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The Spin Room: The Morning After

Aired December 14, 2000 - 11:00 p.m. ET


TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: The morning after has come. And it's all puppies and lollipops.

JAKE TAPPER, SALON.COM, GUEST CO-HOST: Our long national nightmare is over. But can we still respect ourselves in the morning?

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

CARLSON: Welcome to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here on our special morning after show.

TAPPER: And I'm Jake Tapper from filling in for Bill Press.

CARLSON: Bill Press has been caught in the nation's airport tangles. But he'll be back.

TAPPER: Where is he?

CARLSON: We're not quite sure. But we know where you are. You're watching, one hopes. And we are eagerly awaiting your calls, your e-mails, your chat room comments. You know the numbers, but we'll repeat them anyway.

You can call us toll-free, 1-800-310-4CNN. You can join our live online chat at Or you can send us an e-mail. Our e-mail address is

TAPPER: Well, you know, Tucker, a lot of crazy stuff going on.

CARLSON: Unbelievable. It is the morning after. Not all of us respect ourselves. But I have to say, Jake, I'm in a pretty good mood.

TAPPER: Are you?

CARLSON: The full bipartisan feeling has descended on Washington like fog.

TAPPER: But you hate Democrats.

CARLSON: Some of my best friends, Jake, honestly. We have -- you know, and I think some people are even getting a little foggy around in the mind with the bipartisanship. We have an e-mail from Frank in Massachusetts. And I'll read this directly.

TAPPER: That's not Barney Frank, I hope.

CARLSON: No, it's not. One suspects not. Listen to this.

He said, "There's been a lot of talk about President-elect George W. Bush including Democrats his cabinet. How far off the wall would it be to consider Vice President Al Gore for a position in his cabinet? P.S. I can't see the show tonight, I'm studying for finals. If you get the chance, could you reply to this e-mail and let me know your thoughts. Thanks." That's with an X.

Frank in Massachusetts, we can't respond by e-mail. But I can tell you directly, even though you're studying for finals, I think that would qualify as off the wall for George W. Bush.

TAPPER: Not so off the wall. Franklin Delano Roosevelt I believe did it, did he not? Wendell Wilke (ph), appointed him? A little history. He beat Wendell Wilke and then put him in his cabinet.

CARLSON: He did?

TAPPER: I believe.

CARLSON: It must have been a sub-sub-sub-cabinet post.

TAPPER: I think he was like secretary of education or something. I might be completely wrong. And I'm sure that someone will get Michael Beschlasch (ph) on the phone to...

CARLSON: We need more presidential historians.


TAPPER: I saw Schenkean (ph) in the green room. Did you see him?

CARLSON: No I didn't.

TAPPER: He is my favorite historian.

CARLSON: He is my favorite presidential historian.

TAPPER: Just because I like saying Schenkman. That's the only reason.

OK, I've got an e-mail here. And I haven't been on the show for a few weeks. I've been in Florida covering the thing. And Bill Press has been doing, obviously, an amazing job. So they haven't called on me.

But he got stuck in Pittsburgh or something. So I don't know what this one means. You're going to have to explain it to me.

CARLSON: I will. TAPPER: "SPIN ROOM e-mail, boy am I glad Bush won. I did not want to see Tucker do a show in his Speedo." That's from Tim Dunn (ph).

CARLSON: Well, you know...

TAPPER: And I have to say Amen to that. But I have no idea what it means.

CARLSON: Jake, even I wouldn't want to see myself in a Speedo. There was some misconception out there that if in fact Al Gore won that I would appear on this show in a Speedo. And that was never true.

TAPPER: Never?

CARLSON: It was in my bathing trunks. I would never...

TAPPER: Trunks.

CARLSON: ... inflict that on anyone.

TAPPER: People should know, people watching, viewers, loyal listeners should know that Tucker does not wear a Speedo. Tucker wears one of those full body bathing suits that Dick Van Dyke wore in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

CARLSON: Bloomers, I think we call them.

TAPPER: Yeah, and it's a good luck, I have to say.

