Just In!! N.Y.Times: Judge Upholds Cutoff of 5pm Today for Recounts!

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

This is all I could get from the site. There was more blank space, but it appeared it was all downloaded.

Judge Upholds Deadline for Florida Vote Certification. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A Florida judge ruled Tuesday that state officials may cut off the vote recount in the state's fiercely contested presidential election at 5 p.m. EST.

Judge Terry Lewis ruled that counties may file supplemental or corrected totals after the deadline, and Secretary of State Katherine Harris may consider them if she employs "proper exercise of discretion."

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 14, 2000


Based on the judge's previous questioning, I'd really expected the opposite. So, to me, this was a shocker.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 14, 2000.


Nov. 14 -- A Florida judge has rejected efforts to extend a 5 p.m. ET deadline for turning in all votes in the still-disputed presidential election. It's now up to Florida's secretary of state to decide whether to accept any updated figures that are turned in late because of ongoing recounts.

-- (
The@2000.election), November 14, 2000.

NY Times full story...

Judge Upholds Deadline, but Allows Exceptions


A state judge this afternoon let stand a deadline of 5 p.m. today for Florida counties to file recounts of the presidential voting, but left open the door for the secretary of state to consider later totals.

The decision by Circuit Court Judge Terry P. Lewis, which did not grant the Bush camp an outright court victory, nevertheless appeared to be a setback for the Gore campaign. The secretary of state, Katherine Harris, has been adamant about sticking to the 5 p.m. deadline, which she said was fixed by law.

Judge Lewis ordered that Ms. Harris could reject the late filings only after using "the proper exercise of discretion" and after considering "all appropriate facts and circumstances."

Two counties and the campaign of Vice President Al Gore went to court seeking to extend the deadline until hand recounts could be finished. They argued that Florida law was flexible enough to allow a delay at least until Friday, when the deadline expires for overseas absentee ballots to arrive in Florida by mail.

The Gore side has pinned its hopes of winning the election on gathering enough votes in recounts in four Florida counties to overcome a lead of several hundred ballots by Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. Winning Florida would give Mr. Gore or Mr. Bush the electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

Lawyers for Palm Beach and Volusia counties, both Democratic strongholds where Mr. Gore is ahead in the vote, told Judge on Monday that the Florida secretary of state was arbitrarily imposing a deadline. Palm Beach County suspended its recount today amid conflicting words from state authorities on whether it was acting properly.

Reflecting that position, the elections board in Palm Beach County decided 2-1 today to suspend its manual count, a crucial decision for the Gore camp because more than 400,000 votes were cast in the heavily Democratic county.

The Florida Division of Elections, which falls under Ms. Harris's authority, had advised that no legal grounds existed for a recount by hand because there was nothing wrong with the vote tabulation in the tally a week ago.

County Judge Charles Burton, chief executive of Palm Beach County and a member of the elections board there, told reporters that the board had an obligation to follow the law.

But Florida's attorney general, Bob Butterworth, a Democrat, promptly challenged the interpretation of Ms. Harris's office as "erroneous," and said the county was entitled to push ahead.

The Bush campaign jumped in before the ruling on the deadline with an offer for its opponents. The Bush camp said it would accept all manual recounts up until the 5 p.m. deadline if the Gore campaign dropped its legal efforts to extend the deadline, former Secretary of State James A. Baker 3rd, who is leading the Bush effort in Florida, told reporters.

"And then, ladies and gentlemen, the courts will not decide this election," he said. "It is time to bring this to a close."

The Gore campaign rejected the offer this morning. "It truly wasn't a proposal," said William Daley, Mr. Gore's campaign chairman, in Washington.

"The laws of Florida will be determined by the courts, not by representatives of these two campaigns," he said.

The fight over a recount has taken on a strongly political tenor.

Gore supporters have accused Ms. Harris of acting out of political motives. She is an elected Republican and co-chairwoman of the Bush campaign in Florida. Warren G. Christopher, a former secretary of state and Mr. Gore's chief representative here, said Monday that Ms. Harris seemed to be trying to "produce a particular result" in the election.

(continued in next post...)

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 14, 2000.

Judge Upholds Deadline, but Allows Exceptions (continued)

NY Times, 11/14/00 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

Page 2 of 2.

"It also looks like a move in the direction of partisan politics and away from the nonpartisan administration of the election laws," he said.

