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The Spin Room: Election 2000 Goes to the Florida Supreme CourtAired November 17, 2000 - 11:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: It's Friday. It's Florida. It's time to count. So turn off the football, grab your ballots and let's start the tally.
Welcome to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson. Joining me tonight is Jake Tapper of salon.com. We're going to need every minute. We're talking to two long-time Katherine Harris watchers and to a real life Florida voter. How confused is he? We'll find out,
So tell us what you think. You can call us toll-free 1-800-310- 4CNN. You can join our live, online chat at cnn.com or you can send us an e-mail. The address is email@example.com. And we particularly appreciate all chad-related correspondence. And we have been getting tons of it.
JAKE TAPPER, CO-HOST: We like chad.
CARLSON: We love chad. We are very pro-chad. Not as pro-chad as some of the viewers, however, and let's just start with an e-mail from someone named Luna.
TAPPER: Ah, I know Luna's work.
CARLSON: You do. Well, it is work.
Luna writes to say: "There once there was a man from Palm Beach who grabbed all the chads in reach. He said with a grin as he listened to spin whoever gets in, we'll impeach.
That's something faintly obscene about that, but I think that's why I like it.
TAPPER: You know, you should be embarrassed to even present a limerick, you know, because what we have here...
CARLSON: Oh, you have something better.
TAPPER: Well, there's a professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law name Rick Peltz and he's started a contest for chad haiku.
CARLSON: What's haiku?
TAPPER: The ancient Japanese poetry form, 5-7-5 syllables. You know what that is.
CARLSON: Of course I do.
TAPPER: You're familiar with haiku.
CARLSON: Oh, deeply. Intimately.
TAPPER: That was you major at Trinity, I thought.
CARLSON: Oh, it was a sub-major, but sure, yes.
TAPPER: So I would like to read the first chad haiku of the long list that Mr. Peltz -- that's been circulating on the e-mail list. It's from Chad Horner, in Little Rock, Arkansas. And it goes a little something like this: "Chad hangs on tightly/antiquated punch card's fault/or chad's scared to fall?
CARLSON: That is...
TAPPER: Think about it. Think about it.
CARLSON: That is so incredibly deep. See, I think the possibilities with chad never end. I'm going to read one last chad- related e-mail. This is from Jim.
TAPPER: Give it me.
CARLSON: This is the kind of thing that has been clogging the e- mail boxes of Americans around the country. If Gore wins, he will name his next grandchild Chad. He will not be born on the Fourth of July, however.
CARLSON: I'm sort of ready for the chad stuff to be over, but, you know, I can't get enough of chad.
TAPPER: No, no, no, no. Bring on the chad.
CARLSON: Tonight we're going to be talking about the woman who is in control with an intimate familiarity with all things chad, and that, of course, is Katherine Harris. My new heroine. As I said last night, we're having something of a Katherine Harris vigil at my house. My living room is surrounded with candles. We're all wearing black arm bands. having a moment of silence on the hour for Katherine Harris
TAPPER: That's sad. That's disturbing. That's a disturbing image.
CARLSON: Katherine Harris is something of a hero. You want to hear my new Katherine Harris theory? Here it is. If she's innocent, then she is the new Richard Jewell. She's been maligned and she's got an excellent lawsuit in the making.
If she's guilty, then she's a corrupt Republican and amen, there aren't enough of them. Republicans -- how many Republicans actually steal election? Not many. She would be one of the few, the proud, the Republican election stealers. I'm for her either way.
TAPPER: You support that no matter what?
CARLSON: Well, there's something appealing about it. I don't know. She's a hero.
TAPPER: You are familiar with the fact that in January 2000 she went up to New Hampshire to help George W. Bush in the "Freezing for a Reason" tour with Jeb.
CARLSON: Yes, yes.
TAPPER: And now she's deciding who's going to be the next president.
CARLSON: That's one of the reasons I like her so much.
TAPPER: You like that.
CARLSON: She is a heroic figure.
CARLSON: We're going to hear -- we're going to be talking Katherine Harris the entire hour. So send us your e-mails. Call in. Chat in our chat room. And here's Joie Chen in Atlanta with a closer look, an intimate look at the woman Bill Press likes to call Katherine the Great.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, hang on a minute. Hang on a minute here, Tucker. Are we giving Press credit for coming up with the Katherine the Great thing? Did he actually come up with that? Are we giving him credit for that? I don't know. Do you buy that?
CARLSON: I can't hear you, Joie. But if it's for Katherine, I'm for her.
CHEN: OK, well, we're thinking about declaring a winner in Election 2000. Is it Al Gore? George bush? No, not them.
How about Katherine Harris? Just think about it. Can you name any other state secretary of state, even your own?
CROWD: We support Harris
CHEN (voice-over): Yes, she's the one secretary of state we all know now. It seems everyone has something to say about Katherine Harris
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katherine Harris is someone who's been caught in the headlights of history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katherine Harris is a fine lady and they should lay off of her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Neither Governor Bush, nor the Florida secretary of state, nor I, will be the arbiter of this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: Well, maybe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHERINE HARRIS, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I've decided it is my under Florida law to exercise my discretion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: So, who is Katherine Harris and where did she develop that discretion she exercises with such panache. She's a fourth generation Floridian. She's married. She's rich. Granddaddy was into citrus and cattle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: I'm Katherine Harris, and we're drawing a line in this sand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: Are you sure that's sand and not chad? She as elected the to the Florida state Senate in 1994. Moved up to secretary of state in 1998. Want to know more? The secretary of state's official Web site describes her as a strong champion of economic development.
