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The Spin Room: More Lawyers in Florida

Aired November 29, 2000 - 11:00 p.m. ET


BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Hey, look at this, W. says it's third and 10, boys, send in more lawyers.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: You know what I say, Bill? The Gore people ought to keep their shirts on. It's a scary sight.

PRESS: OK, it's official. They've now been counted and recounted. There are more lawyers in Florida than alligators.

CARLSON: There may even be more lawyers than there are human beings.

PRESS: Oh...


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

PRESS: Ah, THE SPIN ROOM is open for all of you. Good evening, everybody. Thanks for coming back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Bill Press.

CARLSON: And I'm Tucker Carlson. Tonight, we have an all lawyer show with Jesse Jackson. So tell us what you think. We know you think something about it.

No matter whose team you're on, we want to hear from you. You can, of course, call us as always at 1-800-310-4CNN. You can join our live online chat at Or you can send us an e-mail. Our address is

PRESS: Can you believe it, Tucker? We're back. I mean, this is getting to be a habit.

CARLSON: It's unbelievable, Bill.

PRESS: Eleven o'clock, here we are spinning away.

CARLSON: Every night this week. Every night next week.

PRESS: You know what? I mean, we encourage all you people, there we are, to join in because we already before the show tonight had over 10,000 e-mails that arrived before the show opened. So you've got to get busy, get on that computer, get on that phone. We've only got a half an hour, so get your comments in fast.

CARLSON: Before we go anywhere, it is time again for THE SPIN ROOM "Culture Moment." We packed more humanities into a single moment than most four-year colleges to in four years.

PRESS: Which is because we have such an enlightened group of people in our chat room and our Spin Roomers, right?

CARLSON: Many poets.

PRESS: Here we are. For example, it's too bad whoever sent these in did not sign these. I wish they would send them back in so we could give them credit.

CARLSON: You know, the true geniuses never sign their names.

PRESS: That's true. They have to be humble. But this is in the style, to THE SPIN ROOM in the style of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. "Listen, my children, don't dare ignore the midnight actions of Bush and Gore. In early November the year '00, hard to believe the mess they wrought. Two billion bucks of campaign bounty all came down to Palm Beach County. What result could have been harder than the situation we find in Florida?"

CARLSON: It's not just prose, Bill, it's poetry. Here is an Ogden Nash takeoff, one of America's great yet sadly forgotten poets. "I regret to admit that all my knowledge is what I learned at Electoral Colleges. So tell me, please, though I hate to trouble you, will the winner be Al or will it be W.?"

PRESS: Ogden Nash, you've got to love it.


PRESS: Joyce Kilmer (ph), "I thought that I would never see the networks all so up a tree."


PRESS: Thank you, whoever you are.

CARLSON: That is anthology ready. Fantastic.

PRESS: Made our day. Let me tell you somebody else who made my day today. It was Jim Baker. You've got to remember this sums up the whole day, the hypocrisy of the whole day, Tucker. You have to remember Jim Baker when he made his solemn pledge to the nation. Just Sunday night 48 hours ago, here is Secretary Baker.


JIM BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: 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.


PRESS: So what did Jim Baker do today? He called in...

CARLSON: Of course, he sent in the lawyers.

PRESS: ... He imported another whole planeload of lawyers. In fact, we were trying to think -- you know, there's those great terms like school of fish, right? Pride of lions, exultation of larks. I mean, our good producer Don Smith (ph) came up with -- how do you like this -- bloviation of lawyers?

CARLSON: Oh, that's...


PRESS: ... arrived in Florida today.

CARLSON: But you know, Bill, at least the Bush people are doing -- I want to tell you a very sad story. I was at lunch today, a very long lunch I'm ashamed to admit. But I showed up around noon, left well, a little before three. It turns out Joe Lieberman showed up in the same restaurant I was in around the time I did.

I left. The Secret Service guys were still idling out front. Joe Lieberman was still there. And it dawned on me, this guy has nothing to do. It's sort of, he and Al Gore just sit around like Nixon pulling their hair out, yelling at the TV, getting madder and madder and madder.

PRESS: No, but he...

CARLSON: It's kind of sad when you think about it.

PRESS: ... he won't have anything to do for the next four years because he's going to be vice president. And as we know, vice presidents never really have anything to do.

CARLSON: Foreign dictators' funerals.

PRESS: Well, all those lawyers were not the only ones that invaded Florida today. A familiar face was back in Florida.

