>> i thought this is what i want to do. so i tell the story of a america in silver and gold. >> chris: anne says business is picking up this holiday season and she hopes it is for other small business owners. if you are interested what she has for sale go to her website. have a great week and we'll see you next fox news sunday. ndndnd love. love. have a great evening. captioned by closed captioning services, inc i do not reinvent myself at every turn. i am not running in borrowed clothes. >> the myth has grown up that bush was rewarded by the courts the presidency of the united states. >> the stand here tonight as my own man and i want you to know me for who i truly am.
>> the fact that we did win the popular vote was a key political component of his ability to stretch this out for 36 days. >> everybody was hungry, angry, lonely, tired and pissed off. they wanted to go home. >> the preem court's landmark decision in 2000 helped determine the the 43rd president of the united states. hello, i'm bret baier. welcome to fox news reporting, 36 days that decided the presidency. the 2000 campaign between george w. bush and al gore was a tight race. as a result, election night coverage was filled with mistakes and blown projections by all of the television news networks. that let to endless legal battles in the courts of florida and finally the u.s. supreme court. join me as we look back as the suspenseful 36 days as the fight for the white house
continued between then vice president al gore and texas governor george w. bush. >> so much bitterness in washington. time to have a fresh start. >> one of the reasons i was successful as the governor of texas is because i didn't try to be all things to all people. >> the only way to convince voters to vote for al gore was to not ask them for a third clinton term. >> we are entering a new time. we are electing a new president and i stand here tonight as my own man and i want you to know me for who i really am. >> well, about a week and a half before the election, karl rove suggested that george bush could actually win by as many as nine points across the country. >> bret. >> the bush campaign is asking me to wait 20 minutes on the story to get they're ducks in a row. >> we can't do that. >> revealations about governor george w. bush. >> there is a report out
tonight that 24 years ago i was apprehended in maine for a d.u.i. that is an accurate story. >> karl rove still blames me and fox for breaking the dwi story. he to this day believes that george w. bush's election campaign was derailed with suburban women voters as a consequence of the d.w.i. story. >> they tried to say the gore campaign planted it. i don't think anybody believed that. >> the friday before the election we had a last tracking poll in florida. the last tracking poll said we were three points ahead. >> but i remember very early in the moring getting a phone call from a very accomplished business person in boca raton who said i think i just voted for pat buchanan and what can i do about it? >> bret: mitchell berger recalls trying to contact the man who designed the ballots. >> wouldn't answer the phones. we literally had to no contest
knock down the doors when we found out what was going on. >> bret: more trouble was already brewing at the the television news networks. >> catherine harris sent to each of the it television news networks a letter saying once the polls are closed in the central time zone you can call the election but we wouldn't want you to unduely influence the outcome of voters still waiting to vote. >> bret: the consortium tabulating the data showed gore ahead of bush. >> i believe there was a flash from the associated press which said that based on their projections gore was going to win in florida. >> bret: john moody was in charge of the fox news decision desk that night. >> florida is one of those rare states that has two closing times. in this case it was 7:00 and 8:00 local time. in this case the call was made 11 minutes before the close of those western counties.
>> when the call came out from another network within 30 seconds my cell phone a rang from a prominent bush campaign official who said that is b.s. and they didn't abbreviate it. >> bret: the news team was trying to make accurate projections based on faulty news service data. >> i believe the models on which it based its projections was out-of-date and that the exit poll models did not mirror the changes. >> there is a lot of weird voodoo and instinct that goes into this and there is an impetus to jump the gun. >> it did create a situation where all of the networks including fox rushed in and made this call before 8:00 p.m. potentially affected voter turnout in florida. >> we have just been able to make a call to the state of florida and fox news projects that al gore will carry the state of florida. raw vote percentages. we project a win for al gore.
