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Florida Certifies Election Results; Bush Wins 25 Electoral Votes; Democrats Vow to Fight OnAired November 26, 2000 - 4:33 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Our coverage continues. We want to go directly back to Tallahassee, Florida, where Gore chief attorney David Boies discussing upcoming legal challenges.
DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: ... could happen.
QUESTION: What's a reasonable time? Is there kind of precedent for this where there is a timeframe for doing something like this?
BOIES: I don't think we've had a case just like this one. However, you have had cases in which courts have very promptly reviewed ballots.
And as I said before, given how many ballots that the Broward County canvassing board and separately the Palm Beach County canvassing board were able to review in a 24-hour period, and given the fact that that was inevitably slowed down by the fact that three members had to review each individual ballot, I think there is time to get these ballots reviewed.
QUESTION: Mr. Boies, once the commission certifies the vote and the secretary did say it would be tonight according to her attorney, does anything prevent them from then certifying the electors to the Electoral College, contest or otherwise?
BOIES: No, nothing prevents it. But, again, that is simply an initial step prior to the contest. In other words, you can't wipe out a contest by simply filing another piece of paper.
Until these votes have been counted, this election cannot be over. There are votes, thousands of votes, that have never yet been counted once. Ten thousand of those are in Miami-Dade County. Others may be in Palm Beach County. Until those are counted, this election cannot be over.
QUESTION: Mr. Boies, some people are taking a look at your plans to contest in Palm Beach County on those contested ballots and saying, you know, this is just an example that Gore is going to keep looking for ways to win this election, the fact that those ballots were already counted by hand.
Your thoughts, your response to that?
BOIES: First, everything is going to be over by December 12.
Second, all we're trying to do is get the votes counted. We've said from the beginning that if they would just let the votes get counted, however that worked out, that would determine this election.
The third thing is that the Gore campaign isn't the campaign that has brought two appeals to the United States Supreme Court. The Gore campaign isn't the campaign that filed a protest last Wednesday in Leon County. The Gore campaign is not the campaign that filed five new lawsuits around the state over the weekend. The Gore campaign is not the campaign that went into federal district court to try to enjoin the manual recounts. The Gore campaign is not the campaign that went into circuit courts in Broward, Palm Beach, and Dade County to try to interfere with the manual recounts.
This is not a situation in which the Gore campaign has done anything to delay this. We've been trying to expedite matters. We've been trying to get this done.
When the recount is finished, when these ballots have been counted at least once for presidency of the United States, then we'll begin to see what Florida's votes are going to be.
But, remember, Vice President Gore has won the popular vote nationally, no matter what happens. Vice President Gore has won the Electoral College, outside of Florida, no matter what happens here. It's critically important that if, as we believe the case to be, Vice President Gore won the vote here in Florida that that not be nullified because some of those votes are not counted.
QUESTION: When the judges begin to do this, or their special masters, what is the standard then for judging those ballots? Do you have to go in and argue again the Broward versus the Palm Beach standard? How is that standard determined?
BOIES: We think that the circuit court will apply the standard that the Florida Supreme Court indicated should be applied, and that's the standard applied in Illinois and Massachusetts and many other states, which is you look to find the intent of the voter, and if you find a discernible indentation on or near the chad, that is taken as a vote, because there's no other reasonable explanation for the existence of that indentation.
And if you look at the statistics, what you find is that in counties in Florida, in this election, that used optical character readers for ballots, and you compare the number of ballots that were not counted for the presidential election in those counties to, for example, Palm Beach County or Dade County or other counties that used punch card ballots, what you find is that, in Palm Beach County and Dade County, there were five or six or seven times as many people who did not have their ballots counted for the presidential election.
Now, it's hard to imagine a circumstance that would lead residents of Dade or Palm Beach County to have 1/6 or 1/7 of the interest in the presidential election than people in other counties. We think the obvious explanation is that, because of the nature of the ballot and the difficulty in actually being sure that you have fixed a ballot so that it's machine readable, that that accounts for that difference.
And if you look at what happened in Broward, that's exactly what happened. After you take into account the manual count of the votes in Broward, that brings the number of ballots that were not voted for president down to about what it was in other counties that used optical character readers. So what you find is that kind of ballot has actually worked, the optical character ballot has actually worked, and the manual counting of the punch card ballots helps bring those in-line.
WOODRUFF: We're listening to attorney David Boies, the lead attorney for the Al Gore campaign, outlining for reporters there in Tallahassee just this hour exactly what lines of legal challenge the Gore campaign will be pursuing in the coming days, once certification is done in the next several hours presumably by Florida's secretary of state.
David Boies and the Gore campaign putting the world on notice that whatever Secretary of State Katherine Harris does, that's not the end of it, that they intend to pursue challenges of their own. He is noting the Bush campaign has its own set of legal actions that are out there. But the bottom line here is David Boies saying, she may say this is a certified result, but believe me we are heading out in several directions to challenge what those numbers are there.
They're expecting, as you can see there, not to prevail in the final count.
We are continuing with our coverage. We are heading up ever closer to that 5 o'clock deadline that was set out by the Florida Supreme Court last Tuesday night.
My colleague Jeff Greenfield joins me now from New York. And Jeff, when the Florida Supreme Court made that announcement as part of its ruling on Tuesday. A lot of people thought that today, 5 o'clock, maybe things would be over, but we're far from there.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Judy, if you think back, all the way back to election night, you remember that night and morning 19 days ago, the missed -- the missed call for Gore and then for Bush, and the rescinded concession, I have a feeling now that that was foreshadowing this astonishing amount of uncertainty.
Far from being over tonight, it is now possible in the next several days or weeks that one or more of the following bodies could decide who the president is: a circuit court in Seminole County looking at thousands of absentee ballots; a court in Leon County, Tallahassee, where these contests would be filed; the Florida Supreme Court -- yes, that body again -- which will ultimately rule on the contests; the electors themselves who on December 18 could cast votes against what they said, throwing the whole issue into turmoil; the Florida legislature, which on -- before December 12th might pick its own electors; and of course, the United States Congress in early January that ultimately rules on the electoral challenge.
So, Judy, I think we've cleared this up. I think the picture is strikingly clear, and perhaps we should go back to our regular programming. What do you think?
WOODRUFF: I think so. The clouds have separated, the sun is shining. We know exactly what's going to happen. And if you believe that, Jeff, I've got a bridge I want to sell you.
GREENFIELD: Well, you are...
WOODRUFF: All right.
GREENFIELD: Yes. One quick one. You were absolute right that what we heard from David Boies is the argument that they will be using when they contest this election. We heard it about the ballot in Palm Beach County. That's only one of many, so we're off and running.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield, and you'll be with us throughout the next 2 1/2 hours as we look out for what does come from the secretary of state there in Tallahassee.
To get a little closer to the action there, let's go down there to CNN's Bill Hemmer. He's been watching the action at the state office building there -- Bill.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Judy. Just to follow up on Jeff's point, what strikes me as we look at our clock here on CNN, we're less than 18 minutes away from the deadline, and then we leave open the issue of certification, which may or may not happen tonight, and already we're talking about the contest period that we appear headed straight toward tomorrow 9:00 a.m. local time in Tallahassee in circuit here in Leon County.
Now, again the deadline less than 20 minutes away for those votes to be into the secretary of state's office. And again, certification, it may happen and it may not. Certainly, there have been surprises, as you well know, Judy, throughout this entire story. No reason to think otherwise at this point on this late Sunday evening.
Now, the canvassing commission -- Katherine Harris, Clay Roberts, Bob Crawford -- they comprise that three-member commission. They're inside the state administrative building here waiting for those returns to come down from the election division, down to their individual offices. They will peruse the results. Once they give approval, they'll go back upstairs and put in the final-draft form.
If all goes to plan, we do expect certification in the early evening hours here and the basement here of the administrative building here. It's called the Cabinet Meeting Room, according to state government here in Florida. You may or may not be aware that Palm Beach -- in fact, here is a live picture inside that elections office; it's on the 18th floor here in Tallahassee off to my right over here.
Now, Palm Beach, you may or may not know that Palm Beach did request an extension up until about 9:00 a.m. Tomorrow morning, Monday morning. That request was denied by Secretary of State Katherine Harris just in the past two hours. You heard the judge, Judge Charles Burton in West Palm, indicate that he said they had up to a thousand more votes to go through, that apparently they will not get through that remaining stack of a thousand votes.
The protesters behind me, they're loud but they're still relatively under control. And I think it's worth mentioning at this point that both campaigns and both sides have thrown darts at each other indicating that they have been busing in protesters all to show a demonstration for the cameras here.
I was just over there, and I can tell you in just about five minutes time I spoke with people from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and all over the state of Florida, both sides admitting that some have even gotten vans and came up here from the Tampa area and other parts around the state of Florida. Pensacola was another place that was dropped in. A lot of people carpooling, vanpooling, coming to show their strength of support here.
As I look behind me, the crowd continues to grow. I'd say we're well over 300, close to 400 at this point, Judy, and expect those numbers to continue throughout the night.
So we'll watch it as we watch the clock, just about 15 minutes away from those votes to be in here in Tallahassee.
Judy, back to you now in Washington.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Hemmer, thanks very much, and we can tell you for sure that their lungs are working, all those folks who are there to make themselves heard in Tallahassee.
As we've just been listening, Judge Charles Burton, who runs the -- is the head of the canvassing board in Palm Beach County, has said at a news conference -- and we heard a little bit of this just moments ago -- that he recognizes that the secretary of state has turned down his request, the canvassing board's request for a short extension, an extension until tomorrow morning.
He came out a short time ago to say, our request has been denied and we will send the results that we have so far, we'll fax those to the secretary of state, Katherine Harris, but in the meantime, we are going to continue to count all the ballots in our possession, and we will send Secretary Harris the final results when they are completed. And I believe I heard him say that that final count should take no more than a few more hours. But again, those words from Charles Burton, who is the secretary of state.
Let's go down to Palm Beach, to West Palm Beach right now, to Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who's there as an observer representing the Bush campaign.
Senator Hutchison, first of all, hello.
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: Hi, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about this decision by the secretary of state not to honor the request by the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board. Why is it -- was it reasonable of the secretary of state, in your view, to turn down this request when they're saying it would have just taken a few more hours to finish all these ballots?
HUTCHISON: Well, certainly, it was in her discretion to do it, and I think her concern all along has been that these are very dedicated people here, but they're making subjective decisions about what should be an objective view. And she was trying to adhere what the Supreme Court said to the letter, and so in her discretion, she decided not to make anymore allowances.
WOODRUFF: But if you could argue that they're making subjective decisions, then you could argue they were doing that all along and the Supreme Court had told her to honor what they were doing.
HUTCHISON: Well, but the Supreme Court said that the deadline was 5 o'clock, and it certainly was within her discretion to lengthen that, but she chose not to.
You know, it's very difficult, Judy -- and I have been watching this process this afternoon -- it's just very difficult to see something like this where there is so much judgment involved and where you don't have everything being treated the same way. There's not a uniformity here, and it is of great concern to this whole electoral process in Florida that there be a different standard here from Broward County or other counties in the state.
GREENFIELD: Senator, it's Jeff Greenfield. How are you doing?
HUTCHISON: Hi, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: If it's possible to step back from the fact that there's a -- there is partisanship on all sides and an incredible rooting interest, you're looking at an election which could be decided, if my math is right, by about 3/10,000 of 1 percent of the national vote. Isn't it fair to say that no matter what that outcome is, that that is a burden that this system may not be able to sustain in terms of any sense of legitimacy, that that many votes decided by such a small margin, it's basically a tie no matter you slice it, isn't it?
HUTCHISON: Jeff, it is a very difficult situation, but there is absolute legitimacy. That is what our Constitution says. We have a majority rule, and even one vote above 50 is a majority. And I think that we have accepted that for over 200 years in our country. I think the reason that we have a willing minority is because they know what the system is and they know that we will live with it, and that in two years or four years there will be another opportunity for those who may feel aggrieved to go back to the polls. And so yes, I think there is a legitimacy here, even though it is a close one and certainly a very emotional one.
WOODRUFF: Senator Hutchison, we know now that the Gore campaign will be pursuing this beyond tonight. What should the posture of Governor Bush be at this point? I mean, should he come out and say, yes, I won, after the Florida secretary of state certifies numbers, which we assume will be in his favor?
HUTCHISON: Well, I think it is a very tough position if Vice President Gore is going to continue to appeal the process. It will be difficult for Governor Bush, but I think he has to think of the country and I think that he needs to go forward and start the transition process, as he had tried to do earlier, because he is going to run out of time if he doesn't start addressing that.
Now, I have not asked him specifically if he is going to do that, but I think we should all be hopeful that he will. We need to have a transition that is peaceful and certainly one in which his people will be in place for the transition of power in January. And I hope that he will start really fully going into that process: not saying that Vice President Gore shouldn't pursue his rights if that's what he decides to do.
I hope that he will concede once the certification is made in Florida, but if he doesn't, I think Governor Bush must go forward in the interest of the country.
WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, we thank you very much for joining us. And I want to point out to our audience the picture you've been watching is that of election officials there in Palm Beach County Florida faxing the result of the hand recount to the office of the secretary of state in Tallahassee, and they are doing this with about nine minutes to spare. They have a 5 o'clock Eastern deadline. By our clock here in Washington studio for CNN, it's about nine minutes before that deadline, and they are faxing those results.
And just to repeat, we just saw the chairman of the canvassing board say that the recount by hand will continue, even after the 5 o'clock deadline. They asked for an extension, the secretary of state turned them down, but we heard Charles Burton say we think we need to finish this, we only think it's going to take a few more hours, and we will submit the final -- the numbers to the secretary of state when those are completed.
We have been witnessing dueling news conferences in the last moments here. David Boies of the Gore campaign and Representative -- I'm sorry -- and Charles Burton in Palm Beach.
Joining us, Representative -- U.S. Representative Corrine Brown, a representative from the state of Florida. She's joining us.
Representative, as we watch the Palm Beach officials fax their results so far to Florida's secretary of state, we heard Senator Hutchison say that she agrees with the fact that the clock is being shut down at 5 o'clock, that there's just so much subjectivity, subject to human error, you really can't get a uniform count.
REP. CORRINE BROWN (D), FLORIDA: I don't agree with that. Clearly, on November 7th, Al Gore won the state of Florida, and my position is that we need to continue to count. I come from a county where 27,000 people were disenfranchised, so I am encouraged by the fact that here in Palm Beach that they're going to continue to count and they're going to turn those numbers in. And I would ask Al Gore to let -- to know that we in Florida want him to stand firm and make sure that every vote is counted and counted fairly.
WOODRUFF: What do you say to Senator Hutchison's point that, you know, there's no uniformity here? She made the point that, you know, they're counting but again it's subject to human error, and the point that the Bush people have been making all, congresswoman: that there's been recount after recount, we ought to stick with the original results.
BROWN: Oh, I don't agree with that at all. In 1998, the Florida House and the Florida Senate, along with the Republican governor, all controlled by Republicans, passed a law saying that in close elections hand counts should be used, and we're only using those tools that are available to us.
WOODRUFF: Well, again I want to tell our audience what you're seeing here are pictures of the election officials in Palm Beach County as they literally fax at this moment the results of their hand recount to Secretary of State Katherine Harris' office.
Representative Corrine Brown joins us. Representative Brown, if the results that are certified by the secretary of state show that Al Gore did not win the state of Florida, why shouldn't he accept that, be gracious, and say, I don't want to prolong this anymore?
BROWN: I don't know what you're talking about. We feel very strongly that Al Gore won the state of Florida. Now because of technicalities, because we have a secretary of state that feels that her office is an extension of George W. Bush's campaign, it's just not acceptable to the people of Florida. There is too much at stake.
WOODRUFF: all right.
BROWN: And so we're asking Al Gore to continue to fight and demand that we have a fair and accurate count in the state of Florida. Look what happened in Miami. I travel around the country and monitor elections. If 27,000 ballots had been thrown out anywhere, all civil rights group and others would be coming in to take a look at what happened.
I'm asking the United States Justice Department to do the same thing in Duval County.
WOODRUFF: All right...
BROWN: We will not have this election stole from us because of some arbitrary time factor. Let's count, let's fairly look at the areas that's in dispute and make sure that we have a fair count. And if it takes to Monday...
BROWN: ... morning, let's do it.
WOODRUFF: Representative Corrine Brown of Florida, we thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
And as we get ever closer to that 5:00 p.m. deadline set for the secretary of state to receive those hand-counted ballots, we're going to take a break. We'll be right back with our continuing coverage.
WOODRUFF: With less than 2 minutes to go before that official 5 o'clock deadline in Tallahassee, Florida, the secretary of state's office -- we're going to give you the latest look on the Florida recounts. George W. Bush has an official statewide lead at this hour of 930. But revised totals from 12 counties give Bush a net gain of 137 votes. The completed hand count in Broward County gave Al Gore a net gain of 567.
In Palm Beach County, where the hand count continues, Gore has a net gain of 46 so far. So the unofficial Bush lead for now, 454.
Although Broward County has finished its recount, Palm Beach County must still report results from about 200,000 ballots plus another 1,800 to 2,500 disputed ballots.
Well, joining me now to consider all of this, CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield and former Florida election official David Cardwell. Gentlemen, by my clock here in the studio, it's about 30 seconds until that 5 o'clock deadline.
David Cardwell, to you first, where do these results stand? At 5 o'clock, the secretary of state said, I've got to have all those ballots in, but nothing's been certified yet, correct?
DAVID CARDWELL, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: Nothing's been certified at the statewide level. What the secretary of state's office is receiving through the Division of Elections, either by mail, by hand delivery or by fax, as you saw coming from Palm Beach County, are the totals of the returns that have been certified by each county, and they'll then tabulate those.
WOODRUFF: And, Jeff Greenfield, I'm told we're going to have a picture in just a moment of the secretary of state's office -- I believe this is it -- in Tallahassee. This is the room where they are receiving the faxes from Palm Beach County, and we are right at 5:00, just after 5:00, so presumably any information that comes in on the hand recounts after this moment, the 5:00 deadline, cannot be -- will not be counted toward the official state total.
