ad info

Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  





Bush signs order opening 'faith-based' charity office for business

Rescues continue 4 days after devastating India earthquake

DaimlerChrysler employees join rapidly swelling ranks of laid-off U.S. workers

Disney's is a goner


4:30pm ET, 4/16









CNN Websites
Networks image

Special Event

Gore Campaign Asks Florida Supreme Court to Order Immediate Manual Recounts; Florida Legislature May Choose Electors

Aired November 29, 2000 - 10:00 p.m. ET


ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN election 2000 special report.


AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only way to avoid having a cloud over the next president is to count all the votes.


ANNOUNCER: The Democrats step up efforts to woo the public while George Bush and the Republicans toss around ideas about prospective cabinet members.


DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Clearly the governor's indicated on a number of occasions that he certainly would give very careful consideration to the possibility of trying to persuade General Powell to come out of retirement and to join the administration.


ANNOUNCER: Florida lawmakers edge closer to the battle, while in court, attorneys argue about restarting the recounts and a judge sends out for more than a million ballots.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're prepared to load the truck first thing tomorrow morning and get it on the way to Tallahassee, hopefully by 7:00 or 8:00 a.m.

JUDGE N. SANDERS SAULS, LEON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Is it going to be a convoy? How many semis?


ANNOUNCER: And Jeanne Moos has noticed it's time to rally around the flag.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right after the election, George Bush appeared with the Texas flag; since then, it's been the stars and stripes forever.


MOOS: The flags are multiplying like rabbits.


ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN election 2000 special report: THE FLORIDA VOTE. From Washington, here are anchors Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff with CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. The courtroom maneuvers of election 2000 will hit the road this week as a judge orders ballots trucked to the state capitol.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, the campaigns of George W. Bush and Al Gore work on planning for the next presidency and winning the hearts and minds of the American people.

Among the latest developments in election 2000 is the order for an unlikely caravan to take to Florida's highways Friday. Leon County circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls has ordered more than a million ballots from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties be brought north to Tallahassee. Judge Sauls will hold a hearing Saturday to decide whether to recount those votes.

The Gore team has sent a new appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, asking justices to order a quicker recount of the disputed ballots. The Florida legislature could decide as early as tomorrow to call a special session. The Republican-dominated body could decide on its own to appoint presidential electors. Vice president Al Gore has been making the rounds of national newscasts. His entire interview with CNN is coming up later in this hour.

Both campaigns proceed with transition work. Dick Cheney opened the Bush camp's presidential planning office outside Washington today. Governor Bush himself remains in Texas. He and Cheney plan to meet tomorrow with retired General Colin Powell. Powell is said to be Bush's choice for secretary of state.

SHAW: The Gore team did not get what it wanted in a Leon County courtroom today. Lawyers for Gore were pushing for an immediate count of 14,000 Florida ballots.

CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman reports on the hearing that, instead, is leading to a massive transfer of votes to Tallahassee.


JUDGE N. SANDERS SAULS, LEON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Is it going to be a convoy? How many semis?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A day after agreeing to have 14,000 disputed south Florida ballots sent to Tallahassee, Judge N. Sanders Sauls agreed to a Republican request that it was only fair to send all the ballots, nearly 1.2 million of them. Attorneys from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties said on the phone they would send the ballots no later than Friday afternoon in a convoy with a police escort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would also appreciate it, if it's possible, to have some help unloading the transfer boxes. I believe there will be 167 of them.

SAULS: Our clerk is not that big.


TUCHMAN: The judge says he'll decide after the ballots arrive whether they'll be counted. But Gore attorneys, who want an immediate count, filed an appeal in which they hope the Supreme Court in Florida intervenes in doing just that.

JUDGE NIKKI ANN CLARK: Well, I don't want to get bogged down on potential issues, either.

TUCHMAN: In the meantime, the Bush team is doing all it can not to deal with this judge, who is hearing a case accusing Seminole County Florida of counting illegitimate Republican ballots.

Bush attorneys asked for Judge Nikki Ann Clark to disqualify herself from the case. They fear she might not be fair because Florida Governor Jeb Bush did not appoint Judge Clark to an open appellate seat. Judge Clark quickly denied their motion and will continue hearing the case; a case in which attorneys for Seminole County, allied with the Bush team, announced on the phone they would try to depose a well known witness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The final deposition that is -- that we would like to take would be Vice President Al Gore's deposition.

