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Fla. Won’t Extend Recount Deadline

November 13, 2000

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Al Gore’s advisers denounced as ``arbitrary and unreasonable″ a decision by Florida’s Republican secretary of state to maintain a Tuesday deadline for certifying manual recounts in Democratic-dominated counties.

Emerging from an eight-minute meeting with Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, Warren Christopher said the country election boards or Gore himself will appeal the decision.

He suggested that Harris’ ruling was politically motivated. Noting that she campaigned for Gore’s rival, George W. Bush, and is a political supporter of Bush’s brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Christopher said. ``Her statement has to be taken into that context.″

The development came as both sides went to federal court over Bush’s petition for a court order shutting down the hand recounts, which have narrowed the Texas governor’s lead in all-important Florida.

Three of the manual recounts requested in four Florida counties probably cannot be completed by the Tuesday deadline.

``We regard the action of the secretary of state to be abitrary and unreasonable,″ Christopher said in a hurried-up news conference with Daley. ``It seeks to nullify and frustrate the hand count.″

Gore’s huge team of operatives and lawyers geared up for a public relations battle. Democrats said they would dispatch Gore surrogates across the country to allege that Harris’ actions are evidence that Jeb Bush is using his influence as Florida’s governor to help his brother.

Harris campaigned for the Texas governor in New Hampshire and is an ally of the Florida governor.

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