Tags: Gore | Media | Allies | Kept | the | Fires | Burning

Gore, Media Allies Kept the Fires Burning in Florida Recount Fiasco

Wednesday, 09 May 2001 12:00 AM

Al Gore "wielded more raw power than anyone else in the nation during the five weeks after election day,” writes Washington Times senior White House correspondent Bill Sammon in his blockbuster new book,

In part three of NewsMax.com's series on this explosive book, we look at Sammon’s exposure of Gore’s deliberate elongation of the recount process and the blatant partisanship of much of the media in helping the former vice president needlessly prolong the agony of uncertainty as to who won the presidency.

Gore, who Sammon wrote "played all cards before folding,” managed to present himself as a victim while consciously undermining the legitimacy of Bush’s election to the presidency.

His account of Gore’s deep involvement in the recount charade began with the night of Dec. 12, after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that the almost out-of-control hand recount process was illicit and must stop, effectively putting the constitutional stamp of approval on Bush’s victory.

"Late into the night of Dec. 12, Vice President Al Gore and his legal team pored over the U.S. Supreme Court´s historic Bush v. Gore decision for any glimmer of hope that could be transformed into yet another appeal,” Sammon revealed.

Gore, he said, "wondered aloud whether the decision could be parlayed into some sort of massive outcry from the black community, providing political cover for one last assault on George W. Bush.

"The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had been advising Mr. Gore throughout the post-election debacle in Florida, implored the vice president to use "every means available" to fight on, promising a "civil rights explosion."

An explosion came, but it involved not Bush’s election, but Jackson’s sordid personal life.

Gore continued to look for ways to keep the pot boiling despite the advice from his top adviser to give up the fight and recognize that the election was finally over and Bush had won, a fact he finally admitted the next morning.

At 9:02 p.m., he stepped before the cameras in the vice president´s office in the Old Executive Office Building, next door to the White House. For the first time in 36 days, he finally acknowledged the presidency belonged to Bush.

"Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road," Gore said. "Certainly neither of us wanted it to happen. Yet it came, and now it has ended - resolved, as it must be resolved, through the honored institutions of our democracy."

As Sammon points out, this was a lie. From the beginning to the end, Gore was in complete control of the Florida operation. It was he, and he alone, who was responsible for putting the nation through a totally unnecessary crisis and for the unconscionable attempt by his underlings to undercut the legitimacy of the legally elected new president.

Despite Gore’s decision, Jackson held another angry rally to declare that Bush had "stolen" the election.

"He´ll be the president legally, but he does not have moral authority," said Jackson, who Sammon described as "a married man who was concealing from the world the fact that he had sired a child by a mistress.”

Instead of manfully owning up the his responsibility for the long post-election nightmare, Gore tried to portray himself as some "innocent bystander, coping as best he could with a great trauma foisted upon him while he was minding his own business."

"'It came,'" the vice president insisted, as if a meteor had struck the Earth. "But it was Mr. Gore, not some mysterious force of nature, who caused the post-election nightmare,” Sammon wrote.

Said Gore: "The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt: While I strongly disagree with the court´s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome."

Sammon derisively notes that Gore, "who stubbornly denied the finality of the election, pressing the fight for weeks after it became obvious he could not possibly win, was patting himself on the back for accepting finality.”

Gore could have accepted "finality” when the first mandatory recount proved he could not pull ahead of Bush and that the inane "butterfly ballot" controversy in Palm Beach County offered him no hope. He could have accepted finality Dec. 4, when Leon County Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls and the U.S. Supreme Court dealt him back-to-back defeats and Bush held all the trump cards.

In the wake of his long-overdue concession announcement, the media gushing over their fallen hero began, Sammon recalls. "ABC´s Peter Jennings actually choked up on the air. So did Chris Matthews, the Democratic host of MSNBC´s ‘Hardball.’"

Journalists all over America fell all over themselves praising Gore’s speech. They claimed it was spectacularly gracious, nothing short of "the speech of Gore´s political life." In reality, Sammon wrote, "it had been the speech of Gore´s political death.

"It was as if his seven minutes of magnanimity somehow made up for the previous 36 days of relentless political selfishness. The cad who had tried to disenfranchise GIs serving overseas and civilians living in Florida´s Seminole and Martin counties was celebrated as a perfect gentleman.

