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 Media Reality Check

For Immediate Release: Katie Wright (703) 683-5004 - Monday, November 27, 2000

CBS Anchor Suggests Florida's Partisan Secretary of State is Far from the Final Nail in Al Gore's Coffin

Bush Wins? Not As Democrat Dan Rather Sees It

     -- Katherine Harris may have certified George W. Bush as President-Elect last night, but don't expect the liberal media to concede this official result any faster than their friends in the Gore campaign will. Last night in live coverage on CBS, Dan Rather identified Harris as a Republican at least six times, and questioned the finality of her finding at least ten times:

  • Rather began: "Nineteen days after the presidential election, Florida's Republican Secretary of State is about to announce the winner - as she sees it and she decrees it - of the state's potentially decisive 25 electoral votes. Katherine Harris will officially certify the state's election returns...The believed certification - as the Republican Secretary of State sees it - is coming just hours after a court ordered deadline for counties to submit their hand count and recount totals."
  • "The reason we're on the air right across the board nationally right now is because Florida's Secretary of State - a Republican, as we've mentioned before - campaigned actively for George Bush, well-connected to Governor Bush's Governor brother Jeb Bush in Florida, but a woman who has consistently said 'I'm trying to do my job, right down to the letter of the law, as best I can'...She will certify - as she sees it - who gets Florida's 25 electoral votes. Those 25 electoral votes potentially will be decisive."
  • Rather explained the signing: "What's happening here is the certification - as the Florida Secretary of State sees it and decrees it - is being signed...After this, it will be, at least in the opinion of the Secretary of State, that the results will be final...The Secretary of State, as she has restated here, in effect believes that the election certification she gives should stand."
  • "This is the Secretary of State and others, certifying the statewide outcome as they view it. This action is being challenged already. David Boies, the lead lawyer for Democratic Vice President Al Gore's campaign, said that this certification would be challenged tomorrow on at least three grounds, and probably more."
  • Summing up, Rather reported "The Florida Secretary of State has just said that in her opinion, and she thinks she has the legal right to do it and the legal duty and obligation to do it, she has certified George Bush as the winner of Florida's electoral college votes.... If you're asking 'does this end it?' The answer is not necessarily, and not immediately, since the Gore forces say they will contest this."
  • He added: "George Bush was declared the winner tonight of Florida's potentially decisive 25 electoral votes. He was declared that by the Republican Secretary of State. But there were many legal challenges to come, and this battle for the White House, it may turn out, is a long way from being over yet...The official certification was made a short time ago by the Florida Secretary of State, Republican Katherine Harris."
  • Rather also introduced Bush's remarks with the it-ain't-over undercurrent: "The Governor is now convinced, more than ever, that he is the next President of the United States. He will be speaking about developments in Florida tonight, and what they mean, in his view, for the battle for the White House. Just a couple of hours ago, Florida's Republican Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, officially what she said, 'certified' Bush as the winner of Florida's presidential vote, of its 25 electoral votes, and therefore the presidency. Harris, with what she called the final victory margin at 537 votes for Bush over Gore. To say final may be premature. The Gore team of course has a completely different view of this, and has made it plain that they will contest what was said tonight." -- Tim Graham 










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