TUCHMAN: Republicans deny any actions they're taking are designed to run out the clock.

BARRY RICHARD, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Delay is never part of my strategy. If I can win this on Saturday, you can be darn sure I will.

TUCHMAN (on camera): The Seminole County trial begins next Wednesday, the hand counting trial this Saturday, and nearly 1.2 million ballots arrive on Friday. For now, Tallahassee remains ground zero in the quest to confirm the winner of the presidency.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Tallahassee, Florida.

SHAW: The Florida legislature may be closer to do what all the ballot counting and litigation have failed to accomplish: the naming of the state's 25 presidential electors. The United States Constitution gives state legislatures the power to decide the method of choosing its electors. A legislative committee may be a day away from recommending a special session of the Republican-dominated legislature.

Governor Jeb Bush, George Bush's brother, has said he will sign any such measure. The 14-member committee has heard experts say the U.S. Constitution allows legislatures to act when the vote count is in doubt. Others urged caution.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes the best course of action is no course of action. If you sit here today and put in your personal agendas and your personal will and try to force that on the people of this great state of Florida, then you will be no better than the thieves that walk into a bank and rob that bank with a gun.



GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: Clearly this is in the courts; and if there is uncertainty the legislature has clear, delegated authority from the U.S. Constitution to seek the electors. And, you know, I admire them for, at least on a contingency basis, accepting that responsibility and that duty.


SHAW: Sources are telling CNN, a special legislative session could start as soon as Tuesday.

WOODRUFF: As Al Gore pressed on with contesting the vote count, he and running mate Joe Lieberman kept up their public relations offensive to counter any perception that the election is over.

In an interview with CNN's John King, the vice president said the only answer is to count all the votes to avoid leaving a cloud of suspicion.


GORE: I've never used the phrase "steal the election." I think that's an intemperate phrase, and I think that both Governor Bush and I have an obligation during this period when the votes are yet to be counted, to try to pave the way for -- whichever one of us wins -- to be able to unify the country.


WOODRUFF: On CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight, Gore's running mate, Senator Joe Lieberman said Gore, through all the controversy, has taken the high road.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can tell you that he did turn away from some recommendations because he just thought they would be too divisive and they might take too long, and he wants this to end in a reasonable time to allow a reasonable transition to go forward.


WOODRUFF: Also in Tallahassee today, Gore got help in the court of public opinion from a few Democratic governors pressed into action by the Gore team.

SHAW: While the Bush legal team battles on, the campaign is working on toward a Bush administration. Dick Cheney announced the Bush transition team is opening office in McLean, Virginia, outside Washington. Cheney and George W. Bush will spend tomorrow meeting with former national security adviser retired General Colin Powell.


CHENEY: We've not yet prepared to announce any cabinet members this week but, clearly, General Powell has been a close friend for a long time; somebody who worked very closely with us during the campaign, and we welcome and value the opportunity to spend an afternoon talking to him about this very important part of the next administration.


SHAW: Coming up a little later, we'll bring you the full interviews with Dick Cheney and Al Gore.

WOODRUFF: And right now let's bring in our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.

What you do think about the state of things right now?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well, I'm picturing -- if you haven't had enough train wrecks -- I'm picturing the following scenario: Let's say that, beginning on Saturday, this court in Leon County, hearing this contest says, you know, I think looking at this, the Gore people have made their point. We've got to count these ballots again, and they count them; and somewhere around December 6 or 7 or 8 they discover that, at least as of that count, Al Gore has a 100-vote lead in the state of Florida and may even be entitled to the electors.

And the Bush people appeal it and then, two or three days before this December 12 date, the Florida legislature saying, you know, this is not going to be wrapped up in time, we're taking our cue from the Constitution and the Election Tally Act of 1887 and we're going to appoint 25 Bush electors.

If you think stuff has gotten heated and unpleasant and cross, that, I think, is the point at which everybody is going to look at it and say, the missiles have left the silos. WOODRUFF: That's also a possible scenario here.