In a separate group of lawsuits stemming from the Nov. 7 voting in Palm Beach County, at least three judges have recused themselves, said Don Van Natta Jr., a New York Times reporter covering the case in Palm Beach. The suits charge that voters were confused by the design of the county's "butterfly ballot," which had candidates' names on facing sides.

Two Circuit Court judges, Catherine Brunson and Edward Fine, disqualified themselves this morning, without immediately stating their reasons. Circuit Judge Stephen Rapp disqualified himself Monday after Democratic lawyers said he was biased against their case. He denied that he had made comments against the plaintiffs, but stepped down anyway.

After the lawsuit was filed in Palm Beach, the state court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the county from filing its recount with the secretary of state.

At midday Monday, a federal judge in Miami denied a Republican request for an injunction to block the manual recounts as unconstitutional.

The judge, Donald M. Middlebrooks, ruled that the federal court had no jurisdiction and put the matter back in state hands.

Mr. Bush's lawyers say a formal decision on an appeal of the federal order would be made soon. The Bush camp has suggested that it would carry its fight to block the hand recounts all the way to the United States Supreme Court if necessary.

The Gore campaign was pursuing hand recounts in Volusia, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, as well as Palm Beach county.

On Monday night, election officials in Broward County voted not to proceed with a full recount after a count of sample precincts found a gain of just four votes for Mr. Gore. Lawyers from Mr. Gore's campaign filed suit today to overturn the decision. Campaign aides have said the sample count could translate into 400 additional votes for Mr. Gore in the whole county, and that local officials may have acted on an erroneous opinion by the secretary of state's office, Todd Purdum, a New York Times correspondent, reported from Tallahassee.

Election officials in Volusia County, a largely Democratic area in the east-central part of the state, today continued a manual recount they began on Sunday, with officials saying they were not sure it could be completed by the deadline. They filed suit in Circuit Court here on Monday seeking an injunction barring Ms. Harris from ignoring results they might submit after 5 p.m.

Miami-Dade elections officials voted today to begin a hand-count of nearly 6,000 ballots in three precincts, as the Gore camp had requested.

A running tally by The Associated Press of the recounts to date showed Mr. Bush with a lead of 388 votes out of some six million cast statewide.

In the Tallahassee court hearing Monday in the deadline case, Judge Lewis expressed a good deal of skepticism that there was any point in certifying the results on Tuesday, while waiting until Friday to certify a winner, after the overseas ballots are counted.

Although Judge Lewis at the time gave no indication of how he would rule, his questions made it clear that he saw no reason a county should not have enough time to conduct a manual recount.

"How could you conceivably do a manual recount in a large county without enough time?" he asked a Bush campaign lawyer. "It seems kind of futile to give someone an option for a manual recount, but no opportunity to do it."

Barry Richards, a lawyer for the Bush camp, responded, "It's not our place to question the wisdom of the legislature."

For his part, a lawyer for the Gore campaign, Dexter Douglass told the judge, "My client, Vice President Gore, is prepared to lose this election based on an honest count, he is prepared to accept the finality within a reasonable time."

-- eve (ev_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 14, 2000.

Next stop: Florida Supreme Court

-- (@ .), November 14, 2000.

Here's the link. The NY Times requires subscriber registration to access some of its articles, but it's free. So I'm not sure if you'll be able to readily access the story. In any case, the text is posted above.


-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 14, 2000.

Interesting. A very even-handed ruling. I can easily see the Supreme Court of Florida upholding it.

The biggest effect is to put Katherine Harris smack in the middle of the maelstrom. The whole world will see what she decides and hear what she has to say for herself. She is holding a public trust. We'll see how well she upholds it.

My best guess right now:

The most recent results from the state-mandated recount (last Friday) will be submitted before the 5pm deadline by all counties. This would put Bush ahead by some 320-odd votes (give or take), as reported on Friday.

Gore's people will exert all the influence at their disposal to persuade the elections commissions in the 4 counties to complete their manual counts, even if they aren't ready by 5pm today. They may or may not get all the counties on board. I doubt he'll fail in all four.

I predict at least some manual recounts will continue after today. If their results are not sufficient to elect Gore, then Katherine Harris may well amend the earlier results and certify the later ones - the cost of this would be negligible and the benefits great. But, if the "late" recounts show Gore winning Florida then Harris will be under enormous pressure.