But, Jeff Greenfield, as we heard from David Boies, the attorney -- the lead attorney for the Gore campaign, within the hour, whatever the secretary of state does, there are miles to go before anything is resolved here.
You have got just some small details, like a United States Supreme Court hearing next Friday, and you have the -- assuming that she would have certified tonight or tomorrow, you would have the so- called "contest."
And, in fact, Judy, I wanted to ask Mr. Cardwell, normally, in Florida, how lengthy a process is that contest part of elections?
CARDWELL: Well, contests are fairly common, but they have always been on -- in local races and they have been -- they filed -- they are filed after certification. In local races, sometimes these have taken as many as two or three months to resolve. Obviously, here, we have a much more tight time frame we have to get these things finished within in order to be able to included in the Electoral College vote.
You see, Judy, that's why this whole thing, however uncertain we think it is, it's more uncertain. For all that we are talking about, this contest, if it happens, and it certainly will be filed, is going to be different, because of that incredible time pressure of December 12 to name the electors and December 18 for the electors to meet in Florida and all over the country and vote. It's absolutely breathtaking and how completely confusing and uncertain the next several weeks are going to be.
WOODRUFF: That's right. There are so many threads of this that we are all trying to follow.
David Cardwell, is there a time limit here once the results are in from the 67 counties? Just pick a county out of the air, the Gore campaign challenging Nassau County, they're saying they are going to go to court there. Is there a time limit within which they have to get this suit filed and before a judge?
CARDWELL: Yes. The statute says that any contest of an election, if that election has been protested, as this one has been, has to be filed within five days from when the last canvassing board certifies their results. So the canvassing board was certifying results today, so since it was a protest filed, they have five days from today in which to file their contest. Since there are multiple counties involved, they'll have to be filed in circuit court in Leon County, which is the county in which Tallahassee is located.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Cardwell, Jeff Greenfield, we're going to come back to you.
Right now, we're going to go down to West Palm Beach, in Palm Beach County, the eye of the storm you might say -- at least it was up until a short time ago -- and to CNN's Bill Delaney.
Bill, I assume the faxing is over and done with there? BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The faxing is over and done with, but that's about the only thing we can say conclusively at this point, Judy. You know, this was supposed to be the climactic moment -- then when Judge Charles Burton asked for an extension, it seemed like 5:00 Eastern Time Sunday might not be the climactic moment, but now it seems like maybe it will be again, because they are setting up a platform behind me here in West Palm Beach, that's where the chairman of the canvassing board, Judge Charles Burton typically has come out and talked to the press.
We are not sure exactly what he's going to say, but I can tell you this, this plot continues to thicken. They have decided in the emergency operations center behind me and the recounting room here in West Palm Beach, despite what the secretary of state of Florida said about a 5:00 p.m. deadline, that they're going to continue to count, they are going to ignore the 5:00 p.m. deadline, they are going to continue to count.
Now, they have faxed, filed, looking for certification presumably at the Tallahassee level the manual recount that they have so far. Not crystal clear to us whether they've submitted a machine count with that and given some sort of a combined vote, but they probably didn't do that because, as I say, the judge is planning to continue to count -- we expect it will take a few more hours to get through the manual recount.
Now, outside the gates here with -- as if we didn't have enough commotion in here at this point, large boisterous crowds of protesters. They are Gore partisans, they are Bush partisans. As twilight starts to move into south Florida here, very raucous crowds at times, but generally good natured, we haven't had any confrontations between the two crowds, maybe a few hecklers on either -- from either side going after either side. They're keeping the two sides apart, though, authorities here, police here very aware that emotions are running quite high.
So, Judy, we await now what appears to be Judge Charles Burton, chairman of the canvassing board, it appears that he will come out here shortly and update us on this ever-unfolding drama -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Bill Delaney reporting from West Palm Beach
And now joining us from Tallahassee, David Boies, who is the lead attorney for the Gore campaign for so many of these legal pursuits under way in the state.
David Boies, I was only able to listen to part of the news conference that you held within the hour. My question to you is, say I'm a voter sitting out in the middle of America somewhere and I've watched this election and I'm thinking, wait a minute, it's been almost three weeks since the American people went to the polls, and you, David Boies, lawyer for the Gore folks, are telling me that we've got to go through days and weeks ahead of us of further legal challenges? What's going on here? What do you say to Mr. and Mrs. America about all this? BOIES: One of the things I would say is that Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman won the popular vote nationally. They won the Electoral College outside of the state of Florida. So it's particularly critical that, in this decisive state of Florida, the votes be counted. The margin in razor thin -- a few hundred votes. And there are over 10,000 votes that have never been counted for president. More than 10,000 ballots that have never been counted. And we're saying those ballots must be counted before this election is over.
And now that the process has moved to the courts, now that the process has moved out of the canvassing boards, and, to some extent, out of Miami-Dade County, where we had that unfortunate disruption a few days ago, we're now in a position where those votes can be counted for the first time.
WOODRUFF: But, David Boies, if you add up the legal pursuits that you described -- and, again, I didn't hear everything you said -- but we've got, perhaps, two in Miami-Dade; we have Nassau County; you have Palm Beach County; perhaps Seminole County; and I'm not sure if there are others, can all this be pursued and done in a timely manner for Florida's electors to be certified by the date they must be certified to be counted in the national total?
BOIES: Absolutely. And you'll note that the challenges that have been brought by the Gore campaign have been far fewer than the challenges brought by Governor Bush.
It was Governor Bush, not the Gore campaign, that brought not one but two appeals to the United States Supreme Court. It was Governor Bush, not the Gore campaign, the sued in federal district court to stop the manual recount. It was Governor Bush, not the Gore campaign, that sued 13 counties here in Leon County just last Wednesday over their results. It was Governor Bush's campaign, not the Gore campaign, that over the weekend managed to get courthouses open around the state to file five more actions to stop various certifications from being made. It was Governor Bush's campaign, not the Gore campaign, that brought state litigation in Miami-Dade, in Broward, and in Palm Beach County to stop the recounts there.
This has been a situation in which we have had one objective and one objective only, and that is to have the votes that were cast counted. And we've said from the beginning, the people's will should determine this election. The votes that have been passed should determine this. Nobody knows how those votes will come out, because nobody has seen those ballots. When they're counted, we'll know who really won Florida.
GREENFIELD: Mr. Boies, it's Jeff Greenfield. You've said now just about every opportunity that you've had to stand before the cameras, you begin by making the point that Al Gore won, or leads in, at this point, the popular vote nationally. Before the election, Vice President Gore himself said that is irrelevant constitutionally. If you were behind in the popular vote and won Florida, you'd win the electoral votes. What is the point of your constant reminder to us of that, other than a public relations point? It doesn't have any significance, does it?
BOIES: Remember, Jeff, you're only quoting half of what I say. Whenever I say that he won the popular vote nationally, I also say that he won the Electoral College outside of Florida. And the reason that that's important is because that shows you how terribly important it is that the votes in Florida be counted fairly and accurately. This is a situation in which the winner of the popular vote and the winner of the electoral vote outside of Florida might lose this election because some of the votes that were cast in Florida are not fairly and accurately counted. It is to show the importance of counting these votes.
Nobody is saying that if Governor Bush wins Florida legitimately, with all the votes counted, he won't win the election. He will. But the point is that those votes need to be counted. You cannot have a situation in which, because of disruptions or for any other reason, 10,000 votes in Miami-Dade go uncounted.
WOODRUFF: David Boies, we appreciate your joining us from Tallahassee. We can say that, at least at this point, your lungs match at least some of those of the people behind you. We appreciate it.
BOIES: I've had practice. Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Thanks very much.
And now we want to go straight out West, or at least half the way across the country in that direction to Austin, Texas, to our own Candy Crowley.
And, Candy, I know the Bush people are aware that the deadline has passed by about 11 minutes here, the certification coming up at some point we assume in the next few hours, what is Governor Bush's plan once he is certified the winner, which we have every reason to believe he will be?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I wish I knew. But let's look back at -- they are not talking right now about, here is what we are or are not going to do. In fact, there has been very little out of the Bush camp either in Florida, or here in Austin today, and part of that really is strategic. They believe that when this certification comes -- and remember, they have been waiting for the certification for 15 days now -- they believe that they have both a legal and a P.R. boost. That is that they will once again have a count out of Florida showing George Bush by however thin a margin, is the winner there.
Now, obviously the Gore camp saying, well, this isn't the final count and this isn't it, and there is still more to go. It is in the interests of the Gore camp to say that. It is in the interests of the Bush camp to say, look, here's another tally, it's now been certified by the canvassing board, and once again, George Bush has won. It gives them, they believe, a very strong P.R. appeal to a public that's growing a little bit tired of this, they believe. And it also gives them, they think, some legal standing. They think that once there is this certification, this official certification from the state of Florida, it becomes a little harder on the Gore team legally to kind of climb out of that hole, because they believe the courts will be very reluctant to overturn what now they believe will be an official certification.
So, on both the P.R. and the legal fronts, they believe that this certification will be a big boost to them. Now, I don't expect any balloon drops, I doubt you'll hear bands. Certainly, we expect the campaign in one form or another to come out and say, we've had a vote, we've had a recount of that vote, and now we've had the certification of that vote, including hand counts, and once again, George Bush is the winner. And again, it's to sort of add on to, you know, the public perception that George Bush is the winner.
I'll note that this crowd behind me, a little over 100 people by my guesstimate, almost on cue right after 5:00 began shouting "President Bush, President Bush." It is, in fact, the strategy of the Bush campaign that the more that you see that as inevitable, the more this kind of moves things along in the P.R. arena, as well as the legal arena.
WOODRUFF: At the same time, Candy, the Bush people are very aware of not only their own legal pursuits, but those by Vice President Gore, and we just heard David Boies say the challenges by the vice president, in his words, have been far fewer than those by the Bush camp.
CROWLEY: I suspect the Bush camp, when it adds up its tally of who challenged who doing what, they will come up with the Gore camp being the one that's been the most litigious about this. But I think they are quite happy to leave the Gore camp out there saying, well, we're going to contest this and we're going to contest this and we're going to contest that, while the Bush camp remains largely silent at this point. Their idea being that what the public sees is yet another recount, an official tally, and the Gore camp still -- quote -- "not giving up."
So on a -- from a purely strategic point of view, they are quite happy to have the Gore people out there talking about, well, now, we're going to go to this court and that court and the other court.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Candy Crowley in Austin.
I'm told that back down in Palm Beach County, Judge Charles Burton, who chairs the local canvassing board there, is about to talk to the press and when that gets under way, we will go right to it.
In the meantime, we want to go to CNN's John King here in Washington. John has been keeping close tabs on the Gore campaign.
And, John, they -- I'm going to ask you the other side of the question I asked Candy, I said what's Governor Bush going to do once the certification comes; on the other hand, what's Vice President Gore going to do?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you already heard it from David Boies just a few moments ago -- they will say that this total is meaningless because there are more than 10,000, in their view, as many as 15,000 or so votes that have never been counted. They are hoping if they can keep making that case in the court of public opinion while they press their appeals in the state of Florida in the legal courts that they can hold the American public for another week or so.
And you -- again, you heard David Boies say, it is Governor Bush who went to the U.S. Supreme Court -- many Democrats believing they've received a bit of a gift, if you will, from the Republicans going to the U.S. Supreme Court, that hearing coming up on Friday. The Democrats believe now the Florida courts will act quickly in that period of time. The vice president needs a victory in the Florida courts, it is that simple. He needs a court either to order Miami- Dade to recount those 10,700 votes, ones that the machines spit out -- those are ballots the machines spit out, registering no vote for president -- or he needs to win when he challenges the standard by which the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board judged those so-called "dimpled ballots."
Those cases are likely to be heard and resolved before the U.S. Supreme Court hearing comes up on Friday, so the vice president's team knowing now it is suing Democratic canvassing boards. Remember, Miami-Dade, Democrats; Palm Beach County, Democrats -- those are the two biggest pieces of the Gore challenge, those cases should be resolved, at least the next rulings in those cases should come before Friday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
GREENFIELD: John, Jeff Greenfield, are they still thinking about Al Gore addressing the nation tomorrow and if so, what's he likely to tell us?
KING: They believe the vice president needs to come out -- they being Democrats. Right now, the vice president getting remarkable support from Democrats, one of the reasons is their phones aren't ringing, they do not believe the American people are outraged by this, they do not believe the American people are worried by this. Call Democrats around the country, wherever they might be philosophically within the party, moderates, liberals -- liberals say their calls are, go get them, Al; moderates say they are not getting many calls.
So as long as there is no outrage in the country, as long as the Democrats don't feel personally threatened, or feel that the party is threatened by this, they will support the vice president. One thing they are telling him, though, we are told, is that you must continue to make the case to the American people why you continue to fight, and so we are told the vice president is working on a speech in which he will say, I am fighting for another week or so -- they believe this can be over in a week, 10 days -- because I want these votes counted in these places, and to make his case for that, and it looks like we will get that sometime by mid-day tomorrow at the latest.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King here in Washington, thanks very much.
We're going to take a break. When we come back, we are going to take another peek down there in Palm Beach County to see whether Judge Charles Burton is ready to talk to the press.
Our continuing coverage of the Florida recount and perhaps upcoming certification by the secretary of state when we come back.
WOODRUFF: Keeping an eye on Palm Beach, Florida, the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, which continues to count at this hour, 21 minutes past the 5:00 deadline set by the Florida state Supreme Court; the deadline at which all Florida counties were to submit their ballots.
Let's listen in to some of the conversation there in Palm Beach County.
JUDGE CHARLES BURTON, PALM BEACH COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD: We'll keep them separated, but not necessarily individually. I mean, we'll just keep all the objectionable ballots separated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we obviously won't know which -- I'm just trying to understand -- we won't know what card is which?
BURTON: You really don't know which card is which anyway in the sense of, you know, we talk about different ballots, but each one is not particularly identified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good. Let's just establish their objection and let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, can you get this on the record?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, just give me one-half a second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
I mean, this is -- can you restate that?
BURTON: You weren't recording that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir?
BURTON: You didn't have that?
OK, so from now -- from this point when we go through the last few precincts, what we would like to do is just -- we will keep all the objectionable ballots separating, but rather than do it the way we have been doing it, where we're having to make up different envelopes and stuff them in there, we're just going to keep all the objectionable ones separate.
So you'll have a...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, objection for the record, but whatever you all want to do to wrap up the process, we'll obviously abide by your wishes.
BURTON: OK, thank you very much.
WOODRUFF: We are listening to conversation there, the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board discussing how they will proceed. They are 20-some odd minutes past the deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court for turning in the results of the hand recount to the secretary of state. But as we heard Judge Charles Burton say about an hour ago, they are going to continue counting, they think they can get it done in a few hours, and I think the point he was making just then is he was talking about how they are going to keep the disputed ballots separated from the ones that they can all agree on. The people you see seated behind him, he's talking to attorneys for both the Republicans and the Democrats, who are listening in as every single ballot is counted and then called for either Gore, or Bush, or neither one.
Joining us from very close by in West Palm Beach, CNN -- a frequent face on CNN -- the "Los Angeles Times"' Ron Brownstein.
Ron, you have been taking a close look, I know, at the legal actions being pursued by the Gore campaign and by the Bush camp, for that matter. What is your sense right now of how long it will take to accomplish what the Gore people want to accomplish? That is to get their complaints heard by a judge so that they can then move forward with reconsidering the hand recounts and so forth.
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Yes. Part of the question, Judy, of course, is when the certification begins -- is formally made, because the contest is supposed to be filed after the certification is completed. But I think what the Gore people are trying to do is whittle down the remedies they are seeking to a manageable amount that a court could feel might be able to be done before December 12. They are going to ask for special masters to be appointed, as David Boies said before, in both Miami-Dade and, in all likelihood, here.
In Miami-Dade, they are going to ask that the court review the 10,000 undervotes, which they think can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time, and here they are going to ask the court to review probably up to several thousand votes that are disputed as to whether or not they contain a vote for Gore, or Bush, or anyone else. In each case, their goal is to create a task that can be done reasonably within the time frame that's allowed.
WOODRUFF: Now, Ron, which judge or judges will make these calls?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, ultimately it will probably be the Florida Supreme Court again. I think -- as I understand it, it begins in Leon County. It's a misunderstanding to say that they're suing individual counties. They are contesting the overall statewide result and asking for relief in particular counties. That will, as I understand it, proceed -- begin in Leon County court, but ultimately it will be the same Florida Supreme Court that drew so much antagonism from Republicans that will make the final decision next week or thereafter.
And, Judy, I think that's emblematic of where we're going -- after today, all of the ways of resolving this, whether it's the Florida Supreme Court intervening again, the U.S. Supreme Court intervening, the state legislature intervening, all of these cases, I think, are going to be even more explosive and generate even more antagonism than we have seen so far.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, because I think they are basically nuclear options. I mean, they are extraordinary options. The U.S. Supreme Court has never been asked to rule on a case that could settle a U.S. presidential election. Congress hasn't been asked to settle a dispute between rival groups of electors, which is possible here, since 1876. There has never been a statewide contest to an election in Florida. So again, I think all of these are significantly more intrusive options than we've seen so far, which has been the process more or less occurring the way it is written in law. I think from here on out it is going to get even more turbulent, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to come back to you, Ron Brownstein.
Joining us now, journalist Susan Page of "USA Today."
Susan, we are hearing Ron Brownstein say that these options the Gore camp pursuing now more intrusive, suggesting -- and I'm reading between the lines here -- much more difficult for the Gore camp than anything they have done before now. Would you agree with that characterization?
SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": Well, you know, I'm not sure they're more difficult legally, but it is becoming more difficult, I think, for Vice President Gore in kind of the political context. This is a multi-front war. You know, there are the battles going on in the courtroom, but the vice president also needs to keep the perception out there in the public that this isn't a race that's over, that there's not a president-elect whose name is George Bush, and that there's just a few technicalities that he is holding up in his way. And so, that's why you see the Gore people focusing not only on the court battles in Florida, but also talking about bringing Vice President Gore out to make some kind of comments or address to the American people tomorrow to make his case.
