The Newsroom (2012–2014): Season 2, Episode 8 - Election Night: Part I - full transcript

On the night of the 2012 presidential election, Maggie and Don chase a story, Sloan and Mac ask Neal for a favor, Don learns that Jerry has a lawsuit in store for him too, and Will and Mac's personal differences return.

I just need to know we're off the record.
- That hurts me. - Hallie.
You believe I would violate our trust for a story?
I believe you'd sell me into slavery for a story.
- Well, that's just not true. - Say we're off the record.
- We're always off the record. - I need it for specifically right now.
- You need me to say the words? - Yes.
You really need me to say the words?
- Yeah, and you haven't yet. - Well played.
- Hallie. - Yeah?
- Say them. - We're off the record.
Last night, at around 1:30 in the morning, Charlie, Will and Mac all resigned.
Don and Maggie and I were resigning.
Sloan, Neal was resigning.
I knew you guys... I could tell you guys were gonna do that all during the depo prep.
Wait, you said "were." Were resigning.
Leona wouldn't accept their resignations. Charlie, Will and Mac.
- You're kidding. - No.
She didn't think it was the honorable thing to do.
- No, seriously. - Hallie, I'm telling you,
she won't accept their resignations and she won't settle the suit.
She wants to do the honorable thing. Those were her words.
And to her, that means standing by us and not caving to the pressure.
- This is unprecedented. - Yeah.
You have to let me quote you on this.
All these years, what did you think "off the record" meant?
- I'm saying on background. - No.
No. There's no story until Charlie says so.
She'll hold you in material breach.
- Are you just saying that? - No, she's very serious.
- If we resign anyway, she'll sue us? - She'll win, too.
- We're trying to do the right thing. - So is she.
There's a mob out there with pitchforks.
- She doesn't like mobs. - What if the mob's right?
- They're not. - Says who?
Me and her.
We aired a story. A small story? No. A story asserting that we used...
- Sarin gas. - On civilians.
We retracted the story 48 hours later
because we were a little wrong? No.
- We aired... - A complete fiction.
- You don't have to be mean about it. - You aired a bad story.
- It was a great story. - If only it had been true.
Well, I'm sorry we didn't meet your East Coast intellectual standards.
- Hey, I'm not fucking around. - She's not accepting your resignations.
- This place is crippled. - I understand that...
To start with, we don't have military sources anymore.
- The DOD doesn't talk to us. - Do you think that's maybe
because you falsely accused them of heinous war crimes?
I do. I think that's the reason.
But that's small beer compared to our public credibility.
- That, your credibility... - Has disappeared?
- Yes. - So one less thing we have to worry about.
Why are you jovial?
I've appointed myself in charge of morale.
- That's what it's come to. - He's right.
We aired a doctored tape in support of a fake report.
The guy who doctored the tape is suing us.
The woman who's always wanted to fire us won't let us resign.
The unhappiest guy in the building is in charge of morale.
We have gone to the zoo!
- True story. - Yeah.
Which is more than we can say about the story.
- That's right. - But on the bright side...
There is no bright side, Father Flanagan.
- Don't finish that sentence. - I wasn't gonna be able to anyway.
Reese is having a viewing party upstairs?
Yeah. Look at me.
Why am I looking at you?
Because I'm dressed for the party.
- Got it. - I look hot.
- I'm gonna go upstairs... - Liquid sex.
I'm gonna go upstairs and... What are you saying?
I just described myself as liquid sex.
Add to the list that this is our lawyer.
No kidding. I'm gonna go upstairs at some point tonight.
- When? - When there's a minute.
I'm gonna go upstairs and work on Reese.
- You want me to help? - I'd love you to.
But someone has to endure the soul-swallowing humiliation
of having their name and face broadcast next to the ACN logo for the next six hours.
I can't believe you guys didn't choose him for the morale job.
- I'm gonna need to talk to Don Keefer. - He's pretty busy right now.
- Later, then. - Why?
He has attorney/client privilege, but he's not gonna be happy.
All right. Can I have a moment?
I think he meant with me.
That wasn't made clear.
- MacKenzie's taking this the hardest. - She wanted it to be over.
She thought she was gonna be humanely put down.
Yeah, she's, you know... She's shaken up.
You can fire her.
You don't need Leona's permission, and I can't do it without yours.
- And she can't quit. - I know. I'm not firing anybody.
I'm not firing anybody, either.
I just badly need to get fired myself.
So you'd agree this is an unusual situation?
These things...
Why don't you just set yourself on fire instead of the cigarette?
One's enjoyable to me
- and the other would cause a lot of pain. - Oh.
- It's not even a choice. - Have a good show.
Good show.
- Want this back? - No.
There's a race for state rep in Hutchinson, Kansas, that defies cliché.
The Democratic incumbent, Jan Pauls, is anti-gay.
- Gay marriage? - Gay person, anti-gay.
The Democrat is the state's leading LGBT opponent.
She narrowly defeated her primary challenger Erich Bishop,
the openly gay son of a former Klan member.
Tonight, Jan Pauls faces off against her Republican challenger,
who's a pro-choice, pro-gay rights railroad conductor named Dakota Bass.
