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The Spin RoomAired December 3, 2000 - 11:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Hey, look, Tucker. The president -- the next president's last name only has four letters. G-O-R-E.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: I think you misspelled it, Bill. I want to buy a lawyer.
PRESS: Well, after 48 hours and 432 1/2, our heads are spinning.
CARLSON: C-SPAN comes to prime time. Bring on more expert witnesses.
ANNOUNCER: From CNN Washington and all over the United States, THE SPIN ROOM is open.
PRESS: Good evening, everybody. The lawyers have finished. It's our turn. They've been spinning inside the courtroom, now we get to spin with you. I'm Bill Press. Thanks for joining us for this Sunday night special.
CARLSON: And I'm Vanna White -- or Tucker Carlson. We have a full hour tonight.
PRESS: You look better than Vanna White.
CARLSON: Thank you. A little less busty, but robust, nonetheless. We're here for a full hour. We want to hear what you think. After a full day of watching this, we know you have a lot to say. So call us toll-free at 1-800-310-4CNN. You can join our live online chat at cnn.com or you can send an e-mail. Our address is email@example.com.
PRESS: Yes, we have a whole hour tonight. That's very special. That means we have time to read twice as many e-mails, twice as many comments from the -- well, we used to call it the chat room. It's really the chad room. Comments from the chad room.
CARLSON: It really is the chad room and we never clean it.
PRESS: No, we never clean it out. And twice as many phone calls. So, we want to hear from you. We want you to participate. I mean, that's in fact, that's what this show is about, Tucker. I mean, you and I are mere conduits for our viewers.
CARLSON: We're the pipeline through which their wisdom flows. PRESS: That's it. We just sit here so we can channel -- channel your comments.
CARLSON: I'm like Shirley MacLain (ph). And tell you we have an indoor SPIN ROOM.
PRESS: Indoor SPIN ROOM. No matter how great this show's going to be -- I know it's going to be a great show -- it can't be exciting or not as wild as Friday night when we were outdoors. I mean, it's going to be a little bit different. We don't have and car alarms, no long underwear...
CARLSON: Thank you, Bill.
CARLSON: But you know what we're really missing, and this makes me sad even to say it, are some of our friends from the great outdoors. Do you remember?
PRESS: There he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You know who's not running out of things to say? The protesters, and one of the sad things was we didn't have any protesters I'm so glad one showed up. Let the people show up.
PRESS: You know, he probably saw us on TV. He said there are no protesters. I got to...
CARLSON: Even when your friends don't come to protest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESS: I remember this guy, our sole -- our protester.
CARLSON: He loved us, Bill. He was a SPIN ROOM viewer if I've ever seen one.
PRESS: Well, I think, you know, depending on what happens, if this show becomes like a real show when all this is over, I mean, he could be part of the show. It's like, you know, David Letterman has Paul, whatever his name is, who's the band leader.
CARLSON: Yes. He's be our from remote sign carrier. He would be the voice for the people.
PRESS: Our Ed McMahon.
CARLSON: Our angry correspondent.
PRESS: A regular part of the show. I don't know, Tucker, how much of the last 48 hours you've been watching. CARLSON: Quite a bit.
PRESS: I watched it off and on. I'll tell you one thing. The thought that occurred to me over and over this weekend -- I'm glad I never went to law school. Can you imagine making a living doing that?
CARLSON: You wouldn't feel good about yourself.
PRESS: I wouldn't.
CARLSON: You know why? I feel like I've got something above the people we watched today. I clean out my Votomatic. My votomatic is not clogged with chads. Actually, I thought it was kind of illuminating. If you stuck with it hour after hour after hour, you learned all kinds of things about styluses and bits of paper and I found it fascinating.
PRESS: I listened to these lawyers, I just can't -- I can't imagine devoting my life to making those kind of argument. Objection, your honor. Objection, your honor. But also, I watched the judge and I figured out. You know what the judge is all about. I'll bet you. The judge is which of these guys -- I think he's sitting up there saying which of these guys do I like and which of these guys don't I like. And know what, if I were the judge, Barry Richard. Oh, he makes me squirm.
CARLSON: David Boies.
PRESS: John Beck.
CARLSON: Way, way, way too slick. Boies is one of these guys who's come through this, everyone says David Boies is really slick. I don't know. I see him, the knit-tie, the librarian shoes, I just think no way. I wouldn't buy an opinion.
PRESS: Ask Bill Gates about David Boies and he'll tell don't underestimate him. But the one thing i think we learned is that the spin in politics comes no where close to a spin inside a courtroom. Did you ever hear such spinning on both sides?
CARLSON: I actually sort of liked it, again. I thought they were pretty compelling.
PRESS: It was -- it was spin. Pure, pure spin. Well, you know, not everyone had a chance to watch all day long yesterday and all day today.
CARLSON: Let's hit them with some more.
PRESS: For those of you haven't, we've got to just take a little break here now and go to Sharon Collins at CNN Atlanta, who's going to just bring us up-to-date on this weekend's fun, if we can call it that, in Tallahassee.