She did ran up a bigger travel bill last year than Governor Jeb Bush's. And a forceful advocate of the arts. OK. Away from the official line, the partisans say she's either Cruella de Katherine, turning all those lovable, helpless uncounted ballots into a spotted Republicans coat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secretary of State Harris basically said that she was going to do whatever she wanted to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: Or valiant and brave St. Katherine, martyr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican secretary of state certainly has taken a lot of grief. The Gore spokesman have called her a hack. And others called her worse from that camp.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: Yes, but guess who may have the last laugh? Harris's job, Florida secretary of state, disappears in 2002. But Senator Bob Graham, he is a Democrat, of course, who's term is up then in 2004. Now think about this. Who's got a running start here? Huge name recognition. What more do you need then a few million chad. What do you think, guys?
CARLSON: Oh, I think that's absolutely right. I think Katherine Harris 2004. I'm signing up right now.
TAPPER: For what?
CARLSON: For something. Thanks Joie. What is that? What is that thing?
TAPPER: Oh, this is my D.C. lottery form. I'm sorry.
CARLSON: I bet unlike Florida voters, you've punched the right holes.
TAPPER: No, I did in fact punch the right holes and strangely enough, Governor Bush won. It's very odd.
CARLSON: That's kind of what happens when you hit the wrong ones. Now, Bill Press is not here tonight.
TAPPER: I know.
CARLSON: But somehow, the spirit -- Bill is on the West Coast doing important West Coast trip.
TAPPER: I feel his essence.
CARLSON: I do too. Hovering in the studio.
TAPPER: The seat's a little warm and it's a little spooky.
CARLSON: That's not attractive.
TAPPER: I know, tell me about it.
CARLSON: But you know, he's always here. And I just want to read you something that Bill wrote in his column recently. This is from Bill Press' "L.A. Times" column and it sort of brings back the spirit of Bill Press. He says... TAPPER: Share it.
CARLSON: "Harris is in charge of Florida's election process but expecting her to be fair and objective in her job is like expecting the proverbial fox to protect the chickens." Those must be the proverbial chickens. And that is from the proverbial Bill Press who will join us again Monday night when we come back.
And when we do come back, we will speak to two representatives from Florida who have different takes on Katherine Harris. The sainted, the dastardly. We want your nominations for the "Spin of the Day." You can call toll-free 1-800-310-4CNN. You can join our live, online chat at cnn.com. Or you can send us an e-mail. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And keep in mind we can't get enough of the chad gags.
TAPPER: Love chad.
CARLSON: Send them. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM, or as we call it, the chad of Madison County.
Tucker and I are getting bombarded with e-mails here. And have here one from Brian; it's a chad joke. And he says: "Hmm, does it take two voters to make a chad pregnant?" Hmm, think about it.
Tucker, what have you got there?
I know -- I know you've got one.
CARLSON: We have some rougher-edged e-mail, and of course, we like to get the nasty stuff early. This is from Kip. He says: "Is this the way the vice president made it through college? Having instructors keep grading his exams until he achieved the grade he desired."
TAPPER: You know what's that all about?
CARLSON: What is that all about.
TAPPER: Kip is bitter that this is not a debate about "kips." He's upset that it's chads.
CARLSON: You think -- you think all the one-syllable name people are upset.
TAPPER: All the Buffies, all the Muffies -- everyone is jealous.
CARLSON: Well, those are -- those are two syllable.
TAPPER: There's a lot of chad-envy going on out there, and it's not very pretty. I don't like it, and I won't stand for it.
CARLSON: Well, let's take the temperature of the "Left Coast." We have a caller from California. Welcome to THE SPIN ROOM.
Can you hear us?
CARLSON: Yes. Do we have a call from California?
CALLER: Hello. Hello, I'm here.
CARLSON: Hi. Yes. What do you think?
CALLER: Well, I think the Supreme Court's decision today to stop the certification and let the people keep counting was a really slap in the face to the GOP for their craven and unethical push to coronate -- and I should say coronate again -- Bush before all the votes are even counted, while they're still suing to make this legal counting process stop even though they know that supreme courts all over the country have approved these processes and decided elections this way. And I'm a Republican, and it makes me nauseous.
CARLSON: Well, thanks so much. I hope you feel better.
CALLER: Thanks a lot.
CARLSON: Well, we are joined now from Tallahassee by two veteran Katherine Harris watchers, State Representative Lois Frankel, a Democrat, and State Representative Nancy Detert is a Republican.
Good evening. Thanks for joining us in THE SPIN ROOM.
Representative Frankel, tell us what -- now, you know Katherine Harris. Give us your case for why she's a biased arbiter in all of this.
LOIS FRANKEL (D), FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, you know, I'll give you an analogy. We have a big football game coming up tomorrow, and what if the head football coach ran on the field with the last two minutes to go and became the head referee. That's exactly what Katherine Harris did.
CARLSON: But hasn't -- I mean...
But hasn't she been secretary of state for some time?
