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Special Event

The Spin Room

Aired November 25, 2000 - 11:30 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Republicans will do anything to win -- even act like Democrats.

ROBERT GEORGE, GUEST CO-HOST: And the Democrats bring out their usual suspects.

PRESS: Now look at all those compassionate conservatives.

GEORGE: Finally Republicans have learned something from Jesse Jackson.

PRESS: Well, you may be mad enough to scream or sad enough to cry, but tonight we think it's crazy enough to laugh.

ANNOUNCER: From CNN Washington and all over the United States, THE SPIN ROOM is open.

PRESS: Good evening, everybody. It's Friday night in THE SPIN ROOM here on CNN.

Welcome.

As you can see, Tucker Carlson had the audacity to take another night off. I don't know what's going on. But sitting in for Tucker tonight, delighted to welcome -- actually, a frequent guest, usually in a bar in New York, Robert George, columnist and editorial writer for "The New York Post."

Welcome. Good to have you here.

GEORGE: Thank you. Thank you. It's really good to be here.

PRESS: Where's the bow tie, though? I mean...

GEORGE: Well, you know, I'm a bow tie -- I am a bow tie-less conservative. You know, I'll just have to go for this -- this, just kind of this straight tie. But the bow tie will be back in a day or so.

PRESS: That's funny. I though all conservatives thought alike, dressed alike ...

GEORGE: Surprisingly enough, you know -- you know, Tucker and George Will are -- basically have the bow tie contingent on the right. PRESS: Anyhow, good to have you here.

But don't forget, folks, this is your show -- not just our show. This is where you get to sound off on the outrageous events of the day. Also where you get to give us your nominations for "Spin of the Day." And you know how to join in, I hope, by now. First of all, you can call us toll-free -- free call -- 1-800-310-4CNN. Or you can join our live online chat at CNN.com. If your comments are pithy enough or worthy enough, we will throw them up on the screen in front of us. Or you can also send us an e-mail. Our address, of course, is spin@cnn.com and Robert and I will be reading some of your e-mails on the air.

We've got some of them already to go.

But first, I have to tell you. Today's news, Robert -- OK now ...

GEORGE: Can it get any weirder?

PRESS: Now, let me get this here. So now, we've been trying to find somebody who's going to decide. So we're going to let Clarence Thomas decide who's the next President of the United States. Is that what it boils down to?

GEORGE: Well, you know, I think he is probably more qualified to sift through all of these since I think this whole cycle that we've been on may have started with the Hill and Thomas hearings back in '91. It seems like that.

PRESS: It may be. It may be Clarence Thomas's revenge. Do you think that's what it could be?

GEORGE: Oh, certainly not. He's far above that.

PRESS: Yes, but nobody expected the Supreme Court to take -- so much for all those high-priced lawyers you see on television. All of them got it wrong. Right?

GEORGE: Most of the liberal law legal beagles did get it wrong. They said, there's no way that the Supreme Court is going to weigh in. But I think there's some serious constitutional issues and the Supreme -- if you've got some people who believe in strict interpretation, like Thomas, Scalia and Rehnquist, I think they said, let's take a look at this.

PRESS: And of course you have people who believe in states' rights, then the court will turn them down. But speaking of getting things wrong, I have to show you. Don't you write for this rag, "The New York Post"?

GEORGE: Proudly so.

PRESS: I mean, look at this headline today. Here it is: "Gore Gets Desperate." Now, I just want to -- first of all, did you write this headline? GEORGE: You know, I can't take credit for that one. I can't take credit for that one. I will say this. Look, the "New York Times" -- "The New York Times" has all the news that's fit to print. "The New York Post" -- all the news that's fit to read. So there you have it.

PRESS: No. No. I remember -- yeah, fit to read -- this is a paper that said that Hillary was doomed. Could never win. Isn't this the same paper that said that Bill Clinton was sure to be impeached? Now we're supposed to ...

GEORGE: But he was.

PRESS: Now we're supposed to ...

GEORGE: He was impeached.

PRESS: I'm sorry -- sure to be thrown out of office.

GEORGE: We never said, sure that he -- no, he said that he was going to be impeached.

PRESS: Now we're supposed to believe him. I don't know. I don't know, Robert....

GEORGE: Oh, and Al Gore isn't desperate?

PRESS: All right. But the e-mails are already rolling in. Are you ready? You got one. You've got one there.

