Transcript: Gore Advisers on Fla.
Friday , November 10, 2000
Former secretary of state Warren Christopher and Gore campaign chairman
William Daley address the media in Florida.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
WILLIAM DALEY: As you know, our campaign has been shut down
as of today. And then we're on to Washington for the weekend.
As you know, the automatic recount required by Florida law is continuing.
To date, that count has shown a considerable narrowing of the margin between
Vice President Gore and Governor Bush. When one considers the number of ballots
yet to arrive from Americans overseas, and presumably mostly men and women in
the military, it seems very clear that the outcome here in Florida remains in
doubt, as it will for several more days.
In addition, in the past 24 hours three counties have granted requests to
have ballots counted--hand counted, at least on a sample basis. These requests
were made because of oddities in the computer vote totals. I hope all Americans
agree that the will of the people, not a computer glitch, should select our
The wait to get these results is frustrating, frustrating to all of us in
both campaigns, and to the American people obviously as well. But calls for
a declaration of a victor before all the votes are accurately tabulated are
inappropriate. Waiting is unpleasant for all of us, but suggesting that the
outcome of a vote is known before all the ballots are properly counted is inappropriate.
In addition, we continue to explore the questions of what can be done to remedy
the unfairness of thousands of residents in Palm Beach County, who believed
they were voting for Al Gore, having those votes tabulated for Pat Buchanan
or not tabulated at all. Our legal team has concluded that the ballot in Palm
Beach County was unlawful, it was complained about on Election Day, a complaint
implicitly acknowledged by the election supervisor, who put out a flier on Election
Day warning about the problems.
In the end, as frustrating as this wait may be, what we are seeing here is
democracy in action, careful and lawful effort to ensure that the will of the
people is done. Other systems of government may work faster. Curtailing voters'
rights may get a result that is faster. But no system of government is more
just or more enduring than ours.
I hope that our friends in the Bush campaign will joining us in our efforts
to get the fairest and most accurate vote count here in Florida. Respect for
democratic principles and for the fundamental precept of our Constitution that
the people should decide requires no less.
I think as we move forward it is implicit for all of us, and all of those
concerned, that we carefully measure all of our words, recognizing the high
stakes involved in these deliberations.
Secretary Christopher and I would be happy to answer a few of your questions.
QUESTION: If by next Friday the absentee ballots are counted
and the state of Florida certifies that Governor Bush carried the state even
by only one vote, will that end the bickering as some hope?
DALEY: I don't think this is bickering. This is our process
that we're moving toward to. I think we've got to see it to completion. Obviously
these hand counts--and we are encouraged that the election--that the county-level
election committees are moving very quickly, one of them being even held today.
And there are samples that are done first before a judgment's made whether an
entire county has to be done.
So they seem, at a local level, to be moving rather quickly. So we're all
encouraged that this process is moving about as quick as it can right now.
DALEY: Well, legal experts from Florida have told us that,
have indicated that they feel strongly that was an unlawful ballot and we'll
see what actions proceed out of that.
DALEY: Well, my understanding is that Senator Torricelli
was misquoted in that comment, and I have not to talk to Senator Breaux. All
we're trying to do is see this election be completed according to the laws,
obviously. And the people of Florida, not us, are the ones who want to see this
election completed according to the laws of Florida.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) what Mr. Baker said in reference to
the suggestion that if the Democrats didn't somewhat back down, then perhaps
the Bush people would consider a challenge in some of the ballots in other states?
CHRISTOPHER: It seems to me that the team of Governor Bush
has every right to consider challenges in other states if they think that's
in their interest to do so. And perhaps they have an obligation to do so if
they regard the count as inaccurate.
Let's remember how we got here, how we came to Florida. You know, I think
it would be really fixed in all of our minds. First we saw the state of Florida
projected for Vice President Bush, then we saw it too close to call, then projected
for the governor for Texas and then back to too close to call. That's what brought
Florida into the particularly important situation and why we've come here.
It's an automatic vote count. We're following that vote count through. So
I would like to try to make it as clear as I can that this is an orderly process.
We have no reason to want to slow it down. The--Governor Bush's team, led
by Secretary Baker, who's--had a very good meeting with him yesterday--will
have to make their own decisions.
But we're going to proceed here in a very careful and lawful way to try to
ensure that the will of the people of Florida is accurately represented.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, let me follow up on that. Secretary
Baker said that--he suggested there should be no reasonable end to this process,
if legal challenges continue, and further added that for the good of the country
and the sake of our standing in the globe this campaigning and legal wrangling
should end. What's your response to this?
CHRISTOPHER: Well, we're only three days away from the election
itself. Our constitutional fathers wisely provided a period of time after the
election and before the electors meet; we're in the very early part of that
And I don't see any threat to our Constitution. Indeed, what we're doing is
a constitutional process. There's no constitutional crisis. We're proceeding
in accordance with the Constitution of laws and will continue to do so.
I don't see any threat at the moment to our standing overseas. We'll always
have this period of interregnum between the election and the installation of
the new administration. So I think we're proceeding in a very direct way.
