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The Spin Room: Is It Time for Al Gore to Concede the Election?Aired November 26, 2000 - 11:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Hey, Tucker, that rumble you hear, it isn't thunder. It's our founding fathers rolling in their graves because of what we're doing to the Constitution.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Bill, I believe they're spinning in their graves, but wait until the Supreme Court gets done picking our next president.
PRESS: Can you believe it? George Bush says, don't wait for the Supreme Court, I'm already president-elect.
CARLSON: Not surprisingly Al Gore doesn't agree. We'll find out who's right. There's more to come.
ANNOUNCER: From CNN Washington and all over the United States, THE SPIN ROOM is open.
PRESS: Good evening, everybody. Welcome to the special edition of THE SPIN ROOM Sunday evening for a whole hour. I'm Bill Press, here with my buddy...
CARLSON: Tucker Carlson. Indeed...
PRESS: Fellow spinner.
CARLSON: Thank you. It's a huge day for news, so we're a full hour tonight. We need all your spin on everything, from the founding father to our beloved Katherine Harris, the great as we'll call...
PRESS: Katherine the Great.
CARLSON: Indeed. You can call us toll-free at 1-800-310-4CNN. You join our live online chat at cnn.com, or you can send us an e- mail, the preferred mode of communication for many. Our address is email@example.com.
PRESS: Big night, a lot of news tonight, and this is a first chance...
PRESS: ... on CNN or maybe any network that you get a chance to join in. That's why it's so important. You can do it by phone, by e- mail or join our chat room. If your chats are really stellar, I mean if they're just outstanding...
CARLSON: Pretty stellar.
PRESS: ... we'll put them up on the screen so people can read them.
CARLSON: And the chat cullers will cull yours and send it on to the...
PRESS: But Tucker, can you believe, I mean, this night? And I could -- I mean, there were so many things that happened, but what I found most unbelievable was George W. Bush coming out and saying, I'm appointing my chief of staff, I'm already president-elect, I'm ready to measure the drapes in the Oval Office. I mean, you know, Yogi Berra said it ain't over til' it's over, and it ain't over.
CARLSON: Well, Bill, that's because you're not reading the e- mail that you say that. We have an e-mail here from the official fat lady. "I'm the fat lady and I'm singing," writes this necessarily anonymous e-mailer, indeed.
Actually, I was sort of waiting for him to say, I'm president- elect, and if Al Gore doesn't like it, I'm going to mobilize the National Guard. I mean, it was a very sort of commanding, I'm in control now. I liked it.
PRESS: The Texas -- the Texas National Guard. The only thing I do -- I do wish somebody -- maybe I should do it -- somebody ought to go down there and give the poor guy lessons on reading from the Teleprompter. I mean, he makes Dan Quayle look animated, you must admit.
CARLSON: But that's the genuineness, that's the appealing quality.
This man isn't glib. He's true to himself.
PRESS: I want to match your e-mail with my e-mail. This is from Rich, who says: "No, W., you can't have the keys to the lockbox yet."
CARLSON: We'll see. Actually, here's an e-mail -- I'm sorry, I just can't control myself. "Let's throw out all the votes in Florida," says Robin (ph). "They can't seem to get it right and elect Bill Press."
That is sort of the operating idea here.
PRESS: The way this is going I could end up the president before it's over.
CARLSON: That is a horrifying thought. PRESS: But you see, here's what I find delicious tonight, is that W. can't really proclaim victory, because there's this cloud hanging over this certification tonight. Do you know what the cloud is? The U.S. Supreme Court, which is not going to hear the case until next Friday. And you know who put the cloud there?
CARLSON: Al Gore?
PRESS: W. asked for it.
So the man is sort of like hoisted on his own petard.
CARLSON: Technicality. For one thing, he can declare himself president. He did this evening.
PRESS: This is a very special show tonight. You know how this special this is.
CARLSON: I do.
PRESS: We have a lot going on tonight. We even have a special guest, an unannounced guest, Tucker. I just wanted...
CARLSON: You're scaring me, Bill. I didn't...
PRESS: You don't even know about this.
Tucker, you see -- now I'm not going to say...
I'm not going to say...
CARLSON: Have you been to Tijuana again, Bill?
PRESS: I'm not going to say that Katherine Harris is...
CARLSON: I thought you smelled of tequila.
PRESS: No, I'm not going to say that Katherine Harris is a puppet.
CARLSON: That is the most grotesque marionette I have ever seen. You are scaring me.
PRESS: Here it is.
Governor Bush, how many votes did you say you needed? You got them.
CARLSON: That is so horrifying.
PRESS: The lady of the hour, Katherine Harris.
CARLSON: Actually, I thought she looked lovely tonight. As you know, I'm the unofficial president of the -- actually, I believe I'm the official president of the Katherine Harris fan club. That is so ugly, I can hardly believe you got it through security.
PRESS: I'm going to leave Katherine right here. I'm sure she'll have other things to say as the show goes on.
In case of all you didn't see maybe all of the speakers tonight, everybody who came out to do their spin, we're going to give you a little medley from the top, starting with Katherine Harris, then Joe Lieberman responding, and then W. wrapping them up tonight. Here we go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHERINE HARRIS, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes for the president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will therefore undertake the responsibility of preparing to serve as America's next president and vice president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESS: Now, this is what I like about this. So this case is now going to the U.S. Supreme Court. So you have W.'s lawsuit joined by Jeb's legislature going to daddy's Supreme Court.
CARLSON: See, I would love...
PRESS: What's wrong with...
CARLSON: I would love the dastardly...
PRESS: What's wrong with this picture?
CARLSON: ... the dastardly forces of Goredom to even summon the cajones to make that argument. I don't think they will. You will not see them attacking the Supreme Court. This is not Katherine Harris. They cannot discredit the Supreme Court. PRESS: But I can.
CARLSON: You can. OK, good.