WOODRUFF: And, Susan, what -- frankly, what other option does the vice president have at this point?
PAGE: Well, of course, the one option he has is to pursue every legal remedy, which is what he is doing now. The other option would be to concede, and that is, of course -- it would be the preferred course of action that the Bush camp would have him take.
And there was a point when the certification that we're waiting for in Florida seemed like would be a moment where there would be a lot of pressure on Vice President Gore to do that -- I don't think that's the case anymore. And part of that is George Bush's own doing, the fact that the Bush campaign appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and got oral arguments set for next Friday, I think has given the Gore camp a sort of breathing period, it's given them another week where the pressure is off, I don't think there is going to be incredibly intense pressure from Democrats that it's time for Gore to fold. But you know, there will come a time when one or the other of these two men will face pressure to say, I'm not going to pursue every legal remedy, I'm going to concede.
WOODRUFF: Although we've been saying that, I think some of us have for -- some of you all have, at least, for the last three weeks.
Ron Brownstein, you described these options, the Florida Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Congress, as nuclear options, and yet this is an extraordinary situation. You said it yourself, we've never seen anything like it. As David Boies said, this is a razor-thin margin in a state that's going to settle the presidency.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes. We're -- Judy, first off, I want to clarify, I meant that the options were more intrusive on both sides, that it would be equally extraordinary for the U.S. Supreme Court to over-rule the Florida Supreme Court on a question largely of state law, as it would be for the courts here, I think, to go back and reopen this process. In fact, David Cardwell, who frequently has been commenting on CNN about this, says there is precedent in state law here for what Gore is asking.
There have been occasions where courts, in a contest procedure, have ordered counties, or appointed masters themselves to complete a recount. So he may have some hope of getting that out of Miami-Dade and here, where they're going to finish. I think it will probably be more difficult for him to convince the court to substitute its judgment for the canvassing board here and reassess those ballots. So the final margin tonight matters.
But on your larger point, I think we're back to impeachment logic, where what matters is not so much overall public opinion, but opinion within each party's base. I mean, during impeachment you consistently saw two thirds of the country opposing the House moving forward, but the fact is about 90 percent of Republicans supported the House moving forward, and that's one of the reasons why Republicans did. I think the same logic applies here: as long as the court remains strong among Democrats and Republicans -- and as Susan said, each side has sort of hardened the other -- I think both of these men will feel no great pressure to get out before that December 12 deadline, which is looming as the one real deadline in this process.
WOODRUFF: All right, Ron Brownstein joining us from not-too- noisy Palm Beach County, and Susan Page joining us here in Washington, thank you both. We appreciate it.
We're going to take a break. When we come back, we expect to be hearing from a representative of the Florida secretary of state's office. They are getting ready to come out and talk to reporters there. In addition, sometime within this hour, we expect to talk with former United States representatives, Democrat Lee Hamilton, Republican Vin Weber.
We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: After Florida's Supreme Court ruled that the counting must end this evening, some people thought that that might mark the end of this election, but that idea faded quickly. Even after the Florida vote is certified, numerous legal challenges remain, as we've been talking about, that could further delay naming a winner.
(voice-over): The Gore campaign has made it clear that it will contest the results in Miami-Dade, where the county canvassing board stopped their planned hand recount, citing time constraints. The Gore team also plans to challenge the Nassau County certification, where the canvassing board has now decided to use election day totals instead of the machine recount, which was more favorable to Gore. And the Gore campaign will challenge the results in Palm Beach County, where it believes the canvassing board did not follow a judge's guidelines in considering dimpled ballots.
Legal questions also remain in Palm Beach County over what, if anything, should be done about the so-called "butterfly" ballots. Voters have already sued, seeking a re-vote in that county. Also, Democratic activists in Seminole County are seeking to have absentee votes thrown out because the county election official, a Republican, admitted that she permitted Republican Party workers to add missing voter information to 4,700 of the ballots.
Meantime, the Bush team is going to court to try to force Hillsborough, Okaloosa, Orange and Polk Counties to count overseas military ballots tossed out because of missing postmarks or other technicalities. The Bush team is also a party to two cases pending before the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals which argue that the manual recounts were unconstitutional.
Then there is the Bush case pending before the United States Supreme Court to reject all the hand recount results, insisting they were selective and unfair.
WOODRUFF: And the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the arguments in the Bush case on this Friday.
Now I want to bring in CNN's legal analyst Greta Van Susteren.
Greta, it can get pretty confusing looking at all these different potential challenges, suits, contests and so forth. Try to simplify it for us. Where does the action take place? Is there one court? Are there courts all over the state of Florida that will be dealing with this, or what?
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, let me back up for a second. You have a protest. We've been in that. Then we're going to have a certification shortly. We then go into what's available next, is called a contest. And by statute, that's filed in Leon County, and that is filed -- will be by the Gore campaign...
WOODRUFF: That's the county where Tallahassee is.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's the county where Tallahassee is. And the parties that will be sued, by statute, are the canvassing board and the winner, who we expect to be Governor George W. Bush. Governor Bush and the canvassing board then have 10 days to answer the complaint for a contest that'll be filed tomorrow. And according to my very fuzzy math, that could be about December 7th.
Now, of course, December 12th is the day by which we're supposed to have the electors chosen, who will then go on on December 18th and vote for president of the United States.
Now, the interesting aspect about this is that the judge has broad authority to have a remedy. He can issue a recount. He can do virtually anything he wants. The one thing that it doesn't say in the statute, though, is that he can shorten the 10 days that Governor Bush and the canvassing boards will have to respond to this. And why that's sort of intriguing to me is because the Florida Supreme Court is in trouble with the U.S. Supreme Court, maybe, for extending time, and now we may have a Florida circuit court judge who may want to shorten the time so they could have a contest and then meet the deadlines.
WOODRUFF: But Greta, my question is -- are you saying that one circuit judge in Leon County, Florida, could be the person who resolves all these challenges that are out there by the Gore camp?
VAN SUSTEREN: Sort of...
WOODRUFF: That will be out there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sort of, except that in the judicial system, we have layers of review. You have an appellate court. You have a U.S. -- Florida Supreme Court, and then perhaps, maybe, the Supreme Court for a constitutional issue.
But what's sort of intriguing also about the statute is this statute was written with the thought that we're -- that was talking about someone who's holding a statewide office, not a national office. And what's sort of curious is that in the event that -- let's say in the event that Vice President Al Gore won the contest, and let's say that George W. Bush was not the rightful owner of the election, then the remedy would be an ouster, a judgment of ouster, which is what the statute talks about. They're usually talking about a state action, but I assume it would have to apply here, as well. And an ouster of judgment goes to the governor of the state, so that it would be Governor Jeb Bush having to issue an ouster of judgment to his brother, George W. Bush. But you know, that's all -- you know, I mean, at this point, it's fanciful. We have no idea where it's going to go, but the thing is -- the sort of curious thing here is that there's 10 days, and I don't know how we're going to meet the 10 days, to answer a complaint for contest unless the judge shortens it. And the statute doesn't say that he can. Doesn't say he can't, either.
WOODRUFF: But I guess I'm still struggling with how one judge, presuming one judge were to get these cases, could deal with all this in such a short period of time.
VAN SUSTEREN: Don't underestimate the power of the judge. I mean, the -- I mean...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... under the statute...
WOODRUFF: But there are different issues, aren't there...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well...
WOODRUFF: ... in each one of these counties?
VAN SUSTEREN: There is, but what the statute says is the circuit judge, Leon County, "to whom the contest is presented, may fashion such orders as he or she deems necessary to ensure that each allegation in the complaint is investigated, examined or checked to prevent or correct any alleged wrong and to provide any relief appropriate under such circumstances." That means he could appoint masters, special masters to go through the ballots.
WOODRUFF: In each one of these counties.
VAN SUSTEREN: He can do whatever he wants.
WOODRUFF: And you can assume, as you just said, that there'll be appeals for every single one of those rulings.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, yeah. Lawyers never quit.
WOODRUFF: All right, Greta Van Susteren, we're glad you're not quitting, anyway.
We are going to take a break. We're keeping a very close eye on the action down in Tallahassee. We're told that Clay Roberts, who is a member of the state canvassing board, will be talking to reporters there shortly.
And in the meantime, we also expect to be talking to former U.S. representatives Lee Hamilton and -- someone else, whose name I've just -- Vin Weber. I'm sorry.
Thank you very much -- my colleagues in Atlanta telling me in my ear.
We'll be right back after this break.
WOODRUFF: We're now 42 minutes past the deadline set by the Florida state Supreme Court, the time after which the secretary of state of Florida was not to accept any more hand-counted recounted ballots from those three south Florida counties. Before 5:00 o'clock, the official statewide total, a number that is now embedded in the minds of many of us, George W. Bush had an official lead of 930, but that number had been changed by some unofficial numbers.
Twelve different counties had made revisions adding up to another 137 in favor of Governor Bush. Broward County, by the end of its hand count, had given Al Gore another 567. And Palm Beach, up to the point when it stopped counting and submitted the numbers to the secretary of state, had given Al Gore 46. So unofficially, George W. Bush leading with 454. But we stress that that is unofficial.
I'm very pleased that joining us now in the studio in Washington, two distinguished former members of Congress, Lee Hamilton, Democrat of Indiana, and Republican Vin Weber of the state of Minnesota.
Gentlemen, is what we are witnessing right now in Florida a completely orderly process, given the fact that this is such a close election and every vote needs to be counted, or Congressman Hamilton, is this, as the Bush people are saying, just beyond the pale -- my words -- that they've gone too far, that this needs to be over?
LEE HAMILTON (D), FORMER HOUSE MEMBER: I don't think there's any such thing as a perfect election. The likelihood is we will never know who got the most votes in Florida. This is going to be second- guessed for the next century. Anybody who has worked in the precincts knows that there is confusion and chaos, oftentimes. The process is not perfect. All you can do is do the best you can, I think, under the circumstances. And the responsibility for that lies with the local officials.
I don't think it's out of control. I don't think it's chaotic. Could it be improved? Obviously, yes.
WOODRUFF: Is vote counting, Vin Weber -- is the process always so chaotic and -- we don't see this. If it is, it's behind the curtains.
VIN WEBER (R), FORMER HOUSE MEMBER: It's -- it's -- it is, and it's an important civics lesson for the country, but they got to learn the right lesson. And Lee's right on target. Remember, first of all, you got a set of federal laws that govern elections. You got 50 state laws that govern elections. And then the elections themselves are conducted by hundreds and maybe thousands of local officials, and in many cases, conducted by volunteers, not professionals. And yeah, there's a lot of chaos.
What we have is a system for coming to an orderly conclusion, not a system for perfectly divining what the majority of people want on any given day. And it's very important that the American people understand the difference.
WOODRUFF: So Lee Hamilton, when either candidate says "I won. I believe I won," which is what Al Gore is telling people, George W. Bush clearly saying "I think I won. Look at the numbers," what you're saying is that that's just not knowable, so what's going on now is perfectly appropriate?
HAMILTON: Well, I'm not sure...
HAMILTON: I wouldn't say appropriate, but it's the best we can do under the circumstances, probably. And I don't have any doubt at all that whoever wins will genuinely think that he won. And whoever loses is going to genuinely feel that he didn't get a fair count. The problem...
GREENFIELD: Congressman -- sorry.
HAMILTON: ... is going to be to minimize that as much as possible. And the important thing, the really important thing, is that the American people have some sense of fairness and legitimacy. But I believe that the American people will accept the results, whoever's declared the winner, and that the president-elect will be able to govern.
WEBER: I agree. But it does put a burden on the president-elect to conduct himself properly. I think that whoever wins this election -- I expect it's Governor Bush -- will. But they really have to work hard to put together that kind of national unity that we expect behind a newly elected president. The American people always want their president to succeed, the majority of them do, even if the person they voted for didn't win. It's going to be a little harder to make sure that that's the case this time, but I think that it will be the case.
GREENFIELD: Congressman Hamilton, it's Jeff Greenfield in New York. Let's talk about the atmosphere. A few minutes ago, we heard Democratic Congresswoman Brown say "We will not have this election stolen from us." We've heard Republican whip DeLay, Tom DeLay, talk about the fact that the "theft" of the election is in progress.
When you're in a Congress with there's no political cost to that kind of partisanship because 95 percent of the people are elected in overwhelmingly Democratic or Republican districts, where is the political pressure to calm the waters?
HAMILTON: The political pressure, I think, comes from the good judgment of the American people and what they want. The American people want legitimacy, fairness, an accurate count in this election. They want the president, whoever it is, to be given a fair chance to govern the country. These extreme voices here already challenging the legitimacy of the result -- they're not helpful. They are not helpful in this circumstance. But I think the good judgment and good sense of the American people and their willingness to give -- to accept the result of the election, even though it's very tight and will be contested in the courts now, will prevail. Politicians, in the end, are very pragmatic people. They're going to recognize that the president-elect will become president, will have the powers of the presidency, that the Congress is divided right down the middle. And they will move to -- in the direction that the American people want, to govern from the center, to govern in a bipartisan way, to be very pragmatic. And I'm not discouraged. I don't think this is a disaster. I think the president will be able to govern.
GREENFIELD: Mr. Weber, though, we've -- what we've seen, it seems to me -- and you yourself were quoted as saying that you were increasingly pessimistic that the more -- I think the phrase, "the nuclear options," won't be resorted to. You've got some of the most moderate members of your party -- Governor Pataki, among others, who's certainly no firebreather -- talking as if this was about to be a stolen election, and Democrats in kind.
Are you as optimistic as your former colleague that this is not going to be -- just sort of continue to be argued about in increasingly vociferous and partisan terms?
WEBER: Yes, but let me divide the question a little bit. I'm not optimistic about the civics lesson the country is being taught by this process being a positive one. And that's a different subject, Jeff. I do agree very much with Lee Hamilton that the next president can govern and can work with the Congress.
There's a silver lining, by the way, to this election. My view is that both President Clinton and the Democrats after the '92 election and the congressional Republicans after they took control in '94 overreached. I don't think -- and failed because they overreached. I think the next president's going to realize very clearly going in he has to work with people on both sides of the aisle. He cannot overreach in terms of an agenda. And that will help him to succeed.
WOODRUFF: Do you -- do both of you believe that the election results are going to be more accepted by the American people if they've been run through the U.S. Supreme Court, maybe through a state legislature, maybe through the United States Congress? Does that make them more legitimate in the eyes of the public or less, perhaps, because there's something more here than just the raw counting of votes?
HAMILTON: I think the American people have confidence in our institutions. That includes the legislature. It includes the courts, state and federal and local. I think they will accept the results here. Now, there's going to be a substantial segment of the population that will not accept the results. You can't come through this without some recriminations and without some real bumpy -- some real bumpy roads ahead. But overall, I think that the -- one of the characteristics of the American people is their confidence in our institutions, in our Constitution, in the courts and the legislatures. And that will shine through here. And the American people will give the benefit of the doubt to the person that is designated the next president. WOODRUFF: I'm told we're waiting for a statement from the Florida secretary of state's office. We're going to go to that in just a moment.
But Vin Weber, just to pick up on what Lee Hamilton was saying, are you saying, then -- would you agree that even though the trail may lead through various legislative bodies, through -- certainly, it's already been through various judicial bodies...
WEBER: I want to -- again, as I said to Jeff, I want to divide the question. I think the next president can govern. I don't think this process is helpful. Will we survive it? Of course. We'll -- and perhaps, since we are at this point, the imprimatur of the Supreme Court of the United States will help. But we were better off in the past and we'll be better off in the future where in closely contested elections the loser simply graciously conceded, even as painful as it might be, and we moved on with the governing of the country.
That has happened at times in the past when we've had close elections. Maybe it's easy for me to say because on election night Governor Bush was the winner. I think that he should have been the winner by now. I don't think that it's good for the American people to get ingrained in their mind the idea that every close election is going to be litigated and sent through legislative bodies and appealed and recounted countless times. I think that's not a helpful thing.
WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, we're going to leave it there. Vin Weber, former U.S. representative from the state of Minnesota, Lee Hamilton, representative from Indiana. Thank you both. We appreciate your coming in today.
HAMILTON: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Thank you so much.
And as I mentioned, we are waiting for a statement from the secretary of state in Florida, from an official from her office. In the meantime, I believe that CNN's Mike Boettcher is also there in Tallahassee, is on the telephone with us.
Mike, are you there?
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, Judy.
We've learned from sources close to the Florida election canvas commission that the secretary of state and her lawyers with the commission have decided to accept the machine count that was offered November 14th from Palm Beach County, to accept that machine count, which does not include the hand-counted recounts. But they have not rejected and have not specifically closed the door in their language in which the secretary of state will read shortly -- they have not said that they reject accepting these part -- this partial hand recount that was submitted by Palm Beach County.
Now, this was what Palm Beach County sent in. They sent in two faxes to the secretary of state. One fax had the totals from that machine recount, which was submitted on November 14th, on that county- by-county certification. Then they submitted a second fax, which said "These are partial results from our unfinished hand recount." If was left up, then, to the secretary of state here, Katherine Harris, to decide what she was going to accept. And at least now, the decision is to accept the machine count that was submitted November 14th, but not use -- they will not use the language "reject" the hand-counted totals that might come in later this evening -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And Mike, if that's the case, that clearly is not good news for the Gore camp because, clearly, they wanted those hand recounts and -- or at least the partial hand recounts to be counted. Of course, they want the entire hand recount to be done, which is not finished yet.
BOETTCHER: No, absolutely. I mean, this will leave them way short of their mark by around 400 to 500 votes because those votes they picked up in Palm Beach County won't be accepted or -- and won't be rejected, according to the language. But they won't accept it. What they will accept, again, is that machine recount that was done in Palm Beach County and was submitted on November 14th. So that is not good news for the Gore camp, no.