GREENFIELD: Yes; and the reason you have to underline that is because if you think back to long, long ago -- 22 days, to November 7, when we were thinking, gee it could be a tie in Electoral College. We might not know until 4:00 in the morning who's the president.

And every time we move down this road people said, well surely it will end in two or three days -- it will be over in a week, it will be over in 10 days -- now you're taking this to the possibility where a clash of such bitterness will ensue that I think all notions of civility for months after are going to be impossible.

WOODRUFF: It is hard to imagine a clean ending of any sort at this stage.

GREENFIELD: Well, if you wanted the quickest ending, it would be for the Leon County court to reject the contest. And then Gore would appeal it up presumably to the Supreme Court of Florida. And presumably, they give great weight to the lower courts, and they would say no. But if the court is tending in Gore's direction -- you know, which is a long shot, but possible...

WOODRUFF: Allowing a recount.

GREENFIELD: Allowing a recount, and then looking at the recount, and say: Hey, you know, these ballots are showing that Gore may have won, and then the legislature steps in and ends it, nobody will be happy with that ending. And we will, in January, have an embittered electoral count. There will be pressure on those Bush electors, if that is who it is, on December 18, to go with the popular-vote winner. It will just keep going. And...

WOODRUFF: A lot to look forward to.

GREENFIELD: I don't know if country can take it. But I have a feeling those of us the media may just give up and say: You know, we're going into civil-service work. We can't do this any more.

WOODRUFF: Or collapse in our wake. All right, Jeff Greenfield, we'll see you a little bit later.

And still ahead in this CNN SPECIAL REPORT: more from Vice President Al Gore and his take on election 2000.


GORE: The only way to avoid having a cloud over the next president is to count all the votes.


SHAW: Later: Just how much is this Supreme Court opening the door by releasing and audio tape of Friday's arguments? We'll take a look. WOODRUFF: And then: the American flag as political prop in the fight for the White House. The late-night talk-show circuit takes notice.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I think it's really time for Vice President Gore to concede and move on with the election, and let, you know, Governor Bush take his role as the incumbent president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know the count is yet. As soon as we find out the count, then we'll see who won. I think he's happy to concede, if he actually loses.


SHAW: Vice President Al Gore sat down this afternoon for an in- depth interview with our senior White House correspondent John King. Here now, for the first time on CNN: that interview in its entirety.


JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's get to the basics. The Republicans, every day now -- it's been 22 days since the election -- and Secretary Cheney again today, you know, trying to deliver a public message to convince the American people this is over, saying it is time for to you step aside and stop fighting in the courts an election, they say, you lost at the polls.

GORE: All the votes haven't been counted yet. And our democracy depends upon the principle of each person who wishes to vote, and is eligible to vote, and casts a legal vote, having that vote counted. The idea that people in charge of the election machinery can arbitrarily decide that some votes from areas where it might make a difference that they don't want to see make, and just arbitrarily set them aside, that's wrong -- or for whatever reason they might decide to set some votes aside and just not count them.

That's wrong. The principle I'm fighting for, John, is that every single vote that's legally cast must be counted. And that -- you know, that -- it seems so simple and clear to me. I feel strongly about it.

KING: But they would argue you're asking for special treatment in the sense that those ballots -- let's take the 10,700 in Miami-Dade County -- that they were run through the machines and that the machines registered no vote for president. They would argue this happens, and that you're asking for all those to be manually inspected is asking for special treatment, not


GORE: Not at all. No. The law requires that when they are -- when they have to be counted by hand -- the machine doesn't pick them up, they have to be looked at and counted. Let me ask you this. Have you ever gone through the supermarket checkout line and they run the scanner computer over your items? What happens when it misses one? Do they give it to you for free?

No. They do a hand count of that item. And those computers are far more sophisticated than these Votomatic machines. That sounds like something out of the "Jetsons." And in fact, those machines are much more statistically likely to be found in low-income areas, with populations that don't have the big tax base to have the fancier up- to-date machines that don't make very many mistakes.

KING: There is a political battle going on, of course, during your legal challenge. And some ask if you feel so strongly that you won the election -- and obviously, you do. Why not just come out and turn the tables on them and say: I believe I won the election. And I believe they are trying to steal the election?