PRESS: All right, and there was one other person who spoke tonight that we should -- well, let's get to our guest first.
CARLSON: It's quite a long roster. Well, we have someone to bat this around with. Joining us from Los Angeles...
PRESS: We need a lawyer.
CARLSON: We do. Desperate, call in the lawyers. Is Laurie Levenson. She's a former federal prosecutor and she's now a professor of law at Loyola Law School.
Laurie Levenson, thank you for joining us, for coming back.
LAURIE LEVENSON, LAW PROFESSOR: My pleasure.
PRESS: Laurie, you are making history tonight. I think -- I think you are the first guest to repeat a performance on THE SPIN ROOM, which is a high honor indeed.
CARLSON: At least voluntarily.
LEVENSON: I am greatly honored. Thank you.
PRESS: So straighten this out for us, can you? I mean, what possible federal issue is there for the United States Supreme Court to look at Florida election law?
LEVENSON: Well, what's really interesting is that the Supreme Court when they granted review on this case seemed to suggest that what they're interested in is a very old law from 1887, which asks the question, is Florida changing the rules in the middle of the game? That old federal law that came in after another disputed election between Tilden and Rutherford Hayes -- excuse me -- Hayes.
Basically, after that, Congress said, you know what, you can't steal elections and you can't change the rules in the middle. So the Republicans actually went to the Supreme Court and said, that's what the Florida Supreme Court was doing, they were changing the rules in the middle. And what the Democrats are saying is no, the Supreme Court wasn't doing that, the Florida Supreme Court, they were interpreting the rules that were in effect.
Now, the big question has to be asked, does it make much of a difference on that issue? Because we have another certification by Katherine Harris and it could make perhaps some difference, because the question, if you have these contests, are "How many of the recounted votes will we count?"
CARLSON: I want to play a clip here from Jim Baker from his press conference this afternoon. I think it implies a question on the minds of just about everyone in America. Listen to what Mr. Baker said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES BAKER, OBSERVER FOR BUSH CAMPAIGN: At some point, the law must prevail and the lawyers must go home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, Laurie, I know you're a big defender of lawyers...
PRESS: Wait, starting with him.
LEVENSON: Lawyers never go home.
CARLSON: I you're a defender of lawyers, and I must say, in a perverse way, I admire that. But when are they going to home? When will this end?
LEVENSON: Well, the lawyers will go home, frankly, when time runs out. But as long as the parties still want to contest this and the law allows them to do so, the lawyers will be there to do that legal action.
And the next phase, even though we've had a certification, the Florida law clearly provides for challenges to those various certifications and to the electoral process. So we have challenges that allege irregularities in various parts of the state by both Republicans and the Democrats, and that's something that courts have to sort out.
But when I said that this will go away when the time says it will, frankly, I think by December 12th this goes away.
PRESS: But Laurie, OK, now with this court, Bush asked the court to rule, OK? Now, but the court when it rules next -- or when it hears the arguments and when it eventually rules, it could rule to uphold the Florida Supreme Court, correct?
LEVENSON: That's correct.
PRESS: So in effect, Bush could win the battle by getting to the Supreme Court but lose the war.
LEVENSON: Well, I'm not sure he would lose the war. I mean, I'm trying to think about why would the Supreme Court even take this case. If in effect it doesn't affect the end result, the actual votes, maybe what the Supreme Court is trying to say is that we want the public to be assured that whatever happened in this election happened in accordance not only with Florida law but with federal election law as well.
Another purpose of the Supreme Court is basically to resolve these disputes that have a national effect. On the other hand, one of the things that they might be doing is trying to set out a standard that will be used in elections to come. It's hard to say, and once the case is before the Supreme Court, they may expand their review to look at some of the constitutional issues that both sides have tried to raise.
CARLSON: But Laurie, I'm interested. I mean, clearly, at this point, both sides are dragging it out, but it does seem like the Gore side is being a little more assertive in that. Give me a scenario for the Gore victory. I mean, just in three sentences tell me how Gore wins. I'm having trouble imagining it.
LEVENSON: Well, the Gore team has to be the one who brings these challenges. They're the ones behind. So what will happen now is they are already filing their contests in the Florida courts. They may say, look, one of the remedies -- you're right, there were too many irregularities, we have to go back and count some of the ballots that were not counted; we need to throw out those absentee ballots that the Republicans filled in the missing information, those should not count; we need to look at the butterfly ballot.
So what happens is the Gore team mix and picks from various areas in the state and says, we get some of these votes, we get some of these votes, we knock out some of the Republican votes, and in the end, we win.
PRESS: Laurie, you know, it's not only the U.S. Supreme Court. There's also the Seminole County thing. There's all these other challenges going on. We want to talk to you about some of those after we take a quick break. We'll be coming right back. Hang in there with us.
It's good to have a lawyer nearby when you're (UNINTELLIGIBLE) legalese, since neither you nor I are.
CARLSON: I don't leave home without one.
PRESS: Exactly. Don't forget, a big part of the show, maybe the biggest part, nominations for "Spin of the Day." That comes at the end of the show, but get them in now. Three ways: Call us toll-free at 1-800-310-4CNN, or you can join our ongoing chat room at cnn.com, or send us your e-mails. Our address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Press and Tucker Carlson, we'll be right back with all of you.
CARLSON: Welcome to this certified edition of THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson with Bill Press. With us you know it's always a manual recount.
PRESS: Yes, we're the only thing that's correctly certified tonight. Forget the phony certification.
(LAUGHTER) CARLSON: Our chads are a bit less dimpled than others.
We have an excellent e-mail. Now, Bill, this is sort of strikes to the heart of the way I feel. And it says -- this is from Phil, and it's addressed really to you. And it says: "Come on, Bill: Say 'President-Elect Bush.'"
Can you? Walk through with me. It's six syllables, Bill. Do it. President...
PRESS: I can't get it out. I'll tell you, when he is president- elect...
CARLSON: When he is.