If this comes to pass, and Bush asks her to fall on her sword for the party by rejecting the new vote counts, I'll bet she does. I also bet that if Bush takes the election in that way, the next four years will be so contentious they will make the last four look well-adjusted by comparison.

We definitely seem to be reaching the endgame now.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 14, 2000.

No way. The FSC will rule in Gore's favor.

How in the hell can you say "manual recounts are legal", then in the next breath, say it is "illegal" to provide a reasonable amount of time for an accurate manual count?

-- (@ .), November 14, 2000.

>> How in the hell can you say "manual recounts are legal", then in the next breath, say it is "illegal" to provide a reasonable amount of time for an accurate manual count? <<

Ah! But, the ruling does not say it is illegal to provide a reasonable amount of time, only that the power to decide whether an amended count shall be accepted and certified after the 5pm "deadline" shall rest with the Secretary of State. It also states that the Secretary of State must exercise that discretion properly (IOW, in the public interest) with a due consideration of the facts and circumstances.

So what we have here is a ruling that unambiguously tells us who is responsible - where the buck stops. It doesn't say the counties can't or shouldn't proceed with manual recounts, as requested by Gore. It says that they must submit them to the Secretary of State's discretion.

So, the Florida court has given Katherine Harris (and George W. Bush) enough rope to hang themselves in full public view. But also the discretion to either do it or not. Given the chance to hang themselves (reject vote counts that fovor Gore), I believe they will not be able to resist the siren song of Presidential power.

If Gore gets his recounts and they put him over the top, I expect to see Harris swinging slowly in the wind while GW Bush rides off to Washington, DC. You can quote me.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 14, 2000.

Perhaps just perhaps the plunging stock market has something to do with the 5 pm cut-off time. They really can't afford to let this go much longer, and I think they know it.

Then again, what do I know. =)

-- cin (cin@cin.cin), November 14, 2000.

So let's see here...

Gore is desperately trying to engineer a favorable recount, having nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so. Bush is desperately trying to stop such a recount, having everything to lose and nothing to gain by a recount.

To make things more interesting, this is NOT a recount that even pretends to promise a more accurate picture of how Florida voters really voted. It is a narrowly focused recount very specifically designed to create a win for Gore based on sheer probabilities. Neither side any longer pretends otherwise. IF such a biased recount is permitted to go forward as designed, nobody really doubts that Gore will end up with a count in his favor. In that case, there is a high likelihood that the entire Presidency will be determined by Great Kreskin interpretations of ballots submitted by those Palm Beach County votors who were unable to properly complete a ballot so that a machine could read it.

Bush, of course, *could* have demanded the same distorted method be applied in Duval County, where sheer probabilities would *almost* surely have boosted his own vote count. But he decided (reasonably enough) that since he *already* had more votes, and since he had absolutely nothing to gain by ANY recount however likely to be favorable, it was a bad bet. Why trade a real lead for a likely larger lead (useless), at the risk of losing (very bad)?

Accordingly, all pretense of "fairness" has been stripped away from either side. From current appearances, Gore will win if he can persuade "the system" to permit his customized biased count, and accept the results. Bush will win if those designer results don't favor Gore (FAT chance!), or if he can prevent such a count from happening, or if he can get such a count thrown out.

So now the battle hinges on this third, customized count. Florida law says they have 7 days to finish it, and that time is about expired. Can that time limit be extended? Yes, at the discretion of the Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris. Now, Harris just happens to be the Bush campaign coordinator for the state of Florida, so it's no real surprise that she decided not to extend the time limit.

Can this exercise of discretion be contested? This is up to the Florida attorney General, Bob Butterworth. Now, Butterworth just happens to be the Gore campaign coordinator for the state of Florida, so it's no surprise that he decided to contest Harris' decision.

Now Judge Terry Lewis (party affiliation unspecified) upholds the deadline, but does so in such a way that the specialized recount can continue and the results be submitted at a later date. Both Lewis' decision, and Harris' subsequent decision to accept or reject late counts, can be appealed to higher courts. Stay tuned...