>> not long afterwards we hear, a, that rove has gone crazy and demanding that the call of florida be revoked. >> people are getting up and walking out of the phone banks in california and i'm getting reports that in orange county people are walking out of the voting lines because they are hearing that the election is over. >> bret: even former democratic strategist bob beckel believes the early call robbed bush of votes in florida's central time zone. >> an hour difference and with the projection being made probably 8,000 to 10,000 votes. >> after the initial call of gore a stream of exit poll data came in from bush's traditional area of strength, the panhandle counties. >> television is changing from being an observer to being an actual participant. i went on cnn, we have a policy here of cnn of calling a state vote whatever people voted in
75% of the precincts. and i said maybe we better make it 100%. >> florida is now too close to call and we are some what embarrassed to tell you that your call has turned out to be premature. >> after we put, florida, back in play, we realized that the data that we were getting from vns was not going to support a conclusion. there were a number of different voting methods used in florida and paper ballots, computers, machines and then the infamous push pins and so that required a different rate of return on the ballots that were coming in. >> the latest all poll tally. that is a lead of just under 30,000, about 29,400 votes, something like that in that 25te with is crucial 25 loral
electoral votes. >> we concluded there were not enough outstanding votes. >> got to interrupt youngsters u. fox news now projects george w. bush the winner in florida and thus it appears the winner of the presidency of the united states. >> gore said let's go, let's get this done. he gets to the war memorial in nashville and he got out of the car and said i'm going right on stage. >> one of al gore's staffers grabbed him by the arm from behind as he was putting his first step on the stairs up the riser and said mr. vice president you can't do this. history was made and preempted and made and preempted in split seconds that night. >> it entire life has been aimed at this office and now t appears to have slipped away. >> there were questions so i called back and i asked for
someone and they said just a minute. >> there was obviously pandemonium at gore headquarters. i said it's angle. somebody picks up the phone and says look here is the deal we are sending lawyers down to florida and challenging the vote in florida. >> this was now unfolding through us second to second live and we regurgitated it and almost unedited. >> vice president gore has called president bush and retracted his concession. >> i arrived just as gore finished unconceding to bush. he told meow didn't have to be snippy about it. and i think gore said something like well, i don't think your brother gets to decide that. >> the tv networks called this race for governor bush. it now appears -- it now appears that their call was premature. >> with a razor thin bush lead of just 6,000 votes and
dropping, it was less than one half of one percent. florida law required an automatic statewide recount. >> dawn breaks in austin. reporters are passed out on park benches-under paunder par. the whole world was descended. by the next day the port-a-potty company showed up. >> jeb bush the governor of florida at the time reduced himself from the process. up next, the uproar over
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abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of icide, may occur. alcohol may incrse these risks. alrgic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness. ask your doctor if lunesta is right for you. get lunesta for a $0 co-pay at lunesta.com. sleep well, on the wings of lunesta. there is the hanging chad
which is counted because it is hanging by one corner but the rest of it is out. >> i didn't know what a hanging chad was at that time. but i do now. >> bret: the hand recount of votes in florida is the unforgettable image from the 2000 presidential election. florida's election procedures. voter intent and equal protection for voters became the key issues in a contentious and memorable fight. >> in some counties they actually went and counted up the ballots again. >> each county had its own rules for the first recount. >> in other counties they double checked the tally sheets against, you know, their books and if everything matched up they said that is our recount. >> most of the land mass in florida is republican in nature. so unless a court was going to order them to do it, they weren't going to do it. >> bret: the first of 48 lawsuits was filed the day after election day. >> this ballot is done. >> exhibit a.
the butterfly ballot. the ballot had a new tee sign with larger print to help the elderly of palm beach county. but it violated florida law by not listing the candidates in a single column. >> with the butterfly ballot what appeared to be the second hole from the right-hand side was really a hole that counted for pat buchanan as opposed to vice president gore. >> bret: analysts say the butterfly ballot cost gore approximately 2800 votes. >> a ballot that was published in newspapers and guess what, there were no complaints until after the election. >> bret: two former secretaries of state were called in. james baker went to tallahassee to be the field general for bush. warren christopher was there for gore. >> we are not on the age of a constitutional crisis. we are following rules laid down by the laws of florida. good afternoon.
as secretary of state i am chief elections officer and i would like to -- >> this was her first election she shad gone through. all that rises up to the person that ran the elections was catherine harris. >> as of 5:00 p.m. today the unofficial certified results -- >> bret: catherine harris had been elected to position as florida's secretary of state. harris ran the election, imposed deadlines and certified the vote but was also the volunteer cochair of the bush campaign in florida. >> a difference of 1,784 votes. >> and she crossd that line. >> bret: david boyz was gore's lead attorney in the courtroom. >> moved from sympathetic to one side and maybe would shave decisions a little bit to where she was distorting the law and actively trying to prevent the votes from being count. >> she was under intense scrutiny as a republican.