There's no way I'm not spending the entire night talking about this race.
I am.
- I called it. - What do you mean you called it?
- I just told you about it. - Did you call it?
- I... - No. Right?
I don't want to get in the middle of anything,
but I've always understood that you had to call it.
I did call...
Okay, it's obviously every man for himself out there.
Hey. It's time to get you guys wired.
Taylor, I know it's your first time,
so don't worry that you're going to be bad at this.
Not worried, not my first time.
If it turns out that you're bad on TV,
- everyone else can cover for you. - Cool.
I mean, you'll still have to sit there for six hours,
- but you'll do it silently. - Copy.
We open with polls closing in Kentucky, South Carolina,
Vermont, Virginia, Georgia, and Indiana.
And we can call Indiana and Kentucky for Romney.
- Yeah, baby. - You are to show no partisan emotion.
And another thing, I'm not an embed on your bus.
I'm the senior producer of ACN's election night coverage.
I brief the very important panelists, which is why I brought Maggie to brief you.
- Have a good show, everyone.
Is there an ancient grudge between your two families?
I called MacKenzie and told her that Jim gave away
a one-on-one with the candidate to another reporter on the bus.
And we just generally have a special relationship.
- Hallie. - I'm sorry?
Yes, he gave it to Hallie.
She's his girlfriend now, so he's just mad that I ratted him out.
- But I had to. - I'm Maggie Jordan.
- Hi. - I hate Jim, too.
- No, you don't. - Yes, I do.
- I don't hate Jim. - I do.
Would it bother Jim if you knew something before he did?
- It would a lot, yeah. - Then we can both win.
Talk to me.
Talk to me, too, sister.
Be less desperate for female friends.
I'm gonna own you out there.
- Have a good show tonight. - You, too.
This is gonna be the night when social media
- takes the mantle of democracy from... - Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hey, did you know your book sold for $1,000?
- What do you mean? - At the auction.
- My book? - It got bid up to $1,000.
And you were afraid no one was gonna buy it.
- Go back for a second.
On Sunday, the auction Reese had for Sandy relief.
- I was supposed to sign a book. - You did sign a book.
Reese asked all the talent to contribute something.
Will donated a round of golf with Will.
Elliot's letting someone read the news.
And Reese wanted you to donate dinner and a movie,
but you said you'd sign a book.
Because I thought nobody bidding on a book
would be less embarrassing than nobody bidding on a date.
Do you honestly... Can I ask, do you seriously think...
I'm not suggesting you should have donated a date,
but do you really think that if you had, no one would have bid on it?
What I'm saying is, that would have been embarrassing.
So, why not just donate the money directly to Sandy? Which is what I did.
Well, your book went for $1,000.
Someone spent $1,000 on Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic:
The Economics of Post World War I Germany?
Hey, I'm as surprised as anyone,
but I think what they were buying was your autograph.
- I didn't sign it. - You did.
- I didn't. - I saw the inscription.
"I hope you shred this book"?
- Is that what that means? - Yes. I mean, I think. Yes.
Then it says, "Thank you for your generosity, Sloan Sabbith."
- Are you sure? - That was in English.
I didn't sign the book. I was supposed to leave it
on my desk before I left for the weekend and I didn't.
Somebody signed a copy for you and sent it to the auction.
And somebody paid $1,000 for it.
I feel terrible. I feel really bad about this.
Please don't enlist me...
I need you to help me find the person who bought it.
Four hundred and thirty-five House races tonight,
33 Senate races, 538 electoral votes...
Yeah, but this is important.
Got it.
Are you busy?
- What do you need? - Well, I have a story, but I need...
- Did you see the newest exit poll dump? - I didn't.
3% of voters didn't decide until today who they were voting for.
- How do they break? - 52-43 Obama.
So, listen, Brody in California condemned Todd Akin, right?
This morning. Took a special kind of courage to wait two months.
His pollster must have told him he had to.
- He had a reason not to. - What?
In 1990, Brody wrote in an SFA publication,
"It's a sad fact, but women cry rape
"to avoid embarrassment, to exact revenge, or just to draw attention.
"If we have rape exceptions to abortion laws,
"women could now cry rape to terminate an innocent life.
- "We should be able to look past the..." - Wow.
"Look past the mendacity.
"Children are conceived by love, not by rape."
- He condemned Akin? - This is what I'm saying.
- This morning on election night? - I think you're right.
I think he has a pollster who looked at undecided women
18-35 and told him he had to roll the dice.
How did you find this quote?
Taylor Warren pointed me to it.
She's a Republican.
- Why are you whispering that? - I love her doing the right thing.
It wasn't so much that
as wanting to give me something Jim didn't have.
- Ah, so, it's adorable. - Yeah.
I called his office for comment...
There's not gonna be anyone in his office. This is election day.
His campaign office, too, but I didn't get very high up.
Didn't you used to take showers with his chief of staff?
- John Webb? - Yeah.
We played tennis.
And then took showers together?
It's... The...
I'm gonna make the call, but they're individual showers.
- Cool. For privacy.
When you cut your hair, did you want to look like Joey Heatherton
and something went terribly wrong?
- Yep. - It's ringing.
