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Larry King Live

The Gore Concession Speech: Will It Help Heal America's Divisions?

Aired December 13, 2000 - 9:15 p.m. ET

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

LARRY KING, HOST: Judy, thank you, Bernie. We'll be with you for two segments. There will be two additions of LARRY KING LIVE tonight. This one and then following the president-elect's speech, President-Elect George W. Bush of Texas. We'll follow that with another LARRY KING LIVE.

And we start off with two major names on the American scene. They're both in our Washington, D.C. bureau. They are Sam Nunn. the former senator from Georgia who served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Robert Strauss, always good to see, Bob. The former chairman of the DNC, he was the Middle East peace negotiator. He served the Bush administration, as well as ambassador to the Soviet Union and later to Russia in '91 and '92.

Senator Nunn, what did you make of Gore's speech?

SAM NUNN (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I think anyone who criticizes that speech must have a measurement of perfection because I thought it was a very fine speech. I thought he did everything that could have been expected of him. I thought he did it with style, and with humor, and I thought that he most importantly did everything that he could do in this setting to convey legitimacy on President-Elect George W. Bush.

KING: Ambassador Strauss, your thoughts?

ROBERT STRAUSS, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: I thought he was not just good, I thought he was very good. I share Sam's view. I thought he was gracious. I thought he sounded real. I thought he sounded -- set the tone that America wanted to have him set. He spoke with a future, not the past. I thought he did real good.

KING: Senator Nunn, with that kind of attitude, there will always be some who say boy, he should have showed that more during the campaign. Do you agree or is that unfair?

NUNN: Well, I'm sure that it's difficult in a campaign. You're in a different setting. You're in a different set of circumstances. It would have certainly gone down as a great kind of message, but only in these circumstances. And I think it'd been hard to duplicate in a campaign. I think that Al Gore when people know him personally, he does have much more of a sense of humor than is displayed sometimes, but frankly, I think he rose to the occasion tonight when it had to be the most difficult speech he's had to make, barring none in campaign.

It's tough when you go through what he's gone through, and his family, and what they've gone through, and his key supporters. So, he is a fighter, and this was a time he rose to the occasion.

KING: And Ambassador Strauss, do you think those who followed him in this long trek will come aboard and end the kind of anger we have seen in the past five weeks?

STRAUSS: I think we have a tendency, Larry, in this country -- a great tendency to overreact and overstate everything. And while this country has been divided, and certainly we were split 50-50 in this election, I think that it's a bit overdrawn how difficult it is to put it back together, and I think that we -- I think it will come together and I think it'll come together towards the center.

I think that the president-elect has his strengths and his weaknesses and one of his strengths has been his ability to work with people and reach out and attract people. I suspect he will start doing that tonight when he goes on tonight and he'll continue and he'll do it well.

KING: Speaking of attracting people, Senator Nunn, it's been rumored that you are one of those Democrats that President-Elect Bush will be very interested in, possibly for secretary of defense, are you interested?

NUNN: I haven't had any conversation with President-Elect Bush about that subject, and I have made it clear that I want to stay in private life. I do not have interest in going back into government, but I've also made it clear that I would join with others like Bob Strauss and Howard Baker and Jack Danforth and Warren Rudman and David Barram and a lot of other people I could name who have been in government to do everything we can to help the president-elect from my private sector position.

And that means advice. It means doing all I can to get the Democratic leadership and the Democratic Party to understand and make clear to the American people explicitly that they believe this president deserves our support, deserves our prayers. He is our president, and we can have only one leader and I think we all, Democrats and Republicans, need to put citizenship ahead of partisanship.

KING: Ambassador Strauss, do you expect to see Democrats in this Cabinet?

STRAUSS: Yes, I think there will be Democrats in this Cabinet. I know that the Bush people are -- intend to reach out and try to attract Democrats. I hope they are able to do that, to get people who are articulate and who have strong feelings and who can work with others and get that kind of person in. I think, as for me, you didn't ask me same question you did Sam, but when I mature a bit and get a little age on me, I might consider going back into government. But for the time being I'm going to stay out of it. KING: What we're viewing now as Ambassador Strauss was speaking is Al Gore leaving the Eisenhower Executive Building, and about to leave and heading back to the vice president's home. We're talking with Sam Nunn and Robert Strauss in edition number one of LARRY KING LIVE. There will be another one following the Bush speech at 10:00.