CARLSON: A familiar invader.

PRESS: He's our guest tonight, the Reverend Jesse Jackson. And he sort of -- before we introduce the reverend, the reverend was down there today. And I think he sort of laid it out as only he can do exactly what the issues are in this recount.

Here's the Reverend Jackson. You'll appreciate this, Tucker, from earlier today. Let's listen up.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: The focus has been on chads, little pieces of hanging paper. But this issue is really about targeted race profiled African American voters mainly.


CARLSON: Reverend Jesse Jackson joining us from New York, thank you for coming on THE SPIN ROOM.

PRESS: Thanks for being here, Reverend.

CARLSON: Jesse Jackson, now you've been throwing these charges around since the beginning that there was some sort of racial profiling involved, racism had a role in all this. I still haven't seen any evidence. Hit us with the evidence.

JACKSON: Well, all you have to do is shift from punditry to investigative. You will see that from Liberty City to Broward to Riviera Beach to Sandestin to Belle Glade right up that coast you're going to find that those we're discussing are 85 percent African American people. You're going to deal with the Jewish senior citizens at Century Village in West Palm, who voted and punched two, but two was not Gore.

And yet somehow Mr. Bush in the name of compassion can look those holocaust survivors in the face and say to them, "Your pain, my gain, I'm your leader." He can look at those Haitian immigrants who voted and could not get support and say, "Well, your pain, my gain, I'm your leader."

I registered students to vote at Florida A&M and at Bethune Cookman in Daytona and Ibud Waters (ph) in Jacksonville. They went to vote with registration cards but were turned back with their names not on the polls.

So you look at who was targeted? Basically, African American voters and immigrants and the senior citizen Jews in West Palm Beach. That is documented. And you who've been focused a lot on punditry must now focus on the investigation.

You're going to find some corruption, some intentionality, and some targeted.


CARLSON: The investigative reporter. I love it.

PRESS: As you know, Reverend, this is a show where we have a lot of participation from our viewers at home by phone or by e-mail and through our chat room. A question through the chat room for you today if we can check just now from the monitor. It will come up as soon as I snap my fingers.

Why isn't -- this is from Teresa Massengill (ph) to you, Reverend. "Why isn't Mr. Jackson as concerned about the disenfranchised military minority voters?" Reverend Jackson?

JACKSON: Well, I really am. You know, I'm still concerned about military people and getting protected until -- I went to Syria and brought an American soldier back home. I'm concerned about military people.

I went to Yugoslavia and brought three American soldiers back home. And the fact is those military voters should have been allowed to count. They should not use a one-day technicality, didn't fill in this I, dot this I, cross this T. Those military voters should be allowed to vote.

But then the holocaust survivors should be allowed to vote, who were confused by that ballot. And the African Americans who were disenfranchised.

So I say let's choose the count over the clock. Let's choose inclusion over exclusion. We must determine the winner by the most votes, not by the quickest clock. So count the military voters.

CARLSON: We've gotten a huge amount of e-mail since people learned you were going to be on the show tonight. And a lot of them are asking the same question. And it's roughly this.

What exactly are you doing down there? You were down from the very beginning? Did someone call you down, A? And B, how did you get down there? Did someone lend you a plane? How physically did you get to Florida?

JACKSON: No, I was down there in Selma because I've been involved in this program for (INAUDIBLE) the life. The right to vote is fundamental to my survival. This is not just some punditry I engage in.

I was down in Florida registering people to vote. I registered people to vote in Sandestin, in Seminole, in Ft. Pierce, in St. Lucie and Martin (ph). So I was down there working before the campaign started.

The day of the election and people being confused in West Palm, they were calling the office of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. We went back down there the day after with Bishop Curry (ph) in North Miami to hear the complaints of people who were utterly confused.

So I was there because it is what I do. I seek to empower people. I seek to enfranchise people. I seek to build coalitions. So fighting for racial justice and fighting for fairness and democracy is my way of offering my service to America.

PRESS: Reverend Jackson, let me ask you this, though. Today we've seen I don't know how many different courts certainly in Tallahassee. And now it's come to the U.S. Supreme Court. This issue is probably going back to the Florida Supreme Court.

Have we reached the point where these protests on either side, either the Republicans or the Democrats, are really not effective anymore? I mean, it's past that day, and now it's all moved to the courts.

