And I think that was very healthy conversation. But the healing process will continue. How is the healing process going to begin? What we hope will be new to Washington is the manner in which those differences are settled and aired. But what can be done, what can help to heal, is the listening process.

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And I think that was very healthy conversation. But the healing process will continue. How is the healing process going to begin? What we hope will be new to Washington is the manner in which those differences are settled and aired. But what can be done, what can help to heal, is the listening process.

And let me remind everybody one other thing, and this is the way Congress has worked historically and still does, on even given day, somebody will vote with you in the morning and vote against you in the afternoon. It is still all our jobs to work together. I think there may have been some confusion last night and some misunderstanding about what the president said.

The president did not make any such statement. How did the president feel about that? And it was part of a preamble and explanation at the beginning, and the president noted it.

Will the president uphold that policy? Senate right now, we will step away. As we heard from Ari Fleischer, the healing process will begin, he says, once this vote happens and John Ashcroft becomes the attorney general. What can you tell us about that, Kelly? Now, Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, was asked about that earlier in what is called a gaggle, where he meets with reporters earlier in the morning.

Obviously, you heard a reporter ask Ari Fleischer again about that. He said that the president did not make that statement -- Ari Fleischer saying that the president told the members of the Congressional Black Caucus that he is listening, that he is hearing their concerns -- Ari Fleischer saying that the president was happy top hear sort of the depth of feeling in opposition that members of the Congressional Black Caucus have to John Ashcroft.

But, again, the position from the White House is that the former senator will be a good man, will do a good job, as you heard Ari Fleischer saying, that the president believes that the public will see a nonpartisan attorney general, someone who this White House says will enforce all of the laws in the books, even in those laws disagree with some of his own personal views -- Natalie.

We will talk to you again in a moment. Jonathan, I wonder if you can explain to us a little bit about what is actually happening on the Senate floor? They look like they are just gathering at a social gathering. But in this case, they are doing what they call holding the vote open. That is because there is one senator, Joe Biden, a Democrat of Delaware, who is not in town yet. He is rushing to get back to town to make the vote.

They are going to keep the vote until he gets here. Biden is expected here at about Meanwhile, Joie, if you are keeping score at home: a couple of votes you may want to take note of. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the junior senator from New York, has just voted -- not surprisingly -- in the negative, voting against the Ashcroft nomination. She said before she would do so.

But we have another Democratic who voted yes. He becomes the eighth Democrat to vote yes on this nomination. CHEN: So, normally, if were watching this process, would it be more formal? They all seem to be walking around and greeting each other. So it does get into a little bit of a social gathering. And some of those conversations are most likely conversations that have absolutely nothing to do with John Ashcroft, but other deals or whatever they might be working on in the future and coming up in the Senate.

And you see that this is somewhat typical. But what is atypical about this, Joie, is this vote is taking so long. I mean, I heard earlier the roll call coming through in the audio feed. Or they do come forward?

KARL: Well, what they do is they come down and they go to those tables that are in the front there. When their name is called, they come to the tables and they tell the clerk how they are going to vote. So they actually have to come forward and give their vote. Well, it looks she may have been entering her vote. They come right there. But what is interesting here is, now with eight Democrats voting in favor of Ashcroft, that may be the only eight Democrats that you will see.

If that holds true, Joie, you will see 42 votes against Ashcroft. That means he wins -- he wins. As a matter of fact, we did a little bit of research on this. And what we found is that the most votes ever cast against a successful nomination was If they are going to go down, they are going to go down. But most of these votes are unanimous or there are very few voting against. So Ashcroft will become the attorney general.

But he will do so with the fewest number -- the most number of no-votes of any nominee besides that Earl Butz back in for agriculture secretary -- Joie. CHEN: And are there other senators that you are watching for, Jon, that you think are on the fence still at this late hour?

KARL: You know, we had some that we watching for just vote. Nobody knew how Mary Landrieu was going to vote. She came out no. She had kept her cards very close to chest. She voted no. Another one: Max Cleland of Georgia, another Bush state, voted no. Those are who we have been looking for. Most of them having been coming up no.



Fautaxe And therefore, we have no — can reach no conclusions about that piece. LAW Prosecutor says witnesses saw rap star shoot gun in club. How serious do you think this behavior is? The president understands in all issues, in all areas that the president proposes and Congress disposes. It does not need to be legislation. Well, there has been speculation that includes a short list. And then there will be a demonstration of the laboratory equipment that the President … Continue reading Press Gaggle with Ari Fleischer.


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