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The Florida Recount: Bush, Gore Campaigns Exchange Criticisms in Dispute Over Alleged Voting IrregularitiesAired November 9, 2000 - 2:20 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: What just saw Gov. Bush there on the move in Austin, let's go to our correspondent Jeanne Meserve, who's outside the capitol in Austin.
Where's the governor headed now, Jeanne?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I wish I could tell you, Natalie. Don't really know. We do know he has been at the mansion all morning talking about state business, but, despite the criticism from the Democrats, also talking transition, possible transition with his running mate Dick Cheney, who is heading the transition team, even though, of course, it's by no means inevitable that there will be a George W. Bush presidency.
We know that the governor has talked with his emissary in Florida, James Baker, about the recount there. He has not been watching it blow by blow, but his communications director, Karen Hughes, has.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN HUGHES, BUSH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: This is an amazing experience. It's -- we joked that when you are hearing precinct returns on a precinct-by-precinct basis, it's almost like you're hearing updates from a county commissioner's race. But we remain confident that when all the votes are recounted in Florida, that that recount will, in fact, confirm that Gov. Bush has carried the state of Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: The Bush campaign is accusing the Gore campaign of politicizing some of the problems that have been found in Florida. A couple of examples: for instance, the news that a number of ballots had been thrown out in Palm Beach County. They say in 1996, 15,000 ballots were thrown out there, so it's not extraordinary that thousands have been disqualified this time around.
They also talk a bit about the number of votes Pat Buchanan got in Palm Beach County. They point out that that county has 16,000 registered independent voters, where as Broward County has only 695. And so they maintain there's nothing extraordinary about the fact that Pat Buchanan got a lot of votes in Palm Beach County. Their message here: keep it in perspective.
Bill Schneider, a few moments ago, was raising the specter of further recounts. The Bush campaign says it is keeping a close eye on a number of states where they lost by slim margins, including Iowa and Wisconsin, but absolutely no indication yet that they will ask for a recount there -- Natalie.
ALLEN: And we just heard Bill Daley with the Gore campaign in Tallahassee say about the Bush folks that they're putting a demand for finality ahead of fairness in all of this. Has there been any recent response from the Bush folks there in Austin?
MESERVE: No response to that, but we are expecting a press conference this afternoon with several top campaign officials. I'm sure they'll be asked about that. They are all for the recount. They say that's required by state law, it should go forward. They have no complaint with how it's been conducted thus far. And James Baker, the secretary of state who I mentioned who was in Florida overseeing this for the Bush campaign has indicated it probably may or may be appropriate to keep things open until those oversees absentee ballots come in, and that's going to be in another eight or nine days -- Natalie.
ALLEN: All right, Jeanne Meserve, thanks from the Texas capital -- Lou.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: A breezy day in the Texas capital.
Let's jump across the country to Tennessee now where Al Gore, we understand, is preparing to head back to Washington. Jonathan Karl is with the Gore campaign.
Jonathan, what's happening there?
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as the vice president prepares to leave Nashville and to go up to Washington where he will oversee this recount process, his team is down in Florida. Bill Daley spoke just a little while ago, saying it's becoming more and more clear in his mind, in the view of the Gore folks, that Al Gore won the popular vote in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Because this disenfranchisement of these Floridians is so much larger than the reported gap between Gov. Bush and Vice President Gore, we believe this requires the full attention of the courts in Florida and concerned citizens all around our country. More than 100 million Americans voted on Tuesday, and more voter for Al Gore than Gov. Bush. Here in Florida, it also seems very likely that more voters went to the polls believing that they were voting for Al Gore than for George Bush. If the will of the people is to prevail, Al Gore should be awarded a victory in Florida and be our next president.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KARL: And Bill Daley went on to say that this is a process that must be taken seriously, it must be done thoroughly. He criticized the Bush camp over in Austin for talking about a transition, for already floating cabinet names, and for not letting this process run its course. Bill Daley gave a plea. He said to the Bush campaign: Please let the legal system run its course. And whoever wins in Florida -- he said if it turns out that George W. Bush, after the legal system has run its course, won in Florida, the Gore campaign will obviously respect that. But he said he wants the same in return. He wants the Bush campaign to let the system run it course, no rush to judgment, and let's respect whoever wins. That's the line from the Gore campaign.
They are also saying that they do not expect today to be the end of the road. They say this could be several more days, perhaps even a couple of weeks before this is resolved, because today's recount is only one step. We also need to wait for absentee ballots from overseas to be counted, and also need to look into this challenge in West -- in Palm Beach County. That's what the Gore campaign is saying. They are preparing to see this process go through for at least another couple of days and perhaps another couple of weeks -- Lou.
WATERS: Jonathan Karl in Nashville.
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