- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2000

Vice President Al Gore, who pledged to bring his own values of faith and family to the presidency, decided with his wife and children to abandon his quest for the White House.
The vice president withdrew last night in a moving and eloquent speech from the Old Executive Office Building, tantalizingly close to the White House where he hoped to serve.
In the audience, Mr. Gore’s wife, Tipper, clasped hands with Mr. Gore’s running mate, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, who looked chagrined.
Mr. Gore’s brother-in-law, Frank Hunger, and the Gores’ oldest daughter, Karenna, appeared close to tears.
“Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States,” Mr. Gore said as he began the address at his ceremonial office.
“And I promised him that I wouldn’t call him back this time,” Mr. Gore said in a lighthearted reference to Nov. 8, when he retracted his first concession.
As the vice president left the White House compound, dozens of aides and supporters chanted, “Gore in four!”
The Tennessee senator’s son, groomed to be president, proved a political Lazarus for five weeks. But 36 days after he first conceded, Mr. Gore was left to contemplate defeat by the narrowest of margins.
Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, called Mr. Gore “a patriot” and said he would rise above “the enormous disappointment of the moment.”
Texas Gov. George W. Bush captured the Electoral College by a mere four-vote margin 271 to 267. Mr. Gore became the first presidential nominee since 1888 to win the popular vote and lose the presidency.
Two others who suffered that fate Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland returned to win the White House four years later.
But Mr. Gore understands a bitter reality of modern politics: No unsuccessful Democratic nominee has won a second crack at the White House since Adlai Stevenson in 1956.
Mr. Gore’s brief concession featured a warmth not often present in his stilted campaign speeches.
Mr. Gore, who lost his home state of Tennessee on Election Day, said he plans to spend some time at his family’s farm in Carthage “and mend some fences literally and figuratively.”
Mr. Gore’s concession capped an excruciating 24 hours.
At 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling made a constitutional recount all but impossible.
Within an hour, Ed Rendell, general chairman of the Democratic Party, and Laurence H. Tribe, who argued Mr. Gore’s prior Supreme Court case, said the presidential candidate should concede.
Mr. Gore worked the phones at his mansion on the grounds of the Naval Observatory, conferring with his lawyers. His top advisers including campaign chairman William M. Daley concluded he had to withdraw.
Mr. Daley said in a statement that Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman needed time to dissect the complex court decision. The vice president went to bed keeping his own counsel.
Early yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri deferred to Mr. Gore.
“The Supreme Court has made its decision. We support and respect Vice President Gore’s right to respond on his own time schedule. Until he does so, we will have no comment,” they said.
Mr. Gore, a public figure who relishes privacy, stayed out of sight and huddled with his family his wife; his son, Albert III; his daughters Karenna, Kristin and Sarah; and Mr. Hunger.
Mr. Gore made his fateful decision at 10 a.m. yesterday, a dozen hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The campaign chairman issued a terse statement that said “the vice president has directed the recount committee to suspend activities.”
At 10:30 a.m., President Clinton called Mr. Gore from Ireland to commiserate.
Gore attorney David Boies, speaking with reporters outside his home in Armonk, N.Y., sounded a tone of resignation.
“There is no appeal from the United States Supreme Court,” he said.
Just before 1 p.m., Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke with high school students from Maryland and Pennsylvania in a previously arranged session televised by CSPAN-2.
Justice Thomas told the students politics plays no part in the court’s rulings.
“We have no axes to grind, we just protect this,” he said waving a pocket size copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke to an AFL-CIO rally in Tallahassee, Fla., and urged Mr. Gore to continue his fight.
“The election was essentially taken and stolen,” Mr. Jackson said.
Mr. Gore crafted his speech at his official residence, working from an outline his aides supplied.
As the sun dipped and the temperatures plummeted yesterday afternoon, blue light bathed the vice president’s official residence. Outside the mansion’s gates, evergreen wreaths decorated with colored lights hung from two ship anchors embedded in concrete.
Across the street, a Bush supporter shouted “Gore, concede.” A Democrat countered: “Gore is my president.” Both then ceded to the frigid temperatures and called it a day. Members of a choir drove up at the gate to perform at a long-planned holiday party.
This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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