GORE: Well, I've never used the phrase "steal the election." I think that's an intemperate phrase. And I think that both Governor Bush and I have an obligation during this period when the votes are yet to be counted to try to pave the way for whichever one of us wins to be able to unify the country.

You know, the only way to avoid having a cloud over the next president is to count all the votes. Because our country is based on the consent of the governed, and the consent of the governed can only come through a vote by the people. And all the people who vote legally have to have their votes counted; that's the basic principle. If all of the votes are counted, that's the best way to confer legitimacy on the outcome of the election.

And, you know, in a close race, which by definition is usually one where the passions are running high and the feelings are very strong, it's even more important than in any other kind of race to make sure that the outcome is one that's determined by the will of the people, by the votes cast by the people, not by politicians who have control of the election machinery and who decide, for whatever reason, to let some votes in that are legally cast and take other legally cast votes and exclude them.

That's wrong. And if the election is determined that way it would present a serious risk for the ability of whoever is the winner to bring the country together.

KING: Let's -- I want to you to take me a, if you will, inside one aspect of your legal strategy. Your attorneys have been pushing and are now appealing to the Florida Supreme Court to speed up the process in the contest through which the judge would bring the ballots into the courtroom and start looking at them: the ballots from Miami- Dade County, as well as the 3,000-plus from Palm Beach County.

There is a legal argument there, but is there not also a political argument in the sense that you know what the public opinion polls say, you know it's been 22 days and we are an impatient society, how important is it to you politically, as part of that legal strategy, that the American people actually see, see they're still counting the votes; therefore this election is not over?

GORE: No, it's not a -- that's not a political move. I mean, all of this is, of course, in part because I want to see an outcome that I think will declare that Joe Lieberman and I won the election. But more important than that, really more important than that is the principle that every vote should be counted, and that's important for our country, regardless of who the winner is.

Now, on the legal matter, I'll refer you to David Boies for that.

KING: OK, there -- it has been 22 days, though, and if you look at the polling and 6 in 10 Americans say -- even Americans who believe you and think that you won the election, 6 in 10 say it's time to move on?

GORE: Well, this is not an election about the election. This is a legal question. It's a question that goes to the heart of what America is all about. When votes are cast, they're counted. This is America. When you have people legally casting votes, you can't arbitrarily, or for whatever reason, just refuse to count them and set them aside.

And remember, there are far more than enough votes that have never been counted in this race to determine the outcome. There are more than 10,000 that have never been counted and the margin is a few hundred, and smaller than that if you look at the votes that have -- that were counted and that the other side has filed lawsuit after lawsuit to try to keep out.

And remember, that's the cause of the delay here. We had the lawsuits filed by Governor Bush's team, they were first to go into the courts on this, they went to the U.S. Supreme Court, they filed delaying tactic after delaying tactic. They had people inside the building where the votes were being counted in Miami-Dade. These delaying tactics are wrong. We have to count the votes, that's really the most important point.

KING: I want to repeat something to you that came to me from a very close friend of yours and a longtime adviser, who said, "Al believes passionately in this. Al believes he won and I believe he's right, but I do worry that we may reach a point where he's hurting himself," and that if it appears that this is slipping away, we reach a line where the 2004 calculation, your own viability comes into play.

Does that enter into your mind at all, that if this turns out in a way...


KING: ... that is adverse to you, is there a point at which you need to think about your own future should you want to run again? And would you run again if this went the other way?

GORE: Look, you know, they started speculation about the 2000 race probably three years beforehand and it's not over yet. So, I mean, I hope that I'm going to be in a position to consider running for re-election in 2004.

But to answer your question seriously, John, whatever concern that I might have about myself is not even on the radar screen compared to the obligation that I feel to the 50 million people who supported Joe Lieberman and me, who believed in the agenda that we put forward, who gave us more votes than any Democratic ticket ever in the history of this country, more votes than any ticket with the exception of Ronald Reagan in 1984.

But a higher obligation still is the obligation I have to the Constitution and to the country to insist that the election have integrity and that it not be something that ends with a cloud of illegitimacy, and there is one way to do that and that is to count the votes.