>> bret: john bolton, the head attorney for bush in palm beach county. >> while there might have been some advantage ultimately it wasn't going to make any difference in the final result. >> bret: her demeanor and expressions and even her makeup became a target for late night comics and saturday night live. >> as far as controlling the machinery of politics in florida, the majority of the people on the county canvassing boards were democrats. >> bret: as voters in florida took to the streets, al gore and his family played touch football at the vice president's mansion in washington. and in texas, george w. bush began to assemble his cabinet. >> we are just going to continue our discussions about the future. >> bret: in the democrat stronghold of south florida the focus became the vote amattic vote recorder and punch card ballot. warnings were clearly posted but thousands of votes were
rejected by the computers because the cards were not punched cleanly. >> there is the swinging door chad. and then there is the one hanging on by three corners. >> an old ibm punch cord machine. by 2:00 or 3:00 in the afterif the machines aren't empties out you do not get a complete hole punch. >> one person from the ledge lay tour and one from the judiciary and then behind them one republican observer and one democratic observer are. >> bret: the recounts in south, florida, began to add up for gore. >> welcome to washington. i'm brit hume. the latest vote polls in florida show texas governor george w. bush beating al gore by 388 votes according to the ap. >> bret: from the florida circuit courts, federal appeals court and state supreme courts rulings for continuing the
recounts and amending the vote continued at a fast pace but catherine harris was still in charge. >> i decided it is my duty under florida law to exercise my discretion in denying these requested amendments. >> i happen to think the gore folks made big mistakes. one was to ask for recounts only if four solidly democratic counties. >> we couldn't ask for 67 counties to be counted because the headline would have been 60 counties say no could recount, recount over. >> bret: one week after the election,al gore asked for recounts to be expanded. >> i'm also prepared if governor bush prefers to include in this recount all of the counties in the entire state of florida. >> bret: george w. bush responded. >> unfortunately, what the vice president proposed is exactly what he has been proposing all along. continuing with selective hand recounts that are neither fair
nor accurate or compounding the error by extending a flawed process statewide. >> after ten years the palm beach county canvassing board just ail it territoried its policy. >> bret: the recounts did continue but the rules began to change. >> until tonight it had been their policy that indented ballots would not be counted. in other words, the hole had to be punched through the ballot. >> if the trends continue al gore may be able to come from behind and pull off an upset. >> well, another bizarre day here in tallahassee. >> florida was like a five ring circus. it was a rollercoaster. in the the course of one day you could hear that bush was going to win, completely downcast at noon. >> everybody was hungry, angry, tired and everybody was pissed off. everybody wanted to go home. >> i thought the votes would be counted and we would find out who would win the election.
>> bret: on thanksgiving eve an unusual protest eh erupted bece ballots were are being counted out of public view. >> we wanted to publicly see what was going on. >> that was the strangest demonstration i have seen. many contributors to george bush's campaign. that wasn't an outrage for the electorate. >> the press seized on it as if it was a pitchfork wielding mob. >> bret: it was so effective it literally stopped the recount procedure in miami dade county. and the butterfly ballot would later be ruled valid by the florida supreme court. just ahead, how overseas just ahead, how overseas military ballots became a
♪ >> bret: gop backers wanted gore are to move out. >> people with signs that said sore losers and get out of cheney's house. >> bret: they were furious the vice president was still trying to recount every vote. >> the democratic strategy was as long as they were behind keep counting. >> they may have been saying count all the votes but that wasn't their action. >> bret: ben ginsburg was senior counsel for bush. >> they tried to disenfranchise the military voters. >> the military supported bush a lot more than they supported gore. >> the only challenges made were military ballots that had no post mark and no signature.
