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The Spin Room

Aired December 4, 2000 - 11:00 p.m. ET


BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Look, Tucker, they're finally down to the last resort.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Thankfully, Bill, Judge Wapner is on the case.

PRESS: OK. Is there a doctor in the house? Al Gore needs one, stat.

CARLSON: Get the electric paddles; he's turning blue.

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

PRESS: Good evening, everybody. Monday night, it's THE SPIN ROOM on CNN. Bill Press right here, and...

CARLSON: Tucker Carlson...

PRESS: Yes, I...

CARLSON: ... with a special death-watch edition.

PRESS: Oh, get out of here!

CARLSON: I can't help it, Bill. I'm sorry. Let the gloating begin.

I know you have strong feelings about it, and needless to say we want to hear what they are. You can call toll-free, 1-800-310-4CNN. You can join our chat at or you can send us an e-mail. Our address is

PRESS: Yes, this is the ninth. It's not the end of the ball game yet, but we welcome you tonight and we thank you.

I mean, we realize in all humility that this is the most exciting news show on all of television...


... probably anywhere in the world. But it's not just because we examine the issues. It's also because we pop the spin, pop the bubbles of spin you hear all day long. But mainly, it's most exciting because of you guys and your e-mails and your "Spins of the Day" and those phone calls. We love them. Only half an hour tonight. Get in early.

Tucker, I just have to start with this flash, this flash, news flash today from Moldavia.


PRESS: The parliament of Moldavia failed for the second time Monday to elect a new president for this struggling former Soviet republic. So you see...

CARLSON: Taking their cues from us.

PRESS: ... misery has company.

CARLSON: It does.

PRESS: We're not alone. Isn't that nice to know?

CARLSON: But you know, Bill, this is why I'm not -- I'm not made for politics. I cannot fully gloat: Part of me feels so for Al Gore. And I mean this. He will never accept this. I think on some level he's a fragile person. I can picture him every morning looking in the mirror, cinching up his tie, I am the president, I am the president, hello, Mr. President. And then a single tear comes down his cheek.

PRESS: Well, George Bush...

CARLSON: I feel so bad for him.

PRESS: George Bush has been saying that for the last month...

CARLSON: I know.

PRESS: ... and it still -- and it still may not happen.

CARLSON: He has a security briefing tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.

PRESS: But I have to tell you, we have a special -- George Bush has a security briefing at 8:00 a.m.?

CARLSON: Yes, he does.

PRESS: I repeat, he's been playing president for the last month. It doesn't make you president.

But we have a very special gift tonight for our audience, before we get started.

CARLSON: Yes, we do.

PRESS: As you know, thanks to mark from Bolinas, California, who's become a very important part of this show -- you know, sometimes we think that we invented everything. Sometimes we think we're the ones that discovered election problems in Florida. Tucker, it didn't start in the year 2000.

CARLSON: It turns out people have been mocking Florida and its elections for over 50 years.

PRESS: And rightfully so.

CARLSON: And rightfully so. And we have a clip from a movie called "Key Largo." Listen to what Edward G. Robinson, listen to his comments, his deep insights about the conditions of politics in Florida.

PRESS: "Key Largo."


EDWARD G. ROBINSON, ACTOR: I'll be back pulling strings to get guys elected mayor and governor before you ever get a 10 buck raise. Yes. How many of those guys in office owe everything to me? And I made them. Yes, I made them just like a -- like a tailor makes a suit of clothes.

I take a nobody, see. Teach them what to say, get his name in the papers. Yes, pay for his campaign expenses. Dish out a lot of groceries and coal, get my boys to bring the voters out, and then count the votes over and over again until they add it up right and he was elected.


CARLSON: That's the Gore strategy, Bill.

PRESS: That sounds familiar. Count the votes...

CARLSON: It's fantastic.

PRESS: ... count the votes over and over again, and then we get them elected.

CARLSON: It's been going on forever and ever.

PRESS: I know, but today, today was a -- today was a bad day. Bad day for Al Gore. It was a double whammy. Hard to recover from a double whammy. You know, he's got another appeal to the Florida supremes.