And there are thousands and thousands of votes that have never been counted even once. The other side said, well, they've been run through the machine, but it's like that supermarket scanner: if the machine doesn't pick it up and you know that they don't pick up a lot of them, you look at it by hand. That's what the law says. That's what the law that Governor Bush signed in Texas says. So if you just use the Texas standard that Governor Bush supported and signed into law there, this would be the way to go. And under Florida law I think it's very clear that when the machines have this kind of error rate and they don't count votes, they have to be counted by hand.


SHAW: When we come back, Al Gore reflects on how he thinks history will look back on election 2000. The conclusion of John King's interview, when this CNN special report continues.


WOODRUFF: As we have been telling you, CNN senior White House correspondent John King interviewed Vice President Al Gore at length this afternoon about election 2000. Here now is the conclusion of that interview.


KING: What do you think of everyday when you think of sustaining American public opinion through this? Because that's obviously important if you are to win and if you are to govern, and even if it turns out another way, just so the American people have faith in the process that you want them to stay with you with -- stay with you through, I guess.

What do you think when you get up everyday in terms of when they -- you know, out for interviews like this, or out in public statements, in terms of trying to convince the American people? You have talked about counting every vote, is there, in your mind, sort of a timeline in here that you have to get to? Even some Democrats saying they are with you, but this can't go on forever.

GORE: I think it's going to be over with by the middle of December for sure. But in terms of strategy tactics, all that, you know, it's really beside the point. I'm just focused on one simple goal and that is to insist that the votes that have been cast be counted. If people legally cast votes, they shouldn't be arbitrarily set aside, or set aside for any reason, they should be counted. Isn't that a simple principle? I think it is.

KING: This is obviously uncharted waters, unprecedented territory. One of the things happening as the legal challenge unfolds is the Florida legislature, controlled by Republicans, is having a process of hearings now, and they've been quite open about the possibility that if you succeed, if your challenge, your contest is upheld, and if they count those votes and the courts say, Al Gore won Florida, that they will regardless of that send to Washington a slate of Republican electors directed by the state legislature to vote for Governor Bush. What happens then?

GORE: I can't believe that the people of Florida want to see the expression of their will taken away by politicians. The people of Florida have the right to select the candidate for president that they -- that they want.

If the politicians ever try to take that away from the people, I think you'd see -- I think you'd see quite a negative response to it.

KING: This has been a town in turmoil for the last few years: the impeachment debate, relations between the Clinton-Gore administration and the Republican Congress. Even the impeachment debate aside not always great.

Do you see this going to the United States Congress? Do you have a sense of how the country would deal with that?

GORE: I can -- I do not. I think this is all going to be over with by the middle of December.

KING: Let me ask you to follow up with that: Let's assume you succeed. You will take office on January 20th with a Republican Senate, very narrowly, but a Republican Senate, and a Republican House -- again very narrow. They will make the case that you stole the election. Tom DeLay -- do you think you can govern in that environment?

GORE: I think that the best insurance for our country against either side feeling that the outcome was not legitimate is to put it in the hands of the people. That's why it's so important to count every vote. If the people of the United States of America in their individual states -- in this case in Florida -- make a judgment through their votes, then that can't be overturned. That's not to be questioned.

And again, when the elections are close and hard fought, it's even more important than in any other time to leave the final decision not with the politicians, not with the people who control the election machinery, but with the people. That's what our country is all about.

The revolutionary breakthrough more than 200 years ago that led to our nation, the greatest in the history of the world, was the brave decision by our founders to place ultimate trust in the people of this country. And whenever the decisions about who's going to lead America are made, they're made by the people. And anybody who tries to tamper with that is running against the American spirit, the will of the people, and everything this country is based on.

KING: Two more quick questions: You were in this room, very room, a short time ago with your running mate, Senator Lieberman...

GORE: Right.

KING: ... Roy Neel, your longtime friend and adviser, talking transition.

GORE: Right.

KING: Where are you in that process? And are you ready -- obviously, you know, the public part of that at least delayed by the contest of the election...

GORE: Right.

KING: Do you have a Cabinet in mind? Do you -- where are you?

GORE: Yes. I've made a lot of progress. Joe and I have been working very hard on it, and we've tried to keep it a private process.

And I said the other night that I thought it was time for both Governor Bush and I to move forward on this process. I choose to do it in a -- in a way that doesn't put a lot of names out there. He can choose his own way of doing it. I'm not criticizing whatever approach he takes there.