Sharon, wrap it up for us. SHARON COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, guys. Now, suppose just for a moment that you actually had something to do this weekend other than stay glued to the television watching every breathless minute of testimony from Tallahassee. Well, you really missed some fascinating stuff. For example, you probably don't know how many pieces of chad it takes to fill up a voting machine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE N. SANDERS SAULS, LEON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: You testified at one point 1.3 million pieces of chad could be accumulated in one. So however many elections it takes for 1.3 million.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In order to tally fill it up you could probably go 50 years, but eight to 10 years it might not cause you any problem, depending on how many elections, how many votes have been cast on that unit?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Well, you see there. That's pretty exciting, huh. Now, if that doesn't make you feel bad for going out shopping for presents instead of watching TV, consider this highly dramatic moment when the bush campaign's witness ended up agreeing with the Gore campaign's attorney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, isn't it true that when you have hanging chad and particularly in a case where there's lots of them because machines aren't tearing them off correctly, that every time they run through the vote counter the vote changes because the chads close up and therefore to the machine it looks like there hasn't been a vote where in fact there has been and that is why you need manual recounts? Isn't that correct, sir? Yes or No, sir. One of the reasons, at least?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need either reinspection or manual recount where you have that situation. Yes, you do. If you've got a very close election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: I don't know. It kind of makes Matlock and Perry Mason pale in comparison, doesn't it? Now, aren't you sorry you were watching football and basketball? And you know what the best part is? After nine hours of this on Saturday and another about 13 hours on Sunday, nobody decided anything. Now guys, how could you beat that?
CARLSON: Well, you can't. You absolutely can't.
PRESS: No, you can't beat it and we'll have a decision, though tomorrow, Sharon. So, we'll know what the judge was listening to and what he was thinking all about it. How about that guy? The Bush people puts this machine expert in the witness stand and he ended up testifying, basically agreeing with the Gore people. CARLSON: Angels on the head of a pin, Bill. It makes no difference.
PRESS: You need a hand count. That's what he said. Did you hear him? He said you need a hand count.
CARLSON: No, Bill. Actually, I didn't hear him. But we have a caller in the line, Jay from New York. Doubtless a veteran of many hours of court watching. Jay, are you there?
CALLER: Yes, I'm here. It appears to me after the Republican summation that only Republican votes will be counted.
CARLSON: That's the spirit, Jay.
PRESS: All right, Jay. Thank you. We'll see what the judge decides. I doubt that's what he's going to decide. A lot of e-mail, Tucker, here. You want go first?
CARLSON: I will. This is someone who agrees with me so I'm reading her e-mail first. This is Becky Davis from Eureka Springs, Arkansas: "I disagree that Americans fed up. Surely we would like to know who our next president is, but not at the expense of justice. Most of us are spellbound watching our judicial system in action." Spellbound, Bill. Spellbound.
PRESS: Let me tell you something. No, I agree with Becky. I'm in no hurry. Let's take the time to let this thing play out. It's too important to rush through.
CARLSON: Electors will be seated, Bill, whether you're ready or not.
PRESS: Let's take the time, count all the votes. We've got nothing more important to do. OK, here's an e-mail from Tom Fisher, Topeka, Kansas; "My God. Cheney, Baker, Colin Powell. It's deja Bush all over again.
CARLSON: Oh, mean. Now here's someone. This is Gerald Hanson from Racine, Wisconsin. Gerald has been watching very closely: "Judge N. Sanders Sauls is driving me crazy by constantly rocking back and forth in his chair." That's an attentive viewer.
PRESS: I like the judge rocking back and forth.
CARLSON: I do, too.
CARLSON: I wish we had rocking chairs, you know. Neither Tucker nor I had the fortitude to go to law school. So when we get into these legal matters we always need, you know, someone to walk us through it.
CARLSON: Bolster by lawyers, and we have an excellent one tonight. Neal Katyal is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and more to the point, he is a co-counsel for Vice President Gore in the Supreme Court case. Welcome. Thank you for coming in on Sunday night.
NEAL KATYAL, GORE CAMPAIGN LAWYER: Thanks, Tucker.
PRESS: Hey, Neal, good to have you here.
By the way, I just want to point out that before anybody -- people rush to the phones to cry foul, this is an hour show, so in the second part of the show we're going to have an attorney on who supports the Bush position.
CARLSON: That's correct. Supports it well -- Barbara Olson.
PRESS: Barbara Olson, right.
CARLSON: We'll talk to her in a bit.
Now, Neal, let me just ask you this -- I'm going to go right to the mean question -- there have been a number of accounts of Vice President Gore's state of mind, "Newsweek" has quite a long piece today describing how isolated he is and how he intends to fight to the death on this, and it makes the point that he doesn't seem to be having a lot of advice, or listening to a lot of advice from people outside his family, his -- really his immediate -- his circle.
Have you talked to him, or do you know who is, or who is advising Gore, do you know of?
KATYAL: Tucker, honestly, I'm just a law professor brought in to help with the Supreme Court argument, I have not talked to the vice president. And so, that would be someone well above my pay grade, which is to say my pay grade is none at all.
PRESS: Well, Neal, you have the first requirement for being on THE SPIN ROOM, which is humility, so we want -- that's a necessary requirement.
CARLSON: Bill and I don't, but you do, so we appreciate that.
PRESS: We thank you for proving it -- and honesty as well.
Now, let me ask you, as you just heard the judge, after 48 hours now sitting there just about nonstop, and they're all finished and he says, OK, guys, I'm going to let you know in the morning what my decision is. What does that say to you, Neal -- be honest now, not -- you know, don't -- no spin here -- what does it honestly say you think he's going to do?
KATYAL: Well, again, honestly, you know, I'm no expert on Florida law, so -- and it's tough to know.
PRESS: But you are on judges.
KATYAL: And my sense is that there is quite a compelling case put on by the Gore team that machines systematically undercount the number of votes cast, and these machines are only used in certain counties. So the Republicans say, you didn't have a manual count here or there or there or there, but these machines are only used in a few counties and in those counties, there have been some pretty alarming discrepancies, like 10,000 completely undercounted votes never been counted once.
PRESS: So -- well, wait -- so you're saying you think he's going to rule tomorrow to start counting votes, is that what you're saying?
KATYAL: Always tough to predict, but the stronger argument seems to be on the Gore side.