PRESS: But you've got to say, you know, agree or disagree with the decisions, not a good day for Al Gore.

CARLSON: Two words, Bill: Sanders Sauls. They kind of roll off the tongue. It's like a balm to the ears, isn't it?

PRESS: I have two words for you...

CARLSON: Sanders Sauls.

PRESS: ... Nikki Clark. She's the judge...

CARLSON: The nuclear judge.

PRESS: She's the judge with the nuclear bomb in Seminole County. We'll talk -- and we want to talk about her tonight. We want to talk more about Sanders Sauls. We've got a great guy. Joining us now from Tallahassee, the name is Mark Silva. He's the bureau chief in Tallahassee for "The Miami Herald," who's going to walk us through the thick of tonight.

Hey, Mark, thanks for joining us.

MARK SILVA, "MIAMI HERALD": Thank you. It's nice to see you guys. You're having a little too much fun tonight, I'm afraid.

PRESS: Well, we always have fun.

CARLSON: Well, join us.

So it looks bad, it looks very, very bad for Al Gore. But is there a bright spot? Do you see any?

SILVA: No, I don't see any bright spot. I think they could wait until next summer and keep counting votes and it's not going to get any brighter. This is a dim, dim week, and today was a very bad double-header for Gore.

PRESS: Mark, let me ask you this: You know this judge. You've been following him -- at least, you've seen him around. Was this expected today? Or was this a big surprise in Tallahassee?

SILVA: No, I think if you sat through the 24 hours of hearing that Judge Sauls had this weekend and you listened to the debates over storks on the rooftops of England or Europe -- they don't nest in England, one of the statisticians told us. If you listened to what was going on, you got lost in there somewhere, and you realized that it was going nowhere fast, there wasn't the evidence that Gore needed to present to suggest that there's a probability that the votes out there could turn his way if this thing were looked at differently.

And the judge was looking for probability, he was looking for evidence, and he didn't find it.

CARLSON: Well, Mark, at this point, I mean, it looks -- you know the Florida legislature well. At this point, because, as you said, it does look bad for Gore, are there imminent defections among Democrats in the legislature? Are they making noises?

SILVA: No, the legislature's been on hold and there's been a fiery leader who wanted to jump in and take over here. But they won't be needed in the long run. I think they're just going to cool their heels and watch this play out, and by the end of the week, they'll be unnecessary.

There will be some lingering wounds here, certainly. But this is an election and elections end and people forget.

PRESS: Mark, you say no evidence. I want to ask you about an article that was in your newspaper yesterday, which said that if the election statewide were glitch-free, you just basically took all the ballots that disputed them and apportioned them the way the election went, that Gore actually would have won the election by 23,000 votes.

Now do you repudiate your own newspaper or does the judge not read your newspaper?

CARLSON: Repudiate your newspaper, Mark. Don't do it.

SILVA: No, I don't we're going to be doing that here tonight, Bill. No, I don't repudiate at all. The numbers are fascinating, and as the statisticians told us over the weekend, the numbers will do anything you ask them to do.

The numbers clearly suggest that Gore may have won this by the numbers. But that's not the way we do elections. We do elections by the machine, by the hand count. We've had the machine count. We've had the hand count.

You can theorize as long as you like and suggest that the numbers are there for Gore, but the numbers aren't on the table, they're not certified by the state.

PRESS: Well, I'm not trying to theorize myself or to recount the election. I'm asking why the judge wouldn't see an article like that and say, hey, maybe there's something to this. I mean, do you think he was just too busy to read the paper yesterday or doesn't -- didn't put that much weight to it?

SILVA: I'm sure he was definitely too busy to read the newspaper or go online or do any of that other stuff. But you know, if court cases were based on newspaper articles, this would be a difficult place. It was a compelling article. It just wasn't legal evidence admitted to court.

CARLSON: Even "The Miami Herald" not legal evidence. Well, what's going to happen in Seminole County, Mark? I mean, what -- what are the Gore people hoping? I mean, is Nikki Clark going to come through, do you think?