Senator Nunn, what's the future for Al Gore?

NUNN: I believe that with the speech he made tonight, if he has ambitions to get back into politics at some point in the future and run another race, he'll have a lot of support. No one can predict the future and I certainly would not do that tonight. And -- but he is clearly a fighter and clearly has public service and public policy in the depths of his soul and his family does also. So, if he wants to run again, I think he'll have a lot of support out there.

KING: And how -- you said, Ambassador Strauss, you expect healing. Do you expect that largely to be up to the president-elect? Is he the one that has to bring it together?

STRAUSS: I think he has to take the lead in it and just as -- and I expect him to do so, and I think the people will follow. You -- he may have trouble with the extremes in his own party as well as extremes in our party. But the public generally is tired of confrontation and they're ready for reconciliation, for people to work together. And I suspect that the president-elect will, as he reaches out, will find Democrats, and Republicans, the moderates in that group, prepared to rally around and work with him.

Interestingly, there have been about 30 members of U.S. Senate -- I think about two-thirds Democrats, one-third Republican -- who have been meeting and working together and talking and discussing issues in common, finding out just how much they have in common and how little they have apart on many of these issues. That's a constructive good start.

KING: Will moderation, Senator Nunn, be the rule of the day, you think?

NUNN: I think so, and I think what Bob is saying is exactly right. I believe the president-elect has the ability and the inclination to work from the center.

If he had had a runaway victory, he probably couldn't have done that. His own party would have demanded a degree of philosophical rigidity that would not have allowed him flexibility. I think he's got more flexibility in some paradoxical way now because he's got to govern from the center.

Everybody that looks at the reality of the 50/50 Senate and the close House realizes that, and he can move from the center to outward rather than from the fringes toward the center. I think that's enormously important and gives him a chance to do what he may very well have an inclination to do anyway.

KING: And Ambassador Strauss, as we see Vice President Gore leave after making his speech tonight to the plaudits of his followers -- we asked Senator Nunn -- what do you think of Al Gore's future?

STRAUSS: Well, I think Al Gore has -- interestingly, while he's sometimes fallen short in his public appearances, he always has -- he seems to have the ability to rise to the occasion when crisis comes. And I thought tonight was a key time for him. I thought he wrote -- did more than rise to the occasion, and in doing so, I think the future is open.

What he can do, it's hard to predict, but he certainly can't be written off. That's for sure, not after tonight.

KING: What do you think is going to be first issue on deck, Senator Nunn?

NUNN: In terms of the new president's administration...

KING: Yes.

NUNN: ... I would think that education would be right up front. I think that's a subject that the president-elect is comfortable with. I think he's been a leader in that arena in his own state. I think he's put together bipartisan coalitions in his own state on that, and I think he will find a receptive audience given hid dedication toward education.

I also think he can tackle some of the tough issues. Strangely enough, he may be able to tackle tough issues that other people would have not dreamed of. With a divided Senate, if you can put together the kind of coalition that Bob Strauss has alluded to, issues like Social Security reform and Medicare reform -- I think those are important. I think you can put together a coalition on trade. I believe that you may have a better chance to do that.

And most importantly, I also think you can begin to do, as former Senator David Boren penned this week in "The Washington Post," and that is put together a leadership council on both foreign policy and a separate one on economic policy with Democrats and Republicans. That's something that I have felt was in order for a long time on foreign policy, and now I think he has a clear chance of doing that.

KING: Thank you very much. Thank you, Sam Nunn. Thank you, Bob Strauss. And as you see, the people applauding outside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, applauding Vice President Al Gore and Senator Joe Lieberman. They're both in that building.

And we are expecting -- and there you see him now as Al Gore leaves. A lot of people out on a cold night in Washington to bid his good wishes.

He spoke for about 7 minutes. And again, Governor Bush, the president-elect, will be speaking about 37 minutes from now. You will see that and we'll be back with another edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

When we come back, Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator John Breaux, two powerful members of the United States Senate. Senator Hatch is the chair of the Judiciary Committee, a committee that Al Gore once sat on, will be our guests as Al Gore now leaves and heads back to the vice presidential residence.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) we're not seeing the end of a political life here tonight. This is a very young man, and Ambassador Strauss says, with the unique ability to, in his career, bounce back.