JACKSON: I think if you see a robber and the robbed, you do not see a moral equivalent there. And we cannot get tired of our quest for justice and fairness on the constitution.

And one of the courts we visit today, the case in Seminole County where I campaigned to register people to vote, where actually Republicans went in and began to fill out absentee ballots. That is a case of tampering before the court now. It is not just Seminole County. It's Martin. And it is St. Lucia.

Those are crimes punishable by jail sentences. That is corruption.


JACKSON: You're going to find some corruption, some intentionality, and some race profiling. It's despicable. It's hard to talk about it. But it's too real to ignore.

CARLSON: It sounds like some people are going to jail. But we can talk about that when we come back. And we will.

Thank you, Reverend Jackson. If you could send us your nominations for "Spin of the Day," you're probably collecting them. You can call us toll free, 1-800-310-4CNN. You can use our e-mail address, which is, of course,

Bill Press and I will be back in just a moment.

PRESS: Get those "Spin of the Days" in.


PRESS: It's THE SPIN ROOM on CNN with Bill Press and Tucker Carlson, your chance to sound off on the events of the day, of the century I think, Tucker.

CARLSON: At least.

PRESS: Three ways to do it. Got a phone call free for you 1- 800-310-4CNN. Join our live chat room ongoing always at, or send us your e-mail to Especially looking for those nominations for "Spin of the Day," which we'll get to in the next segment.

CARLSON: Bill, does that phone call cost anything?

PRESS: It's a free phone call.

CARLSON: Absolutely free.

PRESS: 1-800, all right, the e-mails coming in, some of the 10,000 we received. Here's one. I love this. Chris Oshwa (ph) I think it is from Washington, DC. Never thought of this.

"Suppose President Clinton were to suddenly resign. Wouldn't that automatically make Vice President Al Gore the 43rd president of the United States?"

CARLSON: Oh, no.

PRESS: "How would that affect the current legal proceedings in Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court?"

CARLSON: Oh, no, no, you're wrecking my night. You're wrecking my -- I mean, first of all, that...

PRESS: There are cards that have not yet been played.

CARLSON: That is frightening. But that scenario rests on the idea that Clinton would voluntarily leave before his office expires. They've got bloody fingernails from holding on.

Here is an e-mail from some of our Canadian viewers, a group we love to keep happy.

PRESS: Of whom we have many.

CARLSON: Many. I never knew.

"We love your show. And my wife and I love to watch American politics. We were amazed by the impeachment, and now we love your election. Please keep it up. It is much better than Canadian TV. Scott and Pat."

Scott and Pat, anything is better than Canadian TV, A. And B, anything we can do to keep our friends in Canada happy, we're there for you.

PRESS: I was just going to say, I thank you for the compliment. But I think saying we're better than Canadian TV is not really a compliment.

OK, Frank calling from Texas. Told you we've got phone calls. The phone call is free.

Hi, Frank. Thanks for calling. What's up?

CALLER: Well, I just wanted to know why there's so much emphasis being placed on individuals' rights to vote and not any emphasis on their responsibility. You have to register to be a voter. If you don't register, are you disenfranchised? No. If you don't take the time to travel to the polls on Election Day, are you disenfranchised? No. If you don't execute a ballot properly, are you disenfranchised? I don't think so either because you haven't exercised your responsibility as a voter."

CARLSON: Three terrific points. You definitely...


PRESS: Frank missed one thing. If you go to the polls and you vote and the machine screws up, you are disenfranchised. And your vote hasn't been counted.

One person who's been down there looking from county to county looking at all the...

CARLSON: Investigating.

PRESS: ... irregularities, investigating, is Reverend Jesse Jackson, our guest tonight. Reverend Jackson, you have run for president yourself. You're a keen observer of the political scene. Do you believe tonight that Al Gore will be the next president of the United States?

JACKSON: Well, if the winner is based upon the count, yes. Based upon the clock, no.

The machinery is controlled by John Ed Bush (ph), the president's brother, and Mrs. Harris, who in frank does not have the moral legitimacy to use her discretion to the call the election because she is a Bush delegate, a Bush co-chair, a Bush campaigner. She should have recused herself as Jeb did because she is too involved to be believable on something this type.

My concern, I know it's half hour, but in Duvall County where 27,000 ballots were thrown away, perhaps 16,000 black because the wards they were in, that when Congresswoman Brown was trying to negotiate because there were some complaints, negotiating about 500 ballots.