SILVA: No, I really don't. You know, the elections were handled very badly in Seminole County and Martin County as well. Election supervisors let Republicans in and fix the applications for absentee ballots and they were sent in by Republican voters. But the fact is they were Republican voters. They did vote. They voted legally. And there's not fraud here on the part of voters. I think judges are going to be hard-pressed to throw out the absentee ballots in those counties because the election supervisors didn't handle it correctly.

CARLSON: Yes, but we had Jesse Jackson on last week, and he suggested that some of the people who had filled in the ballots for the voters might go to jail. Do you think that's likely? SILVA: Oh, I think there could be some penalties for the people involved. There's some public records violations. I'm sure that sounds very onerous. But there are some legal violations that have occurred here, and people may pay for it, yet. The question is whether the remedy rises to the level of throwing out thousands of absentee ballots, and I think that's -- that's a hard hurdle to jump.

PRESS: OK. Hey, Mark Silva, hang in there for us, OK. We've got a lot more questions. We want to come back to you in just a second, after -- after we take a break. But before we take a break, Tucker, we've got lots of e-mails. We want to get some of these e- mails right away.

They are coming in good and strong.

CARLSON: Well, here's one. I just -- you know, Bill, some of our best come from our friends north of the border.

PRESS: I know.

CARLSON: Here's one from Canada on sixth down and goal to go. "Gore just got sacked by Judge Sanders for a loss of 20 yards." Now, I think our friends in the north country are a little confused about the details of the American sporting scene, but the gist is right.

PRESS: This is from Eros. I'm not sure whether that's a real name. I happen think it's a nod de plume. Eros says: "If Gore wins, we will have too very tragic events in our country. First Al Sore Gore will be president, and Tucker Carlson vowed to wear a Speedo in THE SPIN ROOM if Gore wins. Two horrible sights I care not to see, so I pray to the almighty chad that Gore will concede for the good of this nation."


CARLSON: I have to...

PRESS: Tucker, we're all looking forward...

CARLSON: Even I wouldn't want to see that.

All right, here's one addressed to you but I'm going to steal it and read it.


CARLSON: "Dear Bill, I'm wondering if you have begun preparing your concession speech and whether it will be aired on the THE SPIN ROOM. If so, do you expect any rebuttal from Tucker, or is it your belief he will forego attempts to say, 'I told you so'?"

I will not forgo those attempts, Bill. And will you concede?

PRESS: I will be gracious in whatever I do when it's time to do it but not before.

CARLSON: Oh, nice.

PRESS: Now, this poem has been going around THE SPIN ROOM a couple of days. Finally, we're going to read it tonight just so that we read it, we got it over with, all right?

CARLSON: All right.

PRESS: Here's an old poem, it says -- called "The Election is Over: The election is over, the voting is done, my side lost, your side won. So let's get together and forget the past, I'll hug your elephant, you kiss my" -- SPIN ROOM. I like...

CARLSON: That is a good poem and worth reading.

We want more poems, we want your haikus, we want any prose or poetry you can send us. You can also call us, the number is 1-800- 310-4CNN. You can send us an e-mail at

And please send us your "Spins of the Day," we'll read them. We'll be back in a few minutes.

PRESS: Throw the beer bottle at the TV, "Spin of the Day."

CARLSON: Exactly.


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

We just saw a promotion. Bill Press, you were just on TV for another show apparently Bill is on from time to time.

PRESS: You know, it's just all me all the time.

CARLSON: I dig it, "The Bill Show."

PRESS: I know. Just...

CARLSON: We have, you know...

PRESS: But before we get to e-mail, we have a serious problem, Tucker.


PRESS: A serious problem, yes.

CARLSON: Another one.

PRESS: Yes. I think we have a copyright problem. Who's the first person you heard refer to Katherine Harris as "Katherine the Great"? Who is the first person?

CARLSON: I think that would be you, Bill.

PRESS: That is right.

In this week's "Weekly Standard"...

CARLSON: I know that magazine.

PRESS: ... this magazine, this rag that you write for.


PRESS: May I show you what the headline is right here? "Katherine the Great."

CARLSON: By Christopher Caldwell, it's a great story about a great American.

