Chad Returns to Delay Recall Election

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, September, 15 2003 that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: The controversial California recall election was postponed today by a federal appeals court because some voters would be using outdated punch card ballots. Those are the same kind that wreaked havoc on the 2000 presidential election in Florida.

Joining us now with an update from Los Angeles is Fox News Channel's Adam Housley.

Adam, give us an update. What's going on?

ADAM HOUSLEY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sean, several different groups have told us to expect the first appeals on this today's ruling by 5 p.m. tomorrow West Coast time.

And that comes as many of us here in California who vote absentee got these in the mail today. This is the absentee ballot for the governor's election upcoming in October 7, that recall election. Again, that came in the mail today. And now, the county registrars' offices are trying to find out…trying to decide what to do if this is postponed, with these ballots that will be sent in.

Now, these three men, we have a graphic put together for you, comprised the three-judge panel that made today's ruling. Sidney Thomas, Richard Paez, and Harry Pregerson, all appointed by Democratic presidents and appointed by the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals.

The Ninth is the biggest and most overturned federal appeals court. Besides the Pledge of Allegiance ruling earlier this year and one day last year, they were overturned and reprimanded three separate times on the same day by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now, the decision comes on day two of former President Bill Clinton's trip to town, Clinton here for a school dedication and a meeting with Governor Gray Davis. He's been advising Davis during this recall campaign. And it was Davis who today said he's got to go forward, business as usual.


GOV. GRAY DAVIS, CALIFORNIA: This recall has been like a roller coaster. There are more surprises than you can possibly imagine and I'm just going to keep focused, keep telling people why I think this recall is bad for them.


HOUSLEY: Arnold Schwarzenegger learned about the ruling after appearing on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" with his wife Maria today. Schwarzenegger saying in a written statement the people have spoken, and their word should and will prevail.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Sixty percent of the people want the recall, so I think that that's the important thing. The courts have to make the decision according to that. That's the law.

Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was this politically motivated?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I am sure. Thank you.


HOUSLEY: Peter Ueberroth is the last big name to get out of this race, of course, and he is meeting tomorrow with Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as Tom McClintock. No idea if an endorsement is coming his way.

But again, Sean, the question is, will these votes count? People who got these in the mail, will it go forward and will they count on October 7? We should find out, hopefully, in the next seven days…Sean.

HANNITY: Unbelievable. Thank you, Adam.

And joining us from Washington is the co-chairman of the Schwarzenegger campaign, California congressman, our good friend David Dreier and also former communications director for President Clinton, a friend of the show, Ann Lewis is with us.

Congressman Dreier, this is why conservatives have been so clear that we don't want these rogue judges legislating from the bench, doing things that are not constitutional. I mean, this is a fringe court out in California.

I don't believe this is going to stand, do you?

REP. DAVID DREIER, R, CALIF.: Well, Sean, truth is stranger than fiction. And Ann and I were talking in the green room about the fact that no one could have written a more interesting story.

Gray Davis is actually right when he said that we should go ahead. And that's exactly what the Schwarzenegger campaign is doing, is charging ahead.

But I will tell you, people are angry. I just got off a plane from Los Angeles. And I'd already spoken to a number of people out there. This really is seen as subverting the will of the voters. As Arnold just said there in that clip in Adam's story, we had at one point six million Californians, nearly twice the number necessary, sign the recall petition.

And I would say, gosh, if the ballot that was good enough for Gray Davis' election last fall isn't good enough now, I don't know what is. And I think that, I mean, if they don't have all of these new devices in place by the presidential election, are they going to postpone the presidential election next year?

HANNITY: Well, you know, it's very interesting because if we take this to its ultimate conclusion here is, why is Gray Davis considered a legitimately elected governor of that state? Why is the Democrat- controlled assembly considered democratically elected if they use the exact same system?

Ann, good to see you. Thank you for being on the program.

One of the things that is just driving me a little bit nuts, and it came up again with Bill Clinton (search) this weekend, this is the law of the land. Democrats have tried recall themselves on a number of occasions. It's nothing immoral or undemocratic about it and the idea that we talk about vast right wing conspiracies and the like, isn't that just because it didn't work on their behalf the last time?

ANN LEWIS, FORMER CLINTON COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I don't remember anyone saying this was illegal. But not everything that's legal is wise. Bottom line.

