"Having said all of that, I would like to see us have a bit more hands-on engagement in trying to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. That’s where we made significant progress before, when we got Syria to change 25 years of policy and recognize Israel by sitting down across the table and negotiating peace. We’re at the point now where we don’t talk to Syria. We don’t talk to Iran. We don’t talk to Hezbollah and Hamas because they’re terrorist organizations. When we did our work with Syria, they were on our list of state sponsors of terror. My point is, you don’t talk to your friends; you talk to your enemies.and this:
You know, talking to people is not appeasement if you know what you’re doing and you’re a good, hard-nosed negotiator. There ought to be nothing wrong with diplomacy."
Q: Well, let’s talk about what happened in 2000, since that’s a little more public. I loved the Florida chapter in your book, because it was the first time I could remember getting your point of view on what happened there. I was interested in one quote in particular: “George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had more votes. They had more votes on Election Day, more votes when the dispute ended thirty-six days later, and more votes every day in between.” You know, of course, that there are people out there who believe that that’s not true. You are absolutely certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that there were more votes in Florida for Bush-Cheney than Gore-Lieberman?Isn't that just factually wrong about the media?
Baker: Without a shadow of a doubt, and it’s confirmed by all of the post-Florida media surveys. All of the subsequent recounts done by the media proved it. And these were not partisan organizations; in fact, if they were partisan, they were partisan the other way. They counted all of those hanging chads and used various formulas, and under all of them, Bush-Cheney won. I’m sure there are some who see it the other way, but the point is, we were not contesting the election. We were preserving the results that had been announced by the election authorities in Florida.
Q: So there can be no doubt.
Baker: There can be no doubt. People have come to me saying, “What’s wrong with your country? You can’t even run an election.” And I say, “Look, if this were happening in your country, you’d probably have tanks in the streets.” The message of Florida, the lesson of Florida, is that our system works. The rule of law prevails.
This from dreyfuss' recent article about the Iraq Study Group (quoting really senior people in the ISG):
"Several of those involved in the task force point out that Baker is perfect for the job. "First of all, he's close to Bush 41," one of them told me. "Second, Bush 43 owes his presidency to Jim Baker because of the skullduggery in Florida in 2000."