PRESS: Yes, but you did not -- there -- I read this article, there is not one mention in this article of who came up with the title "Katherine the Great."

CARLSON: But you know...

PRESS: Why not?

CARLSON: She looks very, very handsome, and I'm glad to see you're reading "The Weekly Standard."

PRESS: I demand an apology from "The Weekly Standard."

CARLSON: Good luck.

PRESS: All right -- yes, right.

CARLSON: Here's one from Helen from Ocean Park, Washington.

PRESS: All right.

CARLSON: Apparently a part-time geographer, she said, "Were you aware" -- and we were not -- "that the African country of Chad has a city that is actually named Gore. Once this election is settled, perhaps we could change Vice President Gore's title to the Count of Gore."

Great idea.

PRESS: Yes, I heard Chad has a lot of Bush in it, too.

This comes from Bill from Pepin, Wisconsin, "Dear Mr. Press," -- please don't call me Mr. Press...

CARLSON: Call him that.

PRESS: Only my wife calls me Mr. Press --- "I didn't think it was possible, but the Republican lawyers are more obnoxious in victory than in defeat."

He is so right on. CARLSON: I'm sorry, I'm still speechless with this idea that your wife calls you Mr. Press. I'm not even going to ask.

We have a caller, Sam in Kentucky, perhaps you could pose the question to Mr. Press.

Sam, are you there?

PRESS: Hi, Sam.

SAM: Yes, I'm there. Hello.

PRESS: How are you doing?


SAM: I'm fine.

CARLSON: What do you think?

SAM: I just wanted to make a statement that I believe that Judge Sauls' decision was the best for Gore, because if he found for Bush, then Bush's attorneys would drag it out through -- getting through the appellate court, drag it and getting through the Supreme Court, and we all know that when December 12 comes, the legislature in Florida is going to make the decision. So this is a winner for Bush -- I mean, for Gore.

Now, the other thing is...

PRESS: Well, OK, Sam, thank you.

I have to -- you know what? I have to say, I've been waiting all day for somebody to come up with a reason, any slimmest reason why this was a win for Al Gore, and Sam from Kentucky...

CARLSON: That is...

PRESS: ... in THE SPIN ROOM found it.

CARLSON: And I mean this in the most affectionate possible way, that is the craziest thing I have ever heard.

But let's pose it to our expert, Mark Silva of the "Miami Herald."

PRESS: We love you, Sam.

CARLSON: ... newspaper bureau chief in Tallahassee.

Mark, I don't know if you heard that last call, but we're still trying desperately to get something good for Gore that came out of the decisions today. Still haven't found one, have you?

MARK SILVA, "MIAMI HERALD": Well, think about it. I mean, if Bush had lost, he'd be appealing next Monday, and that's not a bad point. Good -- something good for Gore? No. I mean, there's no spin that says this was a good day for Gore.

CARLSON: Well...

PRESS: All right, Mark, I want to come back to Judge Sauls for just a second, because as David Boies pointed out after the courtroom hearing today, Judge Sauls, whatever he did last night after he left the courtroom, whatever he did this morning, he never looked at one of those ballots. How can he say there weren't -- you know, the ballots would not have made any difference when he never looked at the ballots?

SILVA: Well, that's their point and that's what they'll appeal it on. They'll say, you can't have a contest without reviewing the evidence, the main evidence, the witnesses in this case, as they call them, the ballots are the witnesses. The judge wanted to find a factual basis to look at them first. Let's face it, the judge didn't want to drag his courthouse through a lot of ballot counting for the next five days if the Supreme Court wasn't going to be with him.

PRESS: Well, then let me just ask you this quick question, then why did he truck all those ballots up to Tallahassee?

SILVA: Well, I don't know. Maybe he has a brother in the rental truck business, but you know...

CARLSON: That's the spirit, Mark. For fun, come on.

SILVA: Those ballots needed to come here. They -- those ballots were getting lonely and tired and, you know, people were just getting sick of them in Miami. But actually I think he brought them up knowing that there was a case involved here that -- and it could proceed along different lines, the state Supreme Court could say tomorrow, count the ballots, and so the ballots are here. Judge Sauls did a good job of putting ducks in a row.