First most difficult task of his life was when his father, the late senator, spoke out against the war in Vietnam -- Al Gore thought it would be best if he would go to the service and go to that war to help his father. His father would subsequently lose that election.

And that's Tipper Gore right in front.

Sometimes in defeat, people gain more popularity, and apparently, that is happening to Al Gore tonight. And I think it would be safe to say that that speech will be heralded tomorrow, even by his severest critics during this campaign, as a gracious, classy, at times funny, timely concession speech.

They seem to be chanting something. I can't hear it.

They're saying "Gore in four!" I am told, meaning, Al, come back in four years to run again. He's in the car waving goodbye. And as he waves goodbye, we'll take a break and then come back with Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, Senator John Breaux of Louisiana.

This is LARRY KING LIVE, part one. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back and we now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE part one Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, Senator John Breaux of Louisiana. Senator Hatch a member of the opposition to the candidacy of Vice President Gore.

What did you make of his speech?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I -- you know, I wish I could write a speech like that. It had humor, it had humility. It had -- I think it had spirituality, and frankly, it was a very good speech. And we've been very fortunate to have four really fine men running in this race for president.

No matter who won, it -- we were going to get good people, and four really fine wives and families. I just have to commend them all.

And I commend Vice President Gore. I thought that was a very, very eloquent speech. I meant a lot to, I think, this country, and he -- he called for all of us to unite President-elect Bush. And it was gracious. It was just about everything I think it should have been.

KING: Senator Breaux, did it surprise you?

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: Larry, it did not surprise me. A concession speech is the hardest speech that a political candidate can ever give. A victory speech is a lot easier and it's a lot more fun to give, but a concession speech is about who you are. A concession speech is about your character, it's about what you're really made of.

And I think tonight you saw an Al Gore who has devoted his life to public service, sees that political life ending, at least for the time being, yet he was eloquent, he was gracious. He was very helpful to this country, and I think he was particularly helpful to President- elect George Bush.

KING: And do you think, Senator Hatch, all this talk of bipartisanship and this kind of mood can continue?

HATCH: Well, I think it has to continue. You know, the American people are tired of this rancor that has been existing in Washington. It's -- it's time really to change it. And I think people like John Breaux and myself, we can get together, and a whole raft of others who are looking forward to trying to do what's right for this country.

I think we've got to do it, but let me tell you something, we can't let the fringe elements in either party dictate what goes on here. We've got to heal our land. I think that's what Vice President Gore was calling about. He talked about burdens lifted and barriers removed.

I think George W. Bush has a reputation for lifting burdens and removing barriers. And I think he's going to do a great job as a Republican and as somebody who will work with both parties to do exactly that.

And we're going to help him. I've got to tell you, we're going to help him.

KING: Senator Breaux, does President-elect Bush get a honeymoon?

BREAUX: Well, I think Al Gore's talked about the fact that it's time, Larry, to quit arguing about the past and now time to start talking about the future. And I think that in the Senate, even though it's 50-50, it's a rare opportunity as far as I'm concerned.

We've got to work together whether we like to or not. I mean, bipartisanship is not going to be political theory; it's going to be a political necessity.

We've already reinvigorated our centrist coalition in the Senate. Our first meeting had almost 30 members of United States Senate, Republicans and Democrats who sat in the same room, talked to each other, and made a commitment to work together for the good of this country.

I think that's new, it's exciting, and I think it's very, very promising.

KING: Why this sudden, Senator Hatch, turnaround from the partisanship of yesterday?

HATCH: Well, I think we all know with a 50-50 basic split in the presidential race, 50-50 split in the Senate, almost a 50-50 split in the House, we've got to work together. We can't get anything done without working together.

You know, I was anxious -- I was happy to see those two great Democrats, Sam Nunn and Ambassador Strauss. And I'm glad to hear that Ambassador Strauss is maturing so that maybe he can help us in this administration. I hope Sam can, too.

But we've got to work together. If we don't work together, we're not doing what's right for this country.

And I think -- I think this is a great opportunity. This is not an impasse situation. This an opportunity to make a difference in our country in ways that haven't been made up until now. And I'll tell you, I'm prepared to link arms with John Breaux and others and get this done.