HANNITY: Well, change the law.

LEWIS: And David and I can agree on this one, we've got to go ahead while we wait for what could be the next surprise. But bottom line, still, the recall is a politically motivated strategy by Republicans who have been unable to win statewide elections in California in any other way.

DREIER: Wait a minute; 46 percent of the signatories were Democrats.

LEWIS: It's going to cost the taxpayers of California $70 million.

HANNITY: Wait a minute, Ann. The…40 percent of the people that signed were Democrats…wait a minute.

Democrats in every poll are going to recall Gray Davis. You can't make that claim with a straight face.

LEWIS: We can substitute polls for elections, but is that really the conservative position?

HANNITY: Look at the statistics.

LEWIS: The polls do show the one side on this that has momentum; whether it's the L.A. Times poll, or the Field poll, the one side that's been growing is the no votes. So the more people think about the recall, the more they think about it being a mistake.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Congressman, it's Alan...

LEWIS: The more they think about the consequences, the more likely they are to vote no.

COLMES: No one is saying there's not going to be a recall election. They just want to have it once they have everything is in place so those six counties are equal in terms of what is offered to the voters. So everybody can vote equally.

Isn't that what would be the constitutional and proper thing to do? They're not saying there's not going to be an election. Let's have it at a time...

DREIER: Alan...

COLMES: ... when the ballots are equal all over the state so there's equality in voting.

DREIER: Alan, the California constitution requires that the election be held within 80 days of the certification of the recall petitions. That's the constitutional provision that needs to be addressed out there.

Equal protection is a very important clause, but again, I happen to believe that this is a slap in the face.

Everyone in the world knows after what we went through in 2000, people are intelligent enough to understand that they've got to make sure that their Chads are knocked out of that ballot when they put it in.

And I will tell you, it's an insult to Californians, because I think Californians are intelligent. I think that they're very, very informed voters. And certainly in this campaign, Alan, they're very informed, and that's why, I think the judge...

COLMES: Nobody says they're not intelligent, but would we not be a lot more informed if we had actually a few more months to really have this campaign?

Ann Lewis, it seems to me they want to rush this election, have it as soon as possible. I've used the phrase that Arnold wants to...

DREIER: It's in the constitution, Alan.

COLMES: Arnold wants to do the rope-a-dope but not come forward where he is on certain positions. That's what they really want, because that's their best chance of getting elected.

LEWIS: You're absolutely right, Alan. And we should point out two things. One is equal protection under the law is actually in the United States Constitution. And it's an important enough provision that the United States Supreme Court used it in Bush v. Gore. And I would assume Sean would accept that as a very legitimate precedent.

But the second piece is, beyond the Chads, we also have the real problem that because of the haste with which this election had to be held, that hundreds and hundreds of precincts were not going to be open...

COLMES: Right.

LEWIS: ... and many of them in cities, many of them in places where minority voters go to vote.

COLMES: Forty-four percent of the population…Let me ask David Dreier. I heard the phrase, David, rogue judges. I didn't hear the term rogue judges, though, being applied to the U.S. Supreme Court when they decided all of a sudden they were not a states' rights court and overturned what the state of Florida did in the year 2000.

DREIER: Well, I didn't use that term, that right-winger Sean Hannity is the one who used that term. I didn't say it.

But the fact is, you know, right now, we're in a case where in, five different cases, Alan, this has been thrown out. And here we are, literally three weeks away from the election. And I think that this…well, you know what I want? I want the United States Supreme Court to step in here...

COLMES: I would be glad to hear what they have to say.

DREIER: ... and I believe that the United States Supreme Court should address it.

COLMES: But isn't it part of your strategy to have the election as soon as possible? Isn't that part of the Republican strategy, is it not?

DREIER: Our strategy is to comply with the constitution of California.

COLMES: And it's better for you to have it sooner, rather than later?

DREIER: It benefits the California people to stand by the constitution of the state. That's exactly what's happening here.

And I think that everyone wants to get this chapter behind us in three weeks. I want to spend my time talking to you all about other things than California's recall election.

HANNITY: Well, we will. We'll have you on about all of those subjects.

COLMES: You know, Congressman Dreier, the Republican administration…the Republican, not administration, but Republicans in general are getting this reputation of not liking elections very much. I mean, three months, right after Gray Davis was re-elected, you guys started in on this. Darrell Issa put $1.7 million of his own money in it.