PRESS: All right, now let me flip it around, what if he says tomorrow morning, you didn't make your case, I don't see any need to count the votes, isn't it all over for Al Gore?
KATYAL: Well, it would depend on precisely the reasoning that's at stake and so on, so it's tough to do that kind of hypothetical, because he could say, for example, we need more evidence, more testimony. But there are rulings that he could make that just simply close the door and then I guess an appeal would have to be considered at that moment.
CARLSON: Gee whiz, Neal, we all have to pray for that.
Well, we'll be back to needle you some more about this.
PRESS: Pray for counting the votes.
CARLSON: No, pray for an end.
We'll be back in a minute. We -- if you would send us, out there -- those of you who are watching -- your nominations for "Spin of the Day," the most ludicrous thing you've seen on television recently and we want to know what it is.
PRESS: There is a lot to choose from.
CARLSON: There are many things to choose from.
You can call us, our number, of course, is 1-800-310-4CNN, or you can send us an e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll be back in just a moment.
PRESS: And you're back on our special Sunday night one-hour session of THE SPIN ROOM. Bill Press and Tucker Carlson here. Thanks for joining us. Looking for you nominations for "Spin of the Day." That telephone number, 1-800-310-4CNN, that's a free call, of course. Join our chat room at cnn.com, or send us your nominations for "Spin of the Day" to email@example.com.
All right, Tucker, very, very important to notice that -- in terms of all this count -- "Miami Herald," very important article this morning, they took -- they hired an expert to look at -- across the state... CARLSON: They hired an expert?
PRESS: A statistical expert to look across the entire state, examine all the counties, and they figure that if all the votes are counted, Gore wins Florida by 23,000 votes. But not only that...
CARLSON: But there's more? This is like...
CARLSON: Not only that -- and a cookbook.
PRESS: There is the article, "What if the vote were flawless?" If they break it down the way the vote went, Gore would win by 23,000. If they say let's be absurd, let's give George Bush 90 percent of the uncounted ballots...
CARLSON: There are no uncounted ballots, Bill.
PRESS: Gore would still win by 1,000 votes.
CARLSON: Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
But you know...
PRESS: Now, you know what it shows?
PRESS: Some day we're going to know, when all the votes are counted, that Al Gore won Florida. Will it be before January 20 or not?
CARLSON: But, Bill, I hate to wreck this whole fantasy for you, but a bump is not a vote. It's simply a dimple, Bill.
PRESS: Tell the judge, tell the judge.
CARLSON: And there's a difference.
Well, OK. Well, let's tell Theresa (ph), she's on the line from Florida. Theresa, are you there?
THERESA: I'm here.
CARLSON: Are you a Florida voter?
PRESS: Hi, Theresa.
THERESA: Yes, I am.
CARLSON: What do you think?
THERESA: Well, I think that you two guys are great together. PRESS: Thank you.
THERESA: I really enjoy watching your program, and I have a question. If -- you know, watching today -- I've been watching for today, all day yesterday, and a thought came to me, that no matter which way the judge rules tomorrow, we are sure there are going to be appeals. And will all these interveners be appealing, too, or will the judge settle some of these matters first?
And also I have a comment, I've seen Larry Klayman from the so- called "nonpartisan group," could you tell me what he was there for?
CARLSON: He was probably -- for the same reason Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were.
PRESS: Larry Klayman was there because there were TV cameras there.
As to the first question, I don't think we can answer that, but we could get an answer to that question from our guest.
CARLSON: In fact, we have an expert on tap, Neal Katyal, who is...
PRESS: An adviser to the Gore campaign, as well as professor of law at Georgetown.
CARLSON: Professor at Georgetown.
So, Neal, what about that? If this is appealed -- whichever side loses, do all these other guys drag along to -- with them?
KATYAL: Certainly possible, and the Florida Supreme Court, when it set the date for final certification of November 25, anticipated all of these appeals. That's why they cut off these recounts after only just a few days. And, of course, remember some counties like -- or at least one, Miami-Dade, just didn't proceed with the count at all, because they said, we wouldn't have the time to do it. But certainly, appeals are anticipated in this process.
CARLSON: Now, Neal, back to the Supreme Court here for a minute, the real Supreme Court, not the Florida one. The new idea floating around Washington is that no matter what the Supreme Court decides, it won't matter. Do you think that's true?
KATYAL: Well, Tucker, the real Supreme Court the United States Supreme Court seemed to indicate in the argument last Friday was the Florida Supreme Court. You saw questions from Justices Ginsburg, O'Connor, Kennedy, and the chief, and others as well, all about how they had to defer to the Florida Supreme Court's interpretation of its own state laws, and so, generally, what I think is -- what the tenor of the argument suggested is that the Florida Supreme Court is going to have the say on these matters.
CARLSON: So, in other words, the federal Supreme Court won't, in the end, make a difference either way?
KATYAL: That's right. Now -- but it is important to remember what Bush is asking for the Florida -- for the United States Supreme Court to do is essentially turn the clock back so that final certification would occur on not November 25, as the Florida court said, but November 14. Now, why is that technical date relevant? Because you can only contest an election up to 10 days afterward, which would cut off Gore's appeal entirely.
PRESS: OK, Neal -- all right, Neal, we have the U.S. Supreme Court and then we have this Tallahassee court in Leon County, I want to ask you about another one, too, that a lot of people have heard about, which is Seminole County, this issue that comes up, I think, Wednesday in front of the judge, that some Republican campaign workers came in and fixed some ballot applications. A lot of people are also saying that that's the nuclear bomb, that if she rules against those applications, Bush would lose thousands of votes.
Is it a real case? Is Gore -- are you involved in it? And what's going to happen?
