Mike Flaherty
November 24, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Daytime anchor Lester Holt

Anyone who’s watched MSNBC in the past week — and that’s a lot of folks, given the news network’s 407 percent increase in total viewers during the election and its aftermath — will no doubt have noticed indefatigable daytime anchor Lester Holt, a 41-year-old former local newsman who’s quickly becoming the Scud Stud of the Electoral College crisis. Holt graciously tore himself away from the studio for a few seconds to give us a war room update.

Any idea how many hours you’ve logged since Election Day?
It’s tough. I’m getting here usually about 8, 8:30 in the morning, and I’m getting out at about 10 at night.

Are MSNBC employees getting paid overtime?
That’s a good question. I assume the crews are, but I work under a contract, (so) I get the same regardless.

With all those people working such long days, is it starting to get a little rank in the newsroom?
We’re rotating them in and out pretty quickly, but the turnarounds are hard.

Should Vice President Al Gore stop being such a crybaby and pack it in?
No. These guys have busted their butts for over a year trying to become the President of the United States. I’m not sure I’d be willing to let go so easily either.

How ridiculous is it that in the year 2000 some people still vote by poking a hole in a piece of paper?
It seems a little bizarre, doesn’t it? What this is exposing is that this wonderful democracy is still woefully imperfect. My fear is that we’ll get past all this, and all the passion for reforming our system will be lost.

In the end, who do you think will prevail, the Boring Guy or the Dumb Guy?
[Laughs] I’m really bothered by the thought that lawyers may end up having the ultimate say, that the better lawyer will win, but I honestly don’t know.

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