises a federal question. So these cases could be going to federal court if there are constitutional issues involved in even a local election if there's disparate treatment among the voters.

WOODRUFF: So more than one legacy from this Supreme Court ruling yesterday.

Ken Gross, thanks very much. We appreciate it. We appreciate all the good work you've done over the last weeks.

GROSS: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Still to come on INSIDE POLITICS, the pros and cons of that U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Garrick Utley with some sharp opinions from legal scholars.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: Debates started almost immediately after last night's U.S. Supreme Court decision that put an end to ballot counting in Florida. Garrick Utley discussed the ruling with experts on the Constitution.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a decision that provided finality, if not closure, not when the Supreme Court itself is so narrowly divided, 5 to 4, in its decision to recognize the Florida deadline for naming the presidential electors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PROFESSOR SAMUEL ISSACHAROFF, CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT: It had no legal mooring, and it seemed like the court was just engaged in an ends-oriented analysis.

UTLEY (on camera): In other words, they knew the goal and they wanted to steer the ship in that direction?

ISSACHAROFF: They not only wanted to steer the ship in that direction; they wanted to crash it on the shoals so it would never move again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UTLEY (voice-over): But other legal scholars point to the court's other decision, 7 to 2, which found constitutional problems in the recount.

PROFESSOR MARCI HAMILTON, CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT: You have seven members of the court saying there's a constitutional problem. To charge them with partisanship when they found what I think is a clear constitutional violation seems unfair to me.

UTLEY: Whatever the legal intricacies, it's also important for a Supreme Court decision to be accepted by the public as just.

(on camera): But how can anyone determine to everyone's satisfaction what is just? Particularly in a case which has been all about politics and partisanship and deeply felt passions.

(voice-over): The justices knew that the nation was watching them closely, knew that their authority and legitimacy, the nation's very confidence in the court, depend ultimately on their credibility in the eyes of the people.

The majority under Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote of their "unsought responsibility" in taking on Bush versus Gore. Writing for the minority, Justice Stevens acknowledged the damage done.

"Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today's decision."

ISSACHAROFF: Now we have a bitterly divided country over what should have happened in this election and a bitterly divided court. And so the court's going to have to do something to repair that image.

UTLEY: Or perhaps it will do nothing.

HAMILTON: The Supreme Court is the quietest building in Washington, and they will wait to see how the decision plays out.

UTLEY: Wait for a public opinion on what the court has done, to be handed down from that other supreme body: the people.

Garrick Utley, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: And that's all for this expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS. WOODRUFF: Bernie and I along with Jeff Greenfield and Larry King will anchor a CNN special report tonight starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll carry Vice President Gore's speech to the nation at 9:00 Eastern, and at 10:00 p.m. we will carry Governor Bush's speech from the Texas state House of Representatives chamber in Austin.

I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw. The "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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