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Jeff Flock listens to opinions in Chicago

image
Jeff Flock  

CNN Chicago Bureau Chief Jeff Flock braved the wintry weather to ask Chicagoans their views on the ongoing presidential saga.

Q: What are you hearing from people on the streets?

FLOCK: I'm on the snowy streets of Chicago, and opinion one is that most people have had enough. They have really reached saturation point. A lot of people we talked to say they are going about with their lives and not really watching much anymore. A lot of people said at the outset they were glued to their television sets; now, they're catching an update once or twice a day.

Q: Do you sense that even Democrats want Vice President Al Gore to concede at this point?

FLOCK: This is a Democratic town. It is home to the Daleys: Mayor Richard Daley who delivered big time for Al Gore on election night and Bill Daley, his brother, who continues to work for the vice president. So, these voters tend to be predisposed for Gore.

But even among the Gore partisans who say that even though they think he won the election, some say, despite that, they think the country might be better off at this point to just give in to Bush and move forward.

One person said, "I think the Democrats will take a loss better now than the Republicans will." Another person made the point that he was really concerned about the outcome if Gore winds up flipping it back around and winning Florida and ultimately winning the election -- that the outrage among Republicans ... will be so great it will make governing very, very difficult.

One other person with ties to the Democratic Party here said that if Gore winds up winning the election, his fear is that Gore will be embroiled in investigations by Congress that will make what Bill Clinton went through look like a walk in the park.

Q: Do you think public pressure may at some point have any bearing on a possible Gore concession, if it comes to that?

FLOCK: From the anecdotal responses I got from people, I don't get the sense that they are pressuring the vice president to drop out. They think that he should concede, but they are willing to let it play out.

I still think there is a real willingness among a large number of people to continue to let it play out. They really do see a light at the end of the tunnel. It will end at some point. Even if they're not following as closely as they were at the outset, they are content to let the process play out.

One thing that has kind of re-energized the Democratic Gore partisans is the Florida Legislature's announcement to convene a special session. I think people have a real sense of outrage about that. Even the ones who think that Gore ought to give in don't want to see the bat taken out of his hands and out of the voters' hands. They say they just don't think it's fair, because the state Legislature is so heavily Republican.

The Democrats are willing to lose this fight in the courts. If the state Supreme Court rules against them and if the other lower court cases go against them, they are willing to lose that way. But they really don't like the notion of losing to a bunch of Republican legislators taking the electoral votes away.

Q: Are people still angry at the news media?

FLOCK: I'm getting less media backlash. Even in the midst of a heavy snowstorm Thursday morning in Chicago, we were able to find people who were willing to stop and talk and share their views despite the conditions. My sense is that most people have gotten over the anti-media feeling that existed earlier. People have had so much of all this, they are not mad any more.


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Thursday, December 7, 2000

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