Meanwhile, Gore is left with a fascinating choice. He can direct that his private recount go forward in the hopes of "winning", and if (when) that happens, submit these late counts to Harris (Bush), claiming with a straight face that this represents "the real will of the people". (Politicians can say the damndest things with straight faces). Bush (via Harris) can legally reject these counts, but is unlikely to be able to explain to the public (or perhaps even understand himself) that Gore pulled a statistical fifth ace from behind his ear. He is much more likely to make a claim stick that he is simply following the law as written. Result: Bush is President but inherits the wind. Everybody loses.

Alternatively, Gore can direct that his private recount be dropped, gracefully concede defeat after a hard fought battle, and pledge to do all he can blah blah blah. Everybody doesn't lose, but we probably don't do any better than break even, considering the "It was necessary to destroy the process in order to win it" attitude shown by both sides so far.

Essentially, Lewis has given Gore the opportunity to lose either as a statesman or as the opposite. Which one Gore chooses should give us all some insight into his character, likely to come in VERY handy in 4 years.

Late breaking news -- Gore has appealed this decision, AND instructed all counties to continue his special count, to be submitted late. This pretty much guarantees that whoever wins, the victory will be as pyrrhic as Gore can make it. More and more I'm becoming convinced I don't want *either* of these clowns holding this office.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), November 14, 2000.

Flint, I'd say this assessment is within a few degrees of true north.

>> Late breaking news -- Gore has appealed this decision, AND instructed all counties to continue his special count, to be submitted late. <<

Matches my best guess so far. I predict the FSC will uphold Lewis. I predict Bush will drop his failed federal suit without an appeal because he won't need it anymore.

Whatever the courts say, it will all come down to whether Gore's recounts can find the votes to submit to Harris. If Gore finds the necessary votes, Harris will ritualistically douse both the ballots and her elective carreer with gasoline and light a match. They will burn, stink and put out a lot of oily black smoke. Bush will go to DC and Harris will become Undersecretary of Someplace Out of Sight.

More predictions (to be taken with a grain of salt):

Bush will promise reconciliation and eat humble pie right up to the Inauguration. This vow will not apply to Dick Hastert, Trent Lott or the other Congressional leadership. Bush needs those guys. They will have him in their hip pocket before you can blink twice. Reconciliation will be tossed onto the scrap heap in the first week of Congress.

We will get used to the sight of mass rallies of thousands of angry people in the streets protesting almost anything the Republicans do. Cheney will spend a lot of time in the next two years casting tie-breaking votes in the Senate, provided anything gets past the fillibusters.

>> More and more I'm becoming convinced I don't want *either* of these clowns holding this office. <<

I drew that conclusion before I voted.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 14, 2000.

but inherits the wind

IMO, the position of presidency has already been tainted. It makes no difference anymore who actually gets the job.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 14, 2000.


Dick Hastert Who is Dick Hastert? You forgot the other ones who a sane person wouldn't vote for. I can think of a special one.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 14, 2000.

>> It makes no difference anymore who actually gets the job. <<

Except for the power...

Whoever gets into the White House will have his hands on the levers of power. He can make appointments to Cabinet positions, administrative offices and judgeships. He can veto legislation or sign it. He can sign Executive Orders and influence both regulations and their enforcement.

By the same token, in the House of Representatives, it really doesn't matter how thin your majority is, if you get to elect the Speaker and pass out the committee assignments. These are genuine centers of power. You can make life miserable for the opposition and have lots more chips to trade with.

In the Senate, a 50-50 tie or a 49-51 split is a lot more problematic. But the Democrats will have only the power to obstruct, fillibuster and complain. This is power, but not as much as the Republicans will have. If they fillibuster too much, they will suffer effective retaliation on a dozen fronts.

If Bush gets to White House, the levers of power will favor the Republicans. Only massive, direct citizen action will have much weight to throw against them. If the Republicans in Congress sense a massive groundswell of resistance that is likely to throw them out of office in 2002, then they may relent and moderate their use of power in order to maintain a future. If the country looks to passively accept Republican rule, they will sink their sword in us to the very hilt.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 14, 2000.


My predictions differ from yours a little bit. Yes, I think it's better to assume the Presidency than to concede, however gracefully or reasonably.

I don't think there's much doubt about Gore's recount. You of all people should understand that this is a statistical trick whose success relies on the mathematical ignorance of the American public. In essence, it's another lie Gore is telling, but doing so cleverly enough that Harris cannot expose it and must commit Hari-kiri to prevent it.