KATYAL: I am not involved in it and the Gore campaign, to my knowledge, is not involved in it. Now, speaking personally, to me this seems incredibly troubling that a Republican county would just take 4,700 ballot applications and allow Republicans to supplement invalid ballots with extra information, giving only Republicans that chance, and not Democrats. To me, that seems really troubling and the kind of thing that Florida courts have said over and over again, aren't permitted because it's allowing -- it's essentially an inducement to election fraud.
CARLSON: But in the end, what can you do about it? I mean, who is to blame?
PRESS: Yes. What happens?
CARLSON: The voters didn't do this.
KATYAL: There are I guess two different things that could happen: one is you could say, well, you should penalize the Republican Party, maybe not by throwing out 15,000 votes, which are the entire number of absentee votes, but some smaller number; or as some courts have done in the state of Florida, a percentage of Republican votes might be thrown out as well. These are both things that have precedent in the case law, and again, it's a drastic thing to come in and allow only one party to change ballot applications and not another.
PRESS: Well, just what we have to look forward to is another whole day in the courtroom...
CARLSON: I can't wait.
PRESS: ... which I'm sure we will have, and another judge sitting there in her rocking chair.
Hey, Neal, Neal Katyal -- I'm sorry -- thanks, Neal, very much for joining us tonight on THE SPIN ROOM.
KATYAL: Thank you.
PRESS: And of course, equal time -- coming up, Barbara Olson will be here to argue the Bush side of the case.
Plus, have you ever thought about this, Tucker, while George Bush on the ranch and Al Gore out at the observatory are waiting for all of this, you wonder what songs they are singing to occupy their time.
CARLSON: You know, Bill, I have thought about that. I have thought about -- what do they hum in the shower? That's another question that's been bothering me.
PRESS: So have we, and we're going to show you in the next segment, so stay around here for THE SPIN ROOM with Bill Press and Tucker Carlson. We'll be right back.
PRESS: There we are.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press, batting around the news of the day. One of the ongoing discussions we're having is just how boring was it today on television?
PRESS: How boring was it today on television, Tucker?
CARLSON: I contend, Bill, that it wasn't boring at all. This, in fact, was deeply interesting. Not everyone found it that way. Take a look at how some people...
PRESS: This is -- we had an e-mail about this guy.
CARLSON: We do. "Fred Bartlitt has gone off the clock. Bush should ask for a refund for his nap during Barry Richard's closing argument in Leon County."
There was some napping going on today, but you know, Bill, I was transfixed.
PRESS: At least the judge, to our knowledge, did not fall asleep.
CARLSON: No, he was rocking back and forth.
PRESS: That would have been too much.
But did you see, thanks to Bruce McCollum (ph) in "The New York Times" this morning, there were some cabinet selections that have leaked out?
PRESS: Yes. Al Gore, according to -- again -- to "The New York Times," this morning, Bruce McCollum, has issued his -- he's named his entire cabinet. There were some real surprises -- Secretary of State Elian Gonzalez -- he's coming back from Cuba.
CARLSON: Fantastic. He has an acute understanding of international affairs.
PRESS: Defense secretary, the kung-fu movie star Jackie Chen -- Jackie Chan.
CARLSON: Totally in favor.
PRESS: And health and human services...
CARLSON: Better than Bruce Willis.
PRESS: ... to take Donna Shalala's place, Queen Mother, Mum, a hundred years old.
CARLSON: That is terrific.
PRESS: Isn't that great?
CARLSON: Though, in our hearts, no one will ever replace Donna Shalala, Bill.
PRESS: Bush, according to Bruce McCollum, has not yet decided his cabinet except for one position, secretary of the interior, Martha Stewart. I think that's a fine choice.
CARLSON: Better than Bruce Babbitt anyway.
PRESS: She'll whip that interior together.
CARLSON: She'd be great.
PRESS: All right, e-mail from Larry Lafayette (ph) in Port Charlotte Florida: "Does the G in G.W. stand for Grinch? From stealing Christmas trees to elections, some things never change."
CARLSON: That is so mean.
PRESS: Ouch. I like it, though. I like that.
CARLSON: Joe Metcalf (ph) writes: "Do you know what you get when you clean a chad out of the voting machines every eight years in Miami? A Republican president."
Amen, Joe Metcalf.
Here's one from Doug Scott (ph) from Jackson, Mississippi: "Do we really want a president who was selected by people too dim to figure out how to vote?"
You know, Bill, that's been my contention all along.
PRESS: And Kate says: "The Democrats have very specific ideas on how to spend the surplus. The Republicans have very specific ideas on how to spend the surplus. There will be no surplus, because we will be buying new voting machines."
I think that's a good...
CARLSON: I like the old ones.
PRESS: I know you do.
CARLSON: I do. I absolutely do.
PRESS: You do because they cheat.
By the way, Al Gore went to church today. Did you -- this is true.
CARLSON: This is true.
PRESS: Did go to church today and the sermon today was.
CARLSON: A time for waiting.
PRESS: A time for waiting.
CARLSON: That is deep.
PRESS: If there was ever a time for waiting...
CARLSON: It is now.
PRESS: ... it is now.
CARLSON: And also a time for humming or singing.
Let's go back to CNN's Sharon Collins in Atlanta for some thoughts on what the presidential candidates may be humming while waiting for the Supreme Court.
PRESS: All right.
COLLINS: Not all of us are waiting for the Supreme Court to make its ruling, but that wait has to be most nerve wracking for the potential presidents. So we wondered, what do they do while they wait? And we decided that maybe, just maybe these two Baby Boomers, as they wait for the Supreme Court, are listening to The Supremes. However, they might change the words a bit. For example, instead of "set me free why don't you, babe," Governor Bush might sing, "set me free why don't you, Al, get out my life, why don't you, Al, because you can't really stop me, you just keep me hanging on."