CARLSON: Well...

PRESS: Here it is, Tucker, give me your hungry, your tired, your poor...

CARLSON: Send them to Tallahassee.

PRESS: ... your huddled ballots yearning to be free.

CARLSON: We've got to go to Tallahassee, it sounds like a great place.

Mark, I want you to take a look at a piece of tape here. This is Bush attorney Ben Ginsberg today. He turns out to be a pretty witty guy. Listen to this.


BEN GINSBERG, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: ... that I believe we've said all along and that the judge confirmed today, those ballots have been counted not once on election night, but twice in the recount. And how many did you say there were?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten-thousand-seven-hundred-and-fifty in Dade.

GINSBERG: Ten-thousand-seven-hundred-and-fifty, Dade -- if you know the exact number, doesn't that mean they have been counted?


CARLSON: See, I think that's a pretty clever point.

PRESS: Ha ha.

CARLSON: Now, Mark, the Gore campaign keeps claiming that there are all these ballots, these tens of millions of ballots that have never been counted, but the Bush campaign says, well, every ballot has been counted.

Where -- what's the truth here?

SILVA: Well, he makes a good point. They were counted, they went through the machine, they were enumerated, they were piled up and categorized, catalogued, they just weren't read. They weren't -- the votes weren't discerned, the intent of the voters who handle those ballots wasn't fully discerned. Maybe they didn't vote for president, but we don't know.

PRESS: Mark, look at the Supreme Court, Florida Supreme Court, they had their wrist slapped by the U.S. Supreme Court today, now they have this appeal coming to them -- on a scale of 1 to 10, what are Al Gore's chances in the Florida Supreme Court?

SILVA: They're not good. I think the Supreme Court has a high hurdle to get over to turn back this judge. This judge made a finding of law. The U.S. Supreme Court is like a professor, they sent this final exam back to the court and said, you know, you need to look at question 12 again and get it a little better the next time and fix it up and send it back to us. That's a technicality. That...

PRESS: All right, final question.

SILVA: I don't have...

CARLSON: "See me" written in red pen across the top of it. That's the spirit.

PRESS: Final question -- this is a real easy one. Has it ever been this exciting in Tallahassee, Florida?

SILVA: It's this exciting all the time in Tallahassee, Florida.

This is the center of the political universe.

CARLSON: We don't believe you, Mark Silva.

SILVA: It just took you guys this long to figure it out. CARLSON: We got to come down there and see him.

PRESS: All right, Mark Silva, thank you with that great, perfect spin. We say good night to Mark Silva. And thank you, Mark,. for joining us.

CARLSON: Thanks, Mark.

PRESS: It's time, folks, for "Spin of the Day." They'll be coming up after we take a quick break. So we got a little minute here. Get your -- if you haven't already -- phone number: 1-800-310-4CNN, your "Spin of the Day," or send us your e-mail at


PRESS: Bill Press and Tucker Carlson. We'll be right back with all of you.


CARLSON: Welcome back to the THE SPIN ROOM.

I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press. The death watch continues.

Now, Bill, I just want to -- we do a new thing every show, and today I want to introduce the self-promotion moment.

PRESS: Oh, yes, good.

CARLSON: This is a segment that's brought to you by CNN's marketing department.

PRESS: No, no, no, this is required. We didn't want to do this.

CARLSON: It's required.

PRESS: This is required by CNN's marketing department.

CARLSON: Can I say, this is CNN.

Today there was a little exchange between Craig Waters, who's the spokesman for the Florida Supreme Court...

PRESS: New star.

CARLSON: The new star -- and Susan Candiotti of CNN. And I want to put it up to show our viewers what transpired.

PRESS: Here we go.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Waters, I've just received a copy from the 1st District Court of Appeals, that it has certified this over to the Florida Supreme Court.

CRAIG WATERS, FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: Well if that's the case, CNN once again is ahead of me.


PRESS: Don't you...

CARLSON: Look for the new Craig Waters show, appearing late night on CNN. He's good. Don't you think?

PRESS: Yes, he might be taking the place of THE SPIN ROOM if he keeps going.