KING: Senator Breaux, would you be interested in serving in this administration?

BREAUX: Oh, Larry, I am very, very happy serving in the United States Senate. I mean, what a challenge to be in a legislative body that is literally tied with a 50-50 vote. That's where I think the action is going to be. I'm certainly willing to talk to President- elect Bush if he would want to do that. I mean, that would certainly be something, I think, anyone would owe it to a new president to speak with him.

But I can tell you that I think the action and the excitement is going to be in United States Senate. And I think what is different this time is that essentially we've had a tie election. I mean, the election for the presidency was almost a tie. The Senate in fact is tied. The House of Representatives is almost a tie.

And the message from the American people is not a policy directive but rather a message for us to get our own house together and to start working together for the good of this country.

KING: Senators Orrin Hatch and John Breaux. And by the way, they both will be back following the speech by President-elect, Governor George W. Bush of Texas. That's coming up at the top of the hour when we have part two of LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll take a break, and when we come back, Senator John McCain, who's had a battle or two this year, gives us his thoughts tonight. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE, and you now see President-elect George W. Bush. That's his limousine taking him to the House chamber of the Texas legislature, and the distinguished, beautiful building -- we were there recently -- in Austin, Texas. He will deliver his speech coming up in about 22 minutes from the House chamber. That's President-elect George W. Bush, who will address the nation shortly.

And as we see this, let's check in with a former opponent of Senator -- of Governor Bush, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, coming to us from Phoenix.

I know throughout all of this, as you supported Governor Bush, you always told us how much you liked Vice President Gore. What did you think of him tonight?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I've never seen him better. You're right. He and I served together in the House together, and we've worked together for many years. I've never seen him look better, and his speech, it struck exactly the right tone, and I think that this will set the stage for Governor Bush's speech, which I'm sure will be equally as magnanimous, and it will put the country off on the right footing and on the right track.

KING: Now we see -- we see President-elect Bush, we see -- I think that's Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President-elect Dick Cheney, and of course, Laura Bush. No, that's not -- it looks like Lynne Cheney but it's not Lynne Cheney. But that's Laura Bush, the wife of President-elect George Bush.

Senator McCain, do you share all this optimism that everyone is showing tonight about a coming-together?

MCCAIN: I do, but it's guarded. I think it's the right -- we're leaded in the right direction, and again, I'm confident that Governor Bush's performance tonight will be equal to that of governor -- of the vice president's.

But then we've got to sit down and we've got to settle on an agenda that we can agree on, and campaign finance reform has got to be the first one. It should be a bipartisan effort. We need to clean up this system, restore young Americans confidence in government, and there's no better way to do that. And then we need to set out on the rest of a reform agenda so we can reconnect the American people.

All the ingredients are there: The question is, will we be able to negotiate and come up with a proper agenda, and I think we can. But...

KING: Would you...

MCCAIN: It's not going to be a day at the beach.

KING: Would you include Senator McCain in that list, election reform?

MCCAIN: Absolutely, but I would remind you that the fund raising begins before the election. So I think we ought to reform the fund raising first as well. But clearly, we need to provide money for lower-income municipalities and counties in order for them to have the same level of technology that wealthier areas do so that every American has the same confidence that their vote will be counted in a fair and equal fashion.

We need to -- we need to do whatever we can to make sure that there's some uniformity in some of the other laws, but providing them with the assistance to upgrade their capabilities. Look, if you're a poor small town and you've got $2 million, what do you spend it on? Build a new school or buy new voting machines? I think the answer is obvious. We need to help them out there.

KING: All right, you keep coming back to campaign finance reform. You don't expect President-elect Bush, though, to make that No. 1 on his agenda, do you?

MCCAIN: Well, I hope he will. I think we could take it up immediately, before the Bush legislative agenda is prepared, and we could dispense with it in two or three weeks, and we could set it in a bipartisan fashion and we could clean that up. And I intend to work very hard for President Bush's agenda. I hope he will work on this one with me.

I promised millions of Americans, Larry, that I would do everything in my power to implement campaign finance reform and give them back their government, which is taken by the big-money special interests, and I don't intend to give up that agenda.