- Yeah? - John, it's Don Keefer.
- Tell me some good news.
I don't have exits for you.
I need to ask you about something the congressman wrote
in a Students for America publication in 1990, okay?
- John? - Yeah?
He wrote, "It's a sad fact, but women cry rape."
- Yeah, I know it, Don. - All right.
Uh, first, can you confirm that it's him?
Okay, Don, I'm gonna call you back, all right?
We're on the air in a few minutes.
Can I get you to hold it till I talk to some people?
Why would I do that?
I think I can trade you something.
You know we're in no mood to be fucked around with, right?
I do know, and I'm not.
You have until 8:30 Eastern or we'll go on the air with
"The congressman's office declined to comment."
Got it.
What do you think he wants to trade?
I don't know.
Do you think there is any chance we just got incredibly lucky?
Well, our luck has been outstanding lately.
The first Republican governor in North Carolina since '88.
We have to throw it to someone.
We can slide five minutes to get... What's his name? Louden?
- Yeah. Yeah. - Is it Louden?
First two congressional races, Maine one for Chellie Pingree
and New York three for Steve Israel.
Decision's saying we'll be able to call South Carolina four.
- For who? - I'm sorry?
- South Carolina for who? - No, we can call South Carolina four.
- Call it for who? - Costello, Abbott,
South Carolina fourth congressional district, Trey Gowdy.
- Got it. - Okay.
- Can you give us a minute? - Have a good show, guys.
- You, too. - Good luck.
- The lawyer said she'll hold you in breach? - Yeah.
- Rebecca? - Greenway from the general counsel's office.
Said she'd hold you and Charlie in material breach?
And invoke the non-compete clause.
Why don't we drop it for six hours?
What's Charlie gonna do now?
Reese is having a viewing party on the 44th floor.
- Charlie's gonna work on him. - The suit's gonna be filed tomorrow morning.
- Mac. - That's a public document.
- If we can't get this done tonight... - I understand.
- If she'll agree to settle tonight... - I'm with you.
The world doesn't have to see a list, you know?
A full-on description of every embarrassing thing
that's gone on here in the last 14 months.
The complaint will cover more than 14 months.
- But don't worry about it. - Stop saying that.
Six hours of literally nothing but breaking news
and you're the traffic cop at the intersection of all of it.
During light moments, only three people
will be speaking in your ear at once, but usually it'll be 10.
And I obviously don't have to say that we need to do well.
That's why my suggestion is since we can't deal with it right now,
not to worry about it until we're off the air.
- Would you do me a favor? - Anything.
- I mean this. - Me, too.
- I'm not fucking around. - What's the favor?
Say what you want to say to me.
- What? - Yes.
Then I'll say that I'm alarmed
by how little sleep you've had and that you're about to go do this.
- That's not what I'm talking about. - That's what I'm talking about.
You're the most attractive woman I have ever seen in real life
and I'm sticking by that statement and everything,
but right now you're not making it easy. Can you do this?
- Of course I can do this. - I'm not kidding.
No news producer in America's had sleep.
- They've had some. - Forget about that.
You look like you were grown in an environment where it's dark and damp.
Lovely, but I'm talking about Genoa.
Why? We're gonna be spending plenty of time talking about it.
God knows if we ever take a break,
The New York Times will keep talking about it for us.
Come on, six hours of live election coverage.
For you and me, that's like an orgy at a spa
where there are college football games on TV
and from the trees hang Christian Louboutins.
- I feel like... - All in your size, all different kinds.
Heels like lightsabers. Boots! Boots are hanging from the trees.
You feel like I'm what?
A bomb that hasn't detonated.
- You do? - And it's going to.
And I could live without the element of surprise, so if we could...
- Suede. Lots of suede. - ...Hurt Locker this thing, it'd be helpful.
I'm not a bomb that's about to explode.
In fact, I didn't want to brag,
but I've been put in charge of morale for the night.
- By who? - I did it.
This is the worst situation you've ever faced in your life, right?
- So far. - And you'd agree I'm responsible?
I 100% disagree. Jerry Dantana's responsible.
But I have an idea. I don't know if you heard,
but I was recently appointed director of morale for the night.
- Fuck it. - What do you want from me?
I wanted to know what the punishment's gonna be this time.
- This time? - I'll be in the control room.
What was the punishment last time?
- Seriously? - How have...
There's no one in the world... You were sleeping with...
- For four months you were... - I was fucking my ex-boyfriend.
And, yeah.
I've never heard you use that word as a verb before.
- I didn't like how it sounded. - Wasn't a punishment.
I broke up with you. You're the only person who's baffled by why.
I've got news for you. You're the only person who's not baffled
- why it's six years later. - I'm unforgiving?
So you'll understand my concern when it comes to Genoa
and wrecking your professional life, too, which, let's face it,
you take more seriously than your personal life anyway.
- I'll try to figure out why. - So what's in store?
You know what, hon? Can I just say fuck you?
- Yeah. - I've never punished you.
King George forgave America in less time than it's taking you...
What is the right amount of time?
You and everyone else is baffled at six years.
I assume you're talking about the staff.
How long do you guys think is the right amount of time?