CARLSON: Jake, the other thing you may have missed not being a regular on the show for the past couple of weeks doing all the hard- nosed reporting down there in Florida is that we are as we often say, in fact every single night say, very popular in Canada.

TAPPER: I've heard that.

CARLSON: More popular even that dog sledding. More popular even than maple syrup.

We have another e-mail tonight from Barbara Morgan (ph), this also qualifies as part of our megalomania moment, who writes to say she is from Toronto. She says, "Canada loves you. This is a great programme."

And you'll notice she spells program with two Ms and an E on the end.

TAPPER: I love that.

CARLSON: And speaking of, you think that's all the Canada we can fit in tonight?

TAPPER: No, no, no, no. CARLSON: But no it's not. You'll notice, and I wonder if we can get this up here, one of the very first phone calls that President- elect George W. Bush -- and I have to say I love the way that sounds.

TAPPER: Do you like that?


TAPPER: Which do you like better, President-elect George W. Bush or President George W. Bush?

CARLSON: I'm getting used to President-elect.

TAPPER: I like P-E.

CARLSON: President will be even better. One of the first calls he took today was from Jean Chretien.


CARLSON: Oui. Who is, in fact, the prime minister of Canada. And listen to the prime minister of Canada Jean Chretien's account of their conversation.



JEAN CHRETIEN, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: I offered on behalf of all Canadians my congratulations and best wishes. We had a very good discussion. For him as for me, the Canadian-U.S. relations are very, very important. And it is for me a pleasure that I had the occasion to talk with him. And we have agreed to meet as early as possible.


CARLSON: Notice, Jake, that he said, "I can speak for all Canadians." And this was a little bit...


TAPPER: They're unified.

CARLSON: Well, as someone who thought maybe THE SPIN ROOM was the one organ that could speak for all Canadians.

TAPPER: I don't know if you knew this. But did you know that I am actually half Canadian...

CARLSON: I didn't know that.

TAPPER: ... my mom is from Canada. My grandfather served with the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II.

CARLSON: Is that true?

TAPPER: I'm half Canadian.

CARLSON: You've been sneaking around undetected in America all these years, kind of a fifth column.

TAPPER: Yeah, I'm a member -- well, I'm not. My mom is a member of the Canadian Diaspora. But I don't like to -- because of all the anti-Canadian backlash.

CARLSON: Right. She must go out for Canadian food a lot.

TAPPER: Yeah. We do that on Sundays.

We have a phone call from Joy Faye (ph) in Tennessee. Joy, can you hear me?

CALLER: Yes. My name is Jo (ph).

TAPPER: Oh, I'm sorry, Jo. So what's going on?

CALLER: OK, if Republicans really want to unite this country and have a (INAUDIBLE), there are three things they really need to do. They need to drop any and all legal proceedings against the president. They need to offer Al Gore an important post in the administration. And they need to make sure they never, ever appoint Katherine Harris to a position that seems to be representative of the American people.

TAPPER: Wow. Those are three things that...

CARLSON: Those are pretty tough demands.

TAPPER: ... Those are three promises. You could just see her holding perhaps a puppy with a gun against its head.

CARLSON: There goes the whole ambassador to France thing.

TAPPER: I have to say that definitely one and two are just simply not going to happen. In fact, I don't know if you knew this. But I read this in the paper. Congressman Dan Burton...


TAPPER: ... who we had earlier on "Crossfire" is actually sending members of his committee to Australia to look into some alleged malfeasance that Janet Reno did, possibly or possibly not, back when she was attorney for Miami-Dade. Miami-Dade, it all comes full circle.

CARLSON: It all comes full circle.

TAPPER: Think about it.

CARLSON: We have, speaking of full circle, joining us here in Washington, a legend of civil rights era, Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis.

Congressman, thank you for joining us this late. REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): Well, thank you for having me tonight.

CARLSON: Well, thank you. Now there's been quite a bit of talk, particularly today, the morning after, about the idea that black voters were disenfranchised in this election.