GEORGE: Oh, yeah. This is from Don. Don didn't leave his address here, but, "Do you see the similarities between Clinton and Gore? Try to discredit women that oppose you, do not worry how much money you cost taxpayers, do not worry if you embarrass your country in front of the world, try to bend the interpretation of the law in your favor, do whatever it takes to win." Apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

PRESS: I think that must have come from Tucker.

OK. Here's a quick spin. E-mail to the SPIN ROOM is called the Palm Beach Pokey. "You put the Gore votes in, you put the Bush votes out, you put the Gore votes in, and you do another count. You do the Palm Beach Pokey and you turn the count around. That's what it's all about." I've got to tell you -- we have the most clever e-mail writers in the world.

GEORGE: Indeed. And it has a ring of truth to it, as well.

PRESS: I don't know about that, but you know -- it is time -- you have to laugh at what's going on or else you just totally lose your sanity. And I think the people that are having, maybe, the most fun with this today are the stand-up comics. So just for some Friday night relief, we've invited one of the best of the stand-up comics in the nation. His name is Jim Morris. You've seen him on CNN very often. He joins us tonight from his new home in Dallas, Texas. Why a stand-up comic would ever be living in Dallas, Texas, I don't know. Maybe that'll be a first -- anyway, Jim, thanks for staying up late. Thanks for joining us.

JIM MORRIS, COMEDIAN: It's good to be here. And I -- actually, I wanted to move down to Austin because I sort of suspect that I may have to work on an impression of George W. Bush. But I -- I think I've got it pretty -- you know, I like my chances. I like my chances. I do, I believe -- I'm going to make -- I'm going to make sure that we appeal to our better angels and not our darker impulses."

GEORGE: Well, Jim, just step back for a second. Are you, like, especially thankful this Thanksgiving weekend that you have a constitutional crisis on your hands?

MORRIS: Well, I'm not -- I'm not thankful for that.

PRESS: I mean, what material.

MORRIS: What material is right. And as you can see from your e- mail viewers, people sending in -- it's hard to keep up with everything. And it makes it more of a challenge for a professional such as myself to come up with something original because, whether it's the late night team of -- dozen political writers -- comedy writers for the monologue, or whether it's e-mail people zipping things across the country, things -- yeah, it's a great time for political humor. And that keeps me on my toes because I try to stay on top of it myself. And there's late-breaking developments and you have to be funny and on top of that, I do impressions. So, it' really hard to -- at least during the primary season I had months to work on these guys, you know? Like ...

PRESS: Well, this time you've got to be ready to change hour by hour.

But, Jim, I want to ask you. Here's something that I've been thinking about today. I mean, yesterday was Thanksgiving. I mean, this day of thanksgiving -- national holiday, and suddenly, Bush and Gore disappear. So none of us know what they were saying with their family around the Thanksgiving table. Any ideas?

MORRIS: Well, it's -- you know, I'm -- I -- I'll take you behind the scenes, use my imagination. Let's see -- without teleprompters, I just can't imagine that. Bush -- well, we had a good talk about -- I read another book. This was during the first course, and we talked about foreign policy, ways we could beef up arms to our allies like Turkey and Greece. And beef up the cut to the bone on the -- I'll take the right wing, Dad.

Hey, now, don't get out of hand here. You know, you're on national television there and just don't -- now, what we talked about, to be frank with you, is you people in the press, Mr. Press, and other fella there. You conduct these opinion polls and you conduct them by asking people about what they think and there are a lot of people that just don't think out there. And that's just the group, I'm sure, will come through for my son. No, I didn't mean it that way."

PRESS: I like that.

GEORGE: That's very -- that's very good. You think that ...

MORRIS: Well, you know, free equal time. I think it's like... I think it's still my turn.

No, I think ...

PRESS: Al Gore.

MORRIS: We should all -- we should all give thanks for what we have and what we have is, well, what have you.

PRESS: Lock box. Lock box.

MORRIS: Lock box. But I have supported -- I take exception with what you're co-host there says. I do support women. I don't question women who oppose me. I have always supported women. I am strong for women's rights. I am strong. I'm invincible. I am woman. Hear me roar.

I remember during the campaign that he just buried Bill Bradley. Very -- wanted to keep a level above the fray and just stood there. Remember Bill Bradley just looking at him like, not true. That's not true.

It is, you signed it, didn't you? Well, you signed it, didn't you?

I just wanted to see one of these, you know?

GEORGE: You know, I'm kind of wondering, did Bill Clinton give Al Gore any advice, do you think, to get through this mess?