PRESS: ... I will be glad to say president-elect and salute him.
I have an e-mail -- but he's not yet -- I have an e-mail here from Debbie. Debbie says: "I thought George W. sounded a bit like he was reading 'See Spot Run' during his speech tonight. It's going to be a long four years with this man."
CARLSON: No, I must say I find it charming. He's a bit of a stammerer. But don't you find it sort of -- nothing charming about it?
PRESS: That's why they put him -- and did you hear what Katherine Harris said?
Katherine Harris, of course...
CARLSON: You're scaring...
PRESS: I'm not saying she's a puppet. It's just -- you know, we just don't know which of the Bush brothers is pulling the strings.
CARLSON: Ew, ew!
PRESS: Katherine Harris says, I just love those Bush boys.
All right, let's go to a phone call.
CARLSON: You're demented by the moment.
PRESS: Jerry. Jerry's calling from Texas.
Hey, Jerry, how are you?
JERRY: Well, hello there. How are you all doing?
CARLSON: Hello. We're here with the puppet, Jerry.
PRESS: Thanks for joining us.
JERRY: No, we're not exactly puppets where we're at here.
PRESS: so what's your take on this, Jerry?
JERRY: My take on this is we believe that we ought to all act like intelligent adults and go forward with this administration. The most constructive thing that we can all do is just to come together. I believe that as a nation and as Americans, and...
PRESS: All right, Jerry, just spoken like a true follower of the governor of Texas.
CARLSON: Well, he didn't -- notice he didn't specify which administration.
PRESS: I thought he meant maybe the Clinton administration.
CARLSON: No, but see, Bill, even you at some deep level have accepted the inevitability of President George W. Bush.
PRESS: Of four more years of Bill Clinton.
CARLSON: Yes, right.
PRESS: Laurie Levenson's our guest. She's from Loyola Law School, joins us again tonight in THE SPIN ROOM just to try to make some sense out of all these lawsuits that are being filed from all different sides at all different levels.
I guess it's any court in a storm, Laurie: Is that the motto here?
LEVENSON: Well, any court where they can challenge the election and say there were irregularities. I think some of these really do trouble people, because they don't think they're very significant. But the overall law I don't think should trouble people.
Imagine if you had a situation where you knew that people were literally buying votes. You would want to have some type of mechanism to allow a contest of the election.
I think what really bothers people here is that when you have the talk of the dimples and the pregnant chads, people don't take these irregularities as seriously. And that's what the court has to figure out.
PRESS: Well, now let me ask you about this one, OK. So the Supreme Court said you've got until 5 o'clock Sunday night to get your count in. And Palm Beach County said to Katherine Harris today, secretary of state, you know, the court said also we could have until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning if you weren't open today. Well, she is open today, but they said, we can finish up if you just let us have, you know, overnight. We're willing to work all night to get those extra ballots in, and she said, no way, you can't -- we won't take anything after 5 o'clock. And then, in fact, she refused to take any that they have counted because the count was not complete.
CARLSON: That was a wise decision, don't you think?
PRESS: Do you think that would hold up in a court?
LEVENSON: Well, it seems to me that the court gave her this discretion to do it, and they're probably kicking themselves that they didn't work the extra two hours, although I commend these people for working as hard as they could.
You know, that's the real tough issue here, is how much discretion does she have, and the court gave her the opening. They said either 5 o'clock, and they all knew that she would choose 5 o'clock. She didn't really have a strong interest in staying open until the next morning.
It's just interesting, however, if she done so, one of those legal issues that everybody doesn't want to confront now would have gone away, because we would have known what the count showed. And frankly, given the numbers we hear now, I'm not sure it would have made the difference.
CARLSON: Speaking of irregularities, Laurie, the latest one, latest allegation that's hot off the wires is that thousands of convicted felons, who not allowed to vote in the state of Florida, remained on the voting rolls, because nobody in largely Democratic counties took their names off the voting rolls, and apparently many of them voted.
Would this give the Bush campaign ground for more legal action if it turns out that they, I don't know, were to lose Florida? Could they do anything about this?
LEVENSON: If they contest the votes in those particularly counties on that basis, they may be able to throw out some of those votes, although it's very difficult -- and I understand that in those particular precincts they used altered lists to make that determination. What we're seeing here is frankly we don't like the way -- and excuse the expression -- the sausage is made.
We're seeing what happens in elections, and it's very uncomfortable to know that these types of mistakes are made all the time. It's just that it makes so much of a difference here when the election is so close.
PRESS: OK. Now, Wednesday, here's what even Republican friends of mine tell me is the nuclear bomb down here, and almost nobody's talked about it in Florida. It's Seminole County, you know, not these other counties, where there some 10,000 absentee ballot applications that were not -- for some reason they weren't complete, they weren't legit. And a Republican election official allowed Republican campaign workers to come in for 10 days in her office and fix all of those and she did not allow the Democratic in to do the same thing. Those ballots are being contested.
Do you think that's a legitimate case, a legitimate complaint? Fourteenth amendment issue maybe?
LEVENSON: Well, I don't think it's a frivolous issue, and frankly, I don't think that they have to go to the 14th Amendment. There's Florida law that would say that was an improper thing to do.
The real question is even if you can show these types of violations, what will the remedy be? Are they going to throw out all of the absentee ballots because they don't know which ones were improperly altered? What about the people who did happen to make them out correctly? That's the tough issue for the courts.
It may not be that tough to show violations. The issue is what remedies do they order once they find those violations.
PRESS: You know, the more we know, the less we know. That sums these three weeks.
CARLSON: Even when Laurie Levenson, one of the great illuminators of legal matters, explains it -- complicated. Thank you, Laurie Levenson, however, for joining us again for the second time. You're the first one to do so. We really appreciate it.
PRESS: Thanks, Laurie.
CARLSON: We'll be back in a moment. Please send us your "Spins of the Day." That's the moment when you see something so profoundly obnoxious (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on TV...
