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The Florida Recount: Gore Camp Will Await Final Count Before Discussing StrategyAired November 10, 2000 - 2:32 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: While publicly both camps try to appear calm as they wait for the final verdict of the Florida recount, a look behind the scenes paints a slightly different picture.
CNN's John King joins us from Washington now with more about that -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, a great deal of tension in both camps, obviously as this unprecedented drama plays out. And as the recount goes on in Florida, there's also a very increasingly bitter and pointed public relations battle between the two camps.
Leading the Bush effort is the former secretary of state James Baker, he's the point-man down in Florida and his public argument is that Governor Bush won the first tally in Florida. As this unofficial recount tally that we see on the screen has taken place, Governor Bush is still in the lead. By Jim Baker and the Bush campaign's account it's time for the vice president to pack it in. Now, the Bush campaign says the vice president should honor these results and he should just step back now. They're not publicly saying he should concede, but they're sending clear signals they think that would be best for the country.
The Gore campaign, of course, has quite a different view here. Former commerce secretary Bill Daley is representing the vice president in Florida. He came out and told reporters today, what could this be about? Why is the Bush campaign in such a rush? He says there's a recount underway, we should wait until all the absentee ballots are done, wait until several the counties doing a recount finish their work and then see who the president-elect really is.
This back-and-forth now playing out as we wait for several counties to recount the vote. A drama taken out in public as leaders in both parties privately say, perhaps it's time for both campaigns to step back, let the process play out and stop the partisan sniping -- Lou.
WATERS: What are the dangers here for Gore and/or Bush in this public relations battle if the American people decide one or the other have lost it?
KING: Well, remember, neither candidate receive 50 percent of the vote in the popular vote. Right now, the vice president is slightly ahead, but whoever becomes president is going to have to reach out to the other candidate's supporters. Whoever becomes president will inherit a situation in the Congress which is evenly divided.
So there's a great concern among leaders in both parties that the more you play this out and bitterly divide the country over the results of the election, the harder it will be for whoever wins to govern the country. And do we want to create the impression that whoever is the president is an illegitimate president?
It's one of the reasons we're hearing less talk today from the Gore campaign about lawsuits, about challenging the election in court. They, yesterday, were very aggressive in saying they reserve the right to file suit. That they supported citizens of Florida challenging that ballot, the controversial ballot in Palm Beach County. What the Gore campaign is saying today, in a bit of a nuanced retreat, is that let's focus on the recount first. Let's let those counties that are double and triple-checking do their work. Let's count those overseas absentee ballots. That process will go from the 17th, and then let's see where to go from there -- Lou.
WATERS: All right; John King, senior White House correspondent.
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