But I think it's in the national interest that both of us be thorough and meticulous in preparing for the transition that's going to take place for one of us on January the 20th. And I will be ready.

KING: We have in this conversation talked about politics and polling, lawyers and legal briefs, courts, votes, counts. This has to be emotionally a pretty amazing roller-coaster, having gone through the campaign and being exhausted at the end. We spoke near the end of the campaign. It's a tiring ordeal.

GORE: You were, too.

KING: I sure was. And it's 22 days later, and you know, you win one day, you win one decision, it seems just hours later something goes against you. Then you win another one and something goes against you...

GORE: It's an incredible story, the way it's unfolded, isn't it?

KING: What -- what goes through your mind and who do you reach out to when you want to get away from the lawyers and the consultant to just have a little bit of personal peace? GORE: My family, and faith and family, as I've said to you before, is really the center of my life. And this is some -- it is an unusual time, because you prepare yourself to win. You prepare yourself for the possibility that you won't win. You don't really prepare yourself for the possibility that you flip the coin in the air and it lands on its edge and you get neither outcome.

But it's a heck of a lot of easier than the campaign schedule, I'll tell you that. It's nice to sleep in the same bed every night and to be surrounded by my family and to get seven, eight hours sleep and exercise every day. So in many ways, it's much more relaxing and much easier than the campaign trail.

KING: Relaxing? The uncertainty doesn't drive you crazy?

GORE: It's all relative. It's relative. I said more so than the campaign.

KING: All right. We Would appreciate your time.

GORE: Playing with my grandson, for example, that's -- which I've been doing a lot of lately, that's -- that's pretty relaxing.

KING: What will your grandson's eight-grade history book say about this?

GORE: That the -- that the Gore-Lieberman administration was a great success following one of the most exciting and closely fought election contests in American history. That's what I hope it'll say.

KING: We will see.

GORE: Yes.

KING: Thank you very much.

GORE: Thank you, John.

KING: Thank you.


WOODRUFF: John King's interview with the vice president from earlier today.

Well, now that we've heard from Al Gore, Dick Cheney takes aim at the events of election 2000.


DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Vice President Gore has decided, for the first time ever really, to take a certified election, presidential election to court, and try to overturn it in the courts in Florida, I think, really is unprecedented.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: Bernie has an extended interview with Governor George W. Bush's running mate when this CNN special report continues. We'll be right back.


SHAW: Today, Dick Cheney was on CNN's INSIDE POLITICS to talk about election 2000. I started interview by asking him about the possibility of the Bush-Cheney ticket losing this election.


CHENEY: We think there have been major developments within the last week or so: the fact that we've been through the count and the recount and now the certification in Florida. We had an extra 12 days of counting; that we've now reached the point where the outcome of the election has been certified. It's important for us to move on.

We find ourselves in a unique circumstance, because the opposition now, Vice President Gore, has decided for the first time ever really to take a certified election, presidential election to court. And try to overturn it in the courts in Florida I think really is unprecedented. We've got no choice, though, but to press on with the transition, which has been my main assignment this week.

SHAW: You're traveling down to the governor's ranch with General Colin Powell tomorrow. What's the specific agenda?

CHENEY: Lunch and an opportunity to spend the afternoon together. We'll be talking about the transition itself, talking about the whole area of national security policy and how best to structure an organization that will be able to move forward in this administration.

We not yet prepared to announce any Cabinet members this week, but clearly General Powell has been a close friend for a long time, somebody who worked very closely with us during the campaign, and we welcome and value the opportunity to spend an afternoon talking to him about this very important part of the next administration.

SHAW: Is he a lead pipe cinch for secretary of state?

CHENEY: If I were to say that, Bernie, I'd be making an announcement, and I'm not authorized to make an announcement tonight. Clearly the governor's indicated on a number of occasions that he certainly would give very careful consideration to the possibility of trying to persuade General Powell to come out of retirement and to join the administration.

GREENFIELD: Mr. Secretary, it's Jeff Greenfield, good evening.

CHENEY: Yes, Jeff.