PRESS: Throw the beer bottle.
CARLSON: ... you whip the beer bottle at the TV, and then hopefully write us an e-mail about it. So please do that. Bill Press and Tucker Carlson, we'll be right back.
PRESS: Right back.
PRESS: And we're back in THE SPIN ROOM. Bill Press and Tucker Carlson, waiting to be joined by you by phone, by e-mail, or by just, you know, in the chat room.
CARLSON: Fax, carrier pigeon.
PRESS: Telephone number. It's a free call.
CARLSON: Anyway, show up in the studio.
PRESS: Yes, come on in.
1-800-310-4CNN is the phone number. Our chat room is cnn.com. That's where you find us, and the ongoing chat room. And you can send us an e-mail, your nomination for "Spin of the Day" we're looking for, to email@example.com.
That comment that was in the monitor. CARLSON: Yes, do we have it?
"I really think Gore wants to concede but the DNC won't let him," from Saul Vargas. You know, I think there's probably some truth in that.
This whole -- all of his behavior really is kind of a cry for help, you know, stop me before I become president. Part of Gore -- you must admit, part of Gore doesn't want to be president.
PRESS: No, there's a very simple premise here, which is that all the votes should be counted and then whoever is ahead is the winner.
CARLSON: Right, and they count it again. Well, it depends, though, who's ahead. I mean, if you're not ahead, then they should be counted again and again and again.
PRESS: The talking points from Austin don't...
CARLSON: There are no talking points. Bill, here's...
PRESS: You've got one?
CARLSON: I have got a great one from Virgil. This is -- actually, this is the key question. Virgil says: "Gore and his team are facing a fourth down and 537 yards. If he is smart and prudent, he should punt the ball now or head back to the locker room."
It's a great question. I don't understand the Gore scenario for victory. Laurie Levenson, as clever as she is, could not explain it to us. What is -- how does he plan to win? Bill, do you know? Have you talked to him recently?
PRESS: Yes, count all the votes.
PRESS: Here's Christine (ph). Christine says: "See where our technology has gotten us. What was wrong with printed names, a pen and a checkmark?"
It was a lot easier when that's all we did.
CARLSON: In some states we still do that.
PRESS: We still do that, I know.
CARLSON: None of these newfangled (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
PRESS: By the way...
CARLSON: Here's one.
PRESS: ... not only in some states, but in other countries, you know, there was an election today. There was an election...
CARLSON: Is that true?
PRESS: ... not far from our shores, and in fact, one of your great friends was re-elected as president of Haiti.
CARLSON: Not Father Aristide.
PRESS: Father Aristide was re-elected today. No, this is not Father Aristide. At any rate...
CARLSON: How Father Aristide might look were he petrified.
So your point is there was an election in Haiti, but Father Aristide became president. So what's the upside exactly?
PRESS: There he is. My point is they had an election in Haiti. It's over with. They counted the votes and they know who won.
CARLSON: I know, but the wrong guy won. You see, Bill, that's cold comfort, and as far as I can tell the opposition party boycotted the election.
Actually, this is the deep truth, that it's much easier to have an election if only one side participates.
PRESS: It seems to me if they could hold an election in Haiti and count the votes and declare a winner we should be able to do so in Florida, but not yet.
OK, from Robert, SPIN ROOM e-mail. Thank you, Robert. "Why hasn't anyone criticized the great unificator, pseudo-Bushism, for twice rejecting to meet with Al Gore? Not only is this exceedingly rude, not meeting with Al Gore is a great disservice to our democracy during this time of tension."
Why won't he meet with Al Gore? Do you think he's too busy?
CARLSON: Bill, I actually have an answer to that and I'll tell you why: because no man, and I mean no man, whether he's a presidential candidate or not, should have to have a personal meeting with Al Gore.
It's just -- it's just -- that is cruel and unusual. I think it's protected in the Constitution that nobody should have to do that.
PRESS: I have had a meeting with Al Gore, Tucker.
CARLSON: It's that simple.
PRESS: I want you to know it's not that bad.
CARLSON: I think it's a lot like a colon exam.
PRESS: Actually -- but you know what, I wonder what Katherine Harris might have to say about it. She'd probably like to meet with Al Gore.
PRESS: No, you know -- you know who she wants to meet with? She wants to meet with George W. so she can say: France, how about ambassador to France? Don't you think I deserve it?
CARLSON: She would be a wonderful ambassador to France, and sadly, thanks to all the people who are attacking her, she never will be. And I feel sad about it.
PRESS: If she's thinking about ambassador to France, I have one word for her.
CARLSON: No, no.
PRESS: No way.
CARLSON: Here's a wonderful e-mail from Alicia. Spelled out in acrostic code is the word Gore. "G is for give it up. O is for it's over. R is for ready move on. And E needless to say is for enough."
PRESS: Our audience is so clever.
CARLSON: I love them.
PRESS: They're so wicked.
CARLSON: They really are.
PRESS: And so clever.
Here's Sally, speaking of wicked. "The same accusatory and self- righteous faces seen during the presidential impeachment trial are appearing again in Florida."
Sally, I'm glad you noticed. Tom DeLay is out there. Dick Armey is out there.
CARLSON: Tom DeLay?
PRESS: This is impeachment revisited. Sally is so smart. CARLSON: Tom DeLay, that is so '90s. Tom DeLay is like from another decade, another world, another whole genre really. We haven't seen Tom DeLay at all.
PRESS: I wish he were part of the past.
CARLSON: But we have seen...
PRESS: He's still there.
CARLSON: We have seen -- we have seen Alan Dershowitz.
PRESS: Oh, yes, yes.
CARLSON: And I'll leave it right there.
This is from Fred. "Dear Lieberman, the horse is dead. Please dismount."
Pithy, but true. I like it. Good work, Fred.
