Tags: Harris | Has | Perfect | Way | Out

Harris Has a Perfect Way Out

Friday, 24 November 2000 12:00 AM

So far, Bush is ahead by more than 700 votes. The final count in Broward is nearing and Gore will not have enough votes from that county to win.

So the eyes of the world turn to Palm Beach, where the canvassing committee is now examining some 6,000 questionable ballots. The board here is not revealing how these votes are breaking.

Suppose Gore doesn’t get enough votes from Palm Beach and Bush wins the final statewide tally this Sunday.

At that point, there will be nothing to stop Katherine Harris from certifying Bush the winner.

If that occurs, support for Gore may quickly erode.

On the other hand, if Gore pulls a surprise from Palm Beach and wins the final tally on Sunday, he will have the favored position.

Thanks to Florida’s Supreme Court, Harris should not certify Gore the winner. In fact, the court gave her a perfect way out.

She could note that the Florida Supreme Court set a precedent when it served her an injunction and ordered her not to certify Bush while it prepared to hear arguments in Gore’s suit.

Similarly, Harris could argue that the certification of Gore now needs to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on whether the manual recounts were constitutional.

Such a move would throw a monkey wrench in Gore’s quest for the White House and allow legislators in Florida to consider naming their own slate of electors.

The key thing, for Bush to succeed, is for him to be certified this week or to prevent Gore from being certified.

As I have emphasized, this has been a battle for public opinion. Gore’s team recognized this from the beginning and this has kept their efforts alive.

Bush’s team, belatedly, launched its own PR offensive. They have done well focusing on key issues, such as the Gore effort to throw out military ballots.

I still believe the battle for public opinion is paramount and more important than any action the Supreme Court may take. (By the way, it’s still too early to say if the Supreme Court action will help Bush.)

The Gore team has gained momentum again by criticizing what it calls a rowdy "mob" that intimidated the canvassing board in Miami-Dade.

Funny, isn’t it, that the media, which have been offering this Gore spin all weekend, fail to mention that the Gore campaign started this activity when it brought Jesse Jackson to West Palm Beach.

I was there at the first Jackson rally.

It was suppose to be a rally of disenfranchised voters complaining about the "butterfly" ballot. I expected to find seniors rolling around in wheelchairs complaining they mistakenly had voted for Pat Buchanan.

The seniors were nowhere to be found. Instead, the Gore campaign was clearly in charge, handing out preprinted Gore-Lieberman signs to the "mob" of usual suspects – Democratic Party activists, government employees, union members and community organizers.

It should also be noted that the "mob" that day was so unruly the police asked Jackson not to speak and moved the location of his speech to the courtyard of a nearby government building.

A caller Friday on Michael Savage’s radio show said she was from China. American news coverage reminded her of Communist China, where pro-government rallies are referred to positively and the participants as "good citizens." Anti-government protests like Tiananmen Square, she said, are referred to as a "mob" and the participants are described as criminals who should be arrested.

The next time the media lambaste the Republicans for peacefully protesting, we should remember her comments and realize how fragile our freedoms really are.

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So far, Bush is ahead by more than 700 votes. The final count in Broward is nearing and Gore will not have enough votes from that county to win. So the eyes of the world turn to Palm Beach, where the canvassing committee is now examining some 6,000 questionable ballots....
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2000-00-24
Friday, 24 November 2000 12:00 AM
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