And I want you to take a look at a graphic that we have that represents a phone call that took place this morning between President-elect George W. Bush and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. It struck me, and I'm wondering if it strikes you, as significant that one of the first phone calls the president-elect took this morning was to Jesse Jackson. Do you see this as a sign of him reaching out to his critics?

LEWIS: Well, I think it's important that the president-elect, President-elect Bush, reach out to all Americans. You know, he lost big time the African American vote. And it's important that this segment of the American population feel like they are included.

TAPPER: Congressman, hi, it's Jake Tapper. Thanks...

LEWIS: Hi. How are you doing tonight?

TAPPER: ... Thanks for being with us tonight.

There's a little clip from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Democrat of Texas, that I want to play.


REP. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON (D-TX): Very important, especially to me and the leaders here that join me in Congress, that we allow people to vote without intimidation and then we count those votes. When we don't do that, we are no different from any other non-democratic country that simply pushes leaders upon people.


TAPPER: Congressman Lewis, I guess my question for you is that is -- I understand a lot of the raw nerves and emotions that are out there. But do you think comments like Congresswoman Johnson's helps now that we do have a president-elect, just having -- just the rhetoric of having leaders pushed upon us, that sort of thing?

LEWIS: No, I think the comments of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, you know, she's a native of Texas. She's served in the Texas legislature. And now she's head of the Congressional Black Caucus.

I think those comments are appropriate, on target. You must not forget here there is some history, long history. We're not talking about 50 or 60 years ago, but just a few short years ago in the American South, the 11 southern states from Virginia to Texas, people were denied the right to vote simply because of the color of their skin.

And you still have in some places of the American South the leftover of people being intimidated, being harassed when they attempt to register or when they go to the polls to vote.

CARLSON: But, Congressman, with all due respect, we're talking in this case not about anything that occurred 30 years ago or even two years ago, but about this election. And I'm wondering if you have any specific evidence of anyone being intimidated?

LEWIS: Even in this case in the state of Florida and some other parts of the American South, African American voters were asked to present more than one piece of identification. They were asked many times over were they sure they were registered.

There were black voters, especially young black voters or would- be voters, students, showing up to vote. And they get to the polling place or their precinct, they were told their names were not on the list.

CARLSON: But you have evidence that they in fact were on the list and were turned away on the basis of their race? I guess there's just a piece missing here. And that is the actual evidence that they were discriminated against.

LEWIS: No, but we do have evidence that hundreds and thousands of African American voters waited in line, unmovable lines, not just in the state of Florida but in other parts of the South and been told over and over again that their names were not on the lists. They're not registered.

In some cases, some people had registered through Motor Voter. And their names apparently were never transferred from Motor Voter to the voter registration or the board of election.

CARLSON: Interesting. Well, Congressman Lewis, if you could just hold on there, we'll be back in just a minute. We're going to take a break and ask you more about things that happened, the bad things that happened in this election, despite the of course delightful outcome.

Keep in mind that we're waiting for your nominations for "Spin of the Day." You can call us toll-free at 1-800-310-4CNN. You can join our live online chat at Or you can send us an e-mail. Please do, We'll be right back.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. We're here. It's the morning after. We're nursing our hangovers and getting ready for President-elect George W. Bush.

CARLSON: Some of us, of course, are already ready.

TAPPER: I'm ready.

CARLSON: Ready and waiting.

TAPPER: I'm ready.

CARLSON: President-elect Bush.

TAPPER: I think it's going to be great.

CARLSON: I love the sound of it.

Frances (ph) in Colorado we have on the phone I believe.

CALLER: Hey, guys.

CARLSON: What do you think of -- hey, President-elect Bush.

CALLER: I never miss the show. It's a great show.

TAPPER: Oh, wow. Look at that.

CARLSON: Thanks.

TAPPER: All right.

CARLSON: A megalomania phone call. What do you think?

CALLER: Well, here's what I think. Shortly after the decision came down from the Supreme Court, Jesse Jackson was comparing that decision to the Dred Scott decision.

I don't know if a lot of people remember what the Dred Scott decision was. But it basically said that black Americans were not citizens under the constitution, therefore had no rights.