GREENFIELD: After your hospitalization and the new questions about the amount of information that was released back last July, you cited privacy as an explanation for not releasing the complete medical records. But the questions that were being asked back last July related very specifically to things like blood pressure, cholesterol level, the injection fraction of your heart -- specific questions about a medical condition you'd already had. How does privacy -- or how did privacy issues constrain you from releasing those specific pieces of information that were asked for by health professionals and others?

CHENEY: Well, Jeff, they were -- frankly, they were asked for by a few people in the press. We've released an enormous amount of information. I would guess that my physical anatomy has been more thoroughly analyzed, and my health more thoroughly reviewed, than any other vice president in modern history.

We put out a lot of information last summer when I became a candidate. We did an extra heavy special review of my health situation before I agreed to serve as George Bush's running mate. This past week, again, we had -- the day that I went in and had the stint procedure, we had two separate briefings at the hospital by the hospital physicians; the doctors themselves were made available to the press to answer those questions.

Now, we've, I think, been very forthcoming, put out another statement just today. I was in today for the weekly follow up, everything looked good. If you're curious, my blood pressure was 106 over 80, my pulse rate was 64, my cholesterol level, last time I checked, was 174. We did more blood work today and those results will be available in a day or two.

But the doctor's been very forthcoming and very direct. But, I prefer, frankly, to have health professionals who know and understand all of these technical details, men of stature and integrity, review the technical aspects of my health, and then comment on them.

And that's exactly what we've done. They're far more qualified, I think, to evaluate my health situation than would be the run-of-the- mill reporter.

SHAW: Well, Dick Cheney, I want to ask you two direct questions about your health.

CHENEY: Yes, sir.

SHAW: Do you brood about your heart condition?

CHENEY: No. I've lived with this, Bernie, for over 20 years, since I was 37 years old. I've had, I think, a fairly successful career in government and in the private sector after the onset of coronary artery disease. I learned to live with it a long time ago.

SHAW: Last question: Do you fear another heart attack?

CHENEY: Bernie, I don't operate that way. I think the great benefit I've had is the technology today is really phenomenal; the things that our doctors are able to do by way of dealing with coronary artery disease are much improved over what they were even three or four years ago. And I've been uniquely blessed to have nearly 60 wonderful years now of a fascinating life. Look forward to several more years.


WOODRUFF: That interview done just a few hours ago.

And coming up: How many flags are too many? Our Jeanne Moos takes a look. Also ahead: Although the U.S. Supreme Court justices have turned down requests to broadcast Friday's oral arguments, they are issuing an audio tape immediately after. We'll tell you why it's an extraordinary compromise.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We are going to have to work together. The American people deserve better than what they have been getting. And they deserve a government and representatives who will work together. And the longer this rhetoric -- words like stealing elections and phrases like that, I find very discomforting. And I would hope that we would stop it.


WOODRUFF: John King on "LARRY KING" tonight -- I'm sorry -- John McCain on "LARRY KING" tonight.

Just how far has the U.S. Supreme Court come in permitting an audio tape to be released immediately after Friday's arguments in the Florida vote case?

SHAW: CNN senior Washington correspondent Charles Bierbauer reports,


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll hear arguments in number 18: Roe against Wade.

CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The U.S. Supreme Court on CD-ROM: the court's greatest cases. Friday, the justices will crack the door wide enough for a microphone and same-day broadcasts of their arguments, but not on camera.

The courtroom scene will still be captured on a sketch pad. The camera-shy justices last posed for a class photo in 1994, when Justice Breyer joined the court. C-SPAN has tried to get cameras in since the mid-1980s and helped stage a demonstration for the justices.

BRUCE COLLINS, GENERAL COUNSEL, C-SPAN: We showed the justice who showed up that day -- and there were about three or four of them -- exactly what it would be like. We never heard anything again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please be seated. BIERBAUER: Yet televised arguments in Florida's Supreme Court were decorous. Lawrence Tribe, who'll argue for Vice President Gore, says the justices should not worry about the court's dignity.

LAWRENCE TRIBE, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: I'm totally in favor of it. I think what it would hurt is the anonymity of the justices. They like the luxury of being able to walk down the street without being asked for their autographs.


BIERBAUER: Chief Justice Rehnquist's solitary walks drew cameras last year when he presided over the Clinton impeachment trial, televised from the Senate. And never mind television: Some justices have worried about exactly what the court will do on Friday.