there was a failure to really explain what the position was. >> bret: public perception of gore suffered. however, the toughest political battle democrats faced was just starting to ignite. the canvassing board missed the 5:00 p.m. filing deadline mandated by the florida supreme court. secretary of state catherine harris said she could not grant an extension. >> you have citizens working all weekend long on thanksgiving and catherine harris wouldn't wait another hour. >> the appropriate deadlines for filing certified returns are those mandated by the legislature. >> that woman took her office and turned it into a political operation for george bush. that is wrong. >> she had to play ref, nobody likes an ump who has to make a call that changes the game. >> the returns are the returns that are certified by the deadlines. >> she is going to un unilatery end the vote count by a certain
date and you are bush's cochair? >> i hereby declare george w. bush the winner of florida's 25 electoral votes. >> everything she did was by the numbers. >> bret: ted olson also joined bush's legal team. >> our opponents made her into a bit of a devil, cruella de vil characteristic. >> i looked at the statute and the secretary of state may reject late filing ballots. >> bret: leon county circuit judge terry lewis ruled harris did not have to extend the deadline. >> she has discretion to reject it. >> vice president gore and i have no choice but to contest these actions. >> the democrats had to find a way to overturn the result by hook or by crook. >> bret: the vice president filed an election contest action challenging recounts in three counties.
>> they wanted to rush it. i'm not going be rushed. >> the trial was not any great impediment as long as it happened quickly. >> bret: gore's legal team wanted to have a decision by december 12 by was before the deadline for florida's final vote count. >> in a number of counties votes that had been fairly counted were simply set aside and many votes that were cast have not yet been counted at all. >> the republicans say wait just a minute. there has to be some determination it is in necessary to recount the votes. republicans asked the judge to reorder all the 1.6 million ballots to be sent at the same time. the judge ordered it done and he was told it would be 168 boxes. >> there is going to be a convoy. so many semis. >> we reached the theater of the absurd with the most powerful office of the world at stake. >> bret: not since the o.j.
simpson bronco case had cable news carried something like the trucks carrying the ballots. >> reject a number of legal votes and include a number of illegal votes. >> the only issue on an election contest is whether or not that board has abused its discretion. >> it had been a pin hole of light through one of them and those were now being counted as votes. i was a little uncomfortable where we were heading. >> reasonable people could disagree as to whether or not that was a vote or not. >> before standing alone would constitute a vote. >> i don't think so. i really don't. >> bret: the marathon trial lasted the entire weekend. but the judge promised a decision by monday morning. will al gore finally gain some momentum and overtake george bush?
>> bret: hello and welcome back to fox news reporting. 36 days that decide the the presidency. i'm bret baier. i was in tallahassee covering the nonstop court battles that had americans glued to their televisions wondering who our next president would be. it was now day 27 in the recount as everyone awaited a key decision from the judge.