I guess my question or my comment is that how is it that Jesse Jackson -- they're always talking about unity, we want to build bridges. And everybody's putting the responsibility for George Bush to build bridges and to unify, but how can you unify when you have a leader like Jesse Jackson making racist comments like that, even the comments he made after that saying that George Bush was the president- elect but not the moral leader?

CARLSON: Well, Frances, that's an interesting question. Thank you.

And actually, let me pose that to Congressman John Lewis...


CARLSON: ... who we have with us tonight. Congressman, I don't know if you heard what the caller said. But he mentioned that Jesse Jackson tonight compared the Supreme Court decision to the infamous Dred Scott decision and asked the question, how can Jesse Jackson be working to unite the country when he's rhetoric that overheated? What do you think?

LEWIS: Well, I think Jesse Jackson can play a major role in helping to bring the country together by working with members of the Congress, working with members of the new administration, and with President-elect Bush. It is my understanding that in few days they're going to sit down and meet. And I think that's the right thing to do. People may disagree. We may fight and disagree and agree from time to time. But we can come together as a people and as a nation.

I think that's what it's all about, building bridges, bridges of understanding, bridges of compassion. We live in this type of country. It's a democracy.

TAPPER: Congressman Lewis, as somebody who has so admirably devoted so much of his life to fighting for civil rights, look, I understand the argument about counting every vote and disenfranchisement and the arguments from the NAACP, but to compare the Supreme Court decision to Dred Scott. I mean, that does such a disservice to the horrible legacy of slavery that this country has. I mean, surely you agree with that.

LEWIS: Well, the decision in my estimation -- I respect the court. And I'm sure Jesse Jackson respect the court. But I think many of us tend to disagree with the decision. We felt it was a bad decision.

And I think the spirit of history will not be kind to us because of this decision. It will forever the haunt the very soul of our country. We will never, ever forget what happened with this decision.

CARLSON: Now do you think, Congressman Lewis, that your constituents, or the people for whom Jesse Jackson believes he is speaking, will accept President-elect Bush? I mean, if you really believe that his presidency is illegitimate, as Jesse Jackson has said, then how can they possibly accept it?

LEWIS: No, I think the great majority of Americans, it doesn't matter their race, their color, religion or whatever, whether we're Democrats or Republicans are independent, we will accept George W. Bush as our president. We can only have one president at a time.

We will fight from time to time. We will disagree from time to time. But on those things that we agree on, we will come together in the best interests of the country.

TAPPER: A quick question, Congressman Lewis, because we have to take a break. But can you explain why George W. Bush got the lowest percentage of the black vote since Gerald Ford in 1976? I mean, lower than Reagan, lower than Bob Dole. I mean, very briefly if you could explain why you think that was.

LEWIS: Well, it has something to do with his history as governor of Texas. Look how many people went to the electric chair in Texas. Look at his position on affirmative action. He went and visited Bob Jones University.

I think all of these things that really responded and caught the nerve and affected the very nerve of African American voters, and they did not like what he was saying. They did not like what they saw in the man.

CARLSON: Well, that turned out to be true on Election Day. That's for sure.

Congressman Lewis, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate you coming out at this hour.

LEWIS: Well, thank you very much for having me tonight.

CARLSON: Well, thank you.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

CARLSON: We'll be back in just a moment. We're still waiting anxiously on the edge of our seats literally for your "Spins of the Day" nominations. So send them, e-mail them, throw them in the chat room, tie them to a brick, throw them through the window. We'll be waiting here to read them.

We'll be back in just a moment on THE SPIN ROOM.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Jake Tapper from filling in for the magisterial Bill Press.

CARLSON: The stranded Bill Press.

TAPPER: One never knows where he is.

But before we get in, we have a little surprise for you, Tucker. Before we get in...

CARLSON: Is that true? I love surprises.

TAPPER: A little bitty surprise. So if we could get that surprise going.

CARLSON: The surprise.

TAPPER: "Don't ever put someone wearing a bow tie on a jury. Such people have tightly closed minds." This is Luther Anderson, a judge in the Superior Court of Fulton County.