Or how about "stop in the name of law before you spoil it all." Of course, the vice president might have different lyrics in mind like, "through the recounts of Jeb's state, I see reflections that may be late, reflections of the way it ought to be, reflections of the votes you took from me." Or how about, my personal favorite, "love chad, never meant to be love chad, punched so carelessly."
Oh well, we kind of apologize for that last one. It's doubtful that either Governor Bush or Vice President Gore would ever come up with lyrics that bad. Although, thinking back over some of the campaign speeches, I guess it's possible.
PRESS: It just adds another whole dimension to these candidates we hadn't thought about yet, Sharon.
CARLSON: Anything is possible. You know, I would buy that LP, or disc, or whatever.
PRESS: Do we have the 800-number for copies?
CARLSON: No, we don't. We don't even have mugs yet, Bill.
PRESS: But these candidates have been busy in the last couple of days. I mean, they haven't been just holed up inside.
CARLSON: If can just say, Dick Cheney just had a heart attack and there he is. He is everywhere. I'm sort of impressed. That's my brief plug for Dick Cheney. But actually, Al Gore is the one who is sitting stewing at home.
PRESS: Out there, out there. Walking the sidewalks.
CARLSON: He walks more than a mile to get coffee the other day. I don't if we have a picture of it, but Al Gore went out. He said he's been sleeping like a baby, recently. He went out -- message, my life has not changed. Actually, I've been fascinated by some of the stories that have come out. I just want to read you one quote from a Gore friend. This is an actual quote. Al Gore believes that he is on history's agenda. Bill, that sound Messianic to me.
PRESS: I think Al Gore is on history's agenda. I'm not sure GW is.
CARLSON: People who believe they're on history's agenda make me nervous.
PRESS: Well, we didn't see Gore at the coffee shop but maybe we can see. George Bush had some visitors down at the ranch again and there's one I particularly -- I particularly wanted to show you, Tucker, if we can. Here he is. There's Dennis Hastert. Everybody likes Dennis Hastert but look in back of him.
CARLSON: Who is that man?
PRESS: With that huge 50-gallon hat? Do you know who that is? Trent Lott.
CARLSON: That looks like Commander Lott to me.
PRESS: Now, let me tell you something. You know what? Some people should not wear 50-gallon hats. But when you look at Trent Lott.
CARLSON: Bill, there's an eagle feather in it. I look at Trent Lott and I say that man is on command. That man knows something I don't know. That man is a leader.
PRESS: No, when you see Trent Lott and you realize that at best the Senate going to be 51-49, probably it's going to be 50/50. When you realize for the first 20 days of New Year Trent Lott is not even going to be the majority leader. When you look at him wearing that hat, you have to say, all hat and no capital. If a line were ever meant to fit it fits right there.
CARLSON: We went through that entire piece of tape for that punch line? That's got to be the longest set-up in the history of cable television.
PRESS: That's a long walk for a short beer, but I always wanted to say that about Trent Lott.
CARLSON: Unbelievable. Well, when we come back we will have the Republican spin on lawyers courts and other post-election shenanigans.
PRESS: And we want you nominations for "Spin of the Day." Right here. Get them in to us. We got a few already. We need some more. 1-800-310-4CNN is our telephone number. Free call. Join our chat room -- chad room. I'm sorry -- going on all the time, cnn.com or get us your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Spin. I like that.
CARLSON: Democracy is important, but let's not tamper with...
PRESS: Don't tamper with THE SPIN ROOM.
PRESS: Michelle Buttleman from Canyon Country, California e- mail: "Now that Bush seems to have stolen the election with his campaign manager in Florida, the secretary of state; his brother, who is governor of the state, and his father who was head of the CIA, where can I get my hail to the thief bumper sticker?"
CARLSON: Hey, you know what the key line in that e-mail is, Bill? Head of the CIA. I get letters from people like that. When the CIA connection rears its head, you know where it's going.
PRESS: Hail to the thief. You know you're going to see those bumper stickers.
CARLSON: Here's one from Sky Salback, from Lyle, Washington. Terrific name, Sky. "It seems simple to me. Either revote the state or restate the vote." I nominate this as a new Jesse Jackson slogan.
PRESS: I like that. I like that a lot. CARLSON: I'm not sure I understand it, but I like the sound of it.
PRESS: Dennis Noonan says -- his e-mail is: "Is anyone besides me amazed that this historical brouhaha is taking place over two candidates that are so insufferably mundane." I repeat my contention. The reason Americans not more, you know, just ga-ga over this -- they're panicking about this whole wait because they really don't want either one of them.
CARLSON: Really? I think they're starting to really despise Gore, but maybe that's with me. And it might be our guest. Joining us now is Barbara Olson, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of the Columbia. She also served as one of the counsels to the House investigations of Travelgate and Filegate. An expert on Clinton scandals of every kind. Amen to that. Welcome, Barbara Olson.
BARBARA OLSON, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Hi, Tucker. Hello, Bill.
PRESS: Hello, Barbara. Good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for joining us.
OLSON: Thank you.
CARLSON: And we cannot pass up the opportunity to break news here on the THE SPIN ROOM. Apparently, you've spoken relatively recently to George W. Bush. Is that true and if so, what did he say?
OLSON: Well, it's interesting because I was listening earlier when you had asked if Al Gore had called to talk to the legal team. You know, on both sides they've been working outrageous hours. Everyone's been going around the clock. What we see on TV. You know, these lawyers are preparing all night and Governor Bush has been calling and telling the attorneys how much he appreciates the work they're doing, How hard he knows they're working and telling them how much he appreciates it.