Twenty-eight months.
You seriously came up with a number?
I was kidding.
- Time? - Yeah.
- I'm sorry I didn't explode for you. - It's a long night.
- Okay, just be ready. - Listen up.
We found these pictures today.
This is China.
People have their picture taken
pretending to cast a vote.
In India, they're waving flags
and having viewing parties to watch the coverage.
In South Korea, they're watching an electoral map.
A mock ballot box in Senegal.
And that's our ambassador in Hungary hosting a pizza party.
Our elections are the envy of the world.
It's critically important that we not make any mistakes tonight.
We all know why.
Top to bottom, no mistakes.
If you make a mistake, run out of the building as fast as you can
and keep running till you hit water. Then swim.
- Here we go. Three minutes.
Let's go around the room.
Arizona House. Colorado House. Virginia House.
Game changer states. Critical states.
- I'm not seeing Washington. - Virginia, Florida, Ohio.
- There you are. - McCain won Kentucky by 16.
- Graphics. - Ready.
What's the order of that first whip-around?
- Field. - Standing.
- One, two, three. - Rehearsing two months.
- Just like rehearsal. - 60 seconds to VTR.
- Nothing's gone right in rehearsal. - That's defeatist, man.
I'll throw it to D.C. That's how you'll know you were talking too long.
- The fetus? - Defeatist. Defeatist.
You can't hit on the candidate.
If Virginia's Senate is going red...
Yes, you are.
There's water right there.
- Clear the set, please. - Thank you.
- Stand by roll-in. - Standing.
- Will? - Right here.
- You ready? - No, I need another half hour.
- Good luck, everyone. - Three, two, roll in.
Good evening from New York City.
I'm Will McAvoy, and ACN's primetime coverage
of Election Night 2012 begins right now.
I'm joined in the studio by ACN's Sloan Sabbith and Elliot Hirsch,
as well as Republican strategist
and former Romney campaign press advisor Taylor Warren.
Standing by in Washington is Jane Barrow
and her team of political analysts.
- It's just past 7:00 p.m. in the East... - Mac.
- and polls have closed in Kentucky... - Change it up.
- ...South Carolina, Vermont,
Virginia and Indiana.
In the battleground state of Virginia, ACN is projecting that race too close to call.
ACN can project that the great state of Indiana
and its 11 electoral votes will go to Mitt Romney.
We can also project that Mitt Romney will be the winner
of Kentucky's eight electoral votes.
We will not have a shutout, as President Obama...
We're calling Bernie Sanders.
...three electoral votes, making this
the sixth presidential election in a row for the state to vote blue.
Look right here. Great.
There's a ballot initiative in L.A. County
that would require actors in adult films to wear condoms.
I've never been more indifferent to an issue in my life.
- Charlie. - Excuse me for interrupting.
You're not. This is Denise, Pam, and Connor.
We went to school together. This is Charlie Skinner.
- He's the president of ACN. - Any predictions?
Their phones were taken at the door.
Obama's gonna take Virginia
and we've been looking hard at some precincts in Ohio and Florida.
- Got a minute? - Excuse me.
- How you doing? - Hi, Reese.
You understand the suit's gonna be filed in the morning.
And you understand everyone, and I mean everyone...
Everyone will have a stringer waiting at the clerk's office for the complaint.
- Yes. - You've read a complaint.
It's a long list of grievances that go well beyond the scope
- of any rational definition of relevance. - Yes, sir.
Tomorrow's just an exercise in public shaming.
Yeah, we're gonna be painted with humiliation,
mostly you and Will and then Mac and a little bit me.
So you don't feel you're foggy on the reality?
I wish I were less aware of the reality.
- I'd like to be stupid right now. - Good.
- Charlie. - Let me finish.
Aren't you the final arbiter of whether a race gets called?
- Yeah. - Shouldn't you be downstairs?
That's how important it is
that I convince you to accept my resignation and Will's.
I think the election is pretty important.
We're waiting for the next exit poll dump. I've got a minute.
People have been fired for making much smaller mistakes than we did.
People have been incarcerated for making smaller mistakes.
So there's that, and that's bred resentment in the industry.
- But that's nothing. Forget that. - Okay.
Forget that everything that's gone on inside the organization
will be laid out on a table for everyone to scrutinize,
which, sure as we're standing here, is what is going to happen.
- Forget that. - All right.
If a news outlet doesn't have credibility,
it doesn't matter what else it has. That's a fact.
There are people here from Jane Barrow, Terry Smith,
everyone at the D.C. bureau to Sloan Sabbith,
Elliot Hirsch, everyone on DaySide,
these people don't deserve to have a piano strapped to their back.
Their credibility shouldn't...
- When did you arrive here? - I'm stealthy.
I think it's commendable and pretty shocking
that you want to do something just because it's the right thing to do,
but it's not the right thing to do.
- I know. - What do you mean?
I think you were responsible for a massive fuckup.
I think Will was the face of a massive fuckup.
I think firing a mid-level producer appears to be an abdication of responsibility.
Now we're gonna have to read about Jim and Maggie and Don
and Jim and Maggie and Don, and Maggie and Mac and Will,
and did Sloan punch a guy in the face?
