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Special Event

The Spin Room: Al Gore Speaks

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


BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Election 2000, round and round and round it goes.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Spin again. That's music to our ears, Bill.

Hibernation is over. Al Gore gives an interview to anyone who asks for it.

PRESS: Except for THE SPIN ROOM. You will be sorry, Al.

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

PRESS: Yes, good evening, everyone, it's Wednesday night here in THE SPIN ROOM. Welcome. I'm Bill Press. I am the one with the conservative necktie.

CARLSON: Tucker Carlson. I am the one with the left-wing neck gear. This is the show where you can call, e-mail, join our on-line chat. We encourage you strongly to do all three. You can call us, as always, toll free: 1-800-310-4CNN. You can join our live on-line chat at or you can send us an e-mail. Our address

PRESS: That's right. You are the one that makes this show very special on CNN because you get to sound off. We want you to do so by phone, by fax, and by e-mail.

And, Tucker, the other thing that makes this show so special is that we sort of do new things almost every night, like tonight, something very new. Now we've had some great guests on this show.

CARLSON: We had just last night...


CARLSON: ... Jesse Jackson, barrel of laughs.

PRESS: Reverend Jackson last night. Remember Patty Smith?

CARLSON: Patty Smith lives on an island in the South Pacific. I love Patty Smith.

PRESS: How about Helen Reddy (ph)? CARLSON: How about Robert Wexler?

PRESS: Robert Wexler.

CARLSON: Oh, fantastic.

PRESS: And we were the first ones to have electors, two presidential electors.


CARLSON: And we must have been the first to have our own tavern correspondent, Robert George.

PRESS: With Jake Tapper, of course.

CARLSON: With Jake Tapper.

PRESS: But tonight, we have the most -- shall we tell them?

CARLSON: I think we should.

PRESS: The most special guest of all tonight. Our special guest tonight is you guys.

CARLSON: The invisible guests. The guests from away, the electronic guests.

PRESS: We've been hearing so much people say there's not enough time for e-mails and chats and phones. So tonight, it's you and us, nobody else.


CARLSON: You will carry the show. We're throwing ourselves on your mercy.

PRESS: And, in fact, they're already started. Almost 20,000 e- mails before the show started tonight, which is still another record.

CARLSON: It's a merciful audience.

PRESS: And I'll tell you, we have to thank you again because you've gone over the top. Last night, we had the poetry. Tonight, we start with the -- thanks to one of our e-mail people -- the Florida bumper stickers.

CARLSON: It's a lower genre. But I like it better.

PRESS: We like it. Here's the first -- these are all Florida bumper stickers.

Number one: "If you think we can't vote, wait till you see us drive."

CARLSON: "Florida -- we count more than you do." PRESS: "Florida -- if you don't like the way we count, then take I-95 and visit one of the other 56 states."

CARLSON: Fantastic. "Florida -- relax, retire, revote."

PRESS: "Florida -- where your vote counts and counts and counts."

CARLSON: "Florida -- this is what you get for taking Elian away from us."

PRESS: Serves him right.

CARLSON: Fantastic.

PRESS: "Palm Beach County -- so nice you can vote twice."

CARLSON: "Palm Beach County -- we put the duh in Florida."

PRESS: Well deserved.

CARLSON: I love that one.

PRESS: It's time to cut off Florida. And here we go, last one. "Florida -- we can't vote, but you should see how we handle 15 bingo cards at the same time."

CARLSON: You know, that is more than a talking point. That is a deep truth. That is totally -- actually, speaking of (INAUDIBLE), we got an e-mail today that actually raised what I thought was one of the most interesting questions I've heard raised in a long time.

And that is, how do we know that Al Gore really won the popular vote? You hear Gore talk about that all the time. He said it twice I think in just one day today.

Here's the e-mail. "How can Al Gore keep saying he won the popular vote when there were two million votes that were disqualified nationwide? When George Bush says he won the election, Gore says, "No, there are still 10,000 votes to be counted in Florida."" I think this sort of inserts a little lack of knowing into the matter. I mean, do we know that he won the popular vote?