JUSTICE DAVID SOUTER, U.S. SUPREME COURT: The immediate release of a radio recording would lend itself simply to the kind of editing down to the sound bite.


BIERBAUER: Snippets, in other words.

RON GOLDFARB, AUTHOR, "TV OR NOT TV": The best newspapers, "New York times," whatever -- you get 800 words. You get a few minutes in the nightly news. That's a snippet.

BIERBAUER: The legal give-and-take can be heard on audio tapes released normally at the end of each term.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll hear argument, now, No. 95, 1853, William Jefferson Clinton versus Paula Corbin Jones.

BIERBAUER (on camera): On any case, Lawrence Tribe says, no smart lawyer would posture to cameras, because when you're arguing before the Supreme Court, you can't afford to talk to anyone but the nine justices.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, the Supreme Court.


WOODRUFF: And still to come on our special report, how many flags does it take to look presidential? Jeanne Moos ponders the candidate's escalating use of the stars and stripes.



BARBARA BUSH: You know, as much as I love George Bush, I confess that I am very grateful that he's off on his annual charitable fishing trip this week. The only thing that's saving our marriage right now is that he has a set of headphones which allows him to listen to CNN while I blissfully sleep.


WOODRUFF: Surely she's listening, though, when we're on, Bernie, don't you think?

SHAW: Yes, yes.


SHAW: You know, if you're trying to look presidential, it appears there's no better backdrop than red, white and blue.

WOODRUFF: And what could be better than one flag, but two or even three? Our Jeanne Moos weighs in on the election flag fanfare.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Interest in the election may be flagging, but the flag itself isn't. In the words of Jay Leno...


JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": The guy with the most flags wins.


MOOS: Right after the election, George Bush appeared with the Texas flag. But since then, it's been the stars and stripes forever.

BUSH: And God bless America.

MOOS: The flags are multiplying like rabbits.

GORE: Good evening.

MOOS: Dick Cheney showed up flanked by 14 flags. Old glory was in her glory.

CHENEY: Good afternoon.


JOHN ROBERTS, CBS NEWS: It is definitely sending a signal. I mean, the signal is getting so strong, I'm waiting for them now to get out semaphore flags to sort of signal the audience, we won, we won, we won.


MOOS: Photographers weren't complaining.

RON SACHS, PHOTOGRAPHER: I like it better. It gives us a little bit more to work against instead of just a static blue background.

MOOS: And comedians weren't complaining either.


DAVID LETTERMAN, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Damn it, I can appear presidential.



VANCE DEGENERES, "THE DAILY SHOW": According to most projections, by the end of the week, one of these men will appear in front of 317.64 flags.


MOOS: At a briefing room shared by Democrats and Republicans, the Democrats contented themselves with one Florida state flag and one U.S. Flag, and Republicans arrived with about 10 flags, complete with eagles.

Asked if there were a "Bush-Cheney flag strategy," a Bush spokeswoman merely chuckled.

Bush campaign signs feature a stylized flag, and look who's talking. CNN can't resist wrapping itself in the stars and stripes. Protesters have been holding flags upside down as a symbolic distress signal. But there's something distressing about the flag count.


LENO: Gore speaks, one flag. Bush speaks, two flags. Then last night Gore, three flags!


MOOS: Wait a minute. Gore had more than three against Cheney's 14. We demand a recount.


LETTERMAN: He had eight.

MOOS: Eight? That's what "The New York Daily News" reported.


LIEBERMAN: An incomplete, an inaccurate count.

MOOS: What Joe Lieberman said about the Florida vote applies to the flag count. Al Gore appeared before at least 15 flags, making him the apparent flag recount winner.

It turns out the 14 flags arrayed behind Dick Cheney were put there by a decorating company that says it acted on its own. The governor himself has stuck to two flags, but with the Gore campaign refusing to raise the white flag, maybe the Republicans should try the Band-Aid approach.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: And don't take a wide shot of what's behind us. If you widen out you'll see a flag.

And that's it for this special report on election 2000: the Florida vote. I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: Only in America.

I'm Bernard Shaw. "THE SPIN ROOM" is ready to take off.



Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.