WOODRUFF: Mike, as we watch the briefing room there at the state office building in Tallahassee, looking for the secretary of state or officials from her office to come out, I would just say further about Palm Beach County what the Gore campaign -- they have several complaints now about -- about Palm Beach County, just basically, the initial complaint about the shape of the ballot, the style of the ballot, the so-called "butterfly" ballot with names on opposite sides of -- of facing pages, and then, in addition, later, the Palm Beach County canvassing board decision not to consider dimpled -- the dimple -- the so-called "dimpled" or indented ballots. So on several counts now, the Bush -- reasons for the Gore people to be displeased with what's going on in Palm Beach.
BOETTCHER: Absolutely, Judy. And for the purposes of the people here in these state capital of Florida, it's a matter, they believe, of the discretion of the secretary...
... now, of course, the supreme court stepped in and basically said that these returns had to be filed by 5:00 p.m...
... She does have some discretion left, and that discretion, she's decided, is, you know, what to accept.
In terms of what she was going to accept, according to sources here, she felt she had no other alternative but to take those machine counts because those were the only finished counts that are available to her. The others -- the other hand recount might not come until later this evening.
So that was the thinking here, despite all of the other arguments about dimpled ballots and everything else, to them, this is what they have in front of them. And what they have are two options. And those options are accept the last official count from Palm Beach County, which is the machine recount, or accept the partial results, or wait for the complete results. And they decided, by law, what they had to do was accept those machine counts because that is the last total recount that has been submitted by Palm Beach.
WOODRUFF: I think Jeff Greenfield wants to weigh in.
GREENFIELD: Yeah. I just think that we want to clarify something here, Mike, that when David Boies spoke a few minutes ago, he talked about what was going on in Palm Beach. And it sounded to me like he was setting the groundwork for what they were going to argue after certification, that, for instance, the Palm Beach ballot was so confusing that seven times more people somehow didn't vote for president in Palm Beach than in the other counties, so that -- so that all that we're talking about tonight is what count the secretary of state is going to receive, but I think it's important to put on the table that the -- that the kind of controversy we were hearing in the days just after the November 7th vote is far from finished.
The butterfly ballot, the fact that so many people voted for -- twice -- I think all of that's going to be in the Democratic argument, once the certification happens and the Democrats go into that courthouse in Leon County and contest the whole election. Now, just -- because we're talking about Palm Beach in so many different ways, I think it's important to make that distinction.
BOETTCHER: Well, let me throw one other thing out that came from representatives of...
... Bush's office was that if those results are certified, the results accepted by the secretary of state are the November 14th machine recounts, as we were -- as we are told they will be, then when does the contest period begin? There are 10 days to file a contest. Does the contest period then -- has it already expired on November 24th? Or is it delayed because of the various court actions and the supreme court action? That's something that the lawyers for the Bush camp are looking at, as well.
There are many different ways this can go, but certainly, when the -- if the Democrats are able to file a contest -- and they play on doing that -- the whole issue of this confusing ballot will be at the centerpiece, you're right, of their argument.
WOODRUFF: Mike Boettcher, are you -- tell us, actually, physically where you are located. Are you in the building? Are you in that room where, we're told, someone from the secretary of state's office is going to come out and talk to us in a moment?
BOETTCHER: No, I am not. I'm in Tallahassee, but talking to people who have been in there and who were in there and are in there.
WOODRUFF: And Mike, any word on when they will certify, any sense of when that'll happen?
BOETTCHER: They had said that they had wanted to do this by 6:00 o'clock, so we're coming up to that any minute now. That will slide a bit, but the time that the officials of the election canvas commission had really wanted to make a decision on this was at 6:00 o'clock, and that includes, of course, the secretary of state, Katherine Harris, the director of the division of elections and also the secretary of agriculture, Bob Crawford, who has become part of this election canvas commission in Florida after Governor Jeb Bush recused himself a couple of weeks ago.
WOODRUFF: Mike, I had been told -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- that someone in the secretary of state's office, perhaps even Secretary Harris herself, had said if Governor Bush were the winner, there would be perhaps a signing ceremony tonight to certify those results, whereas if Vice President Gore were the winner, that would not happen. Can you clarify that for us?
BOETTCHER: I really can't on that point, to tell you the truth. But I will say this: The feeling here in the state capitol was all along that in the last couple of days the way recount was going they felt pretty confident around here that Governor Bush was going to be on top of that vote total, that when Miami-Dade said they weren't going to do the recount, the mood shifted and people felt pretty confident in the capitol that -- the Republican side of this capitol -- that the certified results, which should be done tonight, which show Governor Bush winning this state.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Mike Boettcher there in Tallahassee, keeping a close watch on the secretary of state's office. Mike reporting that the secretary of state has decided, according to his sources, to certify the original machine count or recount of ballots from Palm Beach County and not to include any hand-recounted ballots, which would have given Al Gore a higher number in the state of Florida, that the number from Palm Beach County will be pretty much the original number that was a result of a machine count there and again not the hand recount.
Now, we're just passed, about a minute or so past 6 o'clock Eastern Time, when we were told Secretary of State Katherine Harris there in Florida wanted to certify, to get the certification done. We are keeping a close eye. Perhaps we'll know in a few moments whether that will happen.
We're going to take a break. We'll be back with more live coverage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: ... get out of Cheney's house!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now!
PROTESTERS: Al Gore, get out of Cheney's house! Al Gore, get out of Cheney's house! Al Gore, get out of Cheney's house!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The sky -- night sky in Washington, D.C. Illuminated, the White House, the place George W. Bush and Al Gore would love to move into in about a month and a half, but only one of them will be able to do that. And a big part of the decision about who gets to move in is going to be announced, we're told, within moments perhaps, maybe an hour or so. We're waiting for a news conference from Tallahassee, Florida from a member of the state canvassing board, Clay Roberts. He's the person on the board who took the place of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who recused himself because it is, after all, his brother, George W. Bush, who's running for president.
But in any event, we're waiting for that in Tallahassee. We'll bring that to you just as soon as it begins.
Meantime, we're continuing to keep a close eye on Palm Beach County. The hand recount of ballots continues there even though we are now over an hour passed the deadline set by the Florida state Supreme Court, the deadline for turning in hand-recounted ballots, the numbers to the Florida secretary of state.
You see those three extraordinarily diligent members of the canvassing board. They've been at work, I think it is, since 8 o'clock Saturday morning with barely a couple of hours' break and they're still at it, and they -- I believe they said they're going to get it done in the next few hours.
But as we just heard -- I'm going to say this to John King, who's our chief White House correspondent joining me here in the studio, we're told by Mike Boettcher a few moments ago the Florida secretary of state is not going to accept those Palm Beach County ballots beyond the machine count that was done and certified on November the 8th, the day after the election. Not good news for the Gore camp.
KING: Not good news and expect the Gore campaign to say that runs afoul of the Florida state Supreme Court decision, that she should accept the hand recounts. Now, her argument probably will be that because that count is still going, she considers the results incomplete. The question is, if they later tonight send her an amended total, would she accept it then?
Either way, though, the Gore campaign expecting in the next matter of minutes that they will be told once again by the chief elections officer of the state of Florida or her office that Governor Bush is the winner. Their challenge then is to make the case publicly, as they press ahead legally, that this is not over yet. And we're told later tonight we will hear from Senator Lieberman, if the certification goes through, that Senator Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will come out to explain the legal challenges. The vice president himself likely to come out tomorrow and explain why he wants another week or two to press his case in court.
And as a sign of the Democratic solidarity, Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle, the House and Senate Democratic leaders, will head to Tallahassee first thing tomorrow, and they will make public statements there as to why they think the American people should sit back another week or two and let this play out in the courts.
GREENFIELD: John, it's Jeff Greenfield. I want to follow up on that, because you'll remember in the last days of the campaign, if we can remember that far back, the so-called "inevitability" strategy of Governor Bush: Go to California, go to New Jersey, vote for us because we're going -- we know we have it won, the momentum issue.
To what extent is the Gore campaign trying to focus on rebutting that notion if we have certification tonight? That the Bush campaign will try to make it seem inevitable that George W. Bush will be the next president.
KING: Well, certainly that's their big challenge from a public relations standpoint. You will have, in part because of a mistaken call by television networks on election night, but you will have an election night call on most if not all of the major television networks that Governor Bush won the election. You will have the secretary of state of Florida having come out before and said Governor Bush had won the election. Tonight, another set of results saying Governor Bush had won the state of Florida, and therefore, if you give him, even just in practice the 25 electoral votes, has won the presidency.
So the challenge from a public relations standpoint from the Gore campaign is quite high. They have to make the case that these results are not official, that they have legal rights still in the court, and that until those results are exhausted and until, in their view -- and these are the words they are using -- until all of those votes are counted, you cannot declare this election over.
Now, all of those votes meaning 10,700 ballots in Miami-Dade County that were run through the machines, no vote for president recorded. They want those looked at individually, manually. They want that now done, if this contest process plays out, by judges. They will contest the process used in Palm Beach County. And there are five or six other things around the state they might contest looking for a vote here, 20 votes there.
But Miami-Dade and Palm Beach are the two biggest possibilities for them, that they now go to court. That's the legal fight. The political fight, though, as you mentioned, just to make the case to the American people, there is no crisis, sit back and give us a little more time.
GREENFIELD: Is that, do you expect, why we hear so frequently from David Boies and the other Gore spokesmen that he won the popular vote nationally or is leading?
KING: Certainly it is. It's to make the case publicly that there is no winner in this election, so there can be no loser, but if we had to pick a leader right now, based on the math, it would be Vice President Gore. They don't think that they are getting that -- they do not think the media gave them a fair shake in that regard, especially in the first 24 to 48 hours, election night and beyond, because of the mistaken call that Governor Bush had won the election.
So they want to make the case that if you stop this game right now, the vice president would be ahead, so then how can you then demand, as the Republicans are doing, that he concede the election and quit?
WOODRUFF: John, any wrinkle in the ranks, the Democratic ranks, behind the vice president? Is this a unanimous flank behind him, saying, go for it, we're with you all the way, or not?
KING: Unanimous would be a stretch, but there is a great deal of unanimity and support right now, much of it having nothing to do with the vice president. This is a man who does not have many friends in the Congress, if you will. But many Democrats believe the Republicans have overplayed their hand. Many Democrats angry at that near riot, I think we've called it, certainly a loud protest inside the Miami-Dade recount the other day.
You have -- and probably most importantly, no member say their phones are ringing off the hook from their own constituents saying, bring an end to this, there is no outrage in the land, if you will, and they believe that as long as that's the case, they have no problem supporting the vice president. And remember, we are not terribly far away from the impeachment debate, not terribly far away from a very competitive national election for Congress. The two parties are not getting along very well right now, and a lot of the Democrats -- and Ron Brownstein was talking about this earlier -- and the Republicans as well feel their safe in fighting this fight right now. And as long as they feel they're safe and as long as it's just about Al Gore, they will support him...
WOODRUFF: Safe because?
KING: Safe because they feel no risk to their own selves back home. There was a brief set of jitters in the Democratic Party over the military ballots. When the Gore campaign was protesting them, some Democrats said, whoa, wait a minute, we do not want the party labeled anti-military. And they urged the Gore campaign -- and the Gore campaign did -- step forward and changed the public rhetoric about that.
As long as they don't believe they will be hurt, they're willing to support the vice president.
WOODRUFF: All right. John King, thanks very much. And we'll be talking to you throughout the night.
Joining us now from Palm Beach County -- actually West Palm Beach -- the governor of the state of New York, George Pataki. And governor, as I come to you, I want to pick up on something that John King just said about the support behind Al Gore to stay in there, to keep fighting and make sure all these votes get counted. And part of, I think, what is bolstering them underlying all this is that Al Gore at this point is still some 300,000 votes ahead in the national popular vote. Now, we know that is not -- and this is a look again for our viewers at where that popular vote is. It looks to me like it's about a little over 300, maybe 340,000 votes.
Now, we know that's not how presidents get chosen. What matters is who has the most electoral votes. But governor, when you have no outrage, as John King was describing, why shouldn't the vice president go ahead and insist in an election this close that every vote be counted and counted fairly?
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Judy, it's not a question of outrage. It's a question of what's in the public interest, what's in the interest of the United States. Put aside personal ambition and look at the interest of the country.
The American people understand that this election has come down to one thing. Whoever carries Florida will be the next president of the United States. We've now had a count, a recount, a recount of the recount. Governor Bush has won all three. He has carried Florida, and it is time to put this bitter partisanship behind us and unite behind our next president, and I believe that's Governor Bush.
WOODRUFF: You're saying it's time to do that, but what about the critical point that the Gore folks keep making? And that is every vote should be counted...
WOODRUFF: We should go out of our way...
PATAKI: Judy, that's what they're saying...
WOODRUFF: ... bend over backwards...
PATAKI: Judy, that's what they're saying. That's what they're saying. But that's not what they're trying to do. They have been trying since election night not to count votes, but to find out how they can get more votes of their own.
They tried to disenfranchise military voters. That is absolutely wrong. Right now, they're in the horrendous position where in Miami- Dade County they're suing their own Democratic election commissioner to try to overturn the decision of that commissioner. They're trying to disenfranchise people with lawsuits in Seminole County and Nassau County.
They're not trying to count every ballot. They're trying to find every ballot they can for Al Gore and discount the votes that have already been cast for Governor Bush.
This is not fair, this is not the American way. They've had three shots at the ball. They've swung and missed all three times. It's time to put personal ambition aside and put the public interest ahead of us. The public interest, I believe, means that we have to unite behind the person who now has carried Florida for the third time, Governor Bush, and help him in a transition to assume the mantle of leading our country.
GREENFIELD: Governor, it's Jeff Greenfield in New York, your home state. We've heard a lot of talk from Republicans about, you know, Bill Daley, the son of Richard Daley, was somehow conniving to take these votes and do something with them, steal votes. Given what came out of like Palm Beach, one of the most Democratic counties in Florida, where Vice President Gore picked up almost no votes, is it time to say that at least that charge may have been a bit overstated? That there was the kind of ballot fixing that some Republicans were -- were worried about?
PATAKI: Well, I don't think anybody should cast aspersions at any individual in this process. It's a legal process that has to wend its way through. But I think it's absolutely fair to say that the hand recount process has been bogus, hasn't had standards, and hasn't been conducted in a fair and objective way. It is changing the rules after the election, and I think a lot of the votes that were actually counted for Al Gore are at best are extremely questionable.
I was in the counting room 1:30 this morning, and I saw ballots being counted for Al Gore where I took a look at the ballot and couldn't discern anything possible. And it reminded me, as they were holding the ballots up, of the old Johnny Carson "Carnac the Magnificent" skit where he was trying to divine intent from some ballot of someone they didn't know.
So I think it's absolutely legitimate to say that this hand counting process has been bogus, trying to change the rules after the election over. But notwithstanding that, this is now over, and Governor Bush has won for a third time.
Enough is enough. The American people understand that the person who carries Florida will be our next president. We've now had a count, a recount, a recount of the recount. Governor Bush has won all three. I think it's time for him to be recognized by the Gore team as our president-elect.
WOODRUFF: Governor Pataki, you just made a potentially very serious charge when you said that ballots, even one ballot, was being counted for Al Gore that in your observation should not have been counted that way. Now what exactly -- go ahead. Can you explain that?
PATAKI: Let me -- let me be very plain. I'm not in any way impugning the integrity or the motivation of the people who are doing the counting. The problem is the system. When you are counting thousands of ballots without any objective criteria, when you're looking no longer at a swinging chad or a hanging chad or a point of light, but at a dent, it becomes something that there is no appropriate objective standard.
And I believe that certain ballots -- and it's no secret; the Republican observer challenged hundreds of ballots that were counted for Al Gore by an all Democratic counting board, by the way, because they believe that they should not have been counted. It's not a question of an effort at fraud. It's simply the absence of objective standards, the absence of any legitimate criteria by which to try to divine this voter intent. And I think that's why the whole hand- counting process has been bogus.
But Judy, notwithstanding that, the hand-counting progress has been completed now. I think it's 10 days after the statutory deadline in Florida for the completion of a count, and this, too, has for the third time shown Governor Bush having carried Florida. Enough is enough. Put aside personal ambition, end this partisan divide, and get behind the person who I believe has been elected our next president, Governor Bush.
WOODRUFF: So you are saying that Al Gore is putting personal ambition ahead of the interest of the country?
PATAKI: Judy, there comes a point where enough is enough. We've had a count, a recount, a recount of the recount. We're now in a position where the Gore team is suing Democratic election commissioners in Miami-Dade County, suing Democratic election commissioners in Palm Beach County trying to get their own party people to reverse decisions that were made. They're suing in Seminole and Nassau County trying to disenfranchise people whose votes have already been counted simply because they voted for Governor Bush.
They've still, despite their rhetoric, in counties have blocked the counting of military absentee ballots from overseas on hyper- technicalities.
WOODRUFF: If that's the case -- if that's the case...
PATAKI: This is not an effort at a fair count.
WOODRUFF: If that's the case, governor, why did the Bush camp drop their lawsuit, if that's the case, if the Gore campaign was engaged in...
PATAKI: They didn't -- Judy, they continued the suit in a number of the individual counties because of the technicalities of the law. But just Friday, when the court proceeding was pending, the Gore campaign didn't come along and say, count the military ballots, by any stretch. The Democratic operatives in Florida were still trying to disqualify them on technicalities.
This is not counting every vote. This is trying to find every vote they can for Al Gore and disqualify votes for Governor Bush.
And Judy, the broader -- the broader point is we've had now three counts: a count, a recount, and a recount of the recount. Governor Bush has won all three, notwithstanding what the Florida Supreme Court did, notwithstanding that the only hand counting was done in the two largest Gore counties in Florida -- and he still one.
Enough is enough. It's time to put this behind us, put aside the partisanship, look at the interest of the American people and our great country, and that is to get this behind us, recognize that Governor Bush has carried Florida. WOODRUFF: All right. New York Governor George Pataki, who traveled all the way down to the state of Florida because something important going on there. Governor Pataki, we thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
And we're going to be back in a moment with more live coverage of the Florida recount.