If there was some escalation of rhetoric on the other side in the last few
hours, I'm not inclined to join it. I'm inclined to try to stay on the path
of being affirmative about it, trying to carry out our duties here.
CHRISTOPHER: I suppose it's more of a coincidence that both
Secretary Baker and I were here. We had a good meeting. We talked about prior
relationships. It was on a very professional basis.
I would say the main result of the meeting was an opening of lines of communication
between two people who are old colleagues and old friends, even though we're
in opposite parties.
We acknowledged that we had quite different interests in this situation, but
I think we pledged ourselves to try to keep the rhetoric as low as possible,
given the situation, and try to carry it out in a professional way.
DALEY: Well, I wouldn't want to speculate on what the judicial
system would end up or where it would end up. I don't think that would be up
QUESTION: The Florida secretary of state just released their
opinion saying this was legal in Palm Beach. Are you prepared to litigate...
DALEY: Well, as I said, legal counsel have indicated that
they thought it was not a legal ballot, and I assume that's an issue that will
end up in dispute.
DALEY: I'm not going to be litigating it. There are Floridians
who will look at this issue.
DALEY: Well, I think even Pat Buchanan indicated that he
thought the majority of the votes in Palm Beach County were meant more for Al
Gore than for him. I think if you look at the Reform candidate for Senate, you
look at every other county, look at the candidacy in 1996, it's pretty obvious
that something was wrong.
DALEY: I think as quick as we would--as soon as the proper
procedures would allow it, it can be done. All of us want this as quick possible
to be over. There's no question about that.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) the overseas ballot has always favored
the Republicans. What makes you think that Mr. Gore will fare well once those
DALEY: I'm not--I didn't say that we predict that he will
those ballots. It remains to be seen. But to assume they're one or the other
would be inappropriate at this time. Why don't wait to see when they're counted
how they come out?
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) in other words, you're talking now about
looking at Milwaukee voters on the cigarette issue. At what point does this,
sort of, spiral out of control (OFF-MIKE)
DALEY: I wouldn't want to speculate on any of that. Obviously,
there are always disputes around elections. I think everyone would like to see
this election process, which seems to have gone on--this campaign process, to
seems to have gone on forever, and I assume there are members of the press who
would like to see it come to conclusion at some time. All of us would. And so
the goal here is to get this done as quick as possible.
But there are processes, procedures, administrative processes, and laws that
have to be, obviously, followed.
DALEY: I have great respect for Bob Dole. He was a very
honorable public servant, a war hero, and someone that I've had enormous respect
for, and I would never stoop to that level.
DALEY: My understanding, and I don't--again, this is what
I've been told. My understanding, in 1996, there were a total of 15,000, both
non-voted ballots and double-punched ballots. This time there's double that
amount. There's about 30,000 ballots that were either not voted or double-punched,
so it's twice as many.
So, obviously--and the bottom line is that mistake, the problem may very well
dictate who's the president of the United States, where four years ago it was
not an issue in contention in this state of the nation who was going to win.
DALEY: Oh, on the transition? I'm sure Governor Bush and
his team of very experienced people are well-prepared to transition in. They
have said that. And I think, obviously, a great number of Americans believe
them, as they've said that. And the vice president is prepared, as he has been
prepared for eight years, in the event of an emergency, to transition into the
presidency. So I don't see that as a big issue, to be frank with you.
QUESTION: Mr. Coffey was responsible for removing the sitting
mayor in Miami. How far is the Gore campaign willing to go? Past inauguration
to try to get this vote...
DALEY: No. No.
DALEY: He's taken steps over the last number of months to
prepare for a transition. But as I say, he's had the job for eight years, where
inherently in that job, you are prepared to transition at a moment's notice
into the office. So his--the need for a--some sort of long, formal transition,
maybe for him, would be less than someone who's coming in, not having been vice
DALEY: Oh, I don't know. He hasn't asked me.
STAFF: Two more questions.
DALEY: Yes, sir?
DALEY: Well, as of whenever it was, a few minutes ago, watching
CNN, the vote count seems to be somewhere--this is unofficial as I understand
it--300 votes. So obviously, the votes that are still out there are expected
votes on overseas absentees and possible changes that may occur by virtue of
these hand counts may be able to change that. But that's just a guess on my
part, no more.
DALEY: Well, obviously, that's a much larger amount of votes,
of people who made a mistake or felt that they were confused by virtue of the
setup. And when you have this close of an election, in this process that's going
on right now, just waiting for the absentee ballots may very well change the
QUESTION: Secretary Daley?
QUESTION: What kind of support are you getting from your
Democratic congressmen in Washington?
DALEY: Well, I talked to Congressman Gephardt yesterday,
others in our operation have talked to members of Congress. We seem to be getting
very strong support. Obviously, they're as concerned as all Americans and all
of us as to the outcome of this and the speed with which it moves forward, which
we all are.
But as far as their strong feeling that the rights of the people of Florida
should be protected and the actual vote as it is, no matter what the outcome
is of that vote, should be protected and should be gotten.
Thank you. Thank you.