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Special Event

University of Florida Hosts Panel Discussion on Election 2000

Aired February 26, 2001 - 9:51 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Now we want to just show you a picture that we're getting in here at the CNN Center. We want to dip in now and listen to a panel discussion going on now at the University of Florida. This is "Florida Election 2000: Insiders At the Intersection of Law, Politics and the Media." This is all about the goings-on with the Florida elections last fall. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DEXTER DOUGLASS: ... willing to go to the mat on this was wrong because he literally made that offer. And there were people within the camp where we were involved that didn't want him to do that. We thought it was a good idea. I know David did and I did. But there was some dispute.

But he did that and everybody forgot that. And they still say, well, he didn't want to count all the votes. But he did want to count all the votes under a condition that would have ended the legal proceedings, and they could have proceeded to recount the votes. That would have been the proper solution, in 20/20 hindsight would have been the best solution to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask this. This will give a chance to the print media to respond to the statement that they didn't quite say you were useless.

(LAUGHTER)

But -- and I actually -- occasionally, from time to time, in contacts with the written media, that I know that some of you folks felt you actually had the chance to get it right in the morning as opposed to modifying positions three or four times during the day. Is that...?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, David should get it. You know, I feel like Adm. Stockwell, who ran with Perot. And he stood up at that first debate and said, what am I doing here?

(LAUGHTER)

Yes, this story did. It broke so fast. We -- typically on our editorial board, we'll have our meeting in the morning and decide at that point what line to take. And, of course, if you decided in the morning what line to take, it's like the 12-hour rule that you knew 12 hours later was absolutely useless because something had come along.

I don't know how many times we decided that we should call for Al Gore to actually get out of the race, and then by later in the day everything had turned around and said we can't absolute -- we can't say that, this is -- the game is still live.

So -- and then, though, the opinions, the key opinions came down from the Florida Supreme Court and from the U.S. Supreme Court, as Roger well knows, so late at night...

HARRIS: This panel discussion is going on right now at the University of Florida. Some of the faces you may recognize from -- because they appeared so often on screens across the dial during the elections this past fall. You probably saw our own Roger Cossack there on the panel, along with David Cardwell, who was our legal analyst during it as well; and David Boies, who was Al Gore's attorney. We, of course, will keep an ear open and see if any news breaks out.

It's interesting they're having this discussion and this 20 -- this hindsight look at what happened where you got -- today with the "Miami Herald" newspaper coming up with its own study showing -- examining some 10,000 ballots -- Al Gore picked up only 49 votes.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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