Over the weekend, the network interview programs were dominated by discussions of the yet-to-be-decided presidential election. Liberal pundits took the opportunity to defend Al Gore's continuing challenge to Florida's initial vote counts, while pushing the idea that Republicans are using half-truths and dirty tricks to try to keep their White House hopes alive. Key talking points from the weekend:
Mistakes Were Made on Election Day, But Gore Is Seeking the Right Remedies: "There's been a prima-facie case made that there have been mistakes in the ballot in Florida. Asking, even if you have to go to court, for a re-count is not a constitutional crisis. We have a close election. They're looking at the ballots." - Time's Margaret Carlson, CNN's Capital Gang
Gore Almost Certainly Won Florida: "There is no question, or very little question, that Al Gore won the votes cast in the state of Florida. The question is: Will he win the votes counted? Look at the statistics. In the rest of the state [outside] of Palm Beach County, Buchanan was strongest in the precincts where Bush was strongest. In Palm Beach he was strongest where Gore was strongest because they were right next to each other on the ballot. Even more important, in the rest of the state Buchanan got the same percentage of votes on the ballots as he did in absentees, in Palm Beach County he got four times more votes on this butterfly ballot than he did on absentees. Listen, if this race is counted fairly, Al Gore won more votes in Florida." - George Stephanopoulos, ABC's This Week
Republicans Are Cry Babies: "The Republicans are acting as though Al Gore is trying to steal the election when he is raising legitimate questions about the ballot process in Florida. And it seems to me it is in every bit as much Governor Bush's interest to resolve this in a way so that people feel confident that the right person has been elected. And the notion that this is somehow unfair, the courts are our system of replay in this country. It's the sports equivalent when you get the replay. Maybe the losing side doesn't like it. But we have every right, I think, as Americans to see this process play out in the court of law." - Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, The McLaughlin Group
The Bushies Are As Bad As the Gore Camp, or Worse: "There's an equal number of Americans right now who worry that they're being cheated on the other side and to suggest that one side is culpable here and not the other, there is no difference between what Bill Daley said and what Jim Baker said. Both have declared an end to this election before the process is finished. And Karl Rove is going out lying about various things and somehow that's acceptable? I'm sorry, you cannot say there's a difference in behavior here." - The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt, in an angry retort on Capital Gang to Bob Novak's assertion that Al Gore's team is cheating Bush out of his win.
George W. Bush is a Hypocrite: "I must say the going into court by Bush took hypocrisy to a new level in at least four ways. Of course they said, they denounced the Gore people for entertaining a legal action. As you said, they're the campaign that has always favored state power over federal power, and they're reversing that. They've always campaigned against activist federal judges and here they are asking a federal judge to intervene in a state's matter. And George Bush signed a law, as we all know, which not only permitted but favored this exact procedure which he now says is unfair and illegitimate. If that's not hypocrisy, I don't know what is."- U.S. News & World Report's Steve Roberts, CNN Late Edition - Brent Baker and Rich Noyes