a florida judge refusing al gore's request to order hand recounts of disputed ballots. >> no credible statistical evidence the results of the statewide election in the state of florida would we different from the result which has been certified by the state elections canvassing commission. >> the judge dealing the biggest blow yet to the for campaign's fight for the white house, giving gore nothing, a clean sweep for bush in court say the gore team even failed to prove there is any reason to contest, florida's certified vote. >> it had to be looked at from a statewide perspective. to have this equal protection issue and that the laws must be applied equally to all citizens but i think that all of the legal votes were count. >> unless it is reversed by a higher court judge sanders sauls gave the bush campaign
its clearest and legal victory. >> day one, we lost. we are appealing. this will be resolved by the florida supreme court. >> judge sauls gave us a decision to go in time before the supreme court. >> bret: still in jeopardy for bush another 25,000 absentee ballot votes being challenged by the democrats. >> the democrats have attempted to have thrown out all of the absentee votes counted in martin and seminole counts. >> they are talking about the clerical errors. is one of the absentee ballot application requests and the republican party sent these out and the printer left off the voter identification number or put the wrong one in there. republicans say just because of this clerical mistake the votes should not be thrown out. >> more than enough votes were potentially taken away from
democrats because they were not given the same access that republicans were. >> bret: democrats complained in two separate courts between judges lewis and clark. >> we fought that rigorously. >> both suits have the potential to switch the lead from bush to gore. >> we have 9,000 ballots in miami dade that are alleged that have not been registered by the machine that have never been manually reviewed. >> bret: david boyz pleaded again for the florida supreme court to order an immediate recount of contested ballots. >> we are here today, december 7. what is the time parameter for being able to compete a count of those undervotes? >> we believe these ballots can be counted in the time available. obviously time is getting very short. >> very quick. >> i think you do have a remedy that can do that by december 12. >> he has an ability to get to
the heart of the matter and he has the ability to explain complicated difficult situations in very simple terms. >> two circuit court judges reject the democratic lawsuit asking for 25,000 absentee ballots to be thrown out. >> to interfere with somebody's right to vote. judge clark and i said you don't throw out the ballot because there is some irregularities unless you can find that somebody's will was thwart. >> we are gratified with the two strong rulings from the judges here on the leon county circuit court. >> bret: something bigger was about to be announced by the florida supreme court. as a precaution, public information spokesman craig bulletwas offered a proof vest. he declined. >> by a vote of 4-3, the majority of the court has reversed the decision of the trial court in part.
in addition the circuit court shall order a manual recount in any counties where such a recount has not occurred. >> it was a new win for al gore. >> they ended up ordering a state wide recount. we are ecstatic. >> bret: this meant all the counting would have to be completed within the safe harbor deadline of december 12. >> reversed the trial courts without really setting forth the reasons for doing that. >> the decision that came out of the florida supreme court i think you could only describe as lawless. >> we really thought we had won. now, we had the statewide recount that al gore had been asking for since 8 days after the e. >> today's rulingly four justices of the florida supreme court is, of course, a disappointment. >> bret: the bush lawyers asked
the 11th circuit court of appeals in atlanta for an emergency motion to stop the recount. they were denied. >> we felt this was a federal election and it ought to be the federal courts and the federal constitution that governed those decisions. our lawyers here filed our petition in the supreme court i think by 9:00 p.m. that night, less than five hours later with all of the exhibits and all of the papers and a motion in addition to stop that recount. >> bret: in a shocking turn of events today the united states supreme court halted the manual recount in florida. >> there is no doubt that by delaying it, it has created a very serious issue as to whether that count can fully be completed or not by december 12. >> awful. >> awful. it was in my view a very bad decision. there was no irreparable harm in allowing votes in the
democracy to be counted. >> bret: with al gore trailing by just 177 votes, the u.s. supreme court stopped the florida recount on saturday with little time to prepare attorneys for al gore and george bush were told to present their oral arguements before the high court in just two days setting up a showdown monday at the u.s. supreme court. an in depth look at this
we didn't know what was going to come out of that building. >> it could have been won and lost a couple of dozen times on both sides. >> when it got to the supreme court al gore might have been able to pull a rabbit out of his hat. >> we willary argument in number 00949 george w. bush and richard cheney versus albert
gore et al. >> on day 34 the focus moved from florida to washington. of course, no cameras were allowed but the audio from the u.s. supreme court was released soon after ted olson began. >> we didn't know we would ever get to the supreme court until pretty much until we got there and we got there on two occasions. from two mischievous florida supreme court decisions. >> my view if we were stuck with the florida supreme court we were toast. >> bret: and with the case now in front of the u.s. supreme court the gor team faced a simr dilemma. >> the problem was a decision as to who was going to be president of the united states and who was going to appoint the next supreme court justices, something that people on the court have an interest in. >> the. >> bret: the court consisted of five justices appointed by republican presidents and four by democratic presidents. despite a feared political
split the first vote was unanimous. they argued that the selective manual recounts threatened to overturn the certified results of an election they had won. >> the united states supreme court by a 9-0 vote said basically what are you doing? what are your standards down there? what is going on? >> and the florida supreme court never paid one bit of attention whatsoever to the direction from the united states supreme court. >> bret: on december 8 the bush team used the florida's court's lack of response to convince the u.s. supreme court to halt the recount. on monday december 11, ted olson's argument was interrupted almost immediately. >> begin by telling us our federal jurisdiction? where is the federal question here? >> the federal question arises -- >> the principle we kept emphasizing was there were rules about deadlines in the florida election code.