PRESS: I just think we have to have a new election, that's all, all 50 states. I mean, start over again. Yeah, bring back Lamar Alexander.

All right, and here's Felix. "I am a Republican and voted for George Bush. And I don't want the count to continue because I know that my candidate will lose if it does. And I want to be on the winning team."

That's an honest Republican.

CARLSON: Bill, that is such a ringer. If you can't recognize that as something written by Carter Eskew... (CROSSTALK)

PRESS: All right, we have a phone call from Jeff. Jeff is in Texas. Hello, Texas. Hello, Jeff. You're in THE SPIN ROOM.

CALLER: Yes. The big spin of the week has got to be actually a double spin by Gore.

He's got -- he wants all the votes counted. But there were about 75,000 votes inside of Florida that were not counted. He only wants certain votes counted.

But then he says, "Well, hold it. It's not up to me to ask for these counts. It should be George Bush asking for these other people to count, these other counties." That has got to be the double spin of the week.

PRESS: All right, Jeff. You know, so many people are asking for so many ballots to be counted. Do you realize there are a million ballots on their way to Tallahassee tomorrow morning?

CARLSON: And that would be in the ballot caravan.

PRESS: Yeah, the ballot caravan.

CARLSON: The ballot motorcade. Clearing the highways across Florida for the ballot motorcade.

PRESS: With a George Bush attorney and an Al Gore attorney at the end of the caravan just to make sure that nobody steals votes between Miami-Dade and Tallahassee.

CARLSON: You know, I would give 20 bucks to ride in that motorcade.

PRESS: This is going to be the best motorcade since O.J.

CARLSON: It's going to be the best. We have another call from Ontario, Canada, Ted.

PRESS: Welcome.

CALLER: Hi, how are you doing?

PRESS: Hi, Ted.

CALLER: How are you doing?

PRESS: Great.

CALLER: Just letting you guys know that we're watching you up here...

CARLSON: We feel watched.

CALLER: ... And we know you -- pardon? CARLSON: We feel watched.

CALLER: Oh, good. You guys proclaim to be the most democratic country in the world, go in and tell people how to vote and to make sure you count your votes. Well, I've got one thing to say. Would you please practice what you preach and count all the votes? Thank you very much.

CARLSON: Thank you, Ted. Bill, I feel like we're being mocked by Canadians again.


CARLSON: I sense it.

PRESS: It hurts me to be mocked by Canadians, although I think the Canadians might have something to mock when they realize now the latest. Now we've seen the Florida Supreme Court. We've seen the state courts in Florida. Now we're going to see the U.S. Supreme Court. There are all these players. The newest players are the members of the Florida legislature.


PRESS: This is it. They're saying, "These other guys can't straighten it out. We're going to come in, and we're going to decide." Right? So...

CARLSON: But they seem like sane people in the midst of all this. Would you trust members of the Florida legislature or Larry Trodd (ph)?

PRESS: I certainly wouldn't -- sane people? Have you seen any of them?

Well, here's what we did see today. We saw a lot of citizens of Florida come up in front of a legislature and tell the legislature what they thought about what we're doing. So let's sort of kick it off by listening to voices, the voices of Floridians. Here they are.

CARLSON: Real people.

PRESS: Real people.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The will of the people is best expressed by their vote.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my vote to count.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were confused. We were misled.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been doing it for 60 years. I know what I'm doing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I voted for a person that I would never in a million years vote for, Buchanan.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The arrow went to a place between two holes. If anybody knows holes and points, it's me. I'm an acupuncturist.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoever designed this is stupid.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's not take a shortcut and select the electors.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can no longer watch this on television.



CARLSON: That is just -- well, I...

PRESS: I can't watch it on television either.

CARLSON: ... Wait, I've got some late breaking news here, Bill. A friend of mine, Matt Labash (ph), an excellent reporter for "The Weekly Standard," just called me on my cell phone moments ago. He spent all day interviewing these real people.