All right, "Spins of the Day." All right, we have a telephone call from randy from California.

Randy, good evening, welcome, and what's your "Spin of the Day," Randy?

RANDY: Al Gore has not lost the match, he's only down for the recount.

PRESS: Oh, not bad. Puns are...

CARLSON: Not bad at all.

PRESS: Puns are also welcome here.

Here's a "Spin of the Day" from Mike from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, a Floridian chiming in here. His "Spin of the Day," Joe Klock, Secretary Harris's lawyer in his remarks after Judge Saul's decision said that the secretary has no dog in this race. Give me a break, says Mike. She was the Bush co-chair in Florida. She clearly has a dog in this race. Good show,

CARLSON: The name of her dog is truth and integrity. I'm over the top for her.

This is David from Littleton, New Hampshire, a bit of a sports nut, he writes in to correct you. My "Spin of the Day" is Bill Press saying that the game is in the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs -- wrong, says David.

After the Democrats struck out in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs, they got the umps to grant then three more outs. It's really five outs trailing with one run in the bottom of the ninth. You figure that out. The bottom line is, they're cheating somehow.

PRESS: I have to say something. When I come up with a sports metaphor...

CARLSON: I know, they're usually a little crisper.

PRESS: It's so difficult for me to get a sports analogy that that guy ought to get off my case. I'm proud of coming up with the bottom of the ninth.

CARLSON: All right, that was pretty good.

PRESS: Here's Horatio, I think this is another nom de plume. "Spin of the Day": As an attorney, I'm trained to make the best P.R. case for my client. I cannot, however, believe someone -- believe somebody could call the Supreme Court decision a draw, when it is at the very least a big slap in the face for the Florida high court for its inability to read, understand and write law -- the Florida supremes.

CARLSON: Too shameless even for a lawyer -- what does that mean?

PRESS: That's pretty shameless.

CARLSON: That's pretty shameless.

PRESS: All right, nominations for "Spin of the Day," me first tonight. Here is mine. And this is a very unusual nomination for "Spin of the Day." This is...

CARLSON: I would expect nothing less from you, Bill.

PRESS: This is David Boies, who's the top attorney for Al Gore tonight. After the decision by Judge Sanders Sauls, David Boies came out and he says this very quickly, so listen up.

Here's David Boies.


BOIES: They won, we lost, we're appealing.


PRESS: That's it. That is perfect because it's the absolute absence of spin. And I just congratulate him, unlike Jim Baker who whined when he lost in the court, David Boies just said, we won -- they won, we lost, boom -- class act.

CARLSON: David Boies -- he has reason to be tempered at this point. He'll be looking for a new job soon.

PRESS: Class act.

CARLSON: OK, Bill, I've got -- speaking of, this is my "Spin of the Day." This is a little bite that occurred earlier today on a show we referenced previously, a guy named Bill Press on television.

Here's what he said.


CARLSON: I want you to listen to what Bill Press said. Listen to this.


PRESS: By the way, whoever wins, as far as I'm concerned, wins. Whoever wins is going to be my president. I'll respect him.


CARLSON: Now this is half a spin. Whoever wins will be president indeed, but I'll respect him. I just want to hear you say President Bush, I respect you. I respect you, President Bush. You have my respect you, President Bush.

PRESS: If he gets there on January 20, I will. But I have to say something. I know people...

CARLSON: You will? You'll say I respect you President Bush?.

PRESS: I will. I know Republicans who for eight years will never say Bill Clinton is president.

CARLSON: I know, but we're not talking about that.

PRESS: No, no, no, but I want to say, I think those people are un-American. If George Bush is in the White House, he is my -- he will be my president, and I'll respect him.

CARLSON: You will say, I respect him? I can't wait.

PRESS: I take that very, very, very seriously.

CARLSON: Viewers watching this show, hold Bill to account.

PRESS: I will. But we're out of time for now, folks. Thanks for joining us.

CARLSON: But we will be back, every single night at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll see you then.

PRESS: And that means tomorrow night -- Bill Press and Tucker Carlson.

CARLSON: Good night.

PRESS: Good night.



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