WOODRUFF: We're an hour-and-20-some minutes past the time when the Florida state Supreme Court had asked that all hand recounts be completed and turned into the office of the Florida secretary of state. One of the places where -- in fact, the only place that we're aware of where counting goes on, even though the ballots that were counted as of 5 o'clock Eastern were turned in, is Palm Beach County. And let's go there now to CNN's Bill Delaney, who's keeping a close watch on what these canvassing board members are up to at this hour -- Bill.
DELANEY: Well, thank you, Judy. And indeed, the only place where they're still counting -- and they're counting in the Emergency Operations Center behind me -- they weren't supposed to be counting at this time of night, but they decided to count the remaining ballots.
Now, Judy, we have a better idea of what exactly was submitted to Secretary of State Katherine Harris in that fax that was sent by the 5 o'clock deadline. What the canvassing board sent out of the 637 precincts in Palm Beach County, they submitted results, manual hand count results for 585 of them; 52 were not submitted, 52 of the precincts were not submitted. That's what they're continuing to count.
Now, along with what they submitted of the manual hand count, they also sent the original machine count from Palm Beach County. Now, the idea I think would be that the two could be compared or combined to come up with a final result. It is very unclear here at this point how this will all shake out. Rumors are flying. We don't want to get into rumors, but it's everything from all of this will be utterly abrogated to all of this will end up counting.
At the end of the day, what we can say for sure is that the canvassing board is continuing to count, and they expect to be done in just the next couple of hours. They told us about an hour ago that they had somewhere between 600 and a thousand disputed ballots. Now, that means 98 or 99 percent of everything done. And I guess you can call it defiant, if you want, you can call it determined if you want. They are going to finish this count. They plan to finish it in the next couple of hours.
And it's anyone's guess, I think, just how this will all turn out. We anticipate the canvassing board chairman eventually coming out to speak to us within a couple of hours.
That's where it's at in West Palm, Florida -- Judy. WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Delaney, we're going to ask you to stand by there in West Palm Beach, because we want to bring in from Tallahassee, the capital of the state of Florida, our own Bill Hemmer.
Bill, you are keeping an eye on when, if -- if, I should say -- we're going to see some certification of the vote count tonight -- Bill.
HEMMER: Judy, we're starting to assemble this picture here and the scenario that's developing here in Tallahassee. That certification, if indeed it happens tonight, could take place anywhere from 7 o'clock and 7:30 local time. That's anywhere from 35 minutes from now to about an hour and five minutes from now. And this is our understanding. And the deadline came at 5 o'clock local time, 90 minutes ago.
Just about 15 minutes ago, the members of the media here -- and there are a lot of us who have gathered here -- were alerted that one person from each media outlet would be allowed one credential to go downstairs into the basement, which is where the Cabinet meeting room is located here in Tallahassee. That's where the certification will take place, if indeed it carries through tonight.
Again, that's down in the basement between 7:00 and 7:00 in that Cabinet meeting room.
It's also our understanding right now, Katherine Harris still meeting with her attorneys inside here, taking any legal advice that she may be able to garner throughout the entire process here to certification.
Also, Clay Roberts, elections division, he's inside. So, too, is Bob Crawford. Again, we've been talking all day about those three members. They make up that three-member canvassing commission here in Tallahassee.
But the word we have right now and the picture we're starting to assemble here, sometime between 7 o'clock, possibly 7:30 local time, Eastern Time here in Florida, we'll take our cameras down into that Cabinet meeting room and show you the certification.
Meanwhile, again, the protesters behind me, we've talked about them being in the couple of hundreds. I think we topped out well over 500, Judy, just a short time ago.
One thing I did pick up on just in the past hour, it appeared to me we're about 50/50 Bush to Gore. In the past 60 minutes, though, a number of those Gore supporters apparently have filtered away and left the area. It's dominated right now by Bush-Cheney supporters behind me here in the plaza in Tallahassee.
We'll watch it again. The word we have, Judy, 7:00 to 7:30 here in the state capital. Back to you now in Washington.
WOODRUFF: All right. We'll keep a very close eye there, Bill Hemmer, and I'm going to ask you to stand by and bring Bill Delaney back in.
Bill, just to be very clear about this, what Palm Beach -- they sent in most of the precincts from Palm Beach County and there's no indication yet that any of that work they've been doing over the last few days will count at all, because we heard Mike Boettcher reporting that his sources are telling him that it's going to be the machine count from the day after the election that's going to be included.
DELANEY: We have heard what Mike Boettcher is reporting down here. I certainly can't confirm it, but it's one of the things that's in the air here. Yes, there does seem to be a possibility that this extraordinary all-nighter that they pulled last night, that these days of four hours of sleep a night or so that these three canvassing board members have put in might amount to nothing.
Yes, Judy, they submitted 585 of 637 precincts, but they didn't get to 52. You know, it might be worth reading -- it's just a paragraph -- the letter that was sent right around the time of the deadline from the Palm Beach canvassing board to Secretary of State Harris. It has almost a poignant tone to it, if you will. Let me read it to you. It'll just take a moment.
"We are extremely close," it reads, "to concluding our hand count with approximately 1,000 contested ballots out of total of approximately 14,500 remaining to be reviewed by the canvassing board. We expect this to be concluded by early evening and will forward additional information to you as soon as it becomes available."
That was their plea to let this continue. Now, Bill Hemmer reporting up there in Tallahassee that they may come out and certify between 7:00 and 7:30 certainly doesn't mitigate in the direction of the continuing -- the precincts that they're continuing to count here counting in the end, because they're not going to finish by 7:00 or 7:30 here.
So it would seem to be moving in a direction where either this manual hand count isn't going to count at all or certainly they are not going to reach a full count here before certification of all the votes that have been outstanding, all those contested ballots, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Delaney in Palm Beach County, and now let's get back up to Tallahassee to Bill Hemmer for a little bit of new information -- Bill.
HEMMER: Yes. Hey, Judy, here's what we're learning on the inside, and again, this may sound minutiae, but at this point it is very critical, critical news. Jeb Bush is the governor of Florida. He's the younger brother by seven years of George W. Bush, the Republican presidential candidate in this race right now. Normally, he's on board with that canvassing commission. He recused himself right after the election. About 2 1/2 weeks ago he was replaced by Bob Crawford.
Now, normally in a certification ceremony or certification signing, anyway, the governor would be part of that board and he would go ahead and put his signature on it, which would basically amount to a certificate ascertainment. That's required in the state of Florida for the governor to go ahead and sign that form.
Since he's not on the board, apparently the word inside the building here is that Jeb Bush will have more time to sign that, possibly tomorrow, possibly up until the 12th of December. However, that may be academic once certification again kicks in that we expect possibly within the hour.
One other bit of news that I found quite interesting, though, was that they plan right now on signing five different copies through the canvassing commission. Why five, you may ask? Well, here's what we're told anyway.
The state museum in Florida, which is located right over here is going to get a copy. There's going to be a copy put in the records for the secretary of state's office, Katherine Harris, and then all three members of the canvassing commission, Bob Crawford, Clay Roberts and Katherine Harris also will have a copy themselves as well.
Again, what we're hearing right now, possibly within the hour, but we'll keep tabs and let you know if time slips here in Tallahassee -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Bill Hemmer, are you saying that the certification is not official until it gets Governor Jeb Bush's signature on it?
HEMMER: No, apparently It is official once the canvassing commission puts their signature on that certification that again we expect tonight.
The certificate of ascertainment, though, appears to no more of an official matter as this time, but indeed it is our understanding, Judy -- and again, we have to talk to an elections law officer here in Florida to get 100 percent confirmation, but it's our understanding that once that is signed by the canvassing commission, it is certified. It is official. And then the certificate of ascertainment is to follow up after that, much more of a procedural matter at this point, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Bill Hemmer there in Tallahassee, and thanks, too, to Bill Delaney, who's just been reporting from Palm Beach County.
As Bill Hemmer just reported, it may be that we get the certification sometime between 7:00 and 7:30, between half an hour from now and an hour from now. CNN, of course, will be bringing that to you live when it happens.
We'll take a break. Our ongoing coverage continues.
WOODRUFF: Memorial to Thomas Jefferson here in the nation's capital, again the beautifully lit nation's capital in the evening hours. To the state of Florida where there is so much going on in Tallahassee, the state capital. There is a wait for the secretary of state to certify official election results. Now that we're about an hour-and-a-half past the deadline for the secretary of state to receive hand recounted ballots, although we're now told that those hand recounts from Palm Beach County may not be included in the total. We're waiting to find that out.
In Palm Beach County, the count continues. There, the three- member canvassing board continues to count ballots. But they say that they think they will be finished by about another hour or two from now. So we will see what happens there.
While we wait for action in Tallahassee, let's go up to New York to my colleague Jeff Greenfield -- Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Thank you, Judy.
With all the talk about certification, of course, we should not forget that the state legislature of Florida may be the decisive body in this whole election, empowered by the Constitution and by a 19th- century federal law to take control of the appointment of the electors should the rest of the institutions fail to do so.
To talk about this, joining me from Tallahassee, Mike Fasano, the Republican majority leader of the Florida House. From West Palm Beach, Lois Frankel, Democrat minority leader.
Mr. Fasano, thank you for joining us. Is it your...
STATE REP. MIKE FASANO (R), FLORIDA HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Thanks, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: ... OK, is it your expectation that this week the Florida legislature will move to call itself into special session for the purpose of dealing with the appointment of electors?
FASANO: Well, Jeff, that has not yet been decided by the speaker of the House or the president of the Senate. I will tell you, though, there is great concerns amongst my colleagues and myself that time is running out. And if Vice President Gore and the Gore team continue to fight us and fight the voters of Florida in court that a special session may have to come about in order to select the 25 electors to represent the 6 million voters who cast their vote on November 7.
GREENFIELD: But to do that by December 12, if that happens, don't you have to start the process this week?
FASANO: It's very possible that if the process has to begin, it may have to start in the next few days in order to meet that deadline, yes.
GREENFIELD: Now, Ms. Frankel, you Democrats are a distinct minority in both houses. You cannot stop the Republicans if this is what they choose to do, correct?
STATE REP. LOIS FRANKEL (D), FLORIDA HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Well, first, let me just say this. It's not going to be up to the speaker of the House or the Senate president whether to go into special session. That's going to be decided by the George W. Bush campaign. And quite frankly, the Democrats resent the fact that the Bush campaign is using the Florida legislature as a political arm of their campaign.
Can we stop it? Right now we believe that under the Constitution, the Florida Constitution, the federal Constitution, the federal law, the Florida laws that voters of Florida are entitled to elect the electors. Six million Floridians voted. We just need to count their votes.
It seems ridiculous. We're talking about a special session when we still haven't counted all the votes.
GREENFIELD: But, in fact, the Constitution of the United States and federal law says if it's still entangled in various institutions in the state, this is what the legislature is empowered to do.
FRANKEL: Well, it's only going to be entangled, quite frankly, if the Bush forces continue to let it be entangled. I mean, the recounts would have been over and done had there not been every kind of instruction put in their way.
And I'll just tell you, it's a very sad day. I'm here in Palm Beach County. And I can just tell you we have a lot of frustrated voters because our votes have not all been counted. Our canvassing board is still meeting. And what a terrible thing to have an election where all the votes have not been counted.
Same thing with Dade County. There's 10,000 votes there, undercount votes, where we still don't know who those voters voted for for president. And I think that's what we should still be talking about, not about the Florida legislature taking this matter in its own hands.
And look, it's a Republican-led legislature with all Bush allies. What do you think is going to happen? It's going to be orchestrated. It's going to be slam dunk for George Bush.
GREENFIELD: Mr. Fasano, let me pick up on something that Ms. Frankel suggested hours ago on another program, that if the legislature wants to reflect the will of the six million voters of Florida, what they should do is allocate 12 electors to Bush, 12 to Gore, and one to Ralph Nader. And I realize that that would give the presidency to Al Gore and is unlikely to happen. But as an equitable solution, doesn't that have a certain logic to it?
FASANO: Well, Jeff, what happens in a special session will be decided by the will of the legislators, the 120 members in the House, 40 members in the Senate. There will be legislation filed. There will be amendments that will be adopted or defeated. There will be debate in committee and on the floor of the House. And the will of the 120 members and the 40 members of the Senate will come to fruition. WOODRUFF: Jeff, I have a question. Representative Fasano, it's Judy Woodruff in Washington. We just heard your colleague State Representative Frankel that this would be a case of using the state legislature as a political arm of the Bush campaign. Is that what would be happening here if the legislature gets involved?
FASANO: Absolutely not. The legislature would only get involved when the continued courts' actions, case after case. The Gore campaign made it very clear that regardless of the results tonight, they're going to file in court tomorrow to try and overturn the results.
I think the legislature has a responsibility. We are getting close to December 12. Come December 12, if no action is taken, 25 electors would not represent the people of this state, the third largest in population in the country. And the citizens of Florida would not have a voice.
WOODRUFF: Representative Frankel, what about that? Your colleague is saying the legislature if anything has a responsibility to move in here.
FRANKEL: Look, the Florida legislature has a responsibility to make sure that all these votes in Florida are counted. So far, that's been obstructed in at least two counties, in Dade County and Palm Beach County.
Again, for anybody to think that the Florida legislature is now calling the shots would really be naive. If George Bush gets behind in the vote count, if the courts rule in Gore's favor, then I can tell you, you can expect to see a special session of the legislature.
If George Bush maintains his lead, then the state legislature is going to go home very quietly. And that's what's going to happen.
WOODRUFF: All right, Representative Lois Frankel, Democrat, Representative Mike Fasano, you both are the -- Republican, you both are the leaders of your party in the Florida state legislature. And we thank you very much for joining us.
FASANO: Thank you for having us.
WOODRUFF: Thanks very much.
We want to show you a picture now of the room in the Florida capital building. This is a cabinet room. And we are told that this is the room where the certification of Florida votes will take place within the hour. It could be as early as 20 minutes from now. It could be a little later than that.
But this is the place. And CNN cameras are there now. And, of course, we will remain there until we know what is going to happen.
At this point, I'd like to go to Washington right here to my colleague Charles Bierbauer at the United States Supreme Court. Charles, it is the Supreme Court of the United States that is going to hear the appeal brought by the Bush campaign. And that appeal is going to be heard this Friday. We're going to have lawyers for both sides making their case before the high court.
What is the crux of the case that the Bush camp is bringing?
CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The narrow element of this case that will be heard here on Friday, Judy, is whether or not the Florida Supreme Court acted within its own grounds and constitutional limits by extending this vote recount time frame.
The Supreme Court here in Washington will only limit its concern to that. It's not going to make any final decisions, though certainly the Supreme Court is the last authority on whether the Florida Supreme Court has broken either Florida or U.S. constitutional rules.
One of the things that the court here did not do was to take the broad question raised by the Bush campaign as to whether it had violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution, which would have said count all votes equally. That's not the issue here.
So it's going to take a very narrow, constrained view. Judy.
WOODRUFF: Charles, before I come back to you, I want to tell our viewers, I've just gotten word that the Florida canvassing board officials are telling us we're about 15 minutes away from the certification ceremony. Again, the ceremony certifying the total ballots in the state of Florida, awarding them either to Vice President Al Gore or to Texas Governor George W. Bush.
Charles Bierbauer, as has been noted so many times on our air, the great expectation going into the Supreme Court announcement that it would hear this case was that it wouldn't hear it. This was something the Supreme Court was loathed to get involved in.
Is there any further thinking since the announcement a couple of days ago that they were going to take it why the court decided to do this?
BIERBAUER: Well, every legal expert around town that I talked with had exactly that view, that the Supreme Court here would not want to get involved in a state matter, in a matter that was up to the Florida election laws. But the Bush campaign interpreted that there might be a federal consideration here.
The Supreme Court of the United States deals with federal law. And so that's the way they presented it.
Other people are suggesting today that perhaps the Supreme Court just couldn't resist it or felt that it was time to lend some dignity and integrity to the process that has to be sure gotten a bit noisy and disheveled down in Florida. As you can see, it's pretty calm and quiet up here outside the court today. I suspect it will be noisier on Friday. We're very much wondering whether the Supreme Court will for the first time in its existence allow cameras inside the courtroom as CNN and other media have urged the court to do. I doubt that that will happen. But the Supreme Court is the highest body. And I think it feels a responsibility to take a serious look at this matter.
And it has in fact posed a question to both the Bush and Gore camps to say when they come up here when they present their briefs on Tuesday prior to Friday's arguments explain what they think the consequences would be if this court here in Washington overturned the ruling of the Florida court. In other words, they want to have a good grasp before Friday of what they are wading into by taking action that could conceivably overturn the Florida court -- Judy.
GREENFIELD: Charles, it's Jeff Greenfield. I just mentioned that years ago I happened to be at a dinner with Chief Justice Rehnquist. And the impression I got of his support for cameras in the courtroom was below sea level.
But on the question I wanted to ask you, you mentioned how narrow this case would be. As I understand it, the 19th century federal law which says that these decisions should be made in accordance with state law, that the argument is going to be whether or not the Supreme Court decision counts as part of the law, or whether the Supreme Court should just let the statute stand on its own merits. Is it really that narrow an argument we're going to be hearing?
BIERBAUER: Well, it could be. It remains to be seen. But the Gore camp will argue that all the Supreme Court in Florida did was to interpret the law, that it did not rewrite the law.
The Bush camp, in contrast, will say, "Well, here was the Florida Supreme Court in essence making new law," and that the electoral statutes require the law to be in place at the time that the election is held and the electors are chosen.
And it may very much turn on an approach to the calendar. What was the fixed point in time when the law had to be in place and the electors had to be chosen? And did the Supreme Court in Florida make its actions simply to explain that? Or did it rewrite that law? That's the kind of thing that we will hear here on Friday.