He told me they were flown up to Tallahassee in a chartered 727 by Democratic operatives. They had tuna salad sandwiches and cheesecake. One person he interviewed said she was promised an open bar, very irritated that that was not provided in the end. I'm not sure it's fair to call these people real people.

PRESS: No, but I think -- I'm glad to hear that the Democrats have taken a page of the Republican power play book, which is they probably chartered the same jet that Tom DeLay used to send his people down and stay for three days at the Hyatt and storm the Miami-Dade County Courthouse. At least these people were well behaved.

CARLSON: Yes, but I'll tell you one thing, Bill. When the Republicans promise an open bar, they deliver. I can't imagine that any Republican operative would dangle that in front of citizens and then not come through in the end.


PRESS: A Republican open bar is a contradiction in terms. But you know what? I have to tell you if they really think that Jeb Bush, who's been in hiding so far, correctly so, he's going to come out of hiding, round up his troops in the legislature, and take over this election, I really think they're kidding themselves. I mean, I think that is the ultimate political power play that blows this whole thing wide open.

CARLSON: Round up his troops in the legislature? There's this marshal imagery that -- I mean, these are people who are elected by the citizens of Florida, by the people. They express indirectly the will of the people of Florida. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

PRESS: They're not elected to steal their votes. That's the difference.

But you know who was out there today? The other news of the day is Al Gore was all over the place...

CARLSON: He was.

PRESS: ... except of course in THE SPIN ROOM.

CARLSON: You know, it's interesting, though. You talk to reporters who covered Gore who waited weeks and some cases months for a simple press conference, couldn't get it. And all of a sudden, it's all Gore all the time. Turn on cable, he's there.

PRESS: And we heard him today on many different occasions. Are you ready for...

CARLSON: I'm very ready, buckling my seatbelt.

PRESS: OK, let's hear it. Al Gore, byte number one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VICE PRES. AL GORE, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 want. If the politicians ever tried to take that away from the people, I think you'd see quite a negative response to it.


CARLSON: Oh, Bill, the not so subtle threat from Al Gore. If the legislature acts, I'll call out my whatever, people, they will mobilize. They won't be happy. I mean, this is a threat.

PRESS: Well, even though I'm not happy that he didn't give us an interview in THE SPIN ROOM, I have to say well said, Al Gore. This is something that the people I think want.

There's no difference between that and walking into a bank with a gun and saying, "Give me all your money." That's what they're doing.

CARLSON: Do you really think so? I mean, when I see Al Gore on television, I honestly feel like running away. It's scary. I think he does himself a profound disservice by getting on the tube. I think he should take a page from the George W. Bush book by staying at home.

PRESS: Well, you know what? We haven't heard much from the other candidate, by the way. But we're going to see when we come back what he's been up to since we last saw W., which was -- what -- about three days ago I think.

That's a good time to take a break. We're going to take a break right here in THE SPIN ROOM, Tucker, and get our nominations for "Spin of the Day" when we come back. Telephone numbers...

CARLSON: Yes, you can call us toll free. And that is toll free, meaning no toll. That's 310-4CNN, 1-800 of course. You can join our live online chat at, or you can send us an e-mail. Our address is And send us your nominations for "Spin of the Day." We love to read them.

PRESS: We'll be right back.


CARLSON: I like the mean ones. Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press.

Tonight is our all viewer show where you decide what we talk about. We're sort of like the marionette Bill brought on the show the other day, the Katherine Harris puppet. You pull the strings, and we will comply.

PRESS: I knew I forgot something.


PRESS: We have lots of e-mail, 20,000. We can't read them all. Obviously, we'll read as many as we can.

Buzz Alexander (ph) of Frenchtown, Montana. "Just for the heck of it, I say we recount all of Idaho." Why not? Go for it.

CARLSON: That's -- there is that sort of hostility between Montana and Idaho.

Here's from Willie May Baxter (ph), Exeter, Rhode Island. "Anyone remember the Y2K glitch? This election is it." It may be.