And you know, when I was hearing that Al Gore hasn't picked up the phone to these people I thought this is the difference. This is why George W. Bush is going to be president, why he's going to be a terrific president, because he has the time to pick up the phone and thank people for doing that and thanking lawyers for all their hard work and time, many of whom are voluntary. Yes.
PRESS: Barbara, I have to tell you that's some of the best spin that we've ever had on SPIN ROOM.
CARLSON: I like it.
OLSON: It's true, though.
PRESS: But as a matter of fact -- give me a chance. I have to say and I'm glad that he talked to you, but, you know, your husband did argue the case in front of the Supreme Court. Of course, he would call them. I heard David Boies and Doug Dillon say several times -- the people who carrying the case for Gore in Florida -- that he has been talking to them to be fair and Neal mentioned that he's not up in that first level where Ted Olson is. So, I don't think that's necessarily a good comparison, there. But I want to ask you...
OLSON: I do.
PRESS: Of course you do.
CARLSON: That's the spirit, Barbara.
PRESS: Back to judge...
OLSON: I do. I haven't Al Gore calling anyone. I actually have not heard David Boies saying that.
PRESS: He has. No, he has. He said it on CNN several times. I'd like to ask you, please, about Judge Sanders Sauls. The same question I started with Neal. You heard him say I'm going to give a decision tomorrow morning. Trying to be as honest as you can, what does that mean to you? What's he going to do?
OLSON: Well, I can't believe that he's going to do it in the morning. I mean, he has two mind-numbing days and he's going to have to stay up the night and write this opinion. Because this is the kind of opinion that, you know, a judge can't give it to a clerk even if he has enough of them. And I think the biggest problem with the Gore people had was to overcome the basic burden that was placed on them, rightfully so, and they had to prove that there was something wrong with what the canvassing board did.
And we had testimony from several members of the canvassing board and some of the observers, and so I really do think that the judge is going to come back and I think he's going to say, you know, there were six votes in the beginning down there in Miami-Dade. I don't think you proved that it would change the election. We saw that the Democrat precincts were done first and I think he's going to say the burden wasn't met.
We're not going to recount. But I think he will probably count all the recounts up to that date. So, it'll be a little bit split, but he's not going into all the counties and start hiring masters throughout the state. I just don't see it.
PRESS: It's interesting, Tucker, that both sides at least tonight go to bed thinking they won.
CARLSON: You know, I think that's always the case.
OLSON: We won our side.
CARLSON: I bet you Al Gore will go to bed every night from now and for 50 years think he won. Barbara, I think we have -- maybe a question for you from a caller. Bob in Florida, are you there?
CALLER: Yes. How are you doing? Barbara, I was wondering if the Circuit Court favors for Gore tomorrow and the Supreme Court favors for bush and turns back the clock the next day, does that end the contest phase because it would have been filed too late? Thank you?
OLSON: Great question. Boy, a lot of ifs. I never predict the Supreme Court but since you did, it depends on where the Supreme Court comes down. If they find a constitutional violation, an Article Two federation or a federal statute was violated and they say everything the Florida Supreme Court did, we go back to the original statutory date of November 14th, then I think it's relevant that the state judge is going to say is there some exception -- i.e. Al Gore filed the contest according to state Supreme Court date. But in all practical effect, spin aside.
CARLSON: Oh, no.
OLSON: ... if the United States Supreme Court finds for George Bush, overturns the Florida Supreme Court, I really think they are in really tough straits to try to mount these challenges and get these recounts, when everything they've held their coat on, the state Supreme Court, gets turned back. I think it's virtually over...
CARLSON: Why, because they'll be I embarrassed? I'm not -- is there...
CARLSON: ... a legal reason, because obviously nothing is going to embarrass a lawyer?
OLSON: No, nothing is, and certainly not Al Gore with the trial lawyers hanging around who are having the time of their lives. This is terrific. This is Christmas time for trial lawyers. But I think...
PRESS: Lawyers on both sides. Come on now...
OLSON: We don't have trial lawyers. We just have very dedicated souls who are helping. But I think one of the things that's happening is you're looking at the poll numbers...
PRESS: It's deep in here.
OLSON: It is not deep. This is an administration that's very aware in two years there's a huge election coming up.
PRESS: All right...
OLSON: You've got Daschle and Gephardt who are thinking they're going to take over the House and Senate. And that -- once it doesn't just hurt the Bush administration and the presidency...
PRESS: All right, Barbara...
OLSON: ... they call it off.
PRESS: We're going to take a break. Stay with us. I know you'll hang in there and have more spin coming up.
Barbara Olson, more Barbara Olson coming up, plus more e-mails. And get your nominations in for the "Spin of the Day."
This is THE SPIN ROOM on CNN with Bill Press and Tucker Carlson.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM.
Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press. We have also Barbara Olson, former federal prosecutor will be dealing with a few more questions about the Supreme Court and Bush, et cetera, in a few more minutes.
We were talking to Barbara Olson a minute ago, Bill about manners. And I was struck now -- obviously...
PRESS: We were talking about manners?
CARLSON: We were. Maybe you missed it.
She was making the case the George W. Bush has...
CARLSON: ... good manners, and you of course were making the case that he doesn't.
PRESS: No, I didn't say that. I'm just saying that Al Gore called his lawyers, too. Let's just be honest. That's all.
CARLSON: Well -- yes -- no, I was troubled actually by one thing Bush said the other day. I want to see if we can get it up here, a statement that he made about what the future hold.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Well I'm soon to be the insider. I'm soon to be the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now it strikes me that if that's not boasting, it's right in the edge.
