We Demand a Recount

by Angel Cohn May 22, 2008
The Danny Strong Interview

DS: Yeah, a lot of them. I interviewed Ron Klain, James Baker and David Boies, Margaret Tutweiler, Ben Ginsberg, Kerey Carpenter, Clay Roberts and Warren Christopher.

TWoP: Those are some big names.

DS: Yeah! And I was cold calling most of these people.

TWoP: And they were responsive?

DS: Yeah. Some people, no. Some people wouldn't return my calls. We couldn't find everyone. But we got to speak to at least one person that is in every scene... except for the scene where Katherine Harris is by herself, because she wouldn't speak to me. But aside from that one scene, every other one in the film, there was one person that was there that I did speak to.

TWoP: As you were researching, did anything shock you?

DS: Everything! Everything was shocking to me. Just to the extent that the division of elections -- Katherine Harris's office -- was doing everything it could to thwart a recount. They did it legally, but it was by stretching the law or interrupting the law in a way that was not corrupt or illegal, but I would argue unethical

TWoP: Sort of twisting the words to get the outcome they wanted.

DS: Exactly. That's exactly what they did. I think we show it in the movie, particularly with the advisor's opinion. How the law itself about [whether] hand recounts are allowed was really vague. They just sort of twisted their interpretation in a way that just happened to not allow Al Gore to recount.

TWoP: The moment in the movie that stuck in my head was when they're in Katherine Harris's office and it's a Sunday afternoon and they need a few more hours to recount, and she's within the law to give it to them and she says no. Really?

DS: See! That is the entire story of the Florida recount right in that scene. The court has given them two options. [The recount tally has to be in by] 5 PM on a Sunday or 9 AM on Monday morning if they aren't open Sunday. Palm Beach County says they need two more hours to complete their 460,000 ballot recount with only a thousand left to go, and what do they say? "No, 5 PM. You are shut down." Is that fair? I don't think so.

TWoP: Was it hard to stay neutral while writing this?

DS: Not at all. I don't think it was hard at all. Many Republicans feel that the film was fair. We've heard from James Baker and Ben Ginsberg... what was important was to fully express their point of view and to let their point of view be heard in the story. I think everybody is heard in this story. The scene with Katherine Harris alone at the window, the goal of that scene was to show the pressure she was under. The way she was getting attacked by the media and how difficult this must be for her. We did the best we could to show the pressure that everyone was under.

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