FRANKEL: Yes, but she signed up to be the co-chair of the Bush campaign when she's supposed to be the head election official of Florida.
TAPPER: Interesting. Representative Detert, if I could jump in with a question, I know that you had...
NANCY DETERT (R), FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, sir.
TAPPER: ... I know that you had a press conference the other day, and you stood up for the secretary of state and said she never asked for this and all that sort of thing.
My question for you is this: Jeb Bush, the governor, had the class to recuse himself from the elections board that is going to decide this. My question is if the person who replaced him was a Democrat, Bob Crawford, but he's a Democrat who endorsed George W. Bush. Do you not think that there should be at least one person on that three-person panel who supported Al Gore?
DETERT: Well, we have Bob Butterworth...
TAPPER: But he's not on the panel.
DETERT: He supported Al Gore. It's very difficult to get to that level of politics and not have some political connections. So basically, under your scenario, everyone would have to recuse themselves and no one up here would be doing their job.
TAPPER: No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that of the three- person panel, shouldn't there be at least one person that voted for Al Gore as opposed to all three people in charge in Florida being supporters of George W. Bush? Shouldn't at least one of them be a Gore supporter?
DETERT: Well, that wasn't what I thought we were discussing. We just held a press conference this morning, some women legislators, to say that we like Katherine Harris as a female role model, as an elected official. We want to support her. Our constituents have been calling us. They feel the woman's been vilified. They feel she's been criticized for her clothes, her hair, her makeup, and that in general people should get off of her back.
CARLSON: Let's -- I have to say, let's take up the cudgel for poor Katherine Harris. Now, Lois Frankel, you must admit that that is -- that that is true. That she -- this poor woman has been criticized for her appearance, and she's also had these ugly rumors about her private life spread around and accused of all these things. I mean, as a woman, doesn't it pain you to see that?
FRANKEL: There's no call for that, and there should be no personal attacks. But I think -- in terms of her actions, I think her actions are subject to criticism, and she set herself up for that. She is the top election officer in this state, and she signed up for the Bush campaign to be the co-chair. She should have recused herself just as Jeb Bush did.
CARLSON: No, but she signed up as a co-chair of the Bush campaign about a year ago, and presumably you've known about this the entire time. She was pretty public about it. Did you complain earlier about it?
FRANKEL: I'll tell you something, it's her responsibility as the chief election officer. She made that decision. When it came time for her to become the arbitrator of this election, she should have recused herself. That was her decision then.
CARLSON: But it seems like nobody said anything about it until she got in the way of their political aims. I mean, I wonder why nobody said anything about it previously.
FRANKEL: You know, I mean, it's the same thing -- well, look, what if we said to Jeb Bush, you can't be the governor because your brother is running -- running for governor? He took himself off the canvassing board. He did the right thing. And so, that's what -- Katherine Harris should have done that.
CARLSON: Well, we will be back. Representative Detert and Frankel, we'll be back in a moment to bat Katherine Harris and the rumors and other stuff around. Send us your e-mails and send us your spins of the day. That's the moment you are so horrified by what someone says on television, you wish the earth would swallow up him and all those around him. So send us your nominations. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Jake Tapper of Salon.com. We're mulling over Katherine Harris. Some of us are defending her; others of us are not. Talking about chad and the election that will not end.
And before we go further, we have a little bit of housekeeping to take care of here.
CARLSON: Last night, we introduced "The Mock the Viewer Segment," probably the shortest-lived segment in the history of this network. We held up an e-mail we received from a man named Bob Jeffreys (ph), who had written us to complain about the grammar in some of the e-mails. In so doing, he used the incorrect pronoun and we thumped him.
Well, he wrote back today. He said -- I'm quoting now -- "I was rolling in laughter and horror at my errors. Lots of fun. One must be careful if one is to succeed at taunting the media. PS: I'll personally write you a check for $20 if you manage to slip an ounce of clean toilette into Bill Press' coffee."
Consider it done. Make the check payable to me...
TAPPER: That's Bill Press' coffee.
CARLSON: That's C-A-R-L-S-O-N. Exactly.
TAPPER: Bill Press' coffee, not mine.
CARLSON: All right.
TAPPER: We're going to go right back to the representatives from Florida: Lois Frankel, a Democrat, and Nancy Deter, a Republican. Thanks for being with us tonight.
Representative Deter, I have a question for you about Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and my question is this: Can you name one thing she's done since this whole election mess began on the morning of November 8th, can you name one thing she's done, one decision, one lawsuit, anything, that George W. Bush's campaign in Austin was not happy with?
DETERT: I don't speak to George Bush''s campaign in Austin, Texas, and I don't know if Katherine does either. I've followed what Katherine's done, and as far as I'm concerned, she stopped the Mexican standoff that existed here by reading the letter of the law, and certifying and validating the election Tuesday at 5 o'clock, as she has to do by statute. And that became the agent that started all the flurry of lawsuits.
She did her part. She served her role and fulfilled her statutory obligation. And then if they all want to walk across the street to court, they can do that. I do not think the woman is taking direction from campaign headquarters in Texas. I truly don't.
I know Katherine personally. She's from my town. And she's well-respected in our area. She's considered an honorable person. I think it's ludicrous to think she's going to steal an election in the midst of all these cameras and satellite dishes. I don't think the woman's that brilliant.
