Wolf Blitzer: Gore, for now, saved by final lifeline
CNN's Wolf Blitzer is monitoring the election developments from Washington.
Q: How huge was this Florida state Supreme Court ruling for Vice President Al Gore's presidential bid?
BLITZER: Al Gore had three potential lifelines coming into this day. Two of them were thrown out with the defeat by the Democrats in the Martin and Seminole County absentee ballot application cases. He had one left, and that was with the Florida state Supreme Court. They threw him a huge lifeline.
It was a 4-3 vote, a very tight vote, but it gave Gore a major, major opportunity to continue this fight.
They also gave Gore the 215 disputed votes in Palm Beach County and another 168 in
Miami-Dade for an additional 383 votes for Gore. If you subtract that from the 537 votes that Bush was ahead by, that brings the new number down to 154, which is seemingly within reach for Gore if these recounts of the undervotes go forward.
Q: What sort of elation are we hearing from the Gore camp?
BLITZER: The Gore folks are thrilled. A lot of them recognized that if Gore had lost the Florida Supreme Court case, he would have been only hours away from having to deliver a concession speech. There was really nothing left for him to do if the Florida Supreme Court had said no to further manual recounts. The legal options were really exhausted.
So, they’ve gone from the agony of defeat, now to perhaps the thrill of victory -- but they’re not there yet. Remember, the Bush legal team is now poised to take this case once again back to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And the Florida legislature is watching this closely. There is a large Republican majority in the Florida House and Senate. So, this is not over with yet. It is still going to continue for at least a few more days.
Q: What about public patience? How much longer can most Americans hold out?
BLITZER: The public has been pretty patient. I haven’t seen any major outcries or anger; most people say they are getting sick of it, but they’re willing to let it play out. So, the public has been very tolerant and very patient in this. And they’re going to have to be tolerant and patient for a few more days.
Q: What must Gore do to make sure his support from Democrats doesn’t erode?
BLITZER: A critical element for Al Gore right now will be to make sure that his Democratic base is with him. The initial reaction from all of the major wings of the Democratic Party is that they are with him following this Florida Supreme Court decision. Their public reaction was very positive: As long as the legal issues are outstanding, go for it and continue this struggle.
I think there is no doubt that going into this weekend Al Gore and Joe Lieberman are determined to continue this struggle.