But they found it at 11:00 on the third night. That's 72 hours after you could no longer protest. It was 27,000, not 500. And that was the night before Veteran's Day.

So they could not protest a contest until the sixth day. That's an intentionality. Does it matter than 27,000 voters in Jacksonville are disenfranchised?

Does it matter that 33,000 Americans in West Palm Beach got a ballot, a sample ballot, that was different than the real ballot? They said -- does that matter?

CARLSON: Wait, nobody is contesting...


CARLSON: ... I think clearly it does matter. Let me ask you a question that I also think matters. You and a lot of Democrats have been very upset about these kind of harmless looking people, these Republicans who were outside the ballot counting the other day. As someone who's spent a lot of his life causing protests, blocking intersections...

PRESS: Leading, leading protests.

CARLSON: ... leading, sort of causing traffic jams, isn't it sort of odd that Democrats are suddenly calling these people fascists for staging what was apparently a legal protest, sort of a gentle one really?

JACKSON: All I know is that in Alabama there were nonviolent protests. And there were mob attacks. And when the government stood back and did nothing, the federal government had to come to our rescue.

And in this case, there were mob attacks in West Palm and in Miami. The governor did nothing. And the federal government also did nothing and tried to equate a violent mob attack with a prayer vigil.

When we were in West Palm...

CARLSON: Are you honestly with a straight face calling that a mob attack? Honestly, are you actually saying that was a mob attack?

JACKSON: ... No, I said -- well let me -- I can as straight as I can make it, in West Palm when the ministers and the rabbis began to pray, they were booed and hissed and called names. And the holocaust survivors and the Haitian survivors held hands and sought to make their case, they were booed and threatened. And so we had to go and have the nonviolent prayer vigil.

Don't equate a nonviolent prayer vigil with these attacks. In Florida, clearly people like Tom DeLay's staff members were seeking to intimidate the process.

Now don't equate a prayer vigil with a violent attack. I just assume he hadn't taken his medicine or something. I wouldn't get angry. I like him. He's a smart guy. I figured maybe he took -- maybe he gulped down five or six of them Viagras and a cup of coffee and just lost his mind. You cannot equate a prayer vigil with a violent attack.

PRESS: All right...

CARLSON: I love that. That is the "Spin of the Day." Thank you.

PRESS: Reverend Jackson, thanks so much for joining us tonight staying up late in THE SPIN ROOM. Good to have you here. Hope to have you back.

CARLSON: Thanks.

JACKSON: Very well.

PRESS: All right, you've got a lot more work to do, Jesse. Go to it. And we're going to go to our "Spin of the Day" when we come right back. Don't forget, get them in by phone, 1-800-310-4CNN, or send us your e-mail to

We'll be right back with the "Spin of the Day," Tucker.

CARLSON: Indeed.


CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press. We've come to the end of the show. Boy, a half hour flies with Jesse Jackson, doesn't it?

PRESS: It flies.

CARLSON: Or something. Now is the time to get to the "Spins of the Day." And that's the most ludicrous thing, the most implausible thing you've seen on the tube today. We're going to come up with ours. Please send us yours. Or you can call at 1-800-310-4CNN and hit us with what you think the "Spin of the Day" is.

PRESS: All right, now this is not exactly the "Spin of the Day." But it's so self-serving I want to read it.


PRESS: Is that right? "Please" -- unsigned too -- "Please increase the time that the "Spin of the Day" show is on. Tucker and the other guy are great."

It's Bill Press is the name. The other guy.

"Really, the show needs to be on at least an hour. It's the best thing CNN has going."

I love it.

CARLSON: You know, when I wrote that, your name totally escaped me. I'm sorry.


CARLSON: Here's a "Spin of the Day." This is one that I have to say I agree with. 'Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch volunteering as an impartial observer to count the ballots, that in itself is too funny to put into words. I would rather trust my dog to count the ballots."

I hate to agree. But I kind of do.

PRESS: You know what? I hate you. I was going to read the same one.

CARLSON: You were? I'm sorry.

PRESS: You stole it from me.

CARLSON: We're converging. Well, beat you to the next punch.

PRESS: Nothing, nobody would bring us together more -- right? -- than Larry Klayman.

CARLSON: You know, that's true. He is really a uniter rather than a divider. We can unite.

PRESS: He unites us. He divides everybody else.

