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Presidential Campaigns of Al Gore and George W. Bush Await Decision by Florida Supreme CourtAired November 21, 2000 - 2:33 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Watching the news of the hour now, hand recounts are in full swing again today in three South Florida counties: Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach all under way now.
Republicans in Miami Dade failed in court today to stop the manual count. Less than half the ballots have been recounted between those three counties.
Whether those hand-counted ballots will count depends on a decision now being considered by the Florida Supreme Court. There is no word today on when a ruling may come. The Gore campaign wants the court to order the results of a hand count to be included. The Bush campaign, however, argues such counts are subjective and come too late to be counted.
Like all the rest of us, the presidential candidates are waiting this one out. CNN's Chris Black is keeping track of the Gore campaign now in Washington -- Chris.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joie, Gore campaign officials who are on the ground in Florida say they're still quite optimistic that Al Gore can win the vote in Florida and win the presidency. They say it all comes down to how those ballots are being judged in the three counties that are doing hand recounts, and officials in Broward County tell me that within the next 24 hours they should have some evidence to prove their optimism. They say Broward County is about to begin to count about more than 1,000 ballots that have been set aside during the first count, during the first wave through their ballots. And those, when they look at those ballots, they will try to judge any indentation or mark, the so-called "dimpled ballots." And Gore campaign officials say they're quite optimistic that Al Gore will begin to add hundreds of votes to his tally when that happens.
The Gore campaign has decided they will play out the string as far as the Florida Supreme Court goes. They openly acknowledge that everything is riding on this court ruling. They need the court to certify the validity of the manual recounts and also set -- set a standard for judging the ballots in all three counties, the standard of voter intent.
There's some optimism that the court will rule their way, based on the questions, the type of questions that the judges asked yesterday. But of course, nobody is -- is convinced -- nobody is sure of what the court exactly will do.
The vice president is doing just what the rest of us are doing: He's waiting. He's up at the official residence at the Naval Observatory, where he spent most of his time since the election. His plans are to stay here for Thanksgiving. He's canceled any plans to go to his home town of Carthage -- Joie.
CHEN: Chris, as you say, the Gore campaign trying to maintain an air of confidence about the count itself. But what about the PR war? How does the Gore campaign see that it's being viewed by the public in all of this?
BLACK: Well, the Gore campaign does feel that the public has a lot of patience and the people's patience has not yet worn thin. One of the barometers that they used is they keep in very close touch with Democratic elected officials. And Democrats, for the most part, are in lockstep with the Gore campaign. They think that so long as this recount is going on, so long as there is a chance that Al Gore can show that he won the race in Florida, they are totally with them.
But again, the Gore campaign acknowledges internally that they know this is the end of the road for them. They do not have a plan to further contest this. So they are still holding out the option that if the court comes down with a split decision, if, for example, they say the secretary of state can certify the results, which opens the door to a contest by the Gore campaign, they will certainly play that out. But they do not plan to go further -- Joie.
CHEN: CNN's Chris Black for us in Washington -- Natalie.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And now we turn to Texas, CNN's Jeanne Meserve for the Bush strategy. She joins us again from Austin -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, aides say Governor Bush is trying to have as routine a day as possible under the circumstances. A couple of hours ago we saw him emerge from the Statehouse. A crowd had gathered there. He did a lot of meeting and greeting and shaking of hands. This was a home town crowd, so they gave him a big cheer.
That's about as much of the governor as we've seen in the last several days as he's maintained a schedule and tried to project an image of normalcy.
He went to his Statehouse office early this morning, did some state business there. We know he did more than that because we saw Karl Rove, his chief campaign strategist, heading in to meet with him. Also, Andrew Card. Card is the former transportation secretary, who is rumored to be Bush's pick to be White House chief of staff if there is indeed a Bush presidency.
We've been told that transition planning has continued, even through this situation where we aren't sure who exactly has won the election. He's back at the mansion now. We're told he's going to go back to the Statehouse a little bit later as he waits and watches with the rest of us to see what that Florida Supreme Court decides -- Natalie.
ALLEN: All right, Jeanne Meserve in Austin.
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