CARLSON: Well, let's get to that, Lois Frankel, if I could just ask Lois Frankel a question here. Is there any evidence, do you have any evidence at all -- and by evidence I mean actual evidence rather than implications -- that she's acting out of political bias? That is do you know -- do you have any evidence that her motives are impure here?
FRANKEL: Well, let's start with the fact that she's the co-chair of the Bush campaign. I think that's No. 1 - and when she's the highest elected official that's supposed to be objective in running these elections. Let's look at the fact that on Saturday night -- and I tell you, I was in West Palm Beach Saturday night at 2:45 a.m. when that canvassing board decided to recount the votes in Palm Beach County. They didn't get to start until today. What's that? Five days later? Because there's been about five decisions by Katherine Harris to obstruct the recounting.
I'll tell you what, everybody here in Florida, we are frustrated. All we would like to do is recount the votes in a way so that every vote can be counted and we can find out who won this election.
She had a result that she wanted to reach, and that result was for George Bush to be president. And she was going to interpret every law in a manner to reach that result.
And that's the problem I have with her. It has nothing to do with her makeup or her dress or anything else. She's just not being fair.
CARLSON: Thank you.
DETERT: I've got to...
... with Lois.
CARLSON: We're going -- I'm sorry, but we're going to have to -- we're going to have to go on here, but I just wanted to think you both representatives, Detert and Frankel, thank you, and we'll see what happens tonight.
Coming up in a little bit, a real-live voter, an actual voter, who is suing Palm Beach County to let everyone vote again, perhaps again, and get away with it.
But first, more about America's newest buzz word, and that, of course, is chad. Kind of like the word salacious during the Clinton impeachment area. One minute you know -- you didn't even know it was in the dictionary -- some of us did -- the next minute everyone's using it.
At least chad is easier to say and easier to use in mixed company. Here's Jeanne Moos with scads about chad.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before you join in making jokes about Floridians being dumb, test your own election IQ. When you turn on the TV, do you have a clue what folks are referring to?
ALAN SIMPSON (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Now, we have the hanging, the dangling, the open, the pimpled, the dimpled...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hanging chads, pregnant chads, dimpled chads.
MOOS (on camera): You know everything.
(voice-over): With everyone talking about the Florida recount, don't be counted out because you don't speak the lingo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chad?
MOOS (on camera): We're doing the Florida recount vocabulary quiz.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh dear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea.
MOOS (voice-over): Don't confuse chad with the country in Africa, and no, it's not a reference to Chad Everett, an actor who used to play a doctor. Apparently, there was a St. Chad, but no saints have surfaced yet in the election story.
Chad is the tiny piece of paper voters punched out in those disputed Palm Beach ballots, only in some cases they didn't get punched out all the way.
BOB NICHOLS, PALM BEACH COUNTY SPOKESMAN: There's the hanging chad, which is counted because it's hanging by one corner, but the rest of it is out. There is the swinging-door chad. Now, the swinging-door chad obviously looks like a swinging door, because two of the tops are attached and the thing is out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chad is a fish.
MOOS: Actually, that's shad, S-H-A-D. But don't feel bad. Even anchor men have blown it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES GIBSON, JOURNALIST: ... and chards and butterfly ballots may go down as political shorthand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: Pit the poor butterfly having its image tarnished by the election flap, though not everyone's aware that's what they call the two-page ballots with the punch holes in the middle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. A butterfly's a ballot that flew out the window.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, really? OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ballots with wings. MOOS: You know electoral language has gone mainstream when it shows up in cartoons. "I ordered biscuits and gravy, but you brought me chicken fried steak. Must be the butterfly menu."
A vocabulary test wouldn't be complete without the sunshine test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's when you hold it up and you see if you can see sunlight through the partially punched hole.
MOOS (on camera): Where the chad used to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where the chad used to be.
MOOS (voice-over): The mess in Florida has given birth to perhaps the oddest term.
NICHOLS: That's a pregnant chad.
MOOS (on camera): What do you think pregnant chad?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's probably a swollen one, a swollen hole.
MOOS: Very good. That's good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She knows. She has (UNINTELLIGIBLE) five kids.
MOOS (voice-over): When a chad bulges rather than being poked out, it's considered...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pregnant chad.
MOOS (on camera): Very good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually know what a pregnant chad is.
MOOS: What is it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is a guy that somehow has a uterus.
MOOS (voice-over): Who could have imagined we'd end up discussing the birds and the bees of ballots?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two or more chads stuck together.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
TAPPER: Ooh! A guy with a uterus named pregnant chad. Actually, I think he was in my fraternity in college.
But I have to tell you -- I have to tell you, Tucker. There really is news going on.
CARLSON: No, there's not, Jake.
TAPPER: Yes, there is -- that doesn't involve chad or recounts or lawsuits. And once again, here's Joie Chen in Atlanta with that.
CHEN: All right, guys. So in an alternate universe, the one in which Florida voters -- not to mention the counting machines -- never make any mistakes, no one ever says do-over, this would be a very big story.
President Clinton -- yes, we still do have him -- is in Vietnam. He talked about trade and economics with big shots, and lectured students about freedom and democracy, and of course, he worked the crowds. He does that pretty well.