CARLSON: He really does. All right, here is one. "Jim Kelly, the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, had four tries at winning the Super Bowl. Though he gave it a valiant effort in each game, he came away losing. Al Gore has had four attempts at counting the votes and lost each time. The big difference here is Jim Kelly let a winner, but Al Gore is not doing the honorable thing. By not conceding, he'll leave a loser."

PRESS: This is very good. This is not very good, but well written. Here's Paul Stokes (ph). Paul Stokes has the spirit of THE SPIN ROOM here, which is equal opportunity offender.

He says, wants to know, "Do any of these politicians, Republican or Democrat, have a mind of their own? You hear the same rhetoric over and over again. Do both sides publish a "Spin of the Day" newsletter so that their puppets know how to act and what to say? It's time to stand up for what's right, not to be led like sheep by your party."

All right, Paul.

CARLSON: You know, I like the "Spin of the Day" newsletter. I think we ought to steal that, Bill.

PRESS: I think it has some promise.

CARLSON: It does. Which brings us to ours...


CARLSON: I have to say this is a great one. Now this comes right from the horse's mouth. This comes right from Al Gore.

Take a look at what Al Gore said today...

PRESS: Great American.

CARLSON: ... This is a deep "Spin of the Day." Watch this.


VICE PRES. AL GORE, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm quite sure that the polls don't matter in this because it's a legal question.


CARLSON: The polls don't matter. Well, first, let's take it at its most obvious level. He wouldn't be standing up there if the polls didn't matter. Clearly, the polls do matter. That's why you have public relations offensives, like him.

Second, the whole Gore argument has centered around the idea that the intent of the voters, what they want, is what matters here, not necessarily what they did, not the fact they couldn't get the chads through. But what they intended to do is the key. And here he is standing up and saying that the way voters feel, their emotions, have no bearing on all this because it's a legal matter. Oh...

PRESS: No, no, no, no, that's not what he was saying. Let me point out that what he was saying was...

CARLSON: He was.

PRESS: ... the polls don't matter, and I totally agree. May I point out, we were lead wrong by the pollsters during the campaign. We were led wrong by the pollsters on election night twice. And you think now the pollsters matter, the pollsters have it right?

CARLSON: You know, polls can be wrong.

PRESS: I want to quote somebody I heard on this show the other night say, "Kill all the pollsters." It was you, Tucker.

CARLSON: It was a glib moment.

PRESS: Here's my "Spin of the Day." And I want to come to the courtroom. This is a hearing today in Leon County, Tallahassee. And this is Barry Richard, George Bush's lawyer in front of the judge.

CARLSON: The guy with the hair. Right.

PRESS: You won't believe this. Here we go. It's Barry Richard. Let's hear it.


BARRY RICHARD, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: There was a comment by Mr. Douglas that my side had plenty of lawyers to go around. But the fact is, number one, that I do not have an unlimited number of lawyers available to assist me in this case. And number two, it is only so many lawyers who can prepare for and present a case that would be recognizable before the court before we begin tripping over each other.


PRESS: Now this is a guy complaining about not having enough lawyers. The audacity, Tucker. Do you know the difference between a six-week-old puppy and a Bush lawyer?

CARLSON: I have no idea.

PRESS: At some point you know the six-week-old puppy is going to stop whining.

CARLSON: Oh, Bill.

PRESS: These guys...


PRESS: ... about not having enough lawyers. CARLSON: You know you're in court -- I don't know. I have to say it is sort of heartening to see Republicans all of a sudden get faith in lawyers.

PRESS: Yeah, it really is. It's heartening and hypocritical.

Well, I'll tell you, guys, we're just about out of time. But you know what? There's another show that always gives us a good plug. We want to give them a good plug.

You want to get some more e-mails, some more spin in, some more phone calls in, "Talk Back Live" tomorrow, every day at 3:00 here on CNN. We invite you to join "Talk Back Live" with Bobbie Battista tomorrow.

CARLSON: They're going to get fewer calls from bars, though, I think than we do.

PRESS: They won't get as many calls from bars. No, that's right.

CARLSON: If you're calling "Talk Back Live" from a bar, you've got a lot of problems.

PRESS: Good night, everybody. We'll be here again tomorrow night at 11:00. And our special again this Sunday night at 10:00. We are on a roll with THE SPIN ROOM.

Thanks for joining us. Good night, everybody.

CARLSON: Again and again and again. Good night.



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