PRESS: Jim, I think, speaks for -- I have to say, you know, these e-mails started coming in two hours before the show. Nominations for "Spin of the Day" started coming in two hours before the show. Hey, guys, you are getting it, we like this.
OK, Jim, I think, speaks for all of us when he says: "Please wake me when the war is over."
CARLSON: Very good, Jim. Wake -- he must be awake if he's watching.
We have Karen from California on the phone who doubtless is awake. Karen, are you there? .
KAREN: Yes. Hi, I'm calling because...
PRESS: Hi, Karen.
KAREN: I understand there's some urgency in Texas to appoint a new governor or to get him by whatever means that they use. And I'm just curious, if Bush is so sure that he won this evening, why didn't he surrender the governorship?
CARLSON: Well, that's probably a question the lieutenant governor is asking right now, though probably only to his wife and in private.
PRESS: And I would just say, W., you better hold in there at least, at least another week. Karen, thank you, all the way from California. We love those calls from the West Coast.
CARLSON: Has the air of inevitability about it, though.
CARLSON: And speaking of airs, we'll be right back, putting on no airs. Send us your nominations for "Spin of the Day." You can e- mail them, you can put them in the chat room, you should call us one the phone, as Karen just did, or you can find other means to get them to us, but please do. We'll be right back, Tucker Carlson and Bill Press.
PRESS: And when we come back, a couple of great and outspoken talk-show hosts to give us their take and your take about what you're saying about all of this, coming up more on THE SPIN ROOM.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press.
PRESS: Hello, everybody.
CARLSON: And our puppet.
PRESS: Katherine's gone. She got tired.
CARLSON: Is she -- is she really gone? Bill, now, we're going to have to interrupt THE SPIN ROOM, as it normally progresses, for a quick history lesson. Now, I'm interested in history, and I'm also interested in monuments. And it dawned on me the other day, talking to people in the CNN art department, would it be possible to put a mock-up of a kind of fantasy I've been having, a fantasy that I think will appeal to you, as a feminist. I want you to take a look at what...
PRESS: Where are you going?
CARLSON: Slow down! I want you to imagine Mount Rushmore with a female face.
PRESS: I love Mount Rushmore.
CARLSON: There's Mount Rushmore. Now, what would make -- what would enhance it? What would make it look better? Two words.
PRESS: A female face.
CARLSON: Katherine Harris.
PRESS: No, a female face.
CARLSON: Is that the most -- is that -- did she just...
PRESS: Oh, God!
CARLSON: Does she make Abe Lincoln look better? I mean, Teddy Roosevelt is glowing, looking at her.
PRESS: You know what?
CARLSON: There's something about that is just -- it's heart- warming. I think that would increase tourism to South Dakota ten- fold.
PRESS: I just have one thing to say about that. If you wanted to put -- all right, first of all, as a feminist, I do -- would love to see a female face...
CARLSON: "As a feminist"!
PRESS: ... on Mount Rushmore.
CARLSON: I love to hear you say that!
PRESS: But if you want to put a strong woman from Florida up on Mount Rushmore...
CARLSON: Uh-huh. Doreen Brown (ph).
PRESS: Janet Reno!
CARLSON: Oh, my God!
PRESS: Not Katherine Harris!
CARLSON: The whole facade would crack and come down!
PRESS: Speaking -- Tucker, nice try.
CARLSON: I can't help it.
PRESS: All right, speaking of great Americans, here's a man, a Republican, but a man I admire in the United States Senate. And as we go into our talk show hosts, I wanted to see if we can listen to Senator Chuck Hagel. I think he said something tonight...
CARLSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a man.
PRESS: ... that was very reasonable and very responsible. And let's kick off this for our discussion with our talk show hosts. Here's Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "FACE THE NATION")
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: We are closely approaching the time when both of these candidates are going to have to put the best interests of this country aside because -- and -- their own interests aside and put the best interests of the country first because elections are about governing. And we must govern. The world is not going to stop until we get our act together.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CARLSON: Bill, I think Senator Hagel, a very decent, reasonable man, makes two important points. One, it's true that the world actually doesn't stop while this is going on...
CARLSON: ... that, in fact, America does risk losing something in the eyes of the rest of the world. And two, I think he makes an important point that one of these candidates has to step aside and put the interests of the country ahead of his own. And I think Governor Bush did that tonight when he declared himself the president-elect.
PRESS: But he didn't step aside.
CARLSON: No, he didn't, but he -- he did put the interests of the country ahead of his own.
PRESS: The other thing that Senator Hagel said the other day which I thought was very good is that he suggested that the only fair way out of this -- and maybe the Supreme Court will say this, who knows -- is to count all 67 counties. Senator Hagel said that. And I thought it was...
CARLSON: Still have a president in time for Christmas next year.
PRESS: Yes. But you know, we still have Bill Clinton. What's the hurry?
PRESS: Now, the pulse of the nation -- nobody feels it better than radio talk show hosts. Tonight we've got two of the best and two of the most outspoken, one on each side of the aisle. On the left side of the aisle, from New York City, News Talk 1050, is Sam Greenfield, joining us from New York.
Sam, good evening. Welcome to THE SPIN ROOM.
SAM GREENFIELD, WEVD RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST: Nice to be here. Thank you.
PRESS: Thank you. And on the right side of the aisle, one of our favorites, here in Washington, D.C., he's host of The Right Side With Armstrong Williams on the Talk America radio network, and of course, the one and only Armstrong Williams.
Armstrong, good to see you tonight. Thank you for joining us.
ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, TALK AMERICA RADIO NETWORK: Good to see you guys.
CARLSON: Now, Sam Greenfield, tell me, you -- you saw Governor Bush tonight. Were you convinced? I mean, did after watching him -- did you think, "Gee, this guy" -- A -- "is our president now" -- and B -- "I'm happy about that"? How'd you feel watching?