But this is one for Tucker. One student said: "It is like he is our own president, a great man, like our Uncle Ho Chi Minh." Tucker, we thought you'd enjoy that.
Yasser Arafat today told Palestinians to stop shooting at Israelis. This time it was an order. The response from the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, his country still wants a way to peace with Palestinians. The talk, though, disregarded: As least, six Palestinians died in today's clashes. Since late September, well over 200 people have died. Most of them have been Palestinians.
Fidel Castro made a big entrance at an international conference in Panama today. As soon as he got there, the Cuban president slammed what he says is a plot to assassinate him during the visit.
He blames -- these are his words here -- "terrorist elements organized, financed and led from the United States."
Now, we know at this hour Castro is still very much alive, and so are Jake and Tucker, who will be back in a moment.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. We're still looking for nominations for the spin of the day, so call in toll free. That means no cost to you -- 1-800-310-4CNN. You can join our live, online, again, free chat at CNN.com. Or, send us an e-mail. The address is Spin@cnn.com. But before we go a moment further, we have the SPIN ROOM culture moment.
TAPPER: I would like once again to offer a chad Haiku, courtesy of professor Peltz.
CARLSON: This is like a humanities class, Jake. I like this.
TAPPER: It's another chad Haiku. This one comes from Chad Avery in Littlerock, Arkansas. "Chad, the enigma, mystical and elusive, what will you divine?" That's a good one.
CARLSON: You know, it's not only good poetry, Jake, it's also a good question. And speaking of questions, we have John from New Mexico on the line. John, you have any insights? New Mexico has just called for Gore apparently. Is that right?
JOHN: I believe so. Well, my comment is that over 50 years ago I started my professional career working with IBM cards. And I suspect all these people that are talking about chads have never worked with IBM cards. If a chad falls out of an IBM card it's because it was punched and was meant to fall out. And furthermore, IBM cards do not degrade with handling for further handling. You can handle them dozens of time. They just don't degrade that way. They would if you tried to put them through a machine again, but not for handling by hand. Anyway, chads that fall out are meant to fall out. It's not something bad that happens. That's my comment.
CARLSON: Unless, of -- thank you, John. Unless, of course, you have pole workers with BBs glued to their fingers.
TAPPER: That's interesting. An eye current theory going around.
CARLSON: What John said also poses the age-old philosophical question if a chad falls in Florida, does it make a sound?
TAPPER: Well, you know, I'm glad you asked that because we have someone who may be able to answer that question. Joining us now from West Palm Beach is Andre Fladell, one of the plaintiffs suing Palm Beach County for a partial revote as a result of errors and irregularities in the election process.
Mr. Fladell, you're suing. Why?
ANDRE FLADELL, PLAINTIFF: Well, I went to vote like I've always gone to vote and we found this time they had changed the ballot but they didn't give anybody notice and any warning. Everybody talks about the rule of law. The rule of law is that the Republican and Democratic parties go first and second in Palm Beach County because the governors party is always on top and the Democrat will always be second, and that didn't occur in this ballot. The rule of law is that in a manual punch ballot the name always goes on the left and the punch hole always goes on the right.
That didn't happen in this county. You would think if someone were going to change the rules they would change the instructions, but they left the instructions from the old form of voting. So, what they did was they gave us five minutes to make 23 choices. On this ballot we had 23 choices. That means we had 12.5 seconds to make each choice and then they slipped in a new way of voting with the first page. So, when the people made mistakes who vote most often -- and the reason that people who vote most often made those mistakes is we rely because we understand this process. I understand I only had to look for the second punch hole because that's the way the law is written in this state and I got snickered and I got taken.
TAPPER: Mr. Fladell, if I could just jump in with a question. I think a lot of people in the country feel the pain of the voters of Palm Beach and understand there are a lot of upset people. But my question is this, and I don't mean to sound harsh. But 93 percent of the people in Palm Beach County who voted figured out how to do it correctly and now, because of the seven percent, and I recognize that that is larger than the average number of people who have ballots not counted, but still, it is still seven percent. Because of that seven percent, do you think it's fair that the entire ...
FLADELL: Don't ask that directly.
TAPPER: OK. If the entire Palm Beach has to revote.
FLADELL: First of all, I believe that every vote counts and I believe that my vote is as important as anyone else's. But let me ask you a question directly, because you work with statistics. You used 93 percent as a number. The people who voted for George Bush only had one choosing. There was a top hole. So, let's talk about the 50 percent that voted for the other. The people who vote in primaries and primary runoffs, they're only seven and eight percent of this county. The people who vote most frequently are only the eight percent. It's the eight percent that vote most often that rely on consistency. The people who vote once every two years, they go in there, they don't know what they're looking at because they're not familiar, they're not regular voters. So, they go in and they hunt and peck like on a typewriter. Those of us who vote a lot and regular walked into what we relied on to be a legal ballot, like we've always seen it, and they change on page for no reason with no warning. So, the eight percent of us who are participants in this process seem to have been the most handicap by our knowledge of the process.
TAPPER: Well, but ...
CARLSON: So, in other words, you went in there expecting the very same ballot that you see every two years and you were so shocked by the fact the ballot had changed you ended up voting for Pat Buchanan?
TAPPER: Is that what you're telling us, Mr. Fladell?