CARLSON: Well, you know...

TAPPER: Don't ever put somebody wearing a bow tie on a jury. Some people have tightly closed minds.


CARLSON: This is the perfect jury avoidance device. And that's one of the reasons I wear it. And it's a fact too that nobody with a bow tie ever gets on a jury. And that's OK.

TAPPER: You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of that Clayton (ph) guy from "Benson." Do you remember him?

CARLSON: No. I'm not an expert on early '80s sitcoms. TAPPER: Clayton Endacott III (ph). Clayton Endacott III, my friend.

CARLSON: He was never on a jury.

TAPPER: No, but he was...

CARLSON: Before we go further, we have a quick correction. This is from Joan in Calgary. We make a lot of mistakes about Canada.

TAPPER: Oh, Canada.

CARLSON: She writes to say, "Just wanted to let you know, we have some Canadians who have graduated to the automobile from dog sleds. You should come out and try it. It's called the Model T."

Great point.

TAPPER: Interesting. A little philosophical query here from a viewer named Dave Andress (ph). And he says, he asks, "What does it profit a man to gain the presidency and lose the economy?" Think about it.

CARLSON: Bible scholar too.

TAPPER: Think about it very...

CARLSON: We have a "Spin of the Day" coming by phone. Billy from North Carolina. What do you think?

CALLER: Well, I want to tell you how bad a decision this was by the Supreme Court that it went against both sides in the case and our country at the same time. It told Al Gore that, "Boy, we'd love to count, but we don't have time and it's too hard, sorry." Then they tell George Bush, "Well, here's the presidency, but we're not going to verify it. So you're just an illegitimate president from day one."

So that kind of goes against the country. And that is a stain on the Supreme Court.

And I'd like to say there is no dry cleaner that will ever clean that stain if it's allowed to stand. And apparently, it's going to.

TAPPER: You know, I thought all the talk of stains would be gone with the new president. But apparently...

CARLSON: I think we're moving into another world of stains.

TAPPER: I have to say, was he coming to us via CB? What was that? Did he have a citizens band going there?

CARLSON: It's time for our "Spins of the Day."

TAPPER: OK, all right, "Spin of the Day."

CARLSON: I'm particularly proud of mine. This is from Congressman Charlie Rangel, referred to by our guest last night...

TAPPER: Charlie Rangel.

CARLSON: ... exactly, Harold Ford of Tennessee as "Uncle Charlie." Listen to what Uncle Charlie had to say today.


REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY): There's a lot of division not only in this country that our votes were not counted. There's no question that because the Bush people knew that in these counties where the votes were discarded that they were Democrats and they were black.

But just let me say this to my dear friend J.C. Watts, that if we're going to heal this wound, if we're going to say peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, we first have to recognize that a lot of wrongdoing has taken place in Florida. Maybe it was because they were poor. Or maybe it was because they were powerless.

And maybe it was because they were black. But I think that our next president has a tremendous responsibility to reach out across party lines and across color lines and to try to have all Americans believe that whatever has been done will be corrected and we can move forward.


CARLSON: Well, that was quite a speech from Charlie Rangel. But the bottom line is, and I'll say this quickly, he said that George W. Bush has an obligation to reach out. And the poignant fact here is that I don't think any Republican candidate for president has ever tried to reach out as vigorously as Bush did, and as you pointed out, to such little effect.

TAPPER: Speaking of reaching out, Governor Jeb Bush from Florida had an announcement today about electoral reform in Florida. And here is Governor Jeb Bush.


GOV. JEB BUSH (R-FL): But this task force is just a start. Real electoral reform means not only updated our technology and clarifying our standards, it also means reaffirming our commitment to making sure that every citizen has faith and confidence in our electoral procedures, even when the margin of victory in a race is very close.

Our task may not be easy. But it will be impossible if we don't work together.


TAPPER: Woo, too little too late. OK.

CARLSON: Gets an A for effort anyway.

TAPPER: Yeah, no. CARLSON: We'll be back tomorrow night. Thanks.



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