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The Florida Recount: Reps.-Elect Schiff and Osborne Call for Compromise, BipartisanshipAired November 15, 2000 - 8:40 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Now on to Washington. There is work going on there, whether you know it or not, or heard about it or not, the 107th Congress, elected last week, is now being overshadowed by the increasingly confusing and contentious presidential race. But freshman orientation has been held, and among those attending were Congressmen-elect Adam Schiff, he is a Democrat from California, and Tom Osborne, a Republican from Nebraska. I think we would be a bit remiss is we did not mention that Mr. Osborne is not just a congressman from Nebraska, he is the legendary coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
A pleasure to have both of you gentlemen here with us this morning.
Let me begin with you, Congressman Schiff, what do you think about all this mess that is going on down in Florida right now. The fact that ordinary the two of you would be getting a heck of a lot more attention if this hadn't been happening?
REP.-ELECT ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, we don't mind the lack of attention, but it is really quite an amazing phenomenon. It certainly has cast a certain pall over the beginning of our new session. I think all of us really hope on both sides of the aisle that there is a speedy resolution and one that country can feel good about. I think really one of the keys to that is having both presidential candidates come together and agree on a process of resolution. Because the tragic thing I think for the country and a very difficult thing for the Congress to deal with if a great portion of the country feels disenfranchised by this election.
HARRIS: How about you Congressman Osborne, your thoughts on this?
REP.-ELECT TOM OSBORNE (R), NEBRASKA: I agree with Adam. I think that a speedy resolution is going to very important. There is going to be a winner and there is going to a loser. I think how we come out of this is going to depend a lot on the attitude of both parties.
I don't know a lot about politics, but I do know something about winning and losing. And you know, if the loser does not engage in finger-pointing and blaming and becomes contentious and tries to reach out, and the winner too. I think that the country could benefit -- we are going to have some razor-thin margins in Congress. And it could either be terribly divisive, or maybe out of this some good could happen. I certainly hope that it does.
HARRIS: Well, let's talk about what might happen from here on out? Many people have been observing this whole mess down in Florida, and saying that the way this race is now ending up, it is just going to cause nothing but problems for the Congress and for the White House to work things out down the road, once thing do get settled finally. What are you hearing from your upper-classmen, if you will, who are giving you advice right now as you all check in there. Congressman Schiff, what are they telling you about what to expect coming up?
SCHIFF: Well, they are telling me to expect a difficult upcoming session, not only because of the uncertainty over the presidential race, but because the balance in Congress is still as close as it is, that means that both sides are going to be looking forward to the next election with eye towards either capturing the majority or preserving the majority.
But I also think that I get a very strong sense from the incoming freshman class, many of us got here because we were running on the platform of the necessity to work in a bipartisan way, to reach across the aisle. And I think among the newcomers, there's a great sense of optimism in snatching progress out of this confusion, and a real sense that our constituents will be satisfied with nothing less.
So I hope that the optimism of the incomers will help influence the desire among the whole body to make progress on the issues that the current Congress has failed to act on.
HARRIS: Congressman Osborne, your view on that? You don't see or hear or feel any sense of any partisanship building right now because of all this?
OSBORNE: Well, I've been kind of surprised. I have been around a lot of Republicans, more Republicans than I have ever been around in my life here in the last few days. And it has been kind of interesting. Everybody is interested. They talk about it some. But there really has not been a lot of rancor, there have not been people running to get phones to see what they might do to fix this or that.
So it has been a fairly calm attitude among the people in Congress. And I think everybody realizes the potential for divisiveness here. And hopefully, maybe, the realization that it could be bad to the country, and maybe the narrow margins, will result in something good happening. And maybe we will have a bipartisan type of effort, which I certainly hope will happen. Because eventually, at some point, I think we all have to look at what's best for the country and not what's best for each party or each individual.
HARRIS: I think the sound you are hearing is the American public's fingers crossing right about now on that one. Congressman Adam Schiff and coach Tom Osborne, it is an honor and a pleasure to meet you. Thank you very much for coming in. Good luck.
OSBORNE: Thank you. SCHIFF: Thank you.
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