PRESS: Well, do you remember the Platters? I think that's before your time, Tucker, maybe. But the Platters had a great song.
CARLSON: I thought you were talking about dinnerware.
PRESS (singing): Oh, yes, I'm the great pretender.
CARLSON: Yes, but, you know...
PRESS: That's what I think of when I see that. You know, play president on the ranch makes me president -- not necessarily. It depends on what the court says.
CARLSON: Perhaps, but I still don't see the alternative explanation. I still haven't met a single person who thinks Gore is going to win, Bill. And if there is one out there, someone can give me a call.
PRESS: All right, but I want to mention that we had a protester the other night whom we paid due homage to in the first part of the show...
CARLSON: Indeed we did.
PRESS: ... and we're going to make him a regular part of the show. But it wasn't the most unusual protester. I want you to watch here, this protester is back of Mark Potter. Do you see what it is? Don't circumcise the vote.
CARLSON: Viewers across America are crossing their legs at this very moment. I'm not even sure what that means, but I know I'm scared by it.
PRESS: I think it means that no uncut votes will be counted. We've got -- in Florida. I'm not sure what it means.
Let's get back to Barbara Olson.
CARLSON: Now, Barbara, did you see that clip that we played of George W. Bush?
CARLSON: What do you think of that? I mean, was that boasting?
OLSON: Well, let's put it in context. I mean, he was being asked some questions about dealing with Congress and an agenda. And, you know, election night -- I know you've heard this before -- but election night, he was the winner. The first machine recount, he was the winner. And he's certified as the winner after Al Gore's selected recount. So at what point do we stop and say, three counts, same winner.
CARLSON: Yes, but as -- almost as a political matter, is it helpful? I mean, I know that he thinks he's going to win, and most people think he's going to win. But is it helpful to come out and say, hey, America, I'm going to be president?
OLSON: Well, I mean, you know, they were talking about legislative agenda, and they said, but you were running as an outsider. Now you're talking like an insider with your legislative agenda and meeting with Lott and Hastert. And that was his response. I'm going to be an insider if I'm president of the United States.
It was a little bit unfair, a little bit, maybe, spin to play that out of context.
PRESS: God forbid.
Barbara, I want to ask you about a scenario that a Republican and actually a Bush co-chair talked to me about last night at one of these great holiday cocktail parties in Washington. And the scenario is this: that someday we know that all the votes in Florida are going to be counted. And let's say Gore loses in the courts, Bush is sworn in, and next April we find out all the votes are counted and Gore actually won. And you've got Bush in the White House who didn't win the popular vote and didn't win the electoral votes. What do we do in that case?
OLSON: Well, Bill, let me take apart how Bush actually wins. Who's going to do that counting? I mean, it's going to have to be James Carville if Bush -- I mean, if Gore is actually going to win.
PRESS: No, it could be "The Miami Herald." It could be...
OLSON: No, I mean, we all agree that dimples will -- is what Al Gore has to have to win. Now if someone sits there and counts dimples and pregnant chads and circumcised votes, then maybe they're going to say Al Gore won. But who's going to accept that? It's the same problem we have today. Next year, when someone sits down and says, I counted them all, what's their standard? How did they count them? It's the very problem we're talking about hand recounts. You've got your biases there. You can't separate them.
PRESS: But isn't there a certain level of denial in the Bush camp that, in fact, the actual vote if all the votes are counted means that Gore won Florida?
OLSON: No, because they were counted, Bill. We keep saying it. They were counted. The votes that came out of the machine as undervotes -- do you remember before the election and everyone was talking about Al Gore's base was not excited, that people were going to go and not come out to vote for him? It's real possibly that they voted for Senate and Congress and local issues and didn't vote for Al Gore. I know it's hard for him to believe. They just didn't vote, and they were Democrats and said, I can't do it for this guy. I'm not excited. It's a real possibility.
CARLSON: Barbara, what do you think of this Seminole County matter? What's going to happen? Are Republicans really afraid of it?
OLSON: You know, if I -- if you -- if I had been asked about the Florida Supreme Court before they came down, that they were going to do what they did, I would have said, no way, the law is so clear. There's no way a Supreme Court, even if they're Democrats, could do that. So that's got people nervous because we've seen some judges act in some very strange ways.
We know this judge was passed for a promotion, but I don't think she's going to do it, and I'll tell you why. I think she's been reading that Florida Supreme Court case that talks about how important every vote is and that we have to count every vote and we can't disenfranchise voters.
She throws out all of those absentee votes that had no problem with the actual ballots, it was the application, what does she think even the Florida Supreme Court is going to do? If they have any consistency, they're going to overturn her like that. So I think perhaps she won't.
PRESS: Barbara, almost out of time but real quick question. You mentioned the Supreme Court. You know, it is possible -- let's just -- it is possible, it may be 50-50, the Supreme Court will rule against George Bush and say there's no federal issue here. Big body blow, big P.R. defeat for the governor?
OLSON: Well, I mean, if they don't find a federal issue, you know what they're going to say? They're going to leave it to the state legislature, which the state's now talked about a special session. And they're going to do their constitutional duty.
Either way, George Bush has been the winner, he's had the recount, and I think he's going to wind up going into the White House. It would be nice if the Supreme Court does see the Article Two problems and the federal statutory problems, but even if they decide to pass on that for rightness issues, the state legislature is the last resort under our Constitution.
CARLSON: Oh, amen. Barbara Olson, thank you. I agreed with everything you said.
OLSON: No spin, Tucker. That's why.
PRESS: Guess what? I didn't.
CARLSON: That's OK, though. Thanks, Barbara. And we will be back...
PRESS: I'd like to see a country where the legislature is the final word. I don't think that country exist. It's not the United States of America.