FLADELL: On the contrary. I can do quadratic equations and write in iambic pentameter. My education is sufficient and I resent the implication that I'm not bright. I gave this test to a lady, Ms. Battista, on CNN and she couldn't figure out the place to vote. So, I'll put her in my economic and I'll put in my educational category.
But the point I'm making is this, that we who vote most often rely on the law as far as the conformity and ballot. We rely on something consistent. We rely on trusting government to give us a fair and legal ballot. The ballot was not fair. It was not legal. In fact, it was a quiz and I wasn't there to take the SAT's, by the way, which I did well on. I was there to vote. That ballot did not lead me to my candidate. That ballot led me away from my candidate. And if you don't care that my vote was led away, I do. So, I did what I was supposed to.
TAPPER: But wasn't the ballot printed in the newspaper? I know you're a liked -- you're a frequent voter, so you must have seen the ballot -- the sample ballot printed in the newspaper.
FLADELL: The ballot that everyone's viewing on television, the sample ballot, didn't in any way what was put in front of us. I can see the difference in a half an inch on height. But you try measuring the distance of depth of 1/16 of an inch of an pinhole. People in this country are looking at a black mark on a television screen when that black mark is magnified it's like watching a replay on a football game. Why don't you watch. The play the first time and make the right call. We saw the depth of a pinhole and you couldn't judge the depth of 1/16 of an inch any better than we did. We lined up the second name as we should with the second pinhole as we should and that pinhole should not have been a Reform Party candidate by statute. I knew it had to be a Democrat.
CARLSON: Mr. Fladell, thank you very much. We're not done with you. We're not done with you.
TAPPER: No, we're not.
CARLSON: We're going to go to a break and we're going to come back because we like you and we like what you have to stay. So, please stay with us and be -- come back right to THE SPIN ROOM.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM, or as we like to call it, "The Andre Fladell Show."
Because joining us, playing a little game of who wants to be a Pat Buchanan Voter from Palm Beach County is Andre Fladell. And Andre is upset about the stereotypical way that West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County voters have been portrayed. He does not think that they are stupid just because eight percent of them could not understand the butterfly ballot.
So, Mr. Fladell, I have one question for you. I understand the situation. I -- again, I do have sympathy. I don't think you're stupid. Tucker might disagree. But the question I have for you is is it fair for the entire country's electoral process to be hung up because eight percent of the people in one county in one state had trouble with a ballot that was, by many legal scholars account, legal, if not perfect?
FLADELL: You know, Martin Luther King once said that injustice against anyone is injustice against everyone. If one person loses their right to vote in Palm Beach County, be careful Missouri, be careful in California. If this country thinks that our ballot didn't violate the law, then my case really doesn't matter. But if this country really broke the statutes of our own state and people made error based on the government not producing an honest ballot, then be concerned about us. But let me tell you a bigger problem. The Bush campaign and the Gore campaign they promised to trust people. These two parties promise that if we have a problem in our states, in our counties they trust local people to solve local problems. I ...
CARLSON: Andre, I think the helicopters are coming for you, buddy.
FLADELL: Well, I think so.
CARLSON: I'm sorry to interrupt you. Let me just ask you a quick question here. Now, one of the problems seems to me if you're ...
FLADELL: They don't trust ...
CARLSON: ... in Palm Beach -- well, that's where they're sending the helicopters, Andre. But look, I want to show you something that's going on the Internet right now. This is ...
FLADELL: Probably missing (ph) league (ph).
CARLSON: This is graph we're going to put up on the screen gives you a sense of the way people are talking about voters in your state and, indeed, your county. I actually got this on my computer the other day. It says "Voting for dummies, a reference for Florida reference and other dumb voters by Bill Daley". Now, tell me, it seems to me that filing lawsuits that admit you couldn't understand a simple ballot are going to do nothing but reinforce this perception, don't you think?
FLADELL: I think sometimes when you get a telephone bill and you expect to pay seven cents a minute and they charge you 29 cents, don't call and complain because you're the kind of guy that'll take the extra payment and think it's not your fault. You see, when I think when I get billed wrong I call up and I complain. When I get snookered on a vote, I complain. The way I complain is through the courts because I'm not like in the Middle East where you take guns and you shoot them in the air. We have a court system which needs to listen to a fair complaint. We have 24,000 people who are very unhappy. That's not one person, one vote. That's 24,000 people. But there's a bigger issue, the image in West Palm Beach ...
CARLSON: Now, you've been in ...
FLADELL: The image of West Palm Beach is being sent by people who don't live here. The Gore campaign and the Bush campaign talk for us, explain us. They tell you what we think, how we think, how we live. There's nobody from this area that's allowed to even make a comment. Every time the people in this country hear about what's going on here it's some guy from Texas or Tennessee that makes a decision on our behalf without consulting us. We have ...