- Yeah. - The train, she is wrecked.
Why are you gleeful?
I'm on the right team for once and I get really paid.
Are you saying you agree?
I think your resignation should be accepted immediately
and we should write Dantana a check and get to the business
of rebooting this once-respected brand.
Then why don't you?
My mom says I can't.
- Reese! - I don't know how else to put it.
I talked to her for hours today. I've been talking to her all night.
I said, "Mom, you're gonna die and I'm gonna take over a dinged-up company."
And you know what she said? She said, "I'm never gonna die.
"And when are you gonna give me some grandchildren?
"Are you gay? If you're gay, that's fine. Just tell me."
- I said, "I'm not gay." - Look.
"I just haven't met the right woman yet."
She's like, "Oh, that's bullshit.
"You met the right woman three or four times. You just always find some problem."
And I was like, "You're divorced."
- And she said, "That's completely different." - Reese.
I was like, "What's your obsession with grandchildren?
- "Is it a chance for a do-over?" - Reese!
She's not taking your resignations.
She's not settling the suit.
- I have to go. - Charlie, I know.
And I tried.
You have to keep trying.
Tomorrow's too late.
It'd be a lot easier for me to convince my mother if you agreed with me.
- But I don't. - Yeah.
You were paying me for that whole conversation.
I know.
It's 7:59 in the East and we're ready to make some calls.
ACN is projecting that Governor Romney
is the winner in the Mountaineer State of West Virginia.
We can also project at this hour
that President Obama will win in Connecticut, Delaware, and Washington, D. C.
No surprise here. The 20 electoral votes from the President's home state of Illinois
are safely Mr. Obama's, while the 10 electoral votes
from Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts
are also going to, uh, Mr. Obama.
I apologize. I was trapped by my own sentence structure.
In Maryland...
Six calls plus five Senate calls.
You're gonna give me the calls, then a quick board on which are too close to call.
Forty-five seconds for the impact for the Latino vote.
The jobs, national security, the 47%...
We've got Elliot coming up in the top half hour.
D.C., are you standing by for the Senate calls?
That's if the Senate turns red.
- Just a nonviolent coup. - ... Obama off to a good start.
A lot of those states are starting to fill in blue.
We'll take care of business, do the calls, the House races,
and then I'll give you two minutes for the 47% after Elliot.
- Where is he? - He's up in his suite.
There's a lot of family, all the boys, grandkids.
- What's the general mood? - You know you've got a reporter here.
- He's busy. - So am I.
- What's the mood? - Really good.
It's a party here. They think they're gonna win Ohio
and then run the table. Are they?
- I don't know anything you don't know. - Bullshit.
Do you know anything I don't know?
- You'd hate that, right? - No.
I'd be really happy for you. Why do people think that...
Hey, four quick things. First, I'm gonna break news tonight.
Second, nah-nah-nah-nah.
- Third, hey, Hallie. - Hey, Maggie.
And fourth, suck it, and we're about to get a data dump.
- I really like your hair. - Thanks. That's sweet.
- Good luck tonight. - Thanks.
- I've got to go. - Wait.
- What? - What happened?
- What do you mean? - To Maggie's hair.
She cut it, I guess, and changed the color.
- You guess she changed the color? - It was a different color before.
Yes, it was. Do you know what color my hair is?
You're looking at it right now.
Your hair is the color of goodness.
- You're an idiot. - It's hazelnut.
That's not a... When did she cut her hair?
- Last week. - Why?
- I didn't ask. - You should.
I'll put that on the list and I'll talk to you in a while.
- My hair's blonde. - It's really nice.
- Recapping the earlier... - All right, you're up.
Be yourself.
You're a great guy and the people at home really like you.
- Thank you. - And you're handsome, too,
in a droll and expressionless way.
- Okay. - You're a welcome presence in our homes.
It's all about locating your inner cha and not tripping over any cables.
- Do you have to be talking right now? - Have you located the cha?
So we're going to show you.
Elliot Hirsch is standing by in our newsroom. Elliot?
Will, through these doors is our decision desk,
which is the entire brain of the operation.
There are eight experts.
PhDs in statistics, economics, and political science,
and they use computer models to combine raw votes,
exit polls, sample precincts, and early voting
to project the winners in each district and state.
This is Kathy Ling.
Kathy, can you tell us anything new?
- No, not yet. - This is some good television.
The men and women in here are monitoring nearly 500 races.
Not as well as you think. Come with me.
The reason for the seclusion is that we don't want them
to be influenced by calls that are being made by other networks.
When our team here is ready to make a call,
they put it into a program called iNews.
- Anything? - It takes a little time.
- Okay. Uh... - Yeah!
As I said, they put the information into iNews,
where it's picked up by one of our producers
at these two desks.
They've divided up the races alphabetically, and each is responsible for 120 races.
After the next commercial, we'll come back for panel.
18-29 is higher than expected, but so is over 65.
I'd say three minutes. You good?
Happy as a cat with kittens.
- You've been doing great. - Thank you.
Hey, MacKenzie, I didn't realize that you were president of the Oxford Union.
You had to have been one of the first women presidents, right?
- Cambridge. - I'm sorry?