After the debacle of 2000, it's not a good image to have, not liking the electoral process.

DREIER: Well, we love the electoral process. And you asked before we went to the break, Alan, about our desire to move as quickly as possible with the election. Again, we just want to comply with the constitution.

Remember, and this is the point that I tried to make, people try to paint this as a right-wing effort. This is all about Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante and the devastation that they've inflicted on Californians.

All of these attempts to distract us, bringing Bill Clinton in. Bill Clinton is reaching into the past. We've got young voters.

COLMES: Arnold brought in all those people. Everybody brings in people to help them campaign. Only when Gray does it is it wrong.

DREIER: No, I didn't say it's wrong. What I'm saying is, it's a distraction from the issue, to bring in Bill Clinton at the AME church. What's happening is, we're seeing a focus on the past, and Arnold is looking to the future.

He's got…what I'm saying is, at the rally by the way, we had a spectacular convention...

COLMES: I'll bet you did.

DREIER: And people have come together with a solidarity. They respect Tom McClintock, Alan. They say Tom is a good guy, and I support him but I'm voting for Arnold.

COLMES: Tom is a good conservative.

Ann, I would think that certainly a distraction to bring in people like Rob Lowe and maybe Warren Buffett and all the people...

DREIER: All guys looking to the future. Visionaries.

LEWIS: Well, it's interesting to hear David saying he's looking to the future. He's not looking to specifics or policies or issues, so perhaps now I know what his campaign speech is about. Because I listen very hard...

DREIER: Did you hear his speech on Saturday?

LEWIS: I did.

DREIER: You did?

LEWIS: And I still haven't been able to figure out really what it is he would offer the people of California that's different.

DREIER: Ann, do you want me to tell you, Ann?

LEWIS: Now let me…No, I will finish for a moment. Because if what you're saying is you have a problem with Gray Davis and, quote, "what he has done to the state," unquote, I've just got to tell you, if running up a deficit in difficult economic times, if that's reason for a recall, then we've got a president of the United States who took us from the largest surplus to the largest deficit in our history and perhaps we're looking in the wrong direction.

HANNITY: Ann, maybe you forgot we were attacked on 9-11. Maybe you forgot we've been at war for the last two years and...

LEWIS: No, I didn't. No I didn't. But those are good reasons for economic circumstances.

HANNITY: And maybe you forgot that we got out of the Clinton-Gore recession that was handed to us, and now we're experiencing pretty good economic growth.

But David, let me turn to you.

LEWIS: Oh, Sean, are you still blaming Bill Clinton for George Bush's economic problems?

HANNITY: No, I'm not, because it's all over.

DREIER: We're coming out of the recession now.

HANNITY: And we're getting out of it.


HANNITY: Despite…I want to...

DREIER: ... that seem positive indicators.

HANNITY: David, I want…If you talk about Democrats don't like the rules. They don't like the constitution in this particular case, that specifically says 80 days.

They didn't like the statutory deadlines when they snuck Frank Lautenberg (search) in New Jersey over Robert Torricelli (search) because Torricelli couldn't win anymore.

They only wanted recounts in select counties in Florida and disenfranchised the military.

If anybody doesn't like the rules here, it's Democrats historically that don't want to follow, like in this case, they don't like the rule of law which allows for a recall. And I'm sick of their whining.

DREIER: And Sean, I'll tell you, we are complying with the constitution. And again, this attempt to take the focus off of Davis is what is tried constantly, and to try to call this some kind of right wing thing.

I mean, I talk to Democrats and independents every single day, as I said. I just came back from California.

HANNITY: Forty percent of them want him out.

DREIER: Absolutely. I mean, that's what's reflected in the polls. Democrats are angry. Californians are angry, and they're looking for a positive, strong dynamic leader who can create jobs and give...

Of course Republicans supported it. I'm not saying they didn't support it. But you can't call it simply a right-wing Republican effort.

COLMES: Yes. We've got to part company. We'll give you the last word, David.

Ann, nice to see you.

DREIER: Nice to see you. Nice to be with Ann.

COLMES: Congressman, nice to be with you.

DREIER: Arnold's looking forward to his interview with you. He's looking forward to his interview with you, Sean.

COLMES: All right.

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