CARLSON: I think it -- in this case it is. Send us your spins of the day. That's the moment where you see something so ludicrous you throw the beer bottle at the TV. We want to know what that moment was. E-mail it or call us. We'll be back in just a minute.
PRESS: All right and in the THE SPIN ROOM it's the moment you've been waiting for -- the "Spin of the Day." You know what it is, by now. Those of you just joining maybe for the first time, it's when you hear all these lawyers, you hear all these politicians, it's the one thing you hear them say where you think lightning is going to strike them dead it is outrageous. Or, as Tucker said, when you want to throw the beer bottle at the TV screen. CARLSON: It's the pray for lightning, beer bottle at the TV moment. You know it when you see it.
PRESS: Sometimes it requires a six pack.
CARLSON: It's like pornography. That's it.
PRESS: It's like obscenity -- you can't define it but you know it when you hear it.
CARLSON: Absolutely, right. Tom from New York is on the line. He knows it when he hears it. What do you think?
PRESS: Hi, Tom.
CALLER: I've got the Al Gore mantra for you, and it's like this. I have a lawsuit here, lawsuit there. I have a lawsuit everywhere. Whether Democrats or Republicans I don't care. You need to see the light to chad shining. Only then, only then I'll be the one winning.
PRESS: OK. All right, thank you, Tom. When shining rhymes with winning.
CARLSON: That was -- it turns out a lot of our viewers are frustrated public. I'm very impressed.
PRESS: We also have some "Spin of the Days" coming in, of course, to our e-mails. "Spin of the Day," here's from Larry LeBlanc in Nova Scotia.
CARLSON: Oh, one of out Canadian viewers. Very strong.
PRESS: Canadian viewers. His "Spin of the Day" is Judge Sauls -- Sanders Sauls -- when he said today that his court session would take 12 hours. Actually said that yesterday and it took like 48 hours. Well, it wasn't the judge's fault. The lawyers talked too long.
CARLSON: And who's to say how long justice takes. Here's from Jeremy Plummy (ph), in Virginia Beach, Virginia. "My spin of the day when Gore attorney David Boies called Governor Bush, quote, "President Bush" in court today. If Gore's attorney already knows why won't his client give it up and concede?" I think it's a great question.
PRESS: I think it was a little slip of the tongue.
CARLSON: Deeply Freudian, Bill.
PRESS: Judge Sanders Sauls is getting a lot on comment tonight. Here from Susan. "Forget Gore and Bush for president. I say elect that judge. He's the one who's in control and really knows how to lead." There he is rocking in his chair.
CARLSON: What is it that Gore does not understand about lost. He lost in the first count. He lost in the mandatory recount. He lost in sample manual recounts. He lost full manual recount. He lost in several counts. He lost in public opinion. He may not like the meaning of lost, but what is in the word that he doesn't understand. And Comrade Gore sounds like a loser, doesn't he?
PRESS: No, but in the monitor here we have from our chat room a "Spin of the Day," Bush suggesting he might inherit a recession caused by the Gore team.
Well, you know, whoever inherits a recession is going to blame it on the other team. I think, you know, it's...
CARLSON: But it's good to start the preemptive blaming, I would say.
PRESS: Or the appearance of whining, whichever it is. All right, my nomination for "Spin of the Day," goes this morning on "Meet the Press," the man who would like to be the next vice president, Dick Cheney, appeared, and he had this to say, some advice for Al Gore.
You may have head it, Tucker. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I do think that it's time for him to concede. So far, he's chosen not to do that, to pursue other avenues, and clearly that's his prerogative. But I think long term, I think history would regard him in better light if he were to bring this to a close in the very near future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESS: Now I do think that one the people Al Gore is consulting on he what he should do in his present case is not Dick Cheney.
CARLSON: And that's why he's not humiliating himself.
PRESS: Gratuitous advice -- and other thing is, concede? Gore is still ahead in the popular vote by over 300,000 and he could still win the electoral vote in Florida. He shouldn't even be considering conceding.
Fight on, Al. Go, Al.
CARLSON: Oh, Bill, we are so in Easter Bunny land when we get to that point.
PRESS: Watch the judge tomorrow.
CARLSON: Right, well I have a much more realistic "Spin of the Day."
Take a look at Warren Christopher -- who's been lost recently -- but he reappeared on CBS this morning, and this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN CHRISTOPHER, GORE CAMPAIGN ADVISER: It's late innings, but the contest is not over. I can assure you that the vice president, when the time comes, will concede in a very gracious way. He understands his obligation to the people of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, Bill, this is a half "Spin of the Day." Warren Christopher says that when Gore concedes he will concede in a gracious way. Well that's partially true. Gore will concede. He will not concede in a gracious way. I mean, it is impossible to believe that the Gore concession will be gracious because every news report of Gore in the past three weeks indicates that he thinks and will always think and will never be shaken from his belief that he won.
PRESS: I don't know how you built up this...
CARLSON: He will not be gracious.
PRESS: ... animosity toward Al Gore. I think whatever Al Gore does he will do like a statesman, as he has been the last three weeks.
But here's what gets me about that statement: Anybody on the Gore team who is out there using the word concede...
PRESS: ... ought to be shot. I mean, come on, they're talking...
CARLSON: Yes, no, I definitely agree with that. And my animosity...
PRESS: They're talking like defeatists. I'm sorry. Warren Christopher is a great man. He shouldn't be out there talking about...
CARLSON: It's not animosity, it's pity. But we will be back.
PRESS: We'll be back every night this week.
CARLSON: Every single night at 11:00, so join us, Bill Press, Tucker Carlson.
PRESS: Good night, everybody. See you tomorrow night at 11:00.
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