I was president of the Cambridge Union.
Oh. Uh-oh. Sorry. That was Wikipedia.
Wikipedia says I went to Oxford?
- I think I'm remembering right. - Mac.
You're pitching a perfect game. Let this one go.
You don't think I can let it go?
- I wasn't challenging you. - Oh, I'll let it go.
Either way, it's a big honor.
Yes, though not either way. Just one way.
- Right. - Okay.
- Can I see you when you're done? - Sure.
- Gary signed your book. - Here's the thing.
- Yeah? - You forgot to do it
and I was put in charge of something for the benefit.
And I speak a little German, so I thought,
"I'll inscribe it, 'I hope you enjoy this book."'
And I signed your name just like you do.
I didn't put a heart over the "I" or anything.
Wait, is there an "I" in your name? Yes.
Yes, there is.
And you inscribed it, "I hope you shred this book."
Neal has explained that. What are the chances
that whoever bought the book speaks German?
What are the chances that you do?
Guys, can we move this someplace else?
I don't care about the German. I care about the fraud.
I need the name and contact information of the person who bought the book.
- Tonight? - You need to hurry before the trail gets cold.
You think the book may have been bought by a bank robber?
- Look at my face. - I know.
- Does it seem like I want to be sassed? - It does not.
- "Enjoy" is zerreißen. - That's still "shred."
We'll go back to Will McAvoy at the anchor desk. Will?
We'll be back with more of ACN's coverage of Election Night 2012 right after this.
- Out. - Two minutes back.
You wanted me?
I just wanted to check in on the site.
We're doing fine. Everybody's doing fine.
Except Sloan who's flipping out because somebody bought her book
at the Sandy auction on Sunday and it wasn't really signed by her.
It's funny the things people try to control
when they feel like they're not in control.
I wasn't really listening.
- I need you to change my Wikipedia page. - Sure.
I checked and for some reason, it says I was President of the Oxford Union.
- Weren't you? - No.
- I went to Cambridge. - Right. I knew that.
Do you know who else went to Cambridge?
John Milton, Charles Darwin,
Jane Goodall, Alan Turing,
E.M. Forster, Stephen Hawking,
the King of Jordan, Prime Minister of India,
and three signatories to the Declaration of Independence.
Mac, I wonder if you can switch me off.
You're screaming names of smart people in my ear.
- Sorry. - They teach you that at Oxford?
- So you'll get that fixed? - Yeah.
- You hear anything back yet? - No.
It's 8:15. They've got 15 minutes.
Do you really think your shower buddy has got a story or is he stalling?
I really think he has a story.
Fifteen seconds.
All right, we're coming back with the 47%.
You guys ready to have some fun?
- Yeah. - Okay.
No, no. Are you ready to have some fun?
- What the hell is wrong with... - I don't know.
In three, two, roll in.
Welcome back to ACN's continuing coverage of Election Night 2012.
Let's check in with Florida, where it's still too close to call.
We have 62% of the vote counted
and you can see the President has an advantage
in that very important battleground state of roughly 100,000 votes.
Florida, once again, too close to call at the moment.
Taylor Warren, what effect, if any,
did the 47% tape have on the Romney campaign
and on the electorate?
The biggest effect it had was on the media.
Now we're talking.
- Oh, hi. - Hello.
I was just leaving you a note that I need a minute.
- Am I being sued again? - Yeah.
Okay, well, what?
You're going to be a named defendant
in a separate suit filed tomorrow morning by Jerry Dantana.
He's seeking an additional $20 million for tortious interference.
What's happening?
Shortly after Jerry left ACN, he applied for a job at Kickstarter.
I'm sure he was advised to demonstrate that due to his wrongful termination here,
it's now impossible for him to get work elsewhere.
A man named Goldman, Ezra Goldman, called you
- about a reference for Jerry? - Mmm-hmm.
And what did you say?
I said, "Ezra, this is the call I've been waiting my whole life for."
- What else? - I told him the story.
I told him Jerry knowingly put a false story on the air
about Marines murdering civilians with sarin gas.
- Anything else? - Probably.
I said, "If your company needs a very hardworking sociopath,
"then Jerry's your man."
- Right there. - No, he's a hardworking guy.
Under New York state law, tortious interference results
if you intentionally interfere with a potential business relationship
by acting solely out of malice
or through improper or dishonest means.
- Wait. - Sure.
He's suing me for giving him a bad job recommendation?
For saying something that wasn't true.
It's not a dispute he doctored the tape.
And if all you said was that, you'd be fine.
But you called him a sociopath.
- He is. - Sociopath is a clinical term.
How much training as a psychiatric diagnostician
did you get at the Columbia School of Journalism?
- Not that much. - Yeah.
So, you see, you've got to talk to me before you say things.
It was plainly not...
I didn't say he's a sociopath.
- What did you say? - I said, you know...
I said, "Ezra, he's a sociopath."
- Yeah. - Why in the world... In the world!
...would he put me down as a reference?
So that this would happen.
Is this a joke? You making one of your funny jokes?
If I was joking, you'd be laughing. Are you laughing?
- No. - Then there you have it.
- I just answered the phone. - It's just strategy.