GREENFIELD: I -- on my show a couple of weeks ago, I encouraged anybody who listens to my show who's a conservative -- and I have conservative listeners -- before the election, "If this guy rocks your world, if when George W. Bush was nominated you just said, `Thank you, God, for delivering this man to the Republican Party, this is the guy,' call me." Not a call. And conversely, you could say the same thing about Al Gore.
This to me is the same election that we had in 1988, when George Bush, Senior, ran against Michael Dukakis, two guys that no one really wanted, but there they were. And the only reason that we didn't have this fiasco then is because it didn't come down to one state, but I think it's about the same thing, two guys that really don't thrill anybody but they're running. And as far as them stepping aside, no, it's not going to happen because they think they are in the best interests of the country. They both think their election is in the best interest.
PRESS: Armstrong, is that why the American people aren't more upset about this long, long delay in finding out who's the winner, because, as Sam says, people really don't want either one of them?
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't agree with that assessment, with all due respect.
WILLIAMS: Certainly, from the conversations we have on daily radio with listeners, they're very adamant. They're very adamant that, in many ways, they were glad that the process went on where they had the recount because they didn't want anyone to say that either candidate won through some ploy or some tactics that has nothing to do with the will of the people.
We've counted. We've recounted, and we've recounted. And the results are in. President-elect Bush was certified tonight. Many people may not necessarily like the results, but that is our process. I think it's unfortunate that we try to say that no one is excited. It's -- this is not about whether we're excited about someone or not, whether or not someone turns us on or not. That's not what we look for in a president. We want someone who can unify, someone who can lead, and especially now someone who can heal and bring this country together.
I thought Governor Bush had an excellent speech tonight. I think he delivered it well. I felt that he was humble and sincere. And I think most Americans are ready for us to move on. Everybody was waiting for the great countdown, which started after the Florida supreme court set the new rules for Sunday at 5:00 PM. The rules -- the situation is over...
WILLIAMS: ... and Governor Bush has been selected. CARLSON: Well, I'll tell you who is excited, Sam, is Congressman Jerry Nadler from your state of New York, who has declared that there is, and I'm quoting now, "a whiff of fascism in the air." He's claiming that the...
GREENFIELD: You mean when...
CARLSON: ... Republican mobs are at the door. Do you smell fascism here?
GREENFIELD: You mean when the group of middle-aged white men were pounding down...
GREENFIELD: ... the door at...
GREENFIELD: ... in Miami-Dade or Palm Beach, yelling, "Juden! Juden!" No, I didn't feel that at all. It looked like the scene where they threw the Jew over the wall in "Julia." My God, I mean, you know, it -- last time I saw that many white guys in one room it was the Republican convention. It was unbelievable.
WILLIAMS: You know, it amazes me how we can talk about the Republican protesters. Well, what about Reverend Jesse Jackson? What about Kweisi Mfume...
GREENFIELD: Was he pounding on...
WILLIAMS: ... and the NAACP...
GREENFIELD: ... a door, Armstrong?
WILLIAMS: What about Al Sharpton?
WILLIAMS: They all had their protesters!
GREENFIELD: ... did he come to a door and start pounding?
WILLIAMS: They all had their protesters!
GREENFIELD: Come on, man! Be real. Stop it!
WILLIAMS: It doesn't matter whether they're pounding or whether...
GREENFIELD: Did anyone burst down...
WILLIAMS: ... they (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
GREENFIELD: ... the door?
PRESS: I'll tell you what...
GREENFIELD: Stop it. It's not true. You're not telling the truth. No one from Jesse Jackson's...
PRESS: I'll tell you what...
GREENFIELD: No one from Jesse Jackson's side...
GREENFIELD: ... of the fence went to a door and had to be pushed back by security guards. Not one. And you know that's true.
WILLIAMS: From your understanding.
PRESS: Gentlemen, I hate to interrupt, but we're going to have to because we have to take a break. You understand that better than anyone.
When we come back, we -- we want to come back to our talk show hosts -- we ask you, please, only one at a time because, you know, Tucker, I couldn't hear both of them.
CARLSON: No. And you know, we're about thoughtful discussion.
PRESS: We are.
CARLSON: We're kind of like Charlie Rose.
CARLSON: Except very different!
PRESS: Now, even if you're from Palm Beach County, it's not too late. Your vote can count and your email can count if you get into us right now your nominations for "Spin of the Day": by phone, 1-800-310- 4CNN, join our chat room at cnn.com or send your emails in -- get them in now -- cnn -- to spin, rather, @cnn.com.
Bill Press, Tucker Carlson. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson, here with Bill Press. We have Sam Greenfield and Armstrong Williams, two of the best talk show hosts in America. We also have, of course, the Katherine Harris puppet, compliments of...
PRESS: Resting now. She's resting.
CARLSON: Oh, resting! It's been a hard day for...
CARLSON: ... doing her make-up?
CARLSON: We also have Barry from Wyoming on the line.
Barry, you still there?
CALLER: Yes, I'm here.
PRESS: Hi, Barry.
CARLSON: What do you think, Barry?
CALLER: How're you doing? Hey, I'm calling from Wyoming, and we're the red states, remember?
PRESS: Oh, you're one of the red ones.
CALLER: Yes, the red ones, if you can remember the issue.
CALLER: ... I was up in a bar in Wyoming here, and all the folks were sitting there watching the Broncos play, and everybody was all excited and watching it. It was a close game. And then all of a sudden, Katherine Harris appeared. It was an emergency. We had to all watch this. And then she spoke, and then she announced that Governor Bush was, like, going to be taking those 25. And everybody just said -- cheered, and it was an amazing amount of respect for her and silence. And no one complained about anything.
PRESS: Well, I...
PRESS: That just warms the cockles of my heart.
CARLSON: You know, but you see, this sort of proves my point.
PRESS: To know that Katherine...
CARLSON: Even in bars...
PRESS: ... got a standing...
CARLSON: ... in Wyoming -- probably especially in bars in Wyoming...
PRESS: I was going to say!
