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Clinton Discusses Florida RecountAired November 8, 2000 - 3:24 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Lou Waters here at CNN Center. We are awaiting to hear from the president of the United States with regard to all we've been covering in the last 12 hours concerning the vote that's too close to call in the state of Florida and the official recount now under way. We have representatives from both of the major parties. Ralph Nader's Green Party also has been invited to send a representative to Florida to essentially monitor or observe recount that is now under way. The secretaries of state, James Baker from the Republican Party and Warren Christopher from the Democratic Party are on their way to Florida to take part in that observation.
We have the president of the United States expected to weigh in with reporters who are waiting for him just outside Marine 1 here, which has just flown in from Andrews Air Force Base. The president, as you know, was in New York last night to accompany his wife as she gave her acceptance speech in New York at the hotel there after winning a near landslide over Rick Lazio in the race for the Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The president stayed at the hotel last night. He was at the couple's Chappaqua home in Westchester County earlier this afternoon and is now on his way back. We've been told that he will have a statement once he gets up by the door to the White House.
And we are also awaiting Al Gore who we also are told is expected to make some statement from his headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. We've already heard from the Bush campaign just about an hour ago when George Bush and Dick Cheney came out and mentioned that they expected to be named as president- and vice president-elect after the final vote count is announced tomorrow before the close of business in Florida.
That recount is underway. That was an automatic recount because of the closeness of the election, some 1,700 votes separating the Democrat and the Republican in that Florida race. The 25 electoral votes would put George W. Bush or Al Gore over the top. The recount in Florida also will include some two to 3,000 absentee ballots coming in from overseas, mainly from military personnel who are on duty but based in Florida. Those absentee ballots also will be taken into account.
Here is the president.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon. Well, if ever there was a doubt about the importance of exercising democracy's most fundamental right, the right to vote, yesterday put it to rest. No American will ever be able to seriously say again, my vote doesn't count. The American people have now spoken, but it's going to take a little while to determine exactly what they said. The process for that is in motion, and the rest of us will have to let it play out.
I want to congratulate Vice President Gore and Governor Bush on a vigorous, hard-fought, truly remarkable campaign.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Mr. President, have you spoken to Vice President Gore?
QUESTION: Mr. President, did you advise the vice president to rescind his concession last night?
CLINTON: No, sir, I didn't talk to him about it at all, one way or the other. I talked to him afterward. We had a great talk later, you know, when the situation was as it is now. And we were laughing. He was in a good humor. We talked about the unpredictability of life and how he had done all he could. And he was pleased that he was ahead in the popular vote at the time. I don't know what the latest totals are. And we had a very good talk.
And he congratulated Hillary, and they had a nice little visit.
But I was just like you last night. I was a fascinated observer.
QUESTION: Mr. President, would you advise the loser of the recount to concede immediately?
WATERS: Short but sweet, the president commiserating with reporters just outside the White House on his return from New York, congratulating both of the candidates, saying the voters have spoken but we will have to wait and see what they said.
Frank Sesno, Washington bureau chief, what are we to make of it all at this time?
FRANK SESNO, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, the president trying to reassure the public and probably the world. A bit of a civics lesson here, no one's been through anything like this. So, it's not completely inconsequential that the president would stop and deliver a message like this. Remember, this is being watched by America's allies and adversaries alike, not just by interested parties or fascinated observers as the president called himself here at home.
The other thing is that the president making it clear, using this opportunity to demonstrate that he and the vice president are talking to one another and there is some humor left. But this has got to be tough for Bill Clinton, because this is the president who under his watch saw the Democratic edge, the impressive longstanding Democratic edge and the Congress go away some years ago and now he may be seeing the end of his legacy as well in the White House in a very, very close contest that we cannot call yet -- Lou.
WATERS: All right, Frank Sesno in Washington.
And again we are waiting for a comment from Al Gore who is expected to step out and speak with reporters at any time. We are waiting for that. When it happens, we will bring it to you live. I'm Lou Waters, we will take a quick break. More "TALKBACK LIVE" when we get back.
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