I don't expect much unrest. I think this forum has bombarded you with ample explanation why -- those posters favoring *either* side remain as adamant as ever regardless of what their candidate does. Nobody will change their mind based on facts or evidence - remember y2k? Also, the American public has no political memory. As soon as a President is selected, it is old news, and what was on Oprah today anyway?

But the party with the Presidency *always* loses Congressional ground in the midterms. This has nothing to do with *how* the Presidency was gained (nobody remembers, cares, or cares to remember). There will be no marching in the street, we're too busy.

Same with Harris' career. Florida tends to be a Republican state, so she will be a hero to slightly over half the state, and a villian to the remainder. If she forces Bush's selection as President, she will simply be a larger hero to half and a greater villian to the other half. No big deal.

Remember: Todays Great Crusade is tomorrow's stale news.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), November 14, 2000.

>> You of all people should understand that this is a statistical trick whose success relies on the mathematical ignorance of the American public. In essence, it's another lie Gore is telling, but doing so cleverly enough that Harris cannot expose it and must commit Hari-kiri to prevent it. <<

That was Bush's decision (or his handlers').

Bush could have taken advantage of the same "statistical trick" by requesting recounts in counties that Bush won handily. The decision was made to rely on blocking Gore, rather than matching him vote for vote in recounts. It has been a near run thing, but Bush will have Harris to take his bullet for him, so I expect he will prevail, under teh recent court ruling on Florida law.

In my view, Gore's tatics will be no less reprehensible than Bush's, perhaps even a tiny bit "cleaner" as his tactics are based on finding votes rather than blocking them. After all, in our system votes are presumed to count more than a SOS's party affiliation.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 15, 2000.

knock! knock!


are you Katherine Harris?

"why Yeesss I am"

this is the IRS we are here to audit you back to 1995, can we come-in?

"you say you want a recount?"

yes ma'am where here to audit you

"sorree I don't like recounts, bye bye"

damn my crystal ball has gone fuzzy for now, try again later to see what will become of our gal Harris

-- Doc Paulie (fannybubbles@usa.net), November 15, 2000.

Just as an aside, I heard Paul Begala state last night that Bush had hand recounts in six of Florida's counties and pulled in 400 extra votes over the machine counts. The only county I remember is Seminole. I have E-mailed Begala for more information on exactly why these six counties engaged in hand recounts, what the counts were in each before and after, etc. I'll let you know if I learn more or if I get no response at all.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 15, 2000.


Come on now. No poltician has ever asked for a recount if he comes out ahead on the first count. Recounts are for losers, in the hopes of becoming winners. Highly selective recounts by flexible rules, if allowed, are wonderful tactics for losers of any previous count to adopt.

Claiming that it's Bush's fault that Gore has adopted this tactic, on the grounds that Bush didn't do so as well when he didn't need to, is very strange reasoning. You sound like the child who says "I'm not pulling the cat's tail, I'm just *holding* it. The CAT is doing all the pulling. It's the cat's fault."

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), November 15, 2000.

Warren Mitofsky's Florida exit polls had it right after all.

Florida voters went for Gore. It was the voting machines that were wrong when they threw out tens of thousands of ballots -- more than all of Ralph Nader's 92,000 Florida votes. And that's NOT counting the 19,000 ballots thrown out due to the voting irregularities caused by the Palm Beach County "butterfly" ballot. There were an additional 11,000 Palm Beach ballots thrown out for "under voting," i.e., no presidential vote registered on them because they were not completely punched through -- the "hanging chad problem," and the machines could not read them. With Bush leading Gore by less than 400 votes, the Bush machine is moving heaven and earth to stop the hand count of ballots that would, evidence shows, give the election to Gore.

The news media for the most part have not made it clear to the public that Palm Beach board is NOT proposing to count the "over votes," i.e., the thousands of votes that were punched twice due to the confusing design of the ballot -- despite Bush attempts to imply that they are.

Warren Mitofsky heads the Voter News Service (VNS), the exit poll operation subscribed to by most of the news media, which called Florida for Gore at 8:15 p.m. on election night based on interviews conducted with voters as they left the polls. "I've done over 3,000 elections over thirty years," the professorial Mitofsky told the Lehrer Newshour, "and have called it wrong only five times in all that time." Mitofsky, who has been taking a beating in the media, may be exonerated -- but he may not be if Bush's lawyers succeed in stopping the manual count. And they are playing for keeps.