CARLSON: ... Katherine Harris is...
PRESS: You took the words out of my mouth.
CARLSON: ... is a very popular -- she's a cult figure, Bill.
PRESS: Especially in bars in Wyoming.
CARLSON: There's nothing wrong with that.
PRESS: I rest my case. Especially in bars in Wyoming.
OK, back to...
CARLSON: Thank you, Barry.
PRESS: Back to -- I'm sorry -- to our talk show hosts, Sam Greenfield and Armstrong Williams.
Armstrong, you said something earlier today that -- or just earlier this evening, rather, a few minutes ago, that the votes have been counted and recounted and recounted. You know that's not true, Armstrong. I know you're a fair person. There are votes, according to the election officials in the two counties -- in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, for sure -- that have not yet been counted. Why won't you say and why won't George Bush say that all the votes should be counted and then we'll see who the winner is?
WILLIAMS: Bill, with all due respect, the Miami-Dade canvassing board made a decision. After saying they would not recount and then saying they would count, and then they said they would not recount...
PRESS: Right. Right.
WILLIAMS: ... they made a decision that, due to the amount of time that was given to them by the Florida supreme court, they could not count the ballots in time, and they decided not to recount. Palm Beach County had a deadline until 5:00 PM today in which the secretary of state had to certify the election. Now, she did at her discretion until Monday morning at 9:00 AM, but she chose to honor the first deadline given to her by the Florida supreme court, which she honored. So it's not about whether they should not be counted or not. She is going by the letter of the law. She's going by the letter. That is what she's doing, Bill. And how can you argue with that? She's doing her job!
CARLSON: Well, let me -- let me argue with it. Sam Greenfield, now, hold on. Now, Bill Press and Armstrong Williams both seem to agree that these votes, whether right or wrong, have not been counted. But you and I know that that's, of course, entirely false, that these aren't votes, they're bumps, they're dents. They're not clearly votes for any candidate, certainly not for Al Gore. Why should the presidential election hang on votes that aren't votes?
GREENFIELD: "Hang" is a good word because that's one of the -- that's one of the adjectives that's described to -- or ascribed to the chads, hanging chads, pregnant chads, dimpled chads. I thought it was, you know, Barbie's rival for Ken's affections. I had never heard of a chad before. I think that this whole...
PRESS: None of us had.
GREENFIELD: Exactly. This election reminds me of a scene from a movie, a wonderful movie called "Radio Days," where a husband -- a wife says to a husband, "Don't make fun of me. You said I was the prettiest of the three sisters." To which the husband said, "That's some contest." And that's what this reminds me of. This -- if you have to lose a presidential election, this is the one to lose. You have no mandate. You won by a razor-thin majority. No one's thrilled that you're there. You're going to serve out four years and then bye- bye. And it's over. And you know, if Bush wins, he's going to have to do what he said he was going to do which is be a uniter, which is not going to happen. And if Gore wins, then he's going to be despised. And it's just going to be a very uncomfortable four years.
CARLSON: Cynical, cynical, cynical!
PRESS: That raises the question -- that Woody Allen can really write. That raises a question, Armstrong...
GREENFIELD: He can, can't he?
PRESS: ... is this still worth winning?
WILLIAMS: Absolutely. These -- both men fought very hard for the last two years. We have one of the most excruciating presidential election processes in the world. I mean, it is the time of the year -- this is the time when we put the rest of the world to shame. Both men fought gallantly. They fought very hard. I have a lot of respect for Vice President Gore. And there can only be one winner. I wish there could be more, but there can only be one, and Governor Bush has won, and we need to move on.
GREENFIELD: Excuse me...
PRESS: Go ahead, Sam.
GREENFIELD: Excuse me. And I want to get this right. In Gorakpore (ph), in Uttar Pradesh, in India, a person ran for mayor, won by 65,000 votes. The election took seven hours. The person who won is Asha Devi (ph), a eunuch. We put the rest of the world to shame? India is electing eunuchs to mayoralty positions...
CARLSON: Wait! Now, Sam, I just want to make sure...
GREENFIELD: ... and we -- and we...
CARLSON: ... I have this right.
GREENFIELD: ... are still struggling on, trying to elect a president.
CARLSON: Now, wait a second.
GREENFIELD: The world is laughing at us!
CARLSON: Are you -- are you accusing...
GREENFIELD: The world is laughing at us!
CARLSON: ... either of these candidates -- well, but at least neither one is a eunuch. But you seem to be making...
GREENFIELD: Don't go there!
CARLSON: No, you're the one who brought up the eunuch, Sam.
PRESS: Don't go there? You went there!
GREENFIELD: No, you said -- you said "cojones" earlier, so I was responding.
CARLSON: You're a very careful listener. But you seem to be making two claims. One is that none of this really matters, and the other is...
GREENFIELD: No, no, no, no, no! I didn't say it didn't matter.
CARLSON: ... point your making.
GREENFIELD: No, no. I didn't say it didn't matter. I said whoever wins is going to have an unbelievably tough time of bringing the country around to their mandate, to whatever they want to do. That's just true. This is a razor-thin election, no majority or razor-thin majority in the Senate, a razor-thin majority or minority in the House, and half this country is so evenly divided on this.
GREENFIELD: But for Armstrong Williams to say that we -- they fought gallantly -- this isn't el-Alamein. This is a presidential election. Calm down!
PRESS: Hey, Armstrong, a quick last point there.
WILLIAMS: You know, I trust the people. Now that we have a president, I trust the American people will rally around this person. They will heal this nation. We cannot have a smooth election...
WILLIAMS: ... every four years, and we will move on.
WILLIAMS: And be better by it.
PRESS: We'll find out if that's true or not.
CARLSON: And that nobody who runs for president ought to be a eunuch.
PRESS: Could be a eunuch.
CARLSON: And I think that's something -- that can unite us.
PRESS: That would be a first, indeed.
PRESS: Hey -- hey, guys, thanks so much for joining us.