KING: We're going to spend some more moments with Senator John McCain of Arizona, and then meet Laurence Tribe, who unsuccessfully argued this case the first time for the Supreme Court, and then check in with Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward and Norm Ornstein, and then we'll hear from President-elect Bush. Right back with Senator John McCain after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Having a little satellite problem with Senator John McCain. As soon as we correct it, we'll go back to him. Let's go down to Miami, check in with Laurence Tribe, the famed appellate attorney, who argued the first time before the United States Supreme Court. What did you make of that ruling last night?

LAURENCE TRIBE, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Well, it was obviously a disappointment, but I so much applaud the spirit of what the vice president did this evening, which was to acknowledge that he thought the ruling was wrong, as I do, but to waste no time spilling tears over it and instead to put all of his energy toward helping to unify the nation.

And then your discussion with Senator McCain -- what struck me in part was the reference to election reform. We've talked a lot about campaign reform, but one thing we surely learned through this whole episode, an episode that I'm extremely proud to have been a part of, even though in the end it didn't succeed, is that we really need to take seriously the idea that every person's vote counts.

And that really does mean better equipment and better methods of tabulating votes in poorer areas. It means using 21st-century technology instead of punch-hole ballots and chads and butterflies. And I think if we take that seriously, and if we encourage voting and make it easier and make sure that we don't simply fail to count people's votes, we will have made great progress, and this whole episode will have helped to advance the cause of justice and democracy.

KING: Might we also need, Professor Tribe, more clarity in the legislative laws dealing with things like this?

TRIBE: Well, I think it helps, but I think it's an illusion to imagine that any legislature can see into the future and make sure that there are no ambiguities in what it writes and no conflicts. We will always have to rely on judges to reconcile those ambiguities, the way I believe the Florida Supreme Court did. And we will always, I think, have to realize that the judicial process, even when we disagree with it, even when it's divided 5 to 4, is our surest path toward making a real basis for the rule of law, to reinforce constitutional democracy.

KING: Well-stated by one of our brilliant minds. Thank you, Professor Tribe.

Now, we've connected our satellite back into Phoenix with Senator John McCain.

Senator, what do you think the future of Al Gore is?

MCCAIN: I think he probably will have some competition. We've got Mrs. Clinton obviously as a very big figure in American politics. You've got Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt as well as others. So I think he may have some competition.

But I think he, frankly, helped himself a lot tonight, because I think Republicans and Democrats and independents were very impressed with his exit.

KING: Would you want to leave the Senate if offered an appointment in this administration?

MCCAIN: I would prefer not to, Larry. I think I have an agenda that I'd like to pursue and can most effectively pursue in the Senate.

KING: Are you going to have a tough time since a lot of Republicans oppose your agenda? I mean you know that going in.

MCCAIN: Um-hmm.

KING: And you've got a split Senate to begin with.

MCCAIN: Um-hmm.

KING: Is it tougher this time?

MCCAIN: I think it's easier. A number of the people who were defeated were opposed to campaign finance reform, and a number who have been elected are in favor of it.

We have 60 votes now, Larry, so we can cut off debate, and that changes the entire dynamics. And again, I have every reason to believe that Governor Bush will work with us on this issue. I know that he knows that there are things that are badly wrong, and when you look at the incredible flow of money in this last election and all the negative ads and so-called independent campaigns, the time is right now to reform this system, as well as the fact that one of the reasons why we were gridlocked so heavily in the Congress is because the influence of the special interests, which dictate the legislative agenda, which is tragic.

KING: Do you expect a very good address in about eight minutes?

MCCAIN: I'm sure we will. I'm convinced we will. And again, as has been mentioned before, Governor Bush has a clear record of reaching across the aisle. I'm sure he will do that this time, and I think that the center holds in American politics more than ever before, and he will govern from the center.

KING: Thank You, John. Always good seeing you.

MCCAIN: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Senator John McCain. When we come back, we'll get the thoughts of Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize winner, and the resident scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, Norm Ornstein. Then we'll send you back for the speech by President-elect George W. Bush. And then we'll follow with part two of LARRY KING LIVE. Among the guests, Senator Bob Dole. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Now, let's get some thoughts from Bob Woodward, the assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post" and author of the best-seller "Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Dream," and Norm Ornstein, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute.

Norm, we'll start with you. What did you make of the Gore speech?

NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Oh, it was a perfectly toned and delivered speech, Larry. I mean he was relaxed and did a terrific job. It will serve him well whatever he does, although I'm not at all sure that he will start to resume a political career for quite a while.

KING: Bob, did it surprise you at all?

ROBERT WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think what Gore was really saying there was I refuse to be a tragic figure. I'm going on with my life. I think on a scale of zero to 10 it really was a 10. There was a lot of extra stuff in that speech. Not only did he refer to Bush as President-Elect Bush once, he did it twice. On the Supreme Court's controversial decision, he said he disagreed. He was disappointed, but he said I accept it.

And then he went on to say I accept its finality. He said in a very important way there are duties much higher than party, and so he kind of set out this checklist of the perfect concession speech. He also made it clear he was conceding, and he said it is time for him to go. In a way, Bush ought to give him a big hug when Bush talks. KING: Norm, is this now era of good feelings about to continue?

ORNSTEIN: We got at least a week, Larry. And it'll be good. We will rally for a while. But remember, there are an awful lot of people who continue to feel outraged and bitter. It's going to be a challenge. And Governor Bush is going to have to, starting tonight, but certainly as he works through the rest of the transition, and then from the inaugural on, work very carefully to try to figure out how he can build some momentum at a time when momentum isn't going to be easy to come by, and when there isn't going to be much transition or a honeymoon.

You know, the electoral reform business is a good place for him to start, as many others have said starting tonight, and it's got to include not just money for upgrading machinery. He ought to make a commitment to get the Justice Department to investigate some of these allegations of terrible problems among -- in the African-American community, and we need to move to I believe a election that's 24 hours over a weekend, a Saturday and Sunday, so that all the polls can close at the same time and we can get rid of some problems with exit polls as well.

KING: Bob Woodward, we are showing you a tape of this was earlier as after president -- after Vice President Gore finished his short address to the nation. This is him hugging both Senator Lieberman, Mrs. Lieberman and his family, Tipper. This took place right after Gore made his concession speech.

Bob Woodward, are you very, very hopeful that we're going to get a lot of the same from the president-elect?

WOODWARD: I am sure. I mean, everyone who praises Governor Bush or President-Elect Bush praises that he has this political sense, that he knows exactly how to do the right thing, particularly at emotional moments like this, and this really is not just the political moment, it's a very emotional moment, and Gore handed him -- I mean, you talk about the bitterness and the division, and there is some of that, but Gore provided no fuel for continuing bitterness and division.

And so now it's Bush's job to find some way to use that political ear people say he has, and that we have frequently seen, to strike exactly the right notes, and it's a very long dance he has to go through here because the rhythms of a transition, as people who've assumed the presidency would tell you, can really kill you. One bad appointment, one stunk -- one appointment that is stuck and you can't get out.

ORNSTEIN: You know, Larry one of the things he really needs to do, as Bob said, is be very careful with his appointments, There are a few people ended up being out front in the last few weeks who said some pretty volatile things. And it would not be wise to lead with some of those who will end up being held up by a secession of Democratic senators who are -- who would rub some of these wounds raw. He's got to be very careful here on that basis.

KING: Do you agree, Norm, with Bob that Al Gore handed him a pretty good platter here?

ORNSTEIN: The best possible platter that he could get right now. , he's got his own challenge, and he does -- he's an immensely charming and magnetic man in a way that doesn't often come across on television, but it does in person. That will serve him well. But Gore has given him the best opportunity right now to begin to move forward, but no one should underestimate the challenge.

KING: Thank you, Norm.

ORNSTEIN: Thank you.

KING: Norm Ornstein, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute. Bob Woodward will come back with us in the next hour. We will have part two of LARRY KING LIVE tonight. We're extended an extra hour and we'll be on following the speech by President-Elect George W. Bush. And our guests in the next hour will include Bob Dole, the former presidential candidate. We'll return with Senators Hatch and Breaux. Reverend Jackson, who has been heard a bit, will return with us and we'll -- Congresswoman Ileana Ross-Lehtinen will also join us. And then we'll have a panel of Barry Richard, Bob Woodward's return, Fred Graham of Court TV, and CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.

"THE SPIN ROOM" will air tonight at Midnight, Eastern. We're now going to turn it back over to our pals Bernie and Judy and the gang in Washington as they take you to Austin, Texas and the speech by President Bush -- Guys.

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