- They want the company to settle. - How much is this gonna cost?
Well, if you lose, $20 million.
If you win, only a couple of hundred thousand.
I don't have a couple of hundred thousand.
- Do you own your apartment or rent? - I own it.
Second mortgage. Problem solved.
You are a member of a godless, soulless race of extortionists.
That's fair.
The liberal media bias is so clear that it's not worth arguing about.
What I'd like to focus on instead...
Hang on just a second, 'cause I don't think I can let you float an allegation
like that and then pretend it's so well agreed upon that it's past debate.
The media overwhelmingly voted for and is voting for Obama.
I have a hunch this isn't gonna be the last time
I ask you this tonight, but any evidence for that?
Yes. A survey conducted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors
showed 61% stated that they were members of
or shared the beliefs of the Democratic Party,
while 15% said that their beliefs were best supported by the Republican Party.
Can I raise what I think
- is an interesting example of something? - Sure.
In a race for the Kansas State Legislature...
- Oh, seriously? - ...the Democrat is an anti-gay,
- anti-abortion train conductor. - Nope.
Pardon me. The Republican is a train conductor and gay.
- No. - Guys.
Somebody's a train conductor,
somebody's gay and somebody's father is in the Klan.
And what's that an example of?
Nothing. So, Taylor, back to your point and your 15-year-old survey.
- Jim. - Yeah?
They want you at the decision desk.
Somebody need me?
Will called the Michigan first for Dan Benishek?
If you called it, he called it.
We didn't call it and he called it.
What are you talking about?
In the scroll, you've got Michigan one going red
and we haven't called Michigan one.
Hang on.
- Maggie. - Yeah?
You remember a few minutes ago when my iNews was overloaded
and I wrote down some calls on a legal pad?
- It's right here. - What did I say?
New Hampshire one, North Carolina three,
Ohio seven, Michigan one.
Can I see that?
That's supposed to be Mississippi.
- It's MI. - Yeah.
MI is Michigan.
Martin, can you get Kathy Ling out here?
You have to go in there.
I can't have this particular conversation in there.
- What happened? - Can you get her?
- She's not allowed out... - Blindfold her.
Just very quickly, my fault or your fault?
- Assigning blame isn't the productive... - Good.
- I meant Mississippi. - That's MISS.
- It certainly is. - Michigan's MI.
That's why I gave them Michigan. MI one red.
Come on.
- So, Kathy. - Yes.
Over here. We made a small mistake.
We called Michigan when we meant Mississippi.
- You have to retract it. - I wonder...
It's not ready to call.
I wonder if maybe it's not necessary to retract.
It's both too close and too early to call. You have to retract it.
Let me ask you something just out of curiosity.
What does your data say about the Michigan first?
- Republican incumbent... - Over here.
- Republican incumbent... - You can just take that off.
Don't look at the monitors.
Dan Benishek will keep his seat.
- You're confident of that? - Yes.
- Scale of one to 10. - Ten.
Well, then, you know, we called it.
- Are you kidding? - You're confident he's going to win?
- Yes. - Then why haven't you called it?
It's both too close and too early to call.
- But you're confident Benishek is gonna win? - Benishek is going to win.
- You're confident? - He's already won.
- But we can't call it? - Too close and too early.
I appreciate that science has a very high bar
for what it's willing to call a fact, but...
Benishek is going to win 51-49.
- 51-49. - That's not as close as...
- It's exactly as close as it sounds. - Okay.
Okay. You can go back. Thanks.
- You'll retract the call? - We will get to that, yes.
- We shouldn't... - So we called it a little early.
We have Joey take it off the scroll and make sure
that nobody mentions it again until the desk gives the green light.
- Who's going to notice? - Benishek.
His campaign manager. The Internet.
- I can steer this. - Just have Mac have Will retract the call.
This is the written test you have to take and pass
to work for the New York City Department of Sanitation.
And it goes to the first person who eats it tonight.
But so far, so good.
- We can't retract the call. - Yeah, I really think we can't retract.
It doesn't seem to me that conservatives
are having trouble gaining access to the airwaves.
And the fact that The New York Times editorial board endorsed
the President and not Governor Romney isn't of itself a sign of bias.
When the governor said, "I like to fire people,"
not only did you know exactly what he meant, but you agreed.
And when the President said, "You didn't build that,"
not only did you know exactly what he meant, you knew that's not what he said.
The trees are the right height.
The dog on the car roof. Eastwood at the convention.
- Okay. - And while we're on the subject,
ACN's star anchor is a Republican who spends an awful lot of airtime
reporting stories about crazy Republicans being crazy.
In fairness, he did anchor a report about a Democratic president
committing war crimes, and that wasn't even true.
Elephant in the room.
We're coming up on another round of poll closings
at the top of the hour. Let's look at where we are.
They are Arizona, Colorado, Kansas...
Reese is gonna work on Leona.
He doesn't have much time.
Did you ever think you'd be trying to convince someone to let you resign?
Will's not gonna fire you, Mac. There's no way.
And it would look like we were scapegoating you just like Jerry.
- I know. - You good?
- Yeah. - Mac.
In here.
- Did you change it? - I did.