MORRIS: I don't know. I told him this. I said that in the final analysis when all is said and done, even if you don't make it as my successor, I know the American people, whatever they think of us, will remember this -- that we kept every promise we intended to keep.

Well, I -- that makes sense to me. Absolutely.

Do you notice that -- do you have to take a break here?

PRESS: Yes, we have these multiple personalities. I just want to ask if W and Al and George Sr. and Bill can just sort of all put it on hold for just a second, all right? And Jim Morris, you take a break -- you take a rest there, too. We'll be right back to you.

Remember folks, as we take a break, get those nominations in for "Spin of the Day," the most outrageous comment you heard all day. Give them to us by phone at 1-800-310-4CNN or you can join us live in our online chat -- cnn.com. Or send us your e-mail at spin -- to spin, rather, @cnn.com. I'll get it straight in a moment.

Now for those of you who may not have been watching last night, you had too much turkey, you went to bed early -- by popular demand, we've been asked to show you again those great scenes from this tremendous -- Robert, this Macy's Day Parade yesterday. There's never been one like it.

GEORGE: It was stunning. Couldn't believe it when I saw it.

PRESS: Look at the first float.

GEORGE: Oh, my good -- well, I think the state of Florida, actually -- it's better than it actually looks.

PRESS: And there's George W. above the crowd about to crash like the Hindenburg.

GEORGE: And with all that hot air, there's Al Gore right behind.

PRESS: What a parade. We love it.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GEORGE: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I am Robert George from "The New York Post" sitting in for the bow-tied wonder, Tucker Carlson.

PRESS: Yes, and I'm the same old Bill Press here. Just sort of -- every night.

All right. Let's go to the e-mail. I've got one quickly here. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Here's this -- the name here is goal2K. "Dear Bill, thanks for being the voice of reason." I like that. But here's what I particularly like. She says -- or he says. "I enjoy watching your shows on CNN and wish they would expand THE SPIN ROOM to a full hour." Let's hear it. Half an hour's not enough. We want a full hour. Get your cards and letters into CNN in Atlanta.

GEORGE: I second that emotion.

And here, we've got a joke from Sally Gary, who could be one person or it could be two people. But, "Gore, Nader, and Bush went on a boat trip. During their trip, the boat began to sink. As there were three of them and only one life vest, they decided to vote on who would get it. They passed a hat around and counted the ballots. Bush got one vote, Nader got one vote, and Gore got seven votes." Can you believe it?

PRESS: Miraculous. Miraculous. It's that boat trip must have been off the coast of Florida.

Telephone call's all right, too, from Elaine in Tennessee -- Gore's -- Al Gore's home state. Hello, Elaine. Welcome to THE SPIN ROOM.

ELAINE: Hello there.

PRESS: Hi. What's your take on all this? ELAINE: Well, I think that it will probably end after Friday when the Supreme -- or, United States Supreme Court gets through with it. I have voted for years. I'm in my seventies. But I feel that whoever gets the job will not do it -- a very good job and they'll all have a tough time.

PRESS: Well, they will have a tough time. Thanks, Elaine. Thanks for the call.

Got another call here.

GEORGE: Yeah. We have, in the interest of equal time, Walter from Texas, George W's (INAUDIBLE).

PRESS: Both home states.

GEORGE: Yeah. Home states. Right. Walter?

WALTER: Yes, I'm here.

GEORGE: Go ahead.

WALTER: Do you hear me?

GEORGE: Welcome to THE SPIN ROOM.

WALTER: Yes. I'm military -- actually, a resident of Florida stationed in Texas. And my concern is that I think that we really are approaching a constitutional crisis. I mean, we have the U.S. Supreme Court involved. We have the legislature of Florida involved. We have the potential of the U.S. legislature getting involved. And we are rapidly approaching the deadlines of the electoral deadline and the electoral count to the Congress.

PRESS: Yes. I know, Walter. Thank you for the call. It is a little frightening, but at least we can be grateful that the Pope is not yet involved. Now, we don't know. Somebody may appeal to the Vatican. That might be the next ...

GEORGE: That would be Al Gore, I think. He -- he thinks that God's on his side.

PRESS: All right. We've also got Jim Morris with us. One of the great stand-up comics of the country. Has been watching all of this with an amused twinkle in his eye.

Now, Mr. Morris...

MORRIS: You know, I met with the pope once. It was up in Alaska and I completely lost him in the snow. He was wearing that white robe.

PRESS: Well, that's what happens, Ron.

