Jonathan Karl on the possible 'sleeper case' in the election dispute
Q: What is the latest from Gore?
KARL: The very latest from the vice president comes from his interview on CBS News' "60 Minutes," where Gore told Lesley Stahl that "if at the end of the day when all the processes have taken place, if George W. Bush is sworn in as president, he will be my president, he will be America's president."
This is actually just another way of saying what Gore has been saying all along, which is that he will ultimately accept whatever turns out to be the final result of the election. But, of course, as far as the vice president is concerned, all of the "processes" have not taken place and Gore is still, by all accounts, not ready at all to talk about conceding.
Q: What does the Gore camp expect to happen next?
KARL: One very interesting development within Gore's inner circle is that there's more attention being paid to the Seminole County lawsuit, which is attempting to throw out the absentee ballots in that county. The Gore campaign has never joined that lawsuit, but they are well aware that it is the so-called sleeper case, with at least the potential of turning the election in Gore's favor.
The official line now from the Gore camp is that Gore will not entertain discussion of concession until after not only the U.S. Supreme Court rules, Judge N. Sanders Sauls rules in Leon County Circuit Court, but also not until Judge Clark rules in Seminole County.
Q: What's the level of confidence within the Gore campaign over the Leon County court case?
KARL: Gore's legal team is very reluctant to predict the outcome of this case, but they are already prepared to appeal to Florida Supreme Court in the event that they lose. That said, the Gore team believes they have a very low hurdle in this case. They simply needed to prove there was reason to count those disputed 14,000 ballots for Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. At the very least, the Gore team believes they established the need to hand count the 9,000 ballots from Miami-Dade County.
But in truth, nobody can predict with certainty. And whoever wins, the case seems almost certain to go to the Florida Supreme Court, because not only will Gore appeal if he loses, but Bush would mostly likely appeal as well if he loses.
Q: Any news on Gore's efforts with his transition team?
KARL: The vice president has not been inviting cameras in for photo opportunities of his transition meetings, but Gore has been having regular meetings with head of transition team Roy Neel, and other key members of the team, including Bill Daley, Charles Burson, Alexis Herman and Katie McGinty.
By the way, Herman has been mentioned by top Gore aides as a likely candidate for Gore's chief-of-staff should we ever get to the point of having a Gore administration. But the Gore team knows their fate will be determined by court decisions over the next couple days. Before that point, they also know that any public discussion of a transition is merely, in the words of a top Gore aide, a sideshow.