Now we've learned the astonishing news that George W. Bush's first cousin John Ellis, a producer in the political shop at the Republican- dominated Fox News Channel, was the one who pronounced Bush the president-elect at 2:16 a.m., November 8, based on the erroneous vote count at that time. That gave Bush the advantage of seeming the dethroned but rightful king. Republicans and the media, led by Tim Russert and the partisan Chris Matthews joined Republicans to demand that Gore "concede gracefully." Yet, not until Tuesday, November 14, did the New York Times and the Washington Post spell out to their readers Ellis's questionable involvement in the naming of the next president of the United States, including being in constant communication with his cuzzes Jeb and W., Auntie Bar, and Unca George that night. The Times's story appears deep inside the paper, and in the Post, in the "Style" section. The major media are so frightened of being labeled "liberal media elites," by Republicans that they skew and modulate their reporting to avoid the charge.

James Baker, III ("the third stands for the three coverups he's handled for the Bush family so far, not including this one," writes Internet activist J.M. Prince), has been spinning madly, but even he may not be able to put this one over on the American people, despite his past love affair with the "elite" media. There's a lot of information out there. And, unlike the financial and legal details of Whitewater, this is one the public, and even the media, show evidence that they understand. Support for the process is shrinking a bit, however, mainly due to the successful PR efforts of the Bush cabal who relentlessly pound away with untruthful claims.

Baker says that manual counts are less accurate than machine counts, and hints at corruption among the Palm Beach County voting officials. But Florida election officials, and many others around the country vehemently dispute that, saying that manual recounts are often taken to resolve problems in close elections. It is well established that computer glitches give inaccurate counts for a variety of reasons, in the Florida case because of incompletely punched ballots that didn't register properly. And as Baker knows very well, the recount will take place with Democrats and Republicans and all manner of other officials monitoring it closely, as was the case with Palm Beach's earlier sample recount of under votes that showed significant differences with the machine recount.

Baker and Company hope to paint Gore as a whining poor loser by saying that Gore wants "recount after recount after recount." But the only recount taken so far was the machine recount automatically triggered by Florida election law because of the closeness of the original count. And that recount reduced Bush's lead from about 1800 votes to 327, an 85 percent drop.

Florida law allows the counties and Gore to ask for a manual count of the votes, and a sampling recount of several precincts began in Palm Beach County and two other counties on Friday. However, Bush asked the Federal District Court in Southern Florida to stop the recounts -- despite Bush's own request on Friday for a manual recount that was taken in another Florida county. (It helped Bush and Karen Hughes wouldn't say whether they would accept the votes or not.) The hypocrisy doesn't stop eminence gris Baker from trying to spin the country for the Bushes. The request to bar manual recounts was rejected by Federal Judge Donald Middlebrooks, but Florida's Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, a George W. Bush supporter who campaigned for him, ordered all voting results to be in her office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 14, which if upheld, would end any manual vote recount in Florida. And would, by all signs, hand the election to Bush.

Baker has said repeatedly that he "was in the room" when former President Gerald R. Ford decided he would not contest his 1976 defeat by Democrat Jimmy Carter. Carter had 297 electoral votes, however, and won the popular vote by 1,682,970 while Ford had only 240 electoral votes. Does Houston corporate lawyer Baker really think he can revise history before our very eyes. A veteran political reporter remembers, "That wasn't even much of a story at the time."

Today, Baker today is trying to fool the nation into believing that the lawsuits filed by Florida citizens were in fact filed by the Gore camp.

But there is a danger that Gore could lose the PR battle. Baker has been joined in that aspect of this political war by Ted Olson who argued and lost before Middlebrooks. Olson was the chief architect of the Machiavellian and successful conjoining of the Whitewater witchhunt and Paula Jones charges which led to Clinton's impeachment. Olson's efforts in Arkansas and in Washington were funded by the right-wing scion of the Mellon fortune, Richard Mellon Scaife, whose billions have funded every single one of the assaults on the the Clinton administration, including the ongoing effort by Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch to disbar Bill Clinton. (And Olson's wife Barbara was one of the most poisonous anti-Clinton TV commentators.)

This political drama closely resembles the uncertain playing out of Nixon's coverup of his Watergate crimes. No one knew whether the system would work in that crisis, but it did. Now we shall see if the system still works.

-- M.D. (m@d.net), November 15, 2000.

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