PRESS: I like that. "Can the post office throw out my letter if the machine can't read the zip code?"

CARLSON: That is a deep question, one that needed to be asked. This is from Charles Muhas (ph). "If the nation could withstand the O.J. Simpson trial for months, it could also stand to have a little patience when choosing the results of the election of the leader of the free world."

That's a good point. O.J. should have conceded.

PRESS: Yeah, talk about -- but let's not go there. "Hello, Bill and Tucker, I'm just rushing home to watch your show. You guys are great political comedians. Are you guys thinking of running in 2004?"

CARLSON: Oh, absolutely.

PRESS: Tucker...

CARLSON: Are you kidding?

PRESS: ... how did he know?

CARLSON: Who will be the secretary of state? That's the question.

PRESS: All right, there is a David in California dying to talk to us.

David, we appreciate the call all the way from the west coast. What's up?

CALLER: Well, I'd like to know why the media are allowing Al Gore to avoid the hard questions. They're not just playing softball with him. They're playing T-ball.

PRESS: What's the hard question?

CALLER: Well, what about the other uncounted ballots in Florida? What about the 15,000 voters in Seminole County they're trying to disenfranchise? The Democrats can stop that in a heartbeat.

PRESS: All right, David, I have to tell you, in all fairness, I heard both Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings tonight ask Al Gore about the votes in Seminole County. So I think you're not...

CARLSON: And I have to say, I mean, as...

PRESS: Whatever the answer, he was asked the question.

CARLSON: I'm sort of a defender of the idea of a liberal media conspiracy to a limited extent. But I think even the press dislikes Al Gore. I mean, everybody dislikes Al Gore, even reporters.

PRESS: I know the reporters dislike Al Gore, which is why he got such bad press during the campaign.


PRESS: We talk about Al Gore being everywhere today. What I do find strange is that the Republican Party has buried their candidate or else he has buried himself.

CARLSON: He's relaxing, Bill...

PRESS: The last time we saw...


PRESS: ... Here's all we know that W. has been up to. You've seen this video. You can watch it again on CNN over and over today because here's W. This is how he's passing his time, throwing the ball with the dog. Now, Tucker, I just want to point out, do you know what his dog's name is?


PRESS: Spot.

CARLSON: See, that is so wonderfully American.

PRESS: I rest my case. That says everything about the man's intellectual capacity and creativity. His dog is named Spot.

CARLSON: Bill, I look at that tape, and I say I would vote for the guy on the basis of that. Al Gore is sitting and barking at his television, pacing like Nixon. Here is George W. Bush outside with his duck coat on throwing balls for a spaniel. He has my vote right there.

PRESS: With a dog named Spot.

CARLSON: It's absolutely fantastic.

PRESS: All right, all right...


CARLSON: Speaking of life outside, this e-mail raised a question in my mind. It says: "As his first official duty after being sworn in, President Bush should definitely appoint former Vice President Gore as the U.S. ambassador to Chad." That raised the question of what will Al Gore do when this is all over when he loses? I mean, I can imagine kind of a professorship in freshman philosophy at Middle Tennessee State Junior College. But truly, do you have any sense of what he'll do?

PRESS: I just say don't count all your chads before they're hung, Tucker, because this ain't over yet. But we did also hear today from the vice president perhaps to be, Joe Lieberman.

CARLSON: We certainly did.

PRESS: He was on "IP" (ph) today.

CARLSON: He made a point that I thought was fascinating. Listen to what he said.


SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can tell you that he did turn away from some recommendations because he just thought that they would be too divisive and they might take too long.


PRESS: Obviously, that was on Larry King, tonight on...

CARLSON: But it raises the question, he turned away from options. Now this is a guy who has allowed -- I don't know, 3,000 or 4,000 lawsuits to go forward in the last week. So what were the options that he turned down, armed conflict? I mean, what does this mean? How much farther can you go?

