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Susan Candiotti: Florida electors assume 'awesome' responsibility

Susan Candiotti
Susan Candiotti  

CNN Correspondent Susan Candiotti is reporting from Florida's state capital of Tallahassee on the electoral process.

Q: Who are the electors of Florida?

CANDIOTTI: These people are party loyalists. Some of them worked on the campaign. Others worked to raise money for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, while still others are his friends. Some of the state House and Senate leaders are electors.

A few of them told us they received hundreds of letters, phone calls and e-mails from all over the country, asking them to switch sides. However, these are party loyalists who would not begin to think of changing their vote at the eleventh hour. They talk about getting a sense of completion on this day after a rocky election process here in the state of Florida.

One of the electors told us that it is her hope and expectation that President George W. Bush will be able to bring about a sense of unity again to this country.

'I feel a sense of completion,' were the words used by Cynthia Hadley, one of the electors.

A lot of these electors acknowledge that there are a lot of hurt feelings by those who think all of the ballots in the state of Florida were not counted fairly.

For these electors, it has been quite a whirlwind. None of them could have imagined when they were nominated by Gov. Jeb Bush back in August that they would be participating in such a controversial election.

One of the electors, Al Hoffman, told us that after Election Day, he had a hard time watching the news after a while. He said he could only bring himself to read the headlines in the morning, then he said he had to tune it out the rest of the day because it was so upsetting.

At the same time, the electors have said they are extremely proud for getting the chance to participate in this process.

Q: How did things go Monday morning?

CANDIOTTI: The electors this morning bundled up against the cold weather and boarded a bus that took them a few blocks from their hotel to the State Capitol for a private, pre-Electoral College meeting with Gov. Jeb Bush, who thanked them for their devotion and their service.

He told them this a 'historic time' and that he hoped they were 'keeping journals' of this process.

Gov. Jeb Bush said, 'This perhaps is the most historic meeting of the Electoral College in a while. Be proud that you're all a part of it. I'm proud that you're my friends.'

He also told them they had an 'awesome' responsibility.

Q: Has Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said publicly how relieved he is to deliver his state for his brother?

CANDIOTTI: Not really. But the Florida governor did make these comments to reporters Monday morning:

'I think it's time to move on to the next stage of life. First, I think we can take a pause, perhaps, and reflect on our blessings during this holiday time.

I know my brother is going to unite people in our country and bring people together. He has already started that process with his appointments of incredibly fine people who represent the diversity of our country.

In our state, we are going to try to mend whatever wounds exist, but focus on a positive agenda for our state. I'm kind of excited that the election is formally going to be over with as of today.'


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Monday, December 18, 2000

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