MORRIS: Where did he go? PRESS: You know, Ronnie, you've seen one pope, you've seen them all, too. I wanted to -- I want to ask you about the role of the media in all of this. I mean the anchors -- Brokaw and all of them -- have been having a field day over this.

GEORGE: How are they doing? How are they doing?

MORRIS: Well, I think that most people think not too well. And we're getting our news elsewhere -- over the Internet, newspapers. But we stay glued to the television set because it's national theatre. And your last caller was talking about maybe it's a constitutional crisis and things are getting -- that's because we're all very sloppy. We say we want to reform the election procedures and the fund raising and we talk and we talk and we talk for, like, a couple of decades and then all of a sudden we find ourselves in this mess. And I'm not stressing out over it.

I'm worried, but I feel bad for the politicians, I feel bad for the journalists who are under the gun to call the thing. I mean, I was watching the other night. It was George W. Bush has been declared the winner in Florida based not only the exit polling of over three dozen voters spread out over five precincts throughout the entire state. Margin of error -- 98 percent. But also based on the collective fear on the part of our network executives and producers of not being the first to call this race.

And it gets kind of silly after awhile. Let's see. What do we have here? There is a new tally. NBC is now calling this race. What are we calling it? Ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. They even sent Steve the Crocodile Hunter from the -- what is it? "Animal Planet" down there to Florida.

We're here in southern Florida. And what we have here is one of the rarest creatures in the world -- a Buchanan voter. What a beautiful specimen she is.

I don't know. I punched the wrong hole.

What do you mean, you punched the wrong hole? You voted for a Nazi."

You know, it's fun for a comedian. I don't stress out. I feel bad for the vote counters there, you know.

I hope they're getting paid time-and-a-half.

I'll double it.

Yeah, we'll pay them out of our own camp -- I shouldn't talk about it.

I long for the old days, you know?

There you go, again, and ...

PRESS: Well, we like the present days because there's never been so much material and nobody does it better than you, Jim Morris. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

MORRIS: Hey, don't work too hard.

PRESS: Thanks, Jim. Thanks for being in THE SPIN ROOM. We've got our own little ...

GEORGE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) very good.

PRESS: Yeah. Great tonight. Our comedians at Atlanta and our comics, our editorial cartoonists have been hard at work, too, with their own little version of these two candidates. Remember "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington"?

GEORGE: Yeah.

PRESS: No, no, no, no, no. Replaced by -- are you ready? Look at this.

GEORGE: Oh.

PRESS: "Mr. Bush Goes To Washington." Of course with the crocodile and the flamingo from Florida.

GEORGE: Of course.

PRESS: But you notice his tires are flat.

GEORGE: Oh, here we have -- here we have "Oliver Twist." "Please sir, could I have some more?" He's not looking for oatmeal. He just wants a chad to eat.

PRESS: No, he's just begging for a few more votes.

GEORGE: Just a few more votes.

PRESS: All right, "Spin of the Day" is coming up next both by phone, by e-mail, and through the chat room. We'll get to your nominations, Robert's and mine. "Spin of the Day" coming up next in THE SPIN ROOM.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PRESS: This is THE SPIN ROOM on CNN. I'm Bill Press, and sitting in tonight for Tucker Carlson...

GEORGE: Robert George.

PRESS: ... The Honorable Robert George.

Folks, it's time for the "Spin of the Day." And what's great, Robert, is now nominations for "Spin of the Day" start coming in even before the show which means people are finally getting it. It's that element -- that moment of the day -- that just makes you want to scream. GEORGE: Getting with the program.

PRESS: They're getting with the program. Let's go here. "Spin of the Day."

GEORGE: OK.

Aliva from Pennsylvania -- her spin is "Without doubt, the 'Spin of the Day' has to be the Republican Judge Rosenberg (ph) on the Broward County Election Board looking at the ballots. That was the most blatantly false example of overacting I've ever seen, and I honestly laughed so hard I rolled off the couch. Cross eyed, magnifying glass? You've got to be kidding."

Now, Aliva is obviously passionate. She's unfortunately very wrong. I think that these little dimples, you can't even see with the naked eye, you know, you need that magnifying glass.

PRESS: I think it was a great acting job.

Here's Brandy from Charleston, West Virginia -- not so far from here. "My 'Spin of the Day' is for Mr. Boies, Gore's chad man. He actually said after hearing that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the Bush appeal that he had figured they would hear the appeal. After all day yesterday I have to say Mr. Boies kept saying "No way. No way, Jose." Supreme Court ain't going to hear it."