PRESS: Actually, maybe 4,000 Gore lawsuits. There's probably 5,000 Bush lawsuits. So he turned down 1,000 lawsuits.

CARLSON: Is that true?


PRESS: But I do want to come back, if I may, to the Republican candidate...

CARLSON: You may.

PRESS: ... because we did hear from him Sunday night. He's been throwing the ball for the dog ever since. But Sunday night, I thought George Bush said something the last time we heard of W. I could not believe he had the audacity to say. Let me remind you a little bit from his Sunday night address to the nation, George W.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll work with members of the Congress from both parties to reduce tax rates for everyone who pays income taxes in America.


PRESS: Well, Tucker, I hope you were watching him carefully because Jay Leno says when you see George W. reading the teleprompter, it reminds you of a dog that just heard a new noise, like...

CARLSON: Well, Bill...

PRESS: ... But what he said is what I'm interested in. What he says is like he has a mandate he says to push an across the board tax cut. I ask you, if he lost the popular vote by 337,000, may win the Electoral College by one...

CARLSON: Bill...

PRESS: ... with a Senate tie and a House closer than it ever was, where is the mandate for anything?

CARLSON: ... I'll tell you, Bill, this is one of those issues that someone never made sense to smug, Volvo driving liberals in upper northwest Washington, DC. But in fact, it polled really well. It turns out people actually do want a tax cut.

And I bet you 20 bucks, the amount of money I'll probably get back from the tax cut, that you will see one led by George W. Bush once he becomes president.

PRESS: But wouldn't you agree that neither George Bush nor Al Gore, whichever one comes out of this, is going to have a mandate to deliver...


CARLSON: When you're president, you're president. People -- look, I think George W. got a long way just by saying, "Hey, I'm president-elect." I think people look at him and say, "Sure you are." It works.


CARLSON: People respect the president. Well, we still want to know what your "Spins of the Day" are. "Spin of the Day" of course is when we see something so ludicrous that you lash out and throw a beer bottle at the TV. And we hope you send us an e-mail or call us. Please do both. We'll be back in just a moment with more SPIN ROOM.


PRESS: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. Bill Press and Tucker Carlson here. This is the best time of the show, our nominations and yours for the "Spin of the Day," the most outrageous thing you heard all day long.


CARLSON: Bill, before we get to that, this is viewer mail. We have a piece of your mail that you haven't seen. Now the other day, a letter came...


CARLSON: ... which is why we love them. A piece of mail came addressed to you. You were I think napping. Before you could get it, it was stolen by our producer Don Smith (ph) and made into a graphic. Now this comes from a very old friend of yours...


CARLSON: ... "Bill Press, this is your life. This is a photograph of you taken some years ago as a young seminarian." And I want our viewers to see this to get the sense that Bill Press wasn't always that haggard grungy guy...

PRESS: I hate this.

CARLSON: ... We know and love him now.

PRESS: This is not.

CARLSON: That is absolutely Bill Press. You look like the sweetest man I have ever seen. It's unbelievable, Bill. And I just thought that people watching this program would want to get a better sense of the fully rounded Bill Press. Oh, how far you've fallen.

PRESS: That actually was taken in Switzerland when I was getting my graduate degree over there. And I think tomorrow night I'm going to wear my cassock and collar just to show you...

CARLSON: I don't think there's any question that you should.

PRESS: ... just to show you that I'm still a saint and you should not mock me.

CARLSON: You know, but I won't believe you any more, despite the garb.

PRESS: You are going to burn in hell because you mocked a saint.


PRESS: All right, thank you for that Don Smith. Talk to you after the show.

All right, here's my spin -- no, we have a phone call. Tom.

CARLSON: Bill's rattled.


PRESS: Tom from Maryland. Yes, Tom, bless you, my son.

CALLER: Bill, Tucker, I want to remind people that this is 22 days and counting. They say when is it going to stop? The Democrats ask for the ballots to be counted for the first time on November 8. And the Republicans have been introducing these law cases. And ask them when they're going to stop so we can count the ballots. That's all we want is to count the ballots.