GREENFIELD: Thank you very much.
PRESS: Sam Greenfield, Armstrong Williams, great to have you here...
PRESS: ... on THE SPIN ROOM. You are true spinners indeed. I think they absolutely fit the bill.
CARLSON: And neither one a eunuch.
PRESS: And now it's time for "Spin of the Day" coming up, with Bill Press and Tucker Carlson and all of your "Spin of the Day." We got a whole mess of them here.
CARLSON: A huge stack!
PRESS: We'll get to them right after we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson, here with Bill Press and our puppet. Now it's time for "Spin of the Day." Not Bill, the puppet; Katherine Harris, the puppet.
Time for "Spin of the Day." We have a call from...
PRESS: "Spin of the Day." Everybody understands. People are getting into it now, but this is...
CARLSON: Of course they are!
PRESS: ... you hear people, all these people, talking today, and there's something that somebody says that just makes you go bananas.
PRESS: That's the "Spin of the Day." CARLSON: Yes, totally wacko. We have a "Spin of the Day" from Doris from Washington, not the evil Washington where Bill and I live, but the pure, majestic Rocky Mountain spring water Washington of Washington state.
Doris, you there?
PRESS: Hi, Doris.
PRESS: What's your "Spin of the Day"?
CALLER: This is my spin. If Bush wins the election, he should petition the pope to canonize Ralph Nader.
CARLSON: I think Nader might have to compromise some principles to accept, starting with hemp, but that's an entirely different conversation.
PRESS: Thank you, Doris.
CARLSON: Thank you, Doris. We have a "Spin of the Day" from Ken. "When are Gore-Lieberman going to figure out who the will of the people really are? They're not just in three counties in Florida." Good point, Ken.
PRESS: And Michael, "Spin of the Day" nomination: "Anybody who claims that a machine count is inherently more accurate than a hand count, any such person has never used a vending machine."
CARLSON: That's an excellent...
PRESS: I like it. Right down...
CARLSON: That's an excellent point.
PRESS: Right down where people can understand it.
CARLSON: This is from Bruce. "What a hilarious role reversal. The Democrats are touting states' rights and fussing about," quote, "`organized demonstrations.'"
Yes, I thought they took it to the streets, those Democrats.
PRESS: Yes. And I thought...
(CROSSTALK) CARLSON: ... power to the people and all that?
PRESS: I thought Republicans believed in states' rights, too. But here's one, in fact. The "Spin of the Day" nomination is for James Baker. Follows from this one, Tucker.
PRESS: It says -- from William -- not this William, another one. "How can Baker in true conscience say that Vice President Gore needs to end his lawful legal pursuits because the delay will hurt the country when, on the other hand, when asked if the Republicans will stop the U.S. Supreme Court action, he said, `Oh, no. We're going to continue our court action'?" There's a little hypocrisy there.
CARLSON: Oh, depends on your point of view. Yes, maybe a touch.
PRESS: A little hypocrisy.
CARLSON: I don't know. I enjoyed it. This is...
CARLSON: This is one from Roy. He says, "I'm impressed by the Republicans' new-found ability to protest. I haven't seen such anger since John Tesh announced he wouldn't be serving cappuccino on his Midwest tour." And Roy, I didn't make that tour, but it sounds like a pretty bad situation.
PRESS: All right, and Thomas -- quickly, before we get to your "Spin of the Day" -- Thomas just says, "My 'Spin of the Day' is any interview given by David Boies."
CARLSON: Excellent. Excellent point.
PRESS: He is a spinner...
CARLSON: Thomas, I'm on your team on that.
PRESS: ... first-class.
CARLSON: It's unbelievable.
PRESS: He is, indeed.
CARLSON: Now, we have -- my "Spin of the Day"...
PRESS: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: ... comes directly from...
PRESS: We should have trumpets or something.
CARLSON: ... Joe Lieberman. Yes, I know we ought to. We definitely -- will you call the sound department? Comes from Joe Lieberman, who gave a press conference today at the historic Hay-Adams Hotel here in Washington. Listen to what he said, part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: 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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: A good-faith effort? Bill, it has been 19 days -- count 'em, baby -- 19 days. These ballots have been counted. They've been recounted and machine counted. They've been hand counted. They've been hand counted with and without dimples and hanging and pregnant chads. This is a good-faith effort if I've ever -- this is a better than good -- this is great-faith effort.
PRESS: This is 19 days of Katherine Harris and Jim Baker obstructing, preventing every vote from being counted.
Now, let me give you my "Spin of the Day."
CARLSON: Oh, you just did!
PRESS: I go right to the top. Here's the guy...
PRESS: ... G.W., self-proclaimed president-elect tonight. And here's how he put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As our nation watched, we were all reminded on a daily basis of the importance of each and every vote. But now that the votes are counted, it is time for the votes to count.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESS: Now, I want to translate there.
CARLSON: I like that.
PRESS: It's the importance of each and every vote, except the votes in Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County. Those votes don't count because those votes would put Al Gore over the top.
CARLSON: Those votes aren't votes.
CARLSON: They're bumps! Bump, vote -- different!
PRESS: Their votes are not counted.
But you know what, Tucker? We're just about out of time. I just want to point out we had a whole hour for THE SPIN ROOM tonight.
CARLSON: Yes, we did. And a puppet.
PRESS: And more than 10,000 emails.
CARLSON: That's amazing.
PRESS: So I think an hour is just about right for THE SPIN ROOM, don't you think?
CARLSON: At least an hour.
PRESS: At least...
CARLSON: How about an hour and a half?
PRESS: Yes. That's right.
CARLSON: It's an incremental thing. But we will be back.
PRESS: Whatever it is, we're going to be back for a half hour starting tomorrow night, every night, Monday through Friday, this coming week.
Tucker Carlson, Bill Press. Don't you love it? More SPIN ROOM. Good night, everybody.
CARLSON: Good night.
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