- Thank you. - And they changed it back.
What do you mean they changed it back?
The original creator, the page administrator,
- reviewed and denied the changes. - Why?
- Because... Because... - Why? Why did they do that?
Well, I e-mailed him and explained who I was, that you were my boss
and that you have an expert understanding of where you did and didn't go to school,
- and I got a very quick reply. - Saying?
It's Wikipedia's policy not to use information
that comes directly from the source of the article.
- Say that again? - It's Wikipedia's...
- Can't anyone edit a page? - Yes. Except you.
- So they won't allow firsthand information? - No.
Seems sort of counterintuitive, doesn't it?
- I know how you feel. - I don't think you do.
Because no one's out there
saying you were president of the Oxford Union
when you were president of the Cambridge Union,
the greatest debating society in the history of the fucking kingdom.
- And that kingdom's been around a long time. - Don't I know it.
I don't even know if that was a sarcastic
geopolitical reference to colonialism or not.
- It wasn't. - Good.
Good, 'cause, Neal, this is it.
We're gonna get this right. And I'll tell you why.
Mac, I get it.
And I'm gonna get it fixed.
Thank you. Ruling India was wrong.
- It's a little late... - I know.
About a third of the vote now in in Virginia.
About a million votes counted, and Mitt Romney is maintaining his lead 55-43.
But right now, the story is in Ohio,
where the President has a 16-point lead over Mr. Romney
with just about a quarter of the votes counted.
But to be very clear, that race is still too early to call,
meaning that the experts at the decision desk do not yet have enough information.
We need to take a commercial break,
but we'll be back on the other side with the continuing primetime coverage
of Election Night 2012.
- You're watching ACN.
And clear. Four minutes back.
Elephant in the room?
Even as it was coming out of my mouth, I thought it was borderline.
Can I say as a PR expert,
I thought it was, as a matter of fact, perfect.
She is an enemy of all that is good.
You're like a foot taller than a person's supposed to be.
- Right? - Yes.
But I apologize for bringing your personal politics into it.
Yeah, it's okay. But I'd appreciate it if you kept me out of it.
- Of course. It was stupid. - No, it wasn't.
- Tess, how much time do I have? - 3:30 back.
I have someone tracking down the event coordinator
at Continental Benefit Auctions to get the name and contact.
I'm gonna feel bad until this is fixed.
- It's gonna be fixed. - What if it never is?
What if I go on and on like this?
What if I keep talking in rhetorical questions until you just can't take it anymore?
- Can I go? - I'm good.
Joey, how's it going?
- Busy. - Yeah.
Can you do me a favor and take the Michigan first out of the scroll?
Are we taking back the call?
No, we're just... We're not flaunting it.
- I don't think we need to tell Mac and Will... - No.
Don, Webb's on hold in your office.
Three minutes back.
Michigan one, if you could just go ahead and take it off the scroll.
What are you doing?
Trying to see what's going on in Ohio.
The people who know are 50 feet from here.
They'll tell us.
I think it's going really well. You should enjoy it.
In the old days, didn't they offer you the option
of a shot of whiskey and a pistol?
- How old? - Like...
- The Holy Roman Empire. - With whiskey and pistols?
It wouldn't necessarily look like scapegoating.
- Mac. - It would look like you and Charlie
took the necessary and appropriate steps to address the mistake.
- Can I tell you something? - Fire me.
You're the only one who can do it.
I was a really good boyfriend.
I know that. I never said you weren't.
- You sort of did. - That's wrong.
You think...
You think I'm not firing you because it would make me look bad?
That crossed your mind?
Give me a break, Billy.
It's not like you're indifferent to your image.
You think it's... My image?
What have I ever done to deserve that?
How big a dick do you think I am and how long have you thought it?
I was a good guy.
I was a good guy.
You're fired end of the broadcast. Please don't tell anyone.
I won't.
They need you.
He'll give us two on-the-record sources
if we agree to stay off just for tonight with the 1990 quote.
- Here's what the story is... - Wait, start again for them.
- 60 back. - We're there.
This morning in time for the local news,
- Brody in California condemned Todd Akin. - Yeah?
Taylor Warren pointed me to a speech he made in 1990
to a student group where he said the exact same thing, only worse.
I called his chief of staff for a comment. A guy named John Webb.
- Webb and I know each other. - They're in love.
Just... He asked me for time
because he said he needed permission to trade me a story
he promised was much bigger.
- Did you set a deadline? - Yes.
- For when? - For now. He just called.
And this is where you came in.
If we agree to hold off reporting the 1990 speech,
he'll give us two on-the-record sources.
As long as it's not a potentially libelous story
about misconduct in the armed forces, I'm listening.
David Petraeus is about to resign over an extramarital affair
with his biographer, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve.
And the commander of US forces in Afghanistan
will be investigated with regard to a relationship
with a Florida socialite who was receiving
harassing e-mails from General Petraeus' mistress.
I mean, what the fuck?
Three minutes for the calls, then a 90 whip-around.
And we'll go to Jane to look at the Senate.
Remember what I said before about my personal politics?
- Sure. - Forget it.
Take me apart.
Ten seconds.
In three, two...