PRESS: Good question, Tom.

CARLSON: It sounds pretty simple, Tom. Unfortunately, the ballots are in fact little tiny bumps. It's not clear what they mean. It's a little more complicated than that.

PRESS: Count the ballots. And a special...

CARLSON: That's the word from Maryland.

PRESS: ... All right, a couple of special "Spins of the Day."

CARLSON: We do. We have one here. This is from Julia Gray (ph).

"My "Spin for the Day." The Democrats who said the Republican protesters acted in an un-American fashion need to go back to school. I suppose that they forgot that in 1773 40 colonists stormed and boarded three British ships. They broke into the chest, dumped the loose tea in the Boston Harbor to protest the monopoly by the British government." Julia L. Gray (ph) says that, "It was indeed an unruly mob at the Boston Tea Party."

You know, Democrats are so much less sympathetic to that than they used to be.

PRESS: Greg Lamere (ph) says, "My "Spin of the Day" is George Bush getting out of town and secluding himself at his Texas ranch," which I just pointed out. "Governor Bush now has Dick Cheney doing all the work. And he's only been out of the hospital a week."

You see, it's just not...

CARLSON: But Dick Cheney is so very good.

"Spin of the Day," "Mitch McConnell deserves the spin of the year for calling Al Gore, quote, 'the Tonya Harding of politics.'"

Yes, but it's a great line. And it's absolutely true.

Speaking of great lines, let me get to my "Spin of the Day." Now Gore did -- Al Gore an interview this morning with Claire Shipman of NBC. And I want to read to you what he said.

He said, "I don't like awake at night. I sleep like a baby. I've been getting seven, eight hours of sleep at night. And I'm not tortured over what ifs at all."

That's what he says. Take a look at how Al Gore has looked recently. This is a picture taken of Al Gore two days ago. This is not a man who is getting seven or eight hours of sleep. The idea that Al Gore wants us to believe that he is sleeping better than the rest of us are in the middle of all this, it's beyond spin. PRESS: Well, I do have to agree that if he's sleeping all night long, why aren't you and I sleeping all night long?

CARLSON: That is a great point.


PRESS: My "Spin of the Day." Dick Cheney today was on "Inside Politics" with Bernard Shaw. Bernard Shaw asked him I thought a very, very important question. Let's hear Dick Cheney's answer.


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




CARLSON: See, this is why he's a spokesman.

PRESS: Wait a minute. We know why Colin Powell is going down there tomorrow, because George Bush is playing president. And this is part of it. And it's all a game. And it's my "Spin of the Day." And we have time for one more.

CARLSON: It is a great line. And before we go, I don't want to leave before we put up this graphic on the screen. I got this on my computer today from a friend of mine. I think it's going around the Internet.

This is the new seal, official seal, of the Democratic Party. Take a look at this.

PRESS: Yes. Oh, Tucker. No, that's...

CARLSON: It's the whining party.

PRESS: ... Wait a minute, why would you put Jim Baker on the Democratic Party seal?

CARLSON: Oh, oh, Bill. Poke a knife.

PRESS: But you know what, Tucker? This is not the only graphic that we received today. We also received the new seal of the United States Republican Party. Look at this.

CARLSON: Oh, Bill.

PRESS: It is the best part of the elephant.

CARLSON: Oh, that is so unattractive. PRESS: You know what, Tucker? This is what Florida is now full of. And I just pity the poor people who have to clean up after them.

CARLSON: But you know, they can play 15 bingo cards at once. Who's ahead?

PRESS: Yeah, but the elephants are tromping all over them.

All right, we are out of spin for tonight, folks.

CARLSON: Out of time, but not out of spin.

PRESS: Right, thank you again for joining us. Don't forget, we'll be back...


PRESS: ... tomorrow night and Friday for a half hour. And Sunday night, a special full hour at 10:00.

CARLSON: That would be every night except Saturday, so don't even think about changing the channel. See you tomorrow night.

PRESS: Good night, everybody.



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