the florida supreme court had changed those rules so we said that is unconstitutional. >> it may not be the most powerful argument we bring to this court. >> i think that's right. >> bret: it was apparent the justices had ideas of their own. >> i thought your point was the process is being conducted in violation of the equal protection clause -- >> he interrupted and asked about the equal protection cause. i was very much ready for that question. >> what in your opinion would be a fair standard? >> the penetration of the ballot card would be required. >> equal protection i don't think was anything that anybody was expecting to become the critical issue. the law in florida said we're going to have votes counted not on whether the voter had technically followed all of the rules for marking the ballot but can we discern the voters' intent. >> bret: the justices continued to focus on the punch card and katharine harris was again at
the center. >> my decision and this process has been made carefully. >> and what standard did the secretary of state set? >> she had not set one. not only was there not a standard but there was a change two or three times during the course of this process. >> mr. boise we will hear from you. >> bret: david boise began by defending the courts it ruling. >> i think this court and the supreme court best interpreter at that opinion. >> and all the florida supreme court did was to say the count -- you have to complete your job. you can't have your job interrupted bay riot. you can't have your job interrupted because katharine harris shuts the window. >> why isn't the standard the one that voters were instructed to follow. >> bret: the justices continued to be concerned about the standards. >> there must be a uni form
standard. i think there is a uniform standard. the question is whether it is too general or not. >> i think that vascularries from county -- varies from county to county. >> i think it can vary from individual to individual. >> even in one county can vary from table to table in counting the ballots. >> there was a statewide standard. it was objective on what the intent of the voter. justice suitor was looking for what is the objective standard we can apply. >> bret: the drama continued as neither side was confident the end was near. >> one doesn't know what the supreme court is going to do. >> every time i made a prediction about what the last argument was i can prove it wrong. >> bret: after 30 days of confusion and legal complexity, the night of december 12, 200 was reminiscent of election night. >> if in fact the standard has changed they may have to go back and recount votes that had previously been counted. >> bret: in the rush to be
first the news networks initially got it wrong. >> there was a little bit of confusion about exactly what the u.s. supreme court is saying. it is simple as yo -- as simpls you can tell us. >> it is quite a long document. >> when the final ruling came down, the television reporters at the supreme court were having a lot of difficulty because there were a number of opinions. >> bret: amid the debris of 35 days of nonstop legal maneuvering james baker and the bush team had to decipher the documents, too. >> and we read through the opinions and concluded after reading all of them that it was over. >> bret: in the end, six opinions were written for the two decisions. the most important dealt with federal law. >> the supreme court has done is say that the florida supreme court violated the 14th amendment of the constitution which offers equal protection when it allowed a recount to go forward in florida without a
statewide standard. >> the florida supreme court decision was unconstitutional in a 7-2 vote. >> so it is okay if you go back and establish a recount that is legal but they also say you don't have time to do it. >> the 5-4 part in the decision simply said time has run out. >> the myth has grown up that it was bush who was rewarded by the courts the presidency of the united states. seven justices held that the constitution was being violated by the practices the gore campaign was u insisting upon. >> it appears now that the next president of the united states is all but signed sealed and delivered. >> i picked up the phone and called the governor in austin and when i got him on the line that is when i said congratulations mr. president-elect. >> bret: the majority opinion in the supreme court decision bush v. score stipulated that the case can never be used
again due to the complexities of the particular case. the ruling essentially ended al gore's chances in the florida recount but it took some time to figure that out. gore had yet to concede. did thinks lawyers still think he had any hope of victory? bush's legal team was starting to celebrate. >> to the next president of the united states. >> bret: the rest of the story is just ahead after the break. if your racing thoughts keep you awake... sleep is here, on the wings of lunesta. and if you wake up often in the middle of the night... rest is here, on the wings of lunesta. lunesta helps you fall asleep and stay asleep, so you can wake up feeling rested. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression,
including risk of icide, may occur. alcohol may incrse these risks. alrgic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness. ask your doctor if lunesta is right for you. get lunesta for a $0 co-pay at lunesta.com. sleep well, on the wings of lunesta.
