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Jonathan Karl: Office pool helps pass time in Gore camp

December 12, 2000
Web posted at: 5:25 p.m. EST (2225 GMT)

Jonathan Karl
Jonathan Karl  

CNN Correspondent Jonathan Karl is in Washington covering the presidential campaign of Vice President Al Gore.

Q: How is the Gore team passing the time?

KARL: The Gore team has an office pool in the works where top aides and some junior aides have joined in, picking when they think the United States Supreme Court decision will come down; what news organization will break the news; and which justice will write the majority opinion.

There are some interesting picks. Among virtually all of the Gore top aides, the pick was that the decision would come down before noon Tuesday. So they’re all waiting a lot longer than they thought.

Bill Daley, the chairman and highest-ranking member of the Gore team participating in the pool, predicted that the decision would come down at 11:14 Tuesday morning; that the news would be broken on CNN; and that Chief Justice William Rehnquist would write the majority opinion.

Ron Klain, Gore’s top lawyer, was the only senior Gore player still in the running by late in the day. He predicted a 5:30 p.m. Tuesday decision; that the news would be broken by The Associated Press; and that Rehnquist would write the majority opinion.

Another pool participant was Gore spokesman Mark Fabiani. He bet on a 10:30 a.m. decision; AP breaking the news; and Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion.

Other aides are showing signs of going a bit stir crazy. One aide, press secretary Chris Lehane, has vowed to continue playing the same video game until the decision comes down, I'm told. He’s there at the recount headquarters wearing headphones and his best suit, playing a video game called Tank.

Clearly, the waiting is driving most of us crazy, but especially those on the campaign who have so much invested in what’s going on here.

Q: Were most of the picks in the office pool predicting a Gore win or loss in the U.S. Supreme Court?

KARL: The office pool did not include that question, but it did include which justice might write the majority opinion, which can certainly be an indication. For instance, Monica Dixson, who is one of the vice president’s closest aides, predicted Justice David Souter would write the majority opinion. Conventional wisdom says that Justice Souter would be with the vice president on this.

Several others picked Rehnquist to write the majority, and who knows what that means, because Rehnquist is part of the conservative faction on the court.

Q: Are they still making strategy plans?

KARL: In a sign of what is either wishful thinking or incredible foresight, the Gore team has positioned its legal team in Tallahassee, including Ron Klain, to be ready in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court remands this case to the Florida courts.

So much of the Gore legal team is positioned and ready to go in Florida should they get some sort of victory out of the U.S. Supreme Court. They also have one eye on the Florida legislature, because they know that, even if they get a complete victory out of the Supreme Court, they still have one last, big legal battle ahead of them: the Florida legislature’s efforts to put up its own slate of electors.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2000

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