WOODRUFF: All right, Charles Bierbauer at the Supreme Court. And we should note that in this announcement on Friday that it would hear, in granting a writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court said it asked the two parties to argue what would the consequences be if the court were to find that the decision of the Supreme Court of Florida does not comply with the law? So as you suggest, Charles, very practical considerations going in before these arguments take place on Friday.
We are going to take a break. When we come back, we expect to talk with senior political analyst Bill Schneider.
And we want to say we are maybe 12 minutes away from what we're told could be time for certifying those Florida presidential election ballots. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: As we look at night-time pictures of the White House here in Washington, we want to let you know that all eyes and ears are focused very much on the state of Florida at this hour where in this room we're told, the cabinet room at the state capital, we're told that the Florida secretary of state should be certifying the final vote tally of the votes for president in the state of Florida just some 19 days after the election began, if you will, on November 7.
And we, of course, will bring you that live just as soon as that happens. We're told it could be sometime around 7:00 Eastern Time. It may be a little after that. But believe you me, we're not leaving until it takes place.
Joining me now here in the studio in Washington, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider, who's been doing some thinking about all this.
Politically speaking, Bill, what does this deadline mean, this certification that's coming we're told within the hour?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is the thing that Democrats have been trying to prevent now for about two weeks, namely the secretary of state saying the election is over. And presumably she'll say given the recount that George Bush has won the state of Florida, even by a very narrow margin. She said a couple of weeks ago that he had won by 300 votes.
The Democrats are trying to argue that this deadline is meaningless. And they're making the point that George W. Bush himself has reset the clock by appealing to the Supreme Court. So if this is before the Supreme Court, what could this deadline possibly mean?
But this is the deadline that was set by the state Supreme Court, which is what Gore wanted. They said the votes have to be in by today in order to meet the Electoral College timetable.
So the Republicans say, "Hey, wait a minute. This is the deadline you wanted the Supreme Court to set," the state Supreme Court.
WOODRUFF: And yet, Bill, the Gore legal team -- David Boies heading up that team, making it very clear today that they've got legal challenges in the works. They're going to be out there tomorrow and in court challenging the results in several counties. They're not treating this as anything final at all.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. The Republican are because the Republicans say the votes in Florida have been counted. They have been recounted by machine. And they have been recounted again by hand.
The Democratic argument is, "But wait a minute, not all the votes have been recounted. They've only been recounted properly in one county, which is Broward County." The Democrats say they have not been recounted at all in Miami-Dade, and they haven't been properly recounted or completely recounted in Palm Beach.
So the Democrats say, "Wait a minute. This isn't finished. And anyway, there's a lot of litigation left," their own litigation and the Republicans' litigation before the Supreme Court. So the whole Democratic argument is, "Please disregard this deadline. Go watch a movie. This isn't important."
WOODRUFF: Bill, we also -- in bolstering the Gore case, if you will, we heard John King telling us earlier that there's really no cry on the part of Democrats, the people who Al Gore listens to are not saying, "Oh, my constituents are out there clamoring for an end to all this." That is a factor, is it not?
SCHNEIDER: It is a factor. A lot of Democrats see this as act two of the impeachment battle where they really had public opinion on their side. There was a lot of public anger that the Republicans were choosing to try to push a president out of office over essentially private matters.
But they don't seem to have that advantage this time. Even though the Democrats are saying the Republicans have been engaged in illegitimate behavior, a protest that intimidated the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board from continuing its recount, that they've been claiming wrongly that Gore is trying to steal the election. He says, no, no, no, he just wants to finish counting the votes.
They claim the Republicans are being bullying and abusive. But yet their claim doesn't seem to have much traction. Well, that's in part for political reasons. There's no Newt Gingrich here. There's no evil figure. Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, Democrats try to portray them as the bogey men of this episode. But they've been in the background.
Who have the Republicans put up front? Christine Todd-Whitman, George Pataki, Frank Keating, Mark Racicot, very moderate, statesman- like appealing figures. Even Bob Dole, people who are just less polarizing than Newt Gingrich. The Republicans have a better public relations strategy this time.
GREENFIELD: And, Bill, it's Jeff Greenfield in New York. Just to buttress what you and Judy were talking about, in his conversation with Judy and myself, Governor Pataki, who is indeed one of the more moderate Republicans -- pro-choice, pro-gay rights -- five different times said in so many words, "We've counted, recounted, had a recount of the recount. Enough is enough."
That mantra I think is the one we're going to be hearing over and over again in the next several days once the certification happens to make the point that -- sore loser is what the Gore campaign is all about.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. And the certification deadline that we're about to hear, that does have a certain legal meaning. Gore is no longer protesting the way the votes are being counted. Now he's time testing the election results. So the whole legal proceeding now changes.
And there's a presumed winner in Florida, which there has not been until this certification. So it really changes the legal meaning of this as well, which the Democrats really don't want to acknowledge.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to ask both Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider to stand by because we want to bring in our correspondents who've been following these two campaigns, Candy Crowley in Austin, Texas, John King here in Washington.
And I should say as we're watching the clock, it's about five minutes until 7:00 Eastern Time. So we are moving ever closer to that certification that we have been promised in so many words, although that isn't the word they're using in Tallahassee, the Florida state capital.
Candy Crowley, we've heard Bill Schneider talk about the significance of the ceremony of certification, the official act of saying, "These are the votes and we presume George W. Bush is the winner." There is a significance there that the Bush team can attach to that.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. I mean, they've been saying that all along. As you'll remember, right after the original vote on the seventh that we all thought would end it, the mantra in the days between that and Saturday, that first Saturday when the secretary of state was supposed to certify, was, "Well, we've had a count. And now we've had a recount. And now there can be certification."
Then the Florida Supreme Court took that out of the mix and said, "No, she can't certify." They've been waiting 14 days for this certification because it gives them the legitimacy of the law of Florida as far as they're concerned. That's how they see it. And they believe that both legally and in the public arena this gives them a big step up.
WOODRUFF: Candy, before I turn to John, tell us if you would who those folks are behind you. We know there are a lot of Bush folks there in Tallahassee. Whenever we go to Bill Hemmer, I'm curious to know who those people are with you.
CROWLEY: This is sort of a political drag strip. It's right behind the governor's mansion. So it attracts a lot of different protesters. This is largely a pro-Bush crowd. There is -- in fact, we sort of were noticing that there's three or four Gore-Lieberman people. And they kind of walk around in the same circle with their signs as well. It's very peaceful, albeit as you can tell noisy because the cars like to join in as they go by.
WOODRUFF: All right. We know it's also part of the Candy Crowley fan club. But we'll get the details on that in a little while, Candy.
And I do want to come to John King here in the studio in Washington. John, what about this question that Bill and Candy have just been addressing that no matter what the Gore people will say about how illegitimate it is, it's still a certification of the vote total?
KING: It certainly is. And they realize that. And they realize that that raises the public relations hurdle now as they continue with the legal challenge, several legal challenges that they think could take another week or two. They do understand the American people, the public, might just tire of all this and want a president, which is why you've seen just today and the past few hours a readjustment if you will of the legal strategy.
They are not going to court to ask the court to order Miami-Dade County to recount by hand all 600,000-plus ballots. Instead, they want to count just 10,700 that did not register a vote for president when they were fed through a machine. So what they're trying to say is that those votes have never been counted. And how could you be against counting votes for the first time? They're trying to change the dynamic away from a recount to going through votes that in their view have never been counted.
Now we've heard from Governor Pataki and other Republicans some of those ballots, there are those 10,700 in Miami-Dade, also a universe of a couple of thousand to several thousand in Palm Beach County where they want the judges now -- they're going to go past the canvassing board in the contest procedure.
As Bill noted, this is a change now, not a protest but a contest. In the contest procedure, you go to court. And it will be judges that will now be holding up those ballots and looking to see the dimples next to a name in their view mean a voter intended to vote for that candidate.
But they want to contest some ballots as well. But, again, listen to what they're saying. They're saying, "We only want to count now votes that have not been counted." They're not saying that they're asking for recounts anymore. It's a bit of a semantical argument, but one that is important now because of just what Bill and Candy have pointed out. We will have an official statewide result certified today. And then they expect from there the public relations challenge to keep support for keeping the challenges, the recounts going, is a much tougher fight now.
WOODRUFF: But, John, just quickly, you're saying they expect this could be done quickly. But how quickly really? I mean, we're looking at December 12 Florida has to certify its electors. You know, courts -- how many judges, how many courts, how many cases?
KING: Well, that depends on if they win at the first level or not. If they won say tomorrow in circuit court in Tallahassee, you could have the ballots up there within a day or so. They believe that these ballots -- those are the two big ones, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County. There are some others they will contest as well. But in the case of those two counties, they believe all this could be done in a matter of 72 to 100 hours if you brought in enough counting teams under the auspices of the judges. The question then though is will the Bush camp -- if the Gore campaign won, which is a big if, then would the Bush campaign appeal? Or if the Gore campaign loses its step one, then it would appeal. The question is when do we actually get to a situation, if we ever do, where they're actually counting votes. Then they say it would only take a matter of days. But, of course, a lot of legal hoops they need to jump through to get there.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King, Candy Crowley, we're going to have you stand by. Bill Schneider, Jeff Greenfield, all of you, if you could stand by. We're going to take a break.
But as we all know, it's now about a minute after 7:00 Eastern Time. We think we're getting closer to a certification of the Florida vote total. But as you can see, you're looking at the same room I am. I don't see a human body in that room. So we can't be too close.
But who knows? We're not taking our eyes off of it until we know one way or another. We'll take a break.
We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Live pictures of the Cabinet Room at the Florida State Capitol. We're told that this is the room where the official certification of votes will take place any minute now. We're told it could happen any time between now and half past the hour.
On the East Coast, it's a little after -- about four minutes after seven. We've got a camera in there and our correspondent -- we've got a correspondent just outside that room. But right now, we want to go to our correspondent down on the ground outside the Capitol building. He is Bill Hemmer.
Bill, and you have some information about when this is going to happen.
HEMMER: Hey, Judy. Just hearing word from inside the building that we're about 15 minutes away now.
Some reporters are starting to be allowed inside the room that you're looking at right now. You can see a few bodies moving about there. And we're also told in about five minutes time, a few members of the public actually will be lucky enough to go inside and witness the certification. We're not quite sure how many members of the public. We do know there will be an awful lot of reporters inside there. One from each media outlet here in Tallahassee and I can tell you, Judy, there's a lot of media outlets here in Tallahassee.
As you see there in the front room there, you see the three white placards there? You're going to see three members of the canvassing commission and if I can get close enough, left to right it looks like Bob Crawford will be on the far left. He's the agriculture commissioner. He's also the one who assumed a seat on this canvassing commissioner after Jeb Bush recused himself shortly after the November 7 election.
In the middle, it appears that will be Katherine Harris' seat, the Secretary of State.
And then to her left, your right as you're looking at the screen, that will be Clay Roberts. He's the head of the election division here in Tallahassee and here basically for the entire state of Florida.
So that's what we're waiting on, Judy. Fifteen minutes away for that official signing ceremony to take place here in Florida.
One quick note, Judy, just as a housekeeping note. You asked me about the certificate of ascertainment. Found a little more information about that. That's a procedural matter to sign by the governor, forwarded to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. That certificate actually gives the official designation for electors in each state and this (INAUDIBLE) in Florida, Jeb Bush will sign that certificate of ascertainment.
Again, Judy, we're standing by, ten, fifteen minutes away here in Tallahassee.
Back to you now in Washington.
WOODRUFF: All right. That's Bill Hemmer standing outside the building, hence all the noise that you were hearing of people out there interested very much in what's going on in there tonight.
And you could see as the camera panned around the room that there are some people in that room. We've been looking at just the front of the room where the principals will be seated; the Secretary of State Katherine Harris, we assume she's going to come in and as Bill Hemmer just mentioned, Clay Roberts, Bob Crawford the other two members of the state canvassing board. But as you look around the camera's moving and I'm going to turn to CNN Correspondent Gary Tuchman joining us on the phone from just outside this room.
Gary, what are you seeing and hearing there?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, we are standing right outside of the Cabinet Room in the basement level of the State Capitol now in Tallahassee and they are just letting the reporters inside the room right now.
There are also about 200 members of the general public here clamoring to get in, clamoring because they want to see history. We were told originally no members of the public would be allowed in. Only one member of each news organization covering this has been given a credential to go in. However, as Bill said, we are now being told that some members of the public will be allowed in, but certainly not all the people who have clamored down here wanting to get inside.
But it's quite a scene here. People want to see history. It almost has the atmosphere of going to a peace summit signing atmosphere here with people with their placards shouting. Seems like mostly George W. Bush supporters based on the signs we're seeing people holding. They do want to get in and see this signing ceremony. And we are expecting it to begin in about fifteen minutes, but, like everything else with this story, that could change. So, we'll see what happens now, but people are clamoring to get inside to witness the certification ceremony here in Tallahassee, Florida, the state capital.
Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, from the State Capitol in Tallahassee we're going to move south once again to Palm Beach County to CNN's Bill Delaney. Bill, the Palm Beach canvassing board counting the last precinct.
DELANEY: Judy, what a long journey here.
And it happened seemingly in the past few hours suddenly quickly. Everything seemed to be going so slowly for days and even overnight. This morning when we added the numbers up, a lot of us said there was no way they were going to make this deadline. But in fact, they're missing the deadline it seems, by just a couple of hours by just -- well, let's look at it. It's about two hours and ten minutes as they now count the last disputed ballot from the last precinct.
Looking at a live picture here inside the emergency operations building here in West Palm Beach. That's, of course, Judge Charles Burton, the canvassing chairman. You just saw him shaking hands. Look at this. Commissioner Carol Roberts, Theresa LePore, election supervisor, embracing there. They have been through something very unique, these three members of the canvassing board. Just three people, pretty ordinary citizens, what a saga.
Judge Charles Burton, he just got this job a few weeks ago. He just became a judge -- there he is -- appointed by Governor Jeb Bush, the Republican, just a couple of months ago. As a judge, he mostly does drunken driving cases, in fact. The former canvassing chairman stepped down just a couple of weeks ago, several -- three or four weeks ago. I think 17 days before Election Day, I believe, the previous canvassing board chairman stepped down. When Judge Charles Burton was asked if he wanted the job, he said, what the heck? And I'm using a more gentle expletive than he used, what the heck is a canvassing board?
That was within the past month. Now suddenly thrust into the eye of this storm -- fame. He can't walk out of the emergency operation center here without being mobbed by people who want their picture taken with him, this county court judge who, as I said, ordinarily would be doing the sort of drunken driving case level of the legal system now thrust into what is a very historic moment.
Look at the relief in that room. I remind you these people have been up since 8:00 yesterday morning. That's 8:00 Saturday morning. They took maybe a two, two-and-a-half hour nap on a cot right here in the emergency operations center overnight. And I remind you that in the days before that they were only sleeping four or five hours a night. A really ... WOODRUFF: Bill?
DELANEY: ... extraordinary physical feat as much as anything else.
WOODRUFF: Bill Delaney, any sense of ...
DELANEY: Yes, Judy?
WOODRUFF: When we're going to get the final numbers there? I know the Associated Press was reporting that as of the 5:00 p.m. deadline, with unofficial returns and you count the Palm Beach numbers, the Bush lead was down to something like 357. But, again, that's very unofficial. It's the Associated Press and its numbers and that's without these additional hand recounted ballots.
When are you and the rest of us going to know what the final numbers are from Palm Beach County?
DELANEY: We've been trying to find that out. I don't have an answer for you, Judy.
It's -- we speculate that in relatively short order, the canvassing board chairman will come out here to the platform right behind me here outside the emergency operations center and talk to us and give us the numbers. But, in fact, we don't know just when they're going to give us the precise numbers. But we do expect to have them in fairly short order within the next half hour or hour. Interestingly enough, it will probably bump right up against this pending certification in Tallahassee. Judy?
WOODRUFF: We -- all right, Bill Delaney. We're going to be coming back to you. So don't leave, or, don't go too far away.
We want to show you once again our live pictures of the Cabinet Room in the -- I think it's the basement level of the Florida State Capitol where the election results we expect to be certified maybe ten minutes or so from now by the Secretary of State Katherine Harris and her colleagues on the state canvassing board.
I'm joined once again by my colleagues at CNN, our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, in New York, our political analyst, Bill Schneider, here in Washington.
Jeff, this is the moment that we've been waiting for.
GREENFIELD: Well, it's one of what I expect will be several dozen moments that we not only were waiting for, but never in our wildest dreams imagined we would be waiting for nineteen days after an election.
It occurs to me that in any story like this, if this can be said to have any -- any, you know, prequel -- the most ordinary of things take on this enormous significance. You're looking at a room that is probably one of the most uninteresting rooms imaginable to look at. And yet we know that something of potentially great significance is going to happen in this typical government room.
A few minutes ago we saw Theresa LePore. She's the election supervisor for Palm Beach. It was her good intention to let the ballot be printed in large enough letters so the senior citizens of Palm Beach could read it more easily. Hence, the butterfly ballot, which may well have cost Al Gore thousands upon thousands of votes about which there is nothing that can be done. And may well wind up costing him the White House. So this ordinary citizen trying to do a good deed may well have changed American history. And it's just one of those things that keeps happening over and over again in a story like this.
WOODRUFF: Ordinary citizen as we watch more people filing into the Cabinet Room where the certification will take place. Bill Schneider, as it turns out, they may have been ordinary state officials before -- state government officials -- but now, someone like Katherine Harris, the Secretary of State who ran for that office, very much a political figure at the center of this whole controversy.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
And she's an important figure in this because, I said a few minutes ago, that one of the things the Democrats have lacked is a Newt Gingrich figure. Someone they can demonize as the voice that makes the opposition seem extreme and harsh. They have attempted to do that with Katherine Harris. They've treated her -- the Democrats call her privately, and sometimes publicly, "Cruella Deville," the evil creature who's come to steal the puppies.