president al gore had run out of options. >> can you hear it behind you? >> yes. >> a lot of people are hearing the drum beat. maybe it is time for him to quit. >> the gnc chairman said time for mr. gore to fold his head. >> saying the ruling was confusing but not encouraging. in fact, going on to say it looked pretty devastating. >> my recommendation was that when the united states supreme court made a decision and says you can't go back, it it is over. >> i don't think that he had any remaining legal options. >> bret: mitchell berger a long time friend and attorney disagrees. he believes gore could have continued the fight. >> on several grounds. constitutional grounds. >> bret: the burning question on everybody's mind, what would vice president al gore do next? >> we have heard nothing from mr. gore in the ten hours since the decision was handed down. >> we have not seen or heard from george w. bush.
he seems content to allow vice president gore the opportunity to speak first. >> we were very careful to recommend that he not go out and claim victory. >> and he gave vice president gore plenty of space and let him come to his own decision and conclusions. >> bret: the only option was to go back to the supreme court and push the deadline from december 12 to december 18. >> whether he was going to come out and say i still have legal options to pursue. >> took him almost a day to get there but he got there. >> bret: finally, 12 hours after the supreme court decision, campaign chairman william daley put out a written statement, the vice president has directed the recount committee to suspend activities. >> i think there was a sense of relief that the great national trauma had ended. >> next on special report, al gore is set to speak to the nation at 9:00 p.m. with george
w. bush to follow at 10:00. >> he seems reasonably relaxed about all this. he had a previously scheduled holiday party with friends and supporters. he will actually attend that party. >> lasted from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. he said look we fought a good fight but the fight is over and we are told that he was planning on calling together probably en route over to the old executive office building. >> just moments ago i spoke with george w. bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the united states. and i promised him that i wouldn't call him back this time. >> al gore and his advisors made a very responsible statesman like decision by conceding and allowing the country to move on. >> it was probably the host honorable step i had ever seen a politician take. >> tonight for the sake of our up a night of our people and the strength of our democracy, i offer my concession.
>> he wanted to see this country unite. >> vice president gore deserves the nation's thanks for concludeing that the best interests of the country were more important than his best interests. >> we will stand together behind our new president. >> it was unverseally praised at the most human real warm accessible speech that al gore, heretoforecontinued robotic, had given. >> instead we got an eloquent and gracious and appropriate speech. i do think it set a high bar for president bush. >> thank you all. >> this evening i received a gracious call from the vice president. we agreed to meet early next week in washington and we agreed to do our best to heal a country after this hard fought contest. >> that is a tribute to the united states that we can have
a very serious internal disagreement. >> our nation must rise above a house divide. >> i would get calls from former heads of state saying what is the matter with your country, can't you even conduct an election and i said the system is working and i dare say if something like this was happening in your country you might have tanks in the streets. >> we can abide even a decision as long, mind you, as bush v. gore because we respect the rule of law. ehave to have a way to solve the problems without going to the streets. >> bush won the first count in florida. he won the recount. news media and universities did subsequent recounts. there has never been a count that bush didn't eventually win in florida. >> bret: electoral college representatives cost their
votes for president. it was officially over. the country had a new president-elect. >> i george, washington, bush do solemnly swear that i was faithfully execute the office of the president of the united states. >> we continue to transfer political power peacefully and it is one of the real strengths of our country. >> so help me god. >> bret: the 2000 florida recount and u.s. supreme court decision that ended it will be analyzed and debated for years to come. an extremely rare moment in u.s. history where the presidency literally hung in the balance. the passion and the uproar on both sides would linger into the first weeks and months of president george w. bush's administration. and the country would be forever changed based on what happened during those 36 days. that is our show tonight. i'm bret baier in washington.
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