Walter Cronkite for President!

07/01/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT

James Gandolfini, Edie Falco (both of "The Sopranos"), Richard Belzer, Billy Baldwin and his wife Chynna Phillips, Natasha Lyonne and Adam Goldberg (of "The Street") gathered in New York last night for the Creative Coalition 2000 Spotlight Awards. As expected, the topic of the stalemated election was on the lips of most of the evening's political-oriented attendees and honorees. The latter group included "Late Show" musical director Paul Shaffer (who tirelessly raises his baton at various fund-raising events), Michael Bolton (cited for his charity work) and veteran newsman Walter Cronkite, who won the 2000 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award (presented by Reeve himself) for reporting on some of the greatest historic moments of the last half century. Not surprisingly, it was Cronkite who offered the calmest view of the presidential race. Declining to say for whom he voted, Cronkite, 84, told PEOPLE: "I think, like any average American . . . I wish it were over. On the other hand, I can understand the political implications of a recount. I really, sincerely believe the Palm Beach recount is absolutely necessary for fairness. I was pleased to see the federal court turn down the Republican appeal to stop the recount. But I'm not in favor of a lot of court appeals."

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