Democrats hoped that by her coming out in a few minutes to certify this election -- she is known to be a very ardent Bush partisan who campaigned for George W. Bush in New Hampshire, who was co-chair of his campaign in Florida -- that she will instantly de- legitimize this certification. The Democrats hope that it will take some of the -- some of the impressive character of this ceremony away because she's the one doing it.
And for that matter, who is going to be signing the certification? The governor of Florida -- his name is Jeb Bush. So the Democrats are going to try to make the argument that this doesn't mean anything because it's being managed by partisans.
WOODRUFF: And on that point, let's -- as we wait for the certification to take place, let's bring in our correspondents Candy Crowley down in Austin and John King here in Washington.
Candy, what about that point that Bill Schneider's making -- that the Gore folks hoping that the very fact that this is a Bush campaign co-chair in the state of Florida is making this certification takes some of the edge off of what is being announced here tonight?
CROWLEY: Well, I suspect what you will hear is that Katherine Harris was elected as Secretary of State and that this is her duty as in that position. And that not only is it her duty to certify this, but that the Florida Supreme Court told her that at this time, she could certify. So she comes back at least with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Florida behind her, which is something she didn't have fifteen days ago when the Bush campaign first wanted this certified.
I think you will also hear perhaps not in public but what we hear when we call and say, well, what about Katherine Harris? And, she's obviously a Bush supporter, they say, well, you know, look at these counties where -- with the canvassing boards. In these Democratic counties, there's two Democrats and a Republican. So those are also Gore supporters who have a very real impact as they're looking at the votes on what's going on.
So they say there's plenty of -- you know, everybody in Florida voted for someone, and they believe Katherine Harris is just one of those people who obviously voted for and supported George Bush, but that she is Secretary of State and she's supposed to do this. And now, of course, has the Florida Supreme Court backing, at least the last time we checked.
WOODRUFF: And John King, while we're talking about whose politics or what, it was the Florida Supreme Court made up of all Democrats, or appointed by Democratic governors, one member of that court having been jointly appointed by Jeb Bush and by a Democrat -- former Democratic governor, that made a favorable ruling -- favorable to Al Gore. You've got the United States Supreme Court coming up with, what, seven members appointed by Republicans, two by Democrats. To what extent is the Gore camp counting or not counting on any perceived political thinking on the part of these justices?
KING: Well, they certainly want to make the case in the case of Katherine Harris that what is this woman's rush to judgment, that she had to be ordered by the Florida Supreme Court to consider the hand counts, that just tonight Palm Beach County asked for an additional twelve to fourteen hours, turns out it might be only for a few extra hours, she said no. So they will try to make the case that she is a partisan in a rush to judgment. Obviously, the Republicans are the ones who have criticized the Democrats on the Florida Supreme Court.
What has to happen for the Vice-President now is he will be in court tomorrow morning contesting the election results. He needs to win quickly in the next few days in Florida and get those votes counted. The Vice-President's team believes he is on firm footing as long as people are still counting votes and as long as those graphics we show you on TV show that Governor Bush's lead is shrinking. Once that stops, they think then they have a much more difficult battle.
So they need to win in Florida while we wait for Friday's Supreme Court hearing here in Washington and certainly if the Vice-president can pull ahead, and then if the U.S. Supreme Court says no to Governor Bush -- two very big ifs -- but in that situation, they think it will be very difficult for the Bush campaign to criticize the U.S. Supreme Court for the reason you just mentioned, seven of those justices appointed by Republican Presidents.
WOODRUFF: All right. And as we continue to wait with our cameras trained on the front of the Cabinet Room there at the Florida State Capitol for the certification process to get underway, we want to show you some pictures from just a few moments ago. Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman arriving at the Hay-Adams Hotel which is just, what, a few hundred feet from the White House grounds. This is the historic hotel just across Lafayette Park from the White House.
Joe Lieberman arriving there, we're told, because he plans to make a statement shortly after the Florida election results are certified. And we expect those to be certified not in favor of Gore- Lieberman, but in favor of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
And I'm now told we may be just as little as four, five minutes away from the certification taking place. And, again, Joe Lieberman, heading to the Hay-Adams Hotel. A little bit of a curiosity there for me, John King. Can you shed any light on why he's going to the Hay- Adams? Is it because it's just a half a block away from the White House or what?
KING: It's certainly a convenient location for us to make that reference. Most of the public statements from the Gore campaign have come from outside the Vice-President's official residence at the Naval Observatory here in Washington. They decided tonight to use the ballroom, a hotel room there at the Hay-Adams Hotel. This part of a one-two punch we will get from the leading Democrats in the next day.
First, you'll hear from Senator Lieberman tonight. Again, he will say, wait, be patient. Don't rush to judgment. We still want to count more votes. And then tomorrow, we're told we will hear from the Vice-President himself. That at the request of many Democrats who promised the Vice-President they will stay with him and support him as long as the recount is going on. But that they think he should make clear to the American people just why he thinks this process should go on another week or two.
WOODRUFF: That picture we just saw, John King, was the ballroom, I believe it is, at the Hay-Adams Hotel where Senator Lieberman will be making his statement.
While we continue to wait for the certification process to take place, let me just quickly ask Candy Crowley there in Austin, what is Governor Bush doing right now? Is he watching all this? We can assume he's watching on television or playing chess or what?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, it would be guesswork at this point, Judy. But he's in the mansion. I am sure he is on the phone with his aides, with his legal team in Florida. Every time we call headquarters, they're always in a meeting. They're always, you know, on a conference call. Obviously, George Bush is in on those, as well.
I can tell you that he had a visitor a little earlier for a couple of hours today. John Engler, the Governor of Michigan, who was at George Bush's side both in Michigan and in other states, flew here and has been in the Governor's mansion for a couple of hours this afternoon as this was going on. So this is a man whose judgment George Bush does consider sound and solid. So I'm sure there was a lot of talk about what next and where do we go from here and sort of bouncing it off Engler as George Bush is likely to do with anybody that sort of comes in. He's one of the kind of people that likes to bounce things off people and see what they say and what they're hearing.
WOODRUFF: All right. Jeff Greenfield, you have a point to make.
GREENFIELD: It occurs to me that the speech that Al Gore will make tomorrow -- we always talk about defining moments and speeches of his life. But, you know, with the exception of the acceptance speech last August, which was a triumph in political sense, Al Gore has never demonstrated -- if you think of his strengths and weaknesses politically -- the kind of formal rhetorical effect that Ronald Reagan had or the informal rhetorical ability of his President, Bill Clinton.
And I would think the challenge of Al Gore tomorrow, who got such buffeting in terms of his personal likeability and his powers of persuasion all during the campaign, even among some Democrats, the test for Al Gore tomorrow after the certification to come out and make the case to the American people to be patient and let him make his fight is in some sense a greater challenge even than the speeches in debate forms that he had to face during the campaign. It is literally unprecedented in American history.
WOODRUFF: All right. We continue to look at -- look at the pictures of the Florida Supreme -- I'm sorry, the Florida Capitol building there in Tallahassee and the pictures of the room they call the Cabinet Room. And we, perhaps, are just a couple of minutes away from the certification.
John King, what about Jeff Greenfield's point that this is a tall order for the Vice-President tomorrow?
KING: It certainly is. He's essentially asking the American people to prolong this process another week, maybe two. In doing so, trying to make the case why and what he will try to do is echo what we will hear from Senator Lieberman tonight is that all he wants is a fair count. And it's hard to be against that.
Obviously the Bush campaign line is "We've counted again and again and again" which is, as I mentioned earlier, why they have changed the focus now to the ballots that have yet to be counted in their view -- 10,700 in Miami-Dade County, another universe of ballots in Palm Beach County. The rhetorical argument here that everyone's vote should be counted and that there are some still on the table to be counted and that this election is so close.
And again, they will try to remind the American people that if we stop this right now, the Vice-President would be ahead. And so, since they are contesting, and they say they are still within their legal rights, still contesting this election, their case to the American people is "Don't forget. This race has no winner yet, so it cannot have a loser. You cannot ask me to step out of the race when I still have rights to appeal." WOODRUFF: Just minutes away from what we're told will be the start of the certification ceremony. Let's go to Bill Hemmer there on the grounds of the Florida State Capitol -- Bill.
HEMMER: Hey, Judy. Just got word a few moments ago that we're five minutes away now from this signing. Again, as you look at the room here, we were told an hour-and-a-half ago to come between 7:00 and 7:30 local time, so indeed that appears to be on schedule at this point.
David Cardwell used to head up the elections division here in the state of Florida. He's standing with me here tonight in Tallahassee. This will be, without question, the most watched, the most highlighted signing ceremony for any certification for any vote in the history of America.
He indicated to me that years ago, they used to put the election returns on the top desk of the secretary at the opening for the office and the canvassing commission board members would just come through and put their John Hancock down, it was done with it. And basically they would leave it there throughout the day and they would stop by whenever they find time to come on by and put their signature down.
But what we expect here -- to give our viewers a better indication of what we anticipate, anyway -- late this afternoon, they were still planning this. What we believe will happen here is that they will have five different copies here set to be signed by all three canvassing board members and one copy will go into the Florida State museum, one copy will go in the records for the secretary of state, and then each member of the board will get a copy for themselves.
It's also stated that after the first one is signed, the plan was anyway, to hand it to a clerk, have him sprint down the hall to a high-speed copier, and then after the copies started kicking out, they would hand them to members of the media. At that point, we would discover and find out what the vote total is for certification tonight.
Now being told one minute away or a little less, Judy. Back to you now in Washington.
WOODRUFF: That's right. You're getting the same information we are, Bill Hemmer, that we're told that Bob Crawford and Katherine Harris and Clay Roberts, the three members of the Florida state canvassing board have left their offices there in the Capitol Building and are headed into this Cabinet Room on the basement level. You can see state troopers, other law enforcement officials standing guard.
We were told earlier that members of the news media -- one per organization -- would be allowed in. Here come, I think, the members of the -- well, can't say for sure who those folks were. I didn't recognize them. If anybody knows, they can speak up. But we're told that about, I think it was 200 members of the public are going to be allowed in. People probably making -- forming a pretty long line outside the state capitol building wanting to see a little bit of history here. As Bill Hemmer's been saying, typically a certification ceremony is something nobody cares to see other than the people who are directly involved.
Bill Schneider, you're nodding your head. And while we're waiting for these three folks to come in ...
SCHNEIDER: That's not Katherine Harris.
WOODRUFF: That's not Katherine Harris.
SCHNEIDER: I think that probably the Democrats are very unhappy with all the news media for making this such a momentous occasion. For making this look like the final act in the election, because they're trying to present the argument that this is not -- this is a partisan moment. There's Katherine Harris coming out right now. That this doesn't represent all that we're making of it right now.
WOODRUFF: Once again, Katherine Harris coming into this room in the State Capitol to begin the certification process. Joining her, Clay Roberts, head of the state elections division, and Bob Crawford, the Florida Agriculture Commissioner, who is filling in for Jeb Bush who recused himself.
I think we want to listen.
KATHERINE HARRIS, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: Good evening.
Commissioner Bob Crawford, Director Clay Roberts, ladies and gentlemen, as the state elections canvassing commission, we are here today to certify the result of the election that occurred November 7, 2000. Because of the great interest in our actions, we are meeting publicly rather than meeting individually as has been our traditional practice.
Before we proceed, I wish briefly to review why we are here tonight. It was, and it remains, my opinion that the appropriate deadlines for filing certified returns in this election are those mandated by the legislature. And it remains my opinion that the proper returns in this election are the returns that were certified by those deadlines. The Florida Supreme Court, however, disagrees. The Court created a new schedule for filing certification and conducting election contests rather than implementing the schedule enacted by the legislature. And that is the schedule that we're following tonight.
Prior to certification, there is one matter I wish to discuss concerning the returns. In accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court, my office accepted amended returns until 5:00 p.m. today. And these amendments are reflected in the statewide canvas returns, copies of which will be available.
Palm Beach County has submitted a document that purports to be an amended return but contains two different compilations of the presidential vote. One set of numbers is identified as a partial -- one set of numbers is identified as a partial manual recount that fails to comply with the provisions of Section 102.166. The other set of numbers is identified as the machine count required by law in this election and these numbers are identical to those that were certified by the Palm Beach County canvassing board on November 14.
These latter numbers are the numbers included in the statewide canvass. Copies of the Palm Beach County document are also -- will also be made available.
The certified result in the presidential race in Florida is as follows: Governor George W. Bush, 2,912,790; Vice President Al Gore, 2,912,253.
Accordingly, on behalf of the state Elections Canvassing Commission and in accordance with the laws of the state of Florida, I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes for the president for the United States.
Mr. Crawford, would you like to address the audience?
BOB CRAWFORD, FLORIDA ELECTION CANVASSING COMMISSION: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
Let me first commend you on the job that you and your office have done during these last almost three weeks since the election.
This has been a tough election. It has not always been pretty. But we got the job done, and we got it done right. People called me and say -- particularly from out of state -- and say what's going on down in Florida, and I have to keep reminding people, the only thing that's going on here is that we've got a razor-thin election for the most important job in the world. And that's all it is. After all the jokes, after all of the anguish, we've just got a close election. And any state that had to go through this would've had the same problems, I think, that we have had.
But I think it's over. It should be over. And maybe that's the important word there, "should." You know, Yogi Berra once said, "It's not over till it's over." Well, it's over, and we have a winner, and it's time to move on.
There's one thing that I am sure of and that is both sides have enough legal talent to keep this tied up through Christmas. But one thing the lawyers can't do for us and one thing the courts can't do for us: They can't bring this country together again.
And while we have a winner tonight and we have a loser tonight, it's going to take both of these gentlemen to bring this country together again, and I hope we can get on with that work soon.
And I'm proud of the job that we've done here in the state.
HARRIS: Mr. Roberts?
CLAY ROBERTS, FLORIDA STATE ELECTIONS DIRECTOR: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
I would like to thank the 67 supervisors of elections in each county in the state of Florida and their staffs for their dedication and professionalism and fortitude in what will be recognize as the toughest election anybody has ever or will ever face.
Finally, I would like to thank my staff for their devotion to duty and all the support they provided to both myself and the office of the secretary of state.
HARRIS: Thank you.
Finally, I wish to recognize the tireless efforts of all of the elections personnel throughout the state of Florida, and I commend them for a job well done. I also wish to thank the thousands of people throughout the country who have been such an encouragement to me and to my staff through their letters, their faxes, their flowers and their e-mails. And I want to say especially, I thank them for their prayers.
I'm confident that the Department of State has conducted itself with integrity and independence. And I want to thank the employees of the Department of State as well.
Finally, I wish to point out that our American democracy has triumphed once again, and this is a victory in which we can all take a great deal of pride and comfort. The true winner in the election is the rule of law. Thank you and may God bless America.
WOODRUFF: You might say signed, sealed and delivered, the Florida certification of its electoral -- election results, presidential election results. And you just heard the secretary of state, Katherine Harris, announce that George W. Bush 2,912,790 votes to Al Gore's 2,912,253 votes: a margin of 537 votes out of almost 6 million votes cast in the state of Florida -- an extraordinarily close election.
But to Candy Crowley in Austin, Texas, where the Bush people have to be watching this very closely and very happily. It may be close, but the secretary of state has pronounced them the winner. And for all the legal challenges to come, they're going to be hanging their hat on this.
CROWLEY: Yes, maybe this is not the end, and certainly as far as we see with the court cases it is not the end, but it is a very important milepost that the Bush campaign has been waiting for, for more than two weeks. They believe this gives them a huge leg up both in the court of public opinion and in the courts that will hear this now. They believe that it now becomes more difficult legally, because you have the certification of a Bush win in Florida. This was a major thing to them, and I can tell you it is a major thing to these folks on the street, most of them Bush supporters.
Obviously, this is a home-town crowd. But they've listened and watched, you know, during all that quiet paper shuffling, and they just were glued to the television sets on the street. Obviously, we have them here as well. And the minute that Katherine Harris gave the vote total and pronounced George Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes the place erupted. So, that kind of reaction -- and again, this is a very partisan, pro-Bush crowd -- but it's that sort of reaction that the Bush campaign is counting on to sort of propel them forward. They believe that they now have, as one aide put it to me yesterday, that they believe firmly today there are more cards in their deck than in Al Gore's deck.
This is a big moment for them, and they note, in fact, that the Gore team will be out there trying to sort of undercut this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is coming. But they believe it's a big moment for them -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Wasting no time, Candy -- we've been talking to Candy Crowley there in Austin, Texas, but we're told vice presidential nominee Joseph Lieberman just a moment or so away from making a statement here in Washington.
And we would point out that with Florida's electoral votes, which Governor Bush has now been given, that would give him a bare majority of -- or two vote -- by two votes, 271 electoral votes. You need 270 to be elected president. This would give George W. Bush 271 to Al Gore's 267. We have never had, as I in my study of this, such a close count in the electoral college.
And Bill Schneider, you're sitting there listening and nodding. This is close.
SCHNEIDER: Well, it's close. We did once have a disputed election way back 1876, which was decided by a margin of one electoral vote, and that had to be decided by a commission. That's the last time it was disputed.
WOODRUFF: And not only close with an advantage Bush, but you have a popular vote nationwide that you can bet that Joe Lieberman is going to mention when he steps up to the microphone here at the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington. And that is a popular margin nationwide of something over 300,000 votes. That is, after all, what our correspondent John King and others have been saying has been giving the Gore team the moral authority to move ahead.
Let's listen to Joe Lieberman.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening.
From the beginning of this extraordinary period of time, Vice President Gore and I have asked only that the votes that were cast on Election Day be counted. This evening, the secretary of state of Florida has decided to certify what by any reasonable standard is an incomplete and inaccurate count of the votes cast in the state of Florida.
The secretary of state has even refused to accept the results of the count in Palm Beach County, which means that hundreds of votes that have already been identified for Governor Bush or Vice President Gore are being discarded. In thousands of hours of work by hundreds of citizens of Florida, Republicans and Democrats and independents alike are being ignored. What is at issue here is nothing less than every American's simple, sacred right to vote.
