- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2000

A key strategist for Vice President Al Gore visited Democratic leaders in Congress yesterday to build a case for patience, arguing that the unresolved election is not causing tumult on Capitol Hill.
Gore campaign Chairman William M. Daley swept through the Capitol, seeking support from top Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri.
"There is no sense that I've picked up of any sort of anxiety about the time," Mr. Daley said.
Last week, five current or former Democratic senators Robert G. Torricelli of New Jersey and John B. Breaux of Louisiana, and former Sens. Sam Nunn, Dale Bumpers and Bill Bradley all urged a quick end to the election with no drawn-out legal battle.
On Capitol Hill yesterday, Democrats spoke in one supportive voice. They acted like traffic cops at a car crash, telling passers-by: "Move along, nothing here to see."
Democrats told reporters at numerous press events that the Florida ballot counts, recounts and hand counts are "normal" and that Republicans are creating an "artificial sense of panic."
"Their arguments involve an equal mix of hypocrisy, fear-mongering and the use of red herring," said Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.
Mr. Daley also tried to convey a sense of normalcy.
"This is only a week, less than a week, from the election. And, you know, everything moves forward, and people's lives go on, and there doesn't seem to be any sort of desire" to end the election immediately, said Mr. Daley.
As lawyers for the vice president and Texas Gov. George W. Bush dueled in Florida, the Gore campaign buttressed its legal Dream Team, adding David Boies, the government's lead attorney in the Microsoft antitrust case.
"We see an end to all this in days, not weeks," former Secretary of State Warren Christopher said in Tallahassee.
Earlier in the day, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III said international markets are in flux "because they don't see any finality here."
Mr. Daley disputed that logic on Capitol Hill.
"The markets go up, the markets go down," Mr. Daley said.
"I think most honest observers of the market today would say that, if there are changes in the market, they're a result of some of the earning statements that have been put out by the companies, having nothing to do with what's gone on in the last week in the political world."
Both sides shot down a report in the Los Angeles Times of a possible compromise a statewide hand recount of Florida's ballots.
"I have no idea what the L.A. Times is talking about," Mr. Daley said on NBC's "Today" Show. "I have never heard of such a deal."
Mr. Baker said "the idea that you're going to have a manual recount of all of the state of Florida is crazy."
Talk of a statewide recount was "news to me," Mr. Christopher said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
But Mr. Christopher appeared interested, saying "it's certainly something that we'd want to look at."
Mr. Reid, the Nevada senator, said he experienced the same problem now facing Florida in his 1998 re-election campaign, which he won by 428 votes after a hand recount. He said holding cards up to the light to determine which way a vote is cast is preferable to a machine recount.
"This is very easy," Mr. Reid said.
Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat and a former state secretary, said voters lack understanding about how recounts work. He said people who want to end the recounts are impatient.
Mr. Bayh said machine counting is "arbitrary," while hand counts using objective standards are more exact.
"Close elections are inconvenient, but a necessary hazard to democracy," said Mr. Bayh.
Democrats said Florida Sen.-elect Bill Nelson assured them during their weekly policy lunch that Mr. Gore would win his home state.
"It calmed the waters a bit," said Sen. Bob Kerrey, Nebraska Democrat.
Mr. Daley said the end game remains unclear if hand counts continue.
"Some people speculate they have an answer as to what the end result of these hand counts would be," he said.
"If they do, they must be checking a Ouija board or something because nobody knows."

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