CARLSON: Well, actually Mr. Fladell, if I could take -- Mr. Fladell, if I could say one thing, actually, Vice President Gore and Governor George W. Bush have been very, very quiet this past week. And actually, I've seen you on TV a lot. So, I don't know that that is a fair thing to say. But my question still stands. Is it fair for the entire country's electoral process to be hung up because seven percent of the voters or eight percent in one county in one state could not figure out a ballot that, by many legal scholar's opinion, was legally vetted and was proposed by a Democrat? FLADELL: Then a person in a court needs to agree that the ballot violated the law. And if they can't give a better remedy, then at least they agree that our complaint is correct and we get a reprieve from this image that we're stupid and someone accepts the responsibility. My choice is to get my vote back. My choice is to have my vote for Buchanan stricken from this record of this country. My choice is not to have Pat Buchanan. If 354 votes in a Jewish condominium of people who voted straight Democrat on 15 other votes on that ballot and then voted against the Jewish candidate for someone they perceived as anti-Semitic, you cannot allow that to stand in the history of this country. That one person and that 354 votes and my 24,000 neighbors are entitled to be free from the burden of this era, which we didn't create.
CARLSON: Well, thank you. Andre Fladell, Florida voter, Buchanan voter, filer of the lawsuit, straightener out of misconceptions, we appreciate your coming to SPIN ROOM. Thank you very much.
FLADELL: Any time. Thank you so much.
We have a caller. Ken in Indiana. What do you think of the current mess in Florida? Are you with us?
KEN: Yes, I am. I think if 99 percent of the Florida people are smart enough to vote for the candidate of their choice does Gore really want to be the president of the people that's confused? I mean, some of these people took a lot of time to learn how to vote and why should their votes not count just because somebody's confused?
CARLSON: That is an excellent point. Thank you, Ken.
TAPPER: That is an excellent point, actually, Jake. It does seem to be the Gore constituency here that's having trouble reading the ballots and voting for Pat Buchanan. Don't you see ...
CARLSON: I don't know. See, the thing is I think that that's one of the ironies of this election ...
TAPPER: These are Al Gore's people.
CARLSON: ... is that a lot of people who are now stereotyped as being dumb may end up electing to the highest office of the land, somebody that the media stereotyped as being dumb, which is George W. Bush, which, by the way, I don't think he is.
TAPPER: But it is sort of the double reverse.
CARLSON: But there is -- yeah, there's a pixel going on there, an axel twist. You know what, never mind.
TAPPER: We are almost out of SPIN, but Joie Chen in Atlanta is going to be here a lot longer. She has a preview of what's coming later tonight. And there's a lot. What's going on, Joie?
CHEN: I am. I am. I'm trying to figure out what that spin is on that. All right, so the witching hour is upon all of us, or at least it is upon me. My SPIN ROOM coach is to turn back into a pumpkin in just a few minutes, so I'll be popping over the news desk over there to give you the official line on the news. At one point, midnight Eastern, was supposed to be something of a deadline for the Florida vote totals. Of course, that's been blown right out of the water. But lots of stuff happened on Lorrybeat (ph) today. We'll connect the dots for you at the top of the hour. You know how it's going to be serious stuff? You can watch for a change of clothing. That's how you know, guys.
CARLSON: We can't wait. We will be watching, Joey. And I know millions of other people will be too. And when we come back we will have our spins of the day. We need yours, please. There have been many today. Send them in. You can e-mail them. You can post them in the chat room. You can call us on the telephone. You can send us a telegram probably. When we come back we will also rebegin our culture hour...
TAPPER: Oh, yeah.
CARLSON: ... with Jake Tapper.
TAPPER: One more Haiku. This one I wrote.
CARLSON: One more Haiku on the SPIN ROOM. Join us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM, or a show we like to call "Embrace the Chad."
And, you know, something's been bothering me all night, Tucker and I really have to get it off my chest.
CARLSON: Is it chad related?
TAPPER: It's somewhat chad related. Do you know who you remind me of a lot tonight?
TAPPER: "Landslide" Green.
CARLSON: A relative if "Mean" Joe? Who's "Landslide" Green?
TAPPER: No, no, "Landslide" Green -- it's funny that you ask that because I happened to coincidentally have a...
CARLSON: Is that true? An out-of-the-blue card, can you imagine?
TAPPER: "Landslide" Green is also known as Representative Rick Green of Dripping Springs, Texas, He's a Republican.
CARLSON: There's not really place called Dripping Springs.
TAPPER: Dripping Springs, Texas, yes, there is. I've been there. It's lovely.
And in 1998 Green lost by 20 votes in a House race. He called for a manual recount, they did it -- that's a hand recount with the tabs. They did it, he ended up winning by 35 votes, and that's why George W. Bush calls him "Landslide" Green won only because of a law that George W. Bush signed in 1997 that set -- that called for manual hand recounts, which is good if you're in Dripping Springs, Texas, apparently but not if you're in Florida.
CARLSON: Right, that means the electoral standards of Dripping Springs, Texas, ought to be made...
TAPPER: It's the whole state of Texas.
CARLSON: ... applied to every county in the country.
TAPPER: No, no, it's the whole state of Texas.
CARLSON: Bring Dripping Springs to America. I dig it.
TAPPER: It's the whole state of Texas. George W. Bush signed the law, my friend. He signed the law.
CARLSON: If it's good enough for Dripping Springs, it's good enough for me.
We have a phone call, Tim in Washington state, not Dripping Springs state.
Tim, what do you think?
TIM: Hey, good evening.
CARLSON: Good evening.