How can we teach our children that every vote counts if we are not willing to make a good-faith effort to count every vote?
Because of our belief in the importance of these fundamental American principles, Vice President Gore and I have no choice but to contest these actions, as provided under Florida law and in accord with the decision of the Florida Supreme Court.
It is in our nation's interest that the winner in Florida is truly the person got the most votes.
As we have said all along, we do not know who will prevail, after a full and fair count of every legally cast ballot. But the integrity our self-government is too important to cast into doubt because votes that have been counted, or others that have not yet been counted and clearly should be, have unjustifiably been cast aside. That is why we seek the most complete and accurate count possible.
We have an obligation, not just to the 50 million Americans who cast their votes for Vice President Gore and me, but to every American who voted in this election. They all deserve a fair and just outcome that respects their participation and does not diminish the value of their votes.
And we have an obligation to uphold the Constitution we are sworn to uphold. The idea of "one person, one vote" is central to our system of government and must never be compromised.
We are now going through an unprecedented time in American history. The campaign is over. But what we do now will be as important to the future of our country as anything any of us did during the campaign.
We must proceed responsibly in a way that honors the rule of law and strengthens the institutions of our free society. We must show the world and teach our children that, even in this unparalleled time, America can and will fulfill its democratic values by demonstrating the patience to cast every vote -- to count every vote that was cast.
We have an opportunity here and we have a responsibility to ensure that this election lifts up our democracy and respects every voter and every vote, no matter what the outcome. And that is precisely what Vice President Gore and I will seek to do in the days ahead.
Thank you very much.
WOODRUFF: Vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman addressing reporters at the Hay Adams Hotel here in Washington, just a block or so from the White House, saying, as you heard there in his own very strongly delivered words, that no matter what the results, every vote needs to be counted. It is the foundation of our democracy: one person, one vote. In no uncertain terms, it is clear that this election is not over, in the view of the Gore team, the Gore campaign. They have now moved into what's called the contest phase of their challenges. We were in the protest phase. Now, we are in the contest phase.
Jeff Greenfield in New York, I don't think there's any doubt about the resolve of Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and the people around them.
GREENFIELD: And not only that, Judy -- I think you're quite right -- note the timing of this. I think one of the reasons why they sent Joe Lieberman out right away was to cutoff those pictures of all those celebrations on the part of the Bush partisans in Florida and in Texas. They wanted that picture of a resolute Senator Lieberman challenging this result rather than all those pictures on network television of the celebrants celebrating the votes so that we would not be broadcasting the kinds of pictures that we had election night when we prematurely called the race for Bush.
I think from a PR point of view that was a very significant bit of timing we just saw -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield, and we want to bring in John King, and as we do, we would tell you that James Baker, who has been sort of a leading spokesman for the Bush campaign In Florida, is expected to appear before the cameras in Tallahassee momentarily.
While we wait for him, John King, these allegations being made by the Gore team are quite sweeping. I mean, what he said in essence, what Joe Lieberman said, he said Katherine Harris, secretary of state, has certified incomplete and inaccurate count of votes in the state of Florida.
KING: Well, they would support that, Judy, by saying that if you look at the Miami-Dade recount that started but then was stopped, 157 net gain votes for vice president were discovered, never counted because the canvassing board shut that down and said it would be inappropriate to count those votes because the process was incomplete. In Palm Beach County, the manual recount we've been watching the last few days, she refused to consider a partial count from Palm Beach County because they did not finish by her deadline.
This is very complicated and very messy, as we've seen, and it was about to get more complicated and more messy as we go now through the courts again: some courts in Florida, more courts in Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court. So the Gore campaign, through Senator Lieberman tonight and the vice president tomorrow, trying to simplify this and boil this right down. What they're trying to make the case is that all they want is a total count and why can't everybody hang in for another week or two to get that.
Along the way, they're trying to, just as Jeff Greenfield was talking about, those pictures we saw on TV, they want you to believe that those pictures are both partisan and premature, that this race is not over, that all votes have not yet been counted. WOODRUFF: And we might add, John King, with regard to Palm Beach County that the vote count there was complete this evening at about 7:15 Eastern Time, about 15 minutes before the secretary of state, Katherine Harris, certified those results. But Joe Lieberman in his comments said she -- quote -- even refused to accept the results of the recount, the hand recount in Palm Beach County.
Also joining us in our Washington studio, our bureau chief here in the nation's capital, Frank Sesno. Frank, you've been talking to some leading Democrats about sort of stepping back and looking at what is going on here.
FRANK SESNO, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: As well as some Democratic pollsters, Judy, literally as these events tonight were unfolding, and political support is so very important right now, both among the political allies of Al Gore on the Democratic side and in the public. And what I'm being told by Democratic pollsters tonight is so far so good in terms of opinion holding.
They feel that first and foremost, as long as this is moving through the courts, in particular the Supreme Court, that opinion will hold as long as they can make this case: that as Joe Lieberman put it, the vote count that was certified tonight is incomplete and inaccurate. That plus the courts becomes a very important premise on which the Democrats will now proceed and say, you know what, it's not over yet, just as John King was saying a moment ago.
This political support is critical, because if the bottom falls out under this, Al Gore and his allies are going to be very lonely people.
WOODRUFF: And Frank, there have been some moments over the last almost three weeks when the support from Democrats has begun to appear like it might start to peel off. A senator here, a leading party figure there.
At this point, though, it looks like the Gore people have shored their team up, if you will.
SESNO: And well, what the pollsters are saying actually is they have George W. Bush to thank for that, because it was George W. Bush who went to the Supreme Court. And they say flatly, without the Supreme Court and Bush's move to the court, the Democratic support would not have held.
We heard people like John Breaux saying Sunday is it if the secretary of state certifies it. That was before the intervention of the Supreme Court.
Judy, I will tell you I spoke to a Democrat back in -- out in the land, out in the heartland today, who said flatly, though, that he is sad, saddened by all of this, and there is sadness within the Democratic Party that it is the presidency here that is being lost even more than the contest.
It is his anticipation, he said, that George W. Bush is going to win. Now, he's not speaking for the party. Let me hasten to point that out. But that there is some suggestion among some Democrats, not those who are in front of the camera, that this is a difficult and precarious time, and the party and the party leaders have to handle it just so to come through it with a degree of dignity both to the party, the process and the presidency.
WOODRUFF: All right, Frank Sesno, and we are now just a little over a minute away from, we're told, from comments in Tallahassee, Florida by James Baker, a leading legal spokesman, or spokesman, I should say, for the Gore -- I'm sorry -- for the Bush campaign in Tallahassee.
Jeff Greenfield, weigh in here with us.
WOODRUFF: Sorry. I'm told James Baker is there. Let's listen.
JAMES BAKER, OBSERVER FOR BUSH CAMPAIGN: Shortly after I arrived here some 19 days ago I said in this very room that the election process in Florida and the country as a whole needed to conclude with fairness and with finality.
I suggested that everyone step back and pause and think about what was at stake. I warned that there might be no reasonable end to the process of counts and challenges and contests if it slipped away from us. So here is the account of the past three weeks.
Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney had more votes on Election Night. They had more votes after the automatic recount.
They had more votes in the election returns submitted by all of the counties on November 14, following additional recounts.
They had more votes after the overseas absentee ballots were counted.
They had more votes under the standards first applied in selective manual recounts in predominantly Democratic counties by Democratic election boards that were oftentimes divining the intentions of the voters.
And now, once again, they have more votes, even after the application of a very loose standard for manual recounts of dimpled ballots.
The Florida Supreme Court provided 12 additional days for these manual recounts, almost tripling the statutory time period mandated by Florida's legislature.
So here's where we stand tonight. The Florida State Elections Commission has certified Governor Bush as the winner of the presidential election here in Florida. Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney have won this election under rules established by both Florida statutes and Florida's judiciary, including both procedures in place before the election and different ones in place after the election. Now the Gore campaign lawyers want to shift from recounts to contesting the election outcome. And they propose to do this notwithstanding the fact that America has never had a presidential election decided by an election contest in court. And they propose to do this notwithstanding the fact that there also has never even been a statewide election contested in court in the state of Florida. Make no mistake, this approach is extraordinary. It cannot be justified simply as business as usual.
I hope that the arguments of the Gore campaign's lawyers are not the last word of guidance from the vice president and the Democratic Party. I have heard other views.
On November 15, when Vice President Gore was stating his case for a manual recount, he told the nation that if its results were added, "I will abide by the result. I will take no legal action to contest the result."
Senator Lieberman said four days later that if the Florida Supreme Court allowed a hand count to go forward, "It is much more likely that we will accept the results as the last word."
Ladies and gentlemen, at some point -- at some point -- there must be closure. At some point, the law must prevail and the lawyers must go home. We have reached that point.
Now, after almost three weeks of turmoil, we as a country have another opportunity to step back, to pause, and to think about what's at stake.
I don't believe that the people of America want this national election turned over to lawyers and court contests. I can certainly understand the pain and the frustration of losing an election so very, very narrowly, but it is time to honor the will of the people. It is time to let the orderly process of transitioning go forward.
No one underestimates the challenge of uniting the country to face the issues that await the next president and the next Congress. For the healing and uniting and governing to begin, this election must be brought to a conclusion.
QUESTION: Secretary Baker, can you tell me if a plan is in place for transition? Will we see a very straightforward sign of that? Will we hear from Governor Bush shortly?
BAKER: I would expect that you would hear from Governor Bush this evening. Now, those are questions that you would properly direct to him.
QUESTION: Does Governor Bush, at this hour, consider himself president-elect?
BAKER: I would expect that you would hear from Governor Bush this evening, and based on what he says, you can make that judgment.
BAKER: Just a moment, just a moment.
QUESTION: What will this do to the Supreme Court hearing this Friday? Are you going to press on with this?
QUESTION: Why prolong that, sir? If you say we have all this legal haggling, it should stop, why continue on with the Supreme Court hearing?
BAKER: Well, we have no assurance that the other side will stop. In fact, their lawyers, as I indicated in my statement, have said they intend to contest the election result -- something very different, of course, then asking for recounts. So, obviously, we cannot dismiss our request to the Supreme Court.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, in the case before the Florida Supreme Court, your lawyers argued that the appropriate way for Vice President Gore's team to challenge this election was to do a certification contest. Now that they've lost, according to the secretary of state of Florida, you're saying that that's an inappropriate way for them to contest the election.
BAKER: I didn't say it was inappropriate, and I didn't say it was not provided for in the statutes of Florida. I did say that it was an extraordinarily unusual approach, that we have never had a presidential election in this country go to a court contest of the election outcome. In fact, we've never had a court contest of a statewide election in Florida.
QUESTION: If I could follow up?
BAKER: And what I did say was that we've had count after count after recount.
We've had postponements imposed by the Florida judiciary, all of which we have respected. And under all of the rules, those existing before the election, at the election, and even after the election, every time there has been a count, Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney have won.
QUESTION: ... to contest the results. Will you do so?
BAKER: We would not file contest of the election results, except as a defensive measure, perhaps as a counterclaim in any contests that the other side might file.
But I would hope, as you could indicate from my statement, that we would not -- that the country would not be put through the trauma of contest of the election results. Thank you very much.
WOODRUFF: James Baker, chief spokesman for Governor George W. Bush, announcing that in his view, in their view, George Bush has won this election. There have been vote counts and recounts, and in so many words it's over.
You heard James Baker say that we should expect to hear from George W. Bush tonight, and in fact I've just been told in the last moment or so that Governor Bush will address the American people at 9:30 Eastern time from the Texas state capitol in Austin.
Among other points, we heard James Baker say it is time to step back. He said people don't want an election turned over to the lawyers. He said it's time for the lawyers -- for the lawsuits to stop -- I'm paraphrasing here -- and for the lawyers to go home.
He said that he hoped that Joe Lieberman's comments, the word coming out of the Gore camp that they're going to contest this election result, something which James Baker said has not been done, an election contested in the courts -- elections have been contested in the U.S. Congress but not in the courts -- he said he hopes this is not the last word coming out of the Gore campaign, hoping that they will reconsider. Of course, we have no indication that that will be -- that that will be the case.
Let's go now to Austin, Texas, where Governor Bush will be addressing the public, addressing the American people about an hour and a half from now, to Candy Crowley.
Candy, James Baker said he thinks the lawyers ought to go home and this ought to be over and done with.
CROWLEY: Well, and it's a good position for them, having just been certified the winners in Florida, obviously. And it's what we're going to hear more of. I suspect that Governor Bush, when we hear from him, in, what, about an hour and a half, will make much the same case, that -- and you heard what has been the Republican mantra. There's been a count, there's been a recount, now there's been a certification. Governor Bush has been the winner all three times, it's time to end this.
Now of course the Bush campaign has its own lawsuits out there, chief among them the Supreme Court appeal that they took and that is supposed to be heard on Friday. And you heard James Baker say that as long as the Gore team is out there challenging specific results in specific counties, we can't withdraw that case.
There has been some talk among Bush supporters that if Bush was certified the winner, that that pretty much makes the case before the Supreme Court moot. That is, that the Supreme Court in Florida overstepped its boundaries by writing law, according to the Bush campaign, and moving the date for certification. Well now this certification has come under Florida Supreme Court date, and it is still for Bush. So it seems to render that whole case moot. But you heard James Baker say as long as these contests are out there by the gore campaign we're not going to withdraw that case. So there's still a lot of stuff out there.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley reporting from Austin, where we do expect Governor Bush to make a televised address at about 9:30 Eastern time. That's about one and half hours from now.
John King, you're here in the Washington studio talking to the Gore people. It seems to me that in listening to Joe Lieberman, Senator Lieberman, these two sides are as far apart on the question of who's won as they have ever been.
KING: That's right, Judy, and I was just in contact through e- mail with a Gore campaign official who says they will wait until after they hear from Governor Bush to decide whether to let the night end with Senator Lieberman's statement or to respond again after Governor Bush speaks.
Obviously the great sensitivity in the Gore campaign now to make the case to the American people that, no, this is not over, that Governor Bush tonight, we expect, will come out and claim that he must get about the business of transition and preparing to take office, even though no concession from the vice president. The view from the Gore campaign, you heard it from Senator Lieberman, we will hear from the vice president tomorrow, we are told, top Democrats, more of them, going to Florida to make the case again is that this is not over yet and that they believe they need another week or two to press their case in the courts in Florida.
The question is, as we've been discussing all night, will public support stay high, stay behind that strategy, once we have another set of results, official results, from the state of Florida, results the Democrats, led by Senator Lieberman, obviously trying to say are tainted, impartial, not reasonable. You hear those words as they're trying to convince the American people there is a rush to judgment going on here in Florida. Please support us as we fight in the courts.
WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield, I know you are joining us -- you're with us from New York. It seems to me a lot does ride on whether the American people make very much of a distinction about what has happened tonight, whether this is seen as some sort of significant turning point or whether this is just seen as one more bump in the road along the way to figuring out who won.
GREENFIELD: If voters, if the public, decides that, as some of them have been saying over the last two weeks, look, we just want this to end. We don't even care who wins as much, just get it over with, that's a powerful leg up for the Bush camp, and one I think James Baker was at pains to drive home six different times.
He used the phrase, Bush got more votes. He got more votes on election night, more votes, more votes, more votes. a message that is designed in part to counter the Gore claim that, look, after all we got more popular votes.
And the other point I would say is that if there is one thing I think everybody believes that Americans are not overly fond of, it's lawyers. So while Joe Lieberman was arguing about the precious right to vote, James Baker is casting this as a fight with lawyers. The law -- as you quoted, for the law to prevail, the lawyers must go home. And that's a kind of a populist sentiment that I think the Bush campaign will be riding very hard over the next several days.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider.
SCHNEIDER: I think there's a lot of conflicting public opinion on this issue, and we've seen it certainly in the polls, where people have been very much divide. We'll see, as we go on during this week, how people feel about this. But they find the argument for fairness quite a compelling argument.
The question is, do they honestly believe that what they've been seeing for two weeks in Florida is an exercise in fairness? All these people holding ballots up and trying to distinguish hanging chads and dimpled chads, is that what strikes Americans as a fair way to count the vote? Do they think that should go on until the bitter end, or has there been a serious, fair and reasonably complete effort to determine the election results.
I think they have very diverse opinions about that, and they're not of one mind.
WOODRUFF: Frank Sesno, standing opposite what we hear James Baker citing, that after all these counts and recounts in Florida, George W. Bush coming out ahead, standing opposite that is what the Gore campaign would point out, is that Al Gore is ahead in the popular vote nationwide and that the vote in Florida is very, very close. Isn't this what is giving him the impetus to keep fighting?
SESNO: It certainly is. And I think John King has said it very well over the last several days, and that is that absent some of the roles that people were put in early on, people might be talking about Al Gore with more popular votes, and in fact Al Gore with more electoral votes based on the states that have been called, with a very close race in Florida, by the way, which continues undetermined or at least until tonight when it was certified, though still disputed.
But, look, one of the things that we've been hearing a lot of, Judy, over the last several weeks is the importance of two speeches: the victory speech and the concession speech to put some closure to this and to bring people together.
It will be fascinating to hear just exactly how George W. Bush fashions his remarks 90 minutes or so from now. Can it be a victory speech? If it is, what tone will it take? How broad will it be? Will it be conciliatory, or will it be to some degree defiant? These candidates are in a very peculiar place, and you hear it a lot when you talk to people around town. They're somewhere between candidate and president-elect. They're in a no-man's land. They can't be full candidates, because that's not dignified enough, but they can't be president-elect because that's too arrogant.
So, as they say, stay tuned. WOODRUFF: All right, Frank Sesno, Bill Schneider, Candy Crowley, John King, all of you, Jeff Greenfield, I am going to take a walk away from here. My good colleague Wolf Blitzer will be sitting here in the anchor chair, but I want to tell you, we've got much more in store.
Nine o'clock, "LARRY KING," a special edition, and at 9:30 we will have extended coverage of George Bush's -- George W. Bush's remarks that he will be making from the Texas state capitol.
Much more coverage coming right up. Don't change that dial.
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