"The ruthless politician who personally directed a smear-and-destroy campaign against Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris for daring to uphold the law was practically likened to Lincoln at Gettysburg. The Nixon-like figure who had obsessed over enemies, real and imagined, ranging from the Democratic mayor of Miami-Dade to the Republican 'rioters' outside the elections office there, was enshrined on the loftiest pedestal of statesmanship.”

Yet the worshipful media failed to recognize the fact that their hero never apologized for what he had done to America and its institutions, Sammon observed.

"He never said he was sorry for pre-emptively savaging Mr. Bush´s legitimacy by insisting that he himself would have won if only all the votes had been counted. In this respect, Mr. Gore was truly Clintonesque.”

Barely concealing his revulsion over the sleazy post-election maneuverings of Gore and his supporters that his months-long investigation in Florida had uncovered, Sammon ticks off Gore’s serial violations of common electoral decency and ethics one by one.

Noting that Gore had "wielded more raw, unadulterated influence over the nation for those 36 days than he probably would have as president for four or even eight years,” Sammon writes that the vice president was "more powerful than Mr. Bush or Mr. Clinton or any other president in an era when the influence of the White House gradually was being diluted by the forces of globalization.”

And Gore used that power ruthlessly without giving any apparent thought to the harm he was doing to the nation he had sought to lead.

"For one blinding burst of chaos at the close of the 20th century, a solitary man held sway over the entire American political process. Mr. Gore alone had the capacity to keep the standoff going. Mr. Gore alone had the capacity to end it,” Sammon states.

Instead of conceding the obvious - that Bush had won fair and square - Gore used every trick in the books to reverse the will of Florida’s voters, resorting to outright lies to bolster his case.

Even though there was virtually no evidence that blacks were turned away from the polling places, Gore’s agents, who Sammon writes "desperately needed to reclaim the moral high ground after Mr. Gore´s unseemly power grab,” tried to turn the Florida election into some gigantic civil rights abomination.

"They ranked it up there with slavery, lynch mobs and the assassination of Martin Luther King. The most strident elements of the Democratic Party practically branded Mr. Bush a white supremacist,” Sammon explained.

Sharing in the blame for this most shameful episode in America’s civic history was the media, which to this day continue to propagate the myth that Bush won Florida only because the Supreme Court stopped the recounts that would allegedly have shown that Gore won the most votes.

"Having made the whole post-election debacle possible through bogus and biased coverage of election night, some journalists spent the next 36 days rationalizing every Gore offensive,” Sammon recalls, noting that after the farce ended these so-called journalists set out to create doubts about President Bush´s legitimacy.

"News organizations began recounting ballots in Florida themselves, often adopting more liberal standards than the canvassing boards employed,” he explained.

Whenever these tallies showed Bush picking up votes it was downplayed by much of the press. But whenever they showed Gore overtaking Bush´s lead, the media gave the story extended coverage. They used selective hand recounts despite the fact that seven out of nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that such selective hand recounts were unconstitutional.

The media-sponsored recounts, Sammon says, created what in the news business are known as "what if" stories. He says that if a fair and objective press wanted to play the "what if” game honestly, it would entertain more plausible what-ifs.

Sammon gives the last word to President Bush:

"I always felt that our nation, once we got beyond all the counts, recounts - five different counts or whatever it was, revotes - would be anxious to seek a higher ground," Bush told Sammon.

"That there is such a goodness about America, that that would enable me and others who are there for the right reasons in Washington - Republicans and Democrats, by the way - to prove the skeptics wrong. To seize upon the inherent spirit of America and move forward.

"And so, in kind of an interesting way," the president said, "the house divided turned out to be an opportunity to unite.

"I believe that there´s a spirit, a positive, can-do spirit that is now beginning to take hold in the nation´s capital," Bush continued. "I believe we can have an honest discussion on issues, and an honest disagreement, without name-calling and finger-pointing and needless divisive rhetoric, which discourages people around the country. I´m so pleased with the progress being made - not for my sake, but for the sake of our country."

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Al Gore wielded more raw power than anyone else in the nation during the five weeks after election day," writes Washington Times senior White House correspondent Bill Sammon in his blockbuster new book, In part three of NewsMax.com's series on this explosive book, we...
Wednesday, 09 May 2001 12:00 AM
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