- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 30, 2000

Texas Governor George W. Bush today again refused to concede the presidential election to Vice President Al Gore. Mr. Bush's latest refusal came one day after the Florida secretary of state certified Mr. Gore the winner, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's surprise decision to hear the Gore campaign's appeal to stop manual recounting of votes in Florida, and three days after the Florida Supreme Court refused to force the resumption of hand counts in a pro-Bush county.

The Bush campaign continues to call for additional hand counts of ballots in the heavily Republican counties of Duvall and Seminole, where Republican-led canvassing boards have already counted the ballots three times. After two machine recounts and one manual recount, Mr. Gore still leads Mr. Bush in the overall vote count. At no time during the 21 days has Mr. Bush ever officially led in the Florida vote tally.

"George Bush needs to realize that denial is not a river in Egypt," said a senior Gore official, "For all his talk about personal responsibility, he is certainly not taking any for the fact that he lost this election."

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, Mr. Bush's representative, unabashedly blamed Democratic protesters led by Jesse Jackson for creating an atmosphere of "fear and intimidation" that has "frightened" Republican election officials. At a hastily called news conference, Mr. Baker told reporters that "Governor Bush's conceding at this point would be tantamount to agreeing to the disenfranchisement of thousands of Republican voters. This election should be decided by the people, not by mob-rule." The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned Republican demands for a halt to the DNC-led street protests. "Equating traditional grassroots activism with 'mob rule' will have a dangerous, chilling effect on free speech, and instead of complaining about other people's peaceful demonstrations, the Republicans should be organizing their own," suggested the group's executive director, Ira Glasser.

Mr. Gore's campaign chairman, William Daley, immediately attacked the latest Bush legal action: "The American people want finality. We all want to move on, but for weeks now, the Bush camp just wants to keep recounting until they win." Mr. Bush's refusal to concede the election, despite the fact that he has never been in the lead, has drawn sustained and vociferous criticism from the Gore camp, the editorial pages of the nation's leading newspapers, and presidential historians.

"Can anyone imagine distinguished losing candidates of the past Adlai Stevenson, Jimmy Carter or Michael Dukakis refusing to accept defeat graciously? George Bush should take a lesson from the Boston Red Sox!" Doris Kearns Goodwin told NBC's Tim Russert. On the continuing controversy regarding the thousands of dimpled ballots that the Bush team insists be counted in the final tally, Democrats are uniformly dismissive. "An indent is no intent!" Jesse Jackson declared to a crowd of Gore supporters in Tallahassee. Joining him at the rally, Gore running mate Joe Lieberman took to the microphone, charging that Texas election law which allows the counting of dimpled ballots "is just as backward as its environmental, education, and child health care policies."

President Bill Clinton, who was finishing a round of golf near Camp David, could not resist commenting on the current impasse in a late afternoon chat with White House pool reporters: "If the shoe had been on the other foot and Al Gore had been trailing all along, can you imagine Al Gore not having enough respect for the system to concede?" Nah!

Will Feltus is director of research at Speakout.com and Laura Ingraham is a contributing columnist to Voter.com.

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