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Election 2000: Bipartisanship Will be Key in New CongressAired November 8, 2000 - 11:40 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Frank Sesno in Washington. The closeness of the presidential race is mirrored by the closeness of the results we have for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Republicans retain control in both chambers, but very narrowly.
We are joined now by a new face, who is going to be going to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman-elect Tom Osborne, you may know him as the winningest coach in division 1A of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and we want to thank you for joining us today and ask you -- all right, you're a coach, you've won, you know what championships are all about. This is not a championship season, if looked at in political terms.
TOM OSBORNE (R), NEBRASKA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: Well, there is an awful lot of close results, Frank. And I guess I've been watching those almost as closely as you have and very -- of course, obviously, everybody is focused on the presidential race, but the margins in the House and the Senate are going to be very tight, so I think it's going to be important that some of the partisanship that's been so prevalent the last few years begin to dissipate because in order to get anything done I think people are going to have to work across party lines to some degree.
SESNO: How are you drawing on your previous experience, competitive and otherwise, to bring to this peculiar town we call Washington?
OSBORNE: Well, so far, all I've done is campaigned, Frank, and that's very similar to recruiting; so I've not been out of my element yet. I realized Washington is very, very different and people have told me, J.C. Watts, Steve Largent, some of my friends who have been in athletics that it's sometimes very slow, sometimes very frustrating. I guess the things that you draw upon are maybe some competitive instincts, some organizational skills, maybe an ability to organize a good staff because a head coach is never any better that the people around him. So I'm hoping some of those things will serve me well.
SESNO: Sometimes the coach has to organize the team, sometimes the coach has to exhort the crowd; and the crowd in this particular case will be the American public, that's got to be looking at these results right now and scratching its head and saying, what have we done? OSBORNE: Well, that's true. Obviously, there's a lot of people who were sitting on the fence. A lot of people who didn't show up to vote, obviously that could have made a difference; and I imagine there are a few of them that are kicking themselves right now.
But I think whoever is president, it's going to be important that that person is someone who can reach across party lines and pull things together. And so, I guess, for my sake, for the country's sake, for everybody's sake, I really hope that there is a collegial atmosphere in Washington that begins to develop and more of a spirit of, let's get something done for the people and let's not worry too much about partisanship.
SESNO: The word here in Washington is that the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and the democratic leader Dick Gephardt barely speak to one another. That Hastert is constantly having to watch his right flank because conservatives such as Tom Delay, congressman, are pushing their agenda so aggressively.
Do you think you're going to take an active role in trying to tame these guys or are you going to have to be very much learning and watching?
OSBORNE: Well, I think, Frank, that I'm certainly going to be treated as a rookie. You know, I've had some experience in another field and maybe a little bit of name recognition, but that's not going to impress anybody in Washington.
I know Dennis Hastert very well. Dennis is a former wrestling coach -- and I don't say "well," I've been with him a few times and we share some concerns about some of the things that have happened in college athletics, and I know him to be, I think, a good person who has tried to reach out. And the rest of it, I don't know much about.
But I guess my stance will be, hey, let's try to do the best we can for the American people. Let's forget some of this bickering. Now, whether anybody listens to me or not, I don't know because I have not been there. I was there many years ago as a football player for the Redskins, but that was a very different arena; and so I'm going to be a political novice and I'm sure many people will see me as such.
SESNO: From Cornhuskers to the nation's capital. Thanks very much Tom Osborne, I appreciate your time, congratulations and we look forward to seeing you right here in the nation's capital.
OSBORNE: Thank you, Frank.
SESNO: Thank you.
And we'll be back in just a moment. When we come back, we're going to talk with our military affairs correspondent, Jamie McIntyre. He's been looking at the big question of some of these absentee ballots that are outstanding. Many of them belong to the military -- the Bush campaign is counting on them. Be right back.
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