TIM: Hey, I've got the spin of the week for you. We keep hearing the Democrats saying that every vote counts and that's why this is so important. But I've got two ways to show that it isn't. In the county right next to Dade, they had 15,000 of these votes that weren't counted for the same reasons, but they're not asking for a recount of those because it's not a Democrat-going county and they're not in charge of it.
Second example, Cook County, Illinois, Daley's home place. Over 100,000 votes in that county were disallowed because of over, under or double voting, but you don't hear anybody asking for those recounted. They're only asking for the ones in the counties that they know they'll win. They never asked for all of Florida until it was too late and they knew it was a hollow offer.
CARLSON: Well didn't Al Gore say that he would be willing to have the whole state counted?
TIM: Too late.
CARLSON: See, what I think Tim may be suggesting, and this is a little bit shocking I think to me, is that Al Gore may be more concerned with winning than with the rights of each and every voter of the state of Florida.
TAPPER: Interesting, interesting, as opposed to Governor Bush.
CARLSON: I don't believe it either way. But we have a number of spins of the day.
Here's one from Christie, and she asks a very good question, in mu opinion: "Why are we blaming Katherine Harris when we should be blaming" -- and believe me, we ought to be blaming somebody -- the people who messed up in the voting booth?
TAPPER: Like Andre Fladell.
CARLSON: Like Andre Fladell.
TAPPER: Not unlike Andre Fladell.
CARLSON: I think if there's one person on whom we could pin this entire fiasco, I think it would be Andre Fladell.
TAPPER: You'd like to blame it on Andre?
CARLSON: In fact, I herewith blame it on Andre Fladell.
TAPPER: Well I have a SPIN ROOM e-mail. It's a "Spin of the Day."
"Those counties hand counting in Florida need to save the chads and sell them on eBay to recoup some of the cost." That's from Doug. Thanks, Dougie.
CARLSON: I guess my question is, who would buy a chad on eBay?
TAPPER: I would.
CARLSON: Get enough you could have a beanbag chair.
TAPPER: A buck a chad.
CARLSON: A buck a chad, a bucket o' chad.
TAPPER: Oh, yes, that's nice.
CARLSON: Here's another honest e-mail. "I think the most ridiculous 'Spin of the Week' is the Bush camp's constant sniping about hand counting being inaccurate and mystical."
Well I have to say hand counting is mystical as far as I'm concerned. There is a kind of crystal ball quality to it that does bother me. Do you have your "Spin of the Day"?
TAPPER: I do have one more "Spin of the Day": "Definitely" -- this is from Caroline, by the way -- you know Caroline.
CARLSON: Of course I do.
TAPPER: "Definitely the Bush legal adviser who proclaimed that, quote, 'Harris did not have a horse in this race,' unquote." Hysterical stuff, Caroline says, because obviously Secretary of State Kathleen Harris was the co-chair of George W. Bush's Florida campaign, so she had a horse.
CARLSON: Horses, races...
TAPPER: That's her point -- horse.
CARLSON: Well let me -- let's cut right to my "Spin of the Day." And this comes -- normally I like to do "Spins of the Day" from Commander Daley, but this we're getting a little deviation here. This is from Warren Christopher.
Listen to what Warren Christopher said earlier today and tell me if this is not galling and appalling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN CHRISTOPHER, GORE CAMPAIGN OBSERVER: There is a tremendous burden on all involved in this process to try to make sure that the next president has the legitimacy, carries with the confidence of the people of the United States. And I think taking this matter next steps to the Florida Supreme Court would tend to enhance the legitimacy of Governor Bush if he's ultimately the winner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: See, I guess what all of this is, Warren Christopher with a straight face is saying, sending this matter to the Florida Supreme Court, a move designed to deny Bush victory would in fact legitimize a Bush victory.
TAPPER: Doesn't he kind of look like one of the talking trees from "The Wizard Of Oz"?
CARLSON: Yes at the very least, or maybe one of the flying monkeys. But I don't think we should go there.
TAPPER: Speaking of flying monkeys, like go to Secretary of State Jim Baker trying to put a huge face on two huge legal setbacks for the Bush team today if we have that clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAKER: As the Florida Supreme Court stated in this recently issued order, the court's action is designed to maintain the status quo until its hearing on Monday. The court issued an order that neither side requested. Nevertheless, its action is not an order on the merits of the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Whoa. OK, well before we have leave.
CARLSON: I'm dizzy from those.
TAPPER: I know, that was very, very -- don't try that at home without a net. I'd like to say. One last thing, I'd like to give my chad to the professor out there. This is my chad haiku.
CARLSON: You wrote this yourself?
TAPPER: I wrote this myself.
TAPPER: Yes, I did.
Swinging, hanging, tri, pregnant, dimpled, on the floor, you are mighty chad.
Add it up, five-seven-five.
CARLSON: I feel like we're at a coffee house. We need a little acoustical guitar...
TAPPER: Give me some snaps, give me some snaps.
CARLSON: ... a little Peter, Paul and Mary -- fantastic.
The Florida Supreme Court says the fun has to continue on Monday, so we will be here. Keep your helmets, facemasks and cleats handy for the latest on the Florida recount, and join us at 11 p.m. Eastern for all the spin.
Tucker Carlson here with Jake Tapper of Salon.
TAPPER: Good night.
CARLSON: Good night, Joie Chen. See you Monday.
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