GEORGE: And that's why he gets paid the big bucks.

PRESS: Of course. Good for him.

OK. Here's another real quick from Preedy (ph). "The biggest spin so far is the outraged cry from Bush that the election is being stolen. This spin has been repeated by so many among the Bush campaign that it has now entered the realm of uber spin."

GEORGE: Uber spin.

PRESS: A new term on the spin. The first time. Yeah.

How about your nomination -- "Spin of the Day" for today?

GEORGE: Let's see -- another one from...

PRESS: Oh, you've got one. OK.

GEORGE: From Steven. "Mario Cuomo describing the Miami-Dade protesters as thugs. My goodness, it took awhile for them to dream that up. Should we ignore the fact that the catalyst for the protest was an attempt by the liberals to secret themselves away with some ballots so they could manufacture votes for Gore?"

PRESS: No. If you saw the video, you know that they were thugs.

All right. Your own nomination, Robert George: "Spin of the Day." GEORGE: OK, that has to go to the one and only Mr. Joe Lieberman, our vice president -- our vice president wannabe.

PRESS: Who spoke today, right?

GEORGE: He spoke today, indeed. And ...

PRESS: Here he is.

GEORGE: we have ...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These demonstrations were clearly designed to intimidate and to prevent a simple count of votes from going forward. Shortly afterwards, one of the commissioners said, and I quote "We would be up there now counting" if it weren't for those objections. He then joined his colleagues in deciding to give up the effort to count the ballots all together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE: Now, that is ...

PRESS: What's wrong with that?

GEORGE: Remarkable, remarkable spin. I have to give (INAUDIBLE) to my colleague at the "New York Post", John Porhorris (ph), who pointed out that the objections that the commissioner of the canvassing board was referring to were the legal objections that Republican observers were pointing out, saying that it was illegal for them to just count the 10,000 "disputed" ballots. So, Joe Lieberman...

PRESS: I think -- I think ...

GEORGE: what happened? Say it ain't so, Joe.

PRESS: I think Joe Lieberman speaks the truth. It was mob rule.

And here's the best spin that's been -- this is a spin -- for three days now, ever since the mobs hit the streets of Miami, this is what Republicans have been saying. I heard it most recently from Governor John Engler tonight on "CROSSFIRE."

Here he is.

GEORGE: Nice cross promotion there, Bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JOHN ENGLER (R), MICHIGAN: I don't think Republicans had anything to do with Rev. Jesse Jackson showing up here in Florida. And today the 30, 40 people that were here outside the Broward Courthouse, very orderly group, just hold up some signs saying, you know, let's have some fairness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESS: Now you -- you said it earlier today. Jesse Jackson started it. Listen, let me tell you. There's a big -- everybody knows -- there's a big difference between Jesse Jackson going out, having a peaceful protest, giving a speech, and taking these angry guys into the courthouse, banging on the door, and almost (OFF-MIKE)

GEORGE: You know what the big difference is, Bill?

PRESS: Night and day.

GEORGE: We're so used to seeing it from Jesse Jackson and the Democrats -- it's so surprising, a welcome surprise to see it coming from Republicans.

PRESS: You never saw Jesse Jackson ...

GEORGE: They're mad as heck, and they're not going to take it anymore.

PRESS: Never saw Jesse acting like that. But let me tell you something.

GEORGE: The world is watching, Bill. The world is watching.

PRESS: Here's the biggest hit of the week and we've got to bring it back because everybody wants to know. This is our own version of -- you know, you eat leftovers the day after Thanksgiving ...

GEORGE: Exactly.

PRESS: Here's our chad man. Let's see him again here. Let's bring him back. There he is. I'm not sure whether that's ...

GEORGE: There's the chad man.

PRESS: Is this Broward or Palm Beach? It's certainly not Miami- Dade.

GEORGE: You know, we're going to have to add some Supreme Court justices as the Mr. Meanies coming to gobble the chad man. You know, that could be the next (INAUDIBLE).

PRESS: I hope the justices are watching this.

I'll tell you. It's been a great time and a great week, folks. We're going to be back on Sunday night for a whole hour. Tucker will be back and then all next week at 11:00.

Robert George, thank you for being here tonight.

GEORGE: It's been a pleasure. The bow tie man will be back.

PRESS: All right. Good night everybody. Good night for THE SPIN ROOM.

Join us Sunday night and all next week. Thanks, Robert.

GEORGE: Thank you.

PRESS: You have a great weekend.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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