- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Florida's certification of victory for Texas Gov. George W. Bush on Sunday had Washington-area residents and tourists alike expecting an end to the election imbroglio and preparing for a Bush administration come January.

"For the good of the country, [Vice President Al] Gore should give in, said Stuart Fischer, 39, a lawyer from Rockville, Md. "A legal challenge is very divisive."

He asked why, if a recount were necessary, only Democratic-leaning counties were being singled out? "It leads to a predetermined result," he said yesterday at Union Station.

Others also saw some skulduggery at work and suggested a simpler solution.

"I hope it's ended," said Henry Grant, 75, of District Heights, Md. "They're fabricating chads. They're playing games or something.

"I never did trust the election, anyhow. It's so close, they should just flip a coin," he said.

Yet there were those who were willing to have the process drawn out, if it meant their candidate gets the keys to the White House.

Coming off a plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Mike Duffy of Houston said the election has dragged on too long but added that Mr. Bush had no choice but to continue his legal efforts. Mr. Bush's lawyers appear before the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to contest a Florida Supreme Court ruling allowing manual recounts to continue and be included in the certified vote totals.

"It's a case of counterattack," Mr. Duffy said. " Bush letting them take the battlefield could have cost him the election."

Having left Florida ground zero in this election battle for the relative calm of the nation's capital, Tom Keating said neither she nor her husband had difficulty punching out chads on ballots.

"We're not all senile," Mrs. Keating said.

Alex Post, 28, an information technology consultant from Arlington, Va., said he supported including the amended vote totals from Palm Beach County.

"It's a tough one," he said yesterday. "It's a gray margin of error."

He added, however, that another two weeks is the longest the legal tussling should go on before it became pointless. "They're both just playing partisan politics."

The process should, others said, run its course.

"Gore's got a right to do it," said Reginald Rice, 43, of Southwest D.C. He suggested that since it's taken so long to determine a winner anyway, "they need to do it all over again."

Brian Peoples, 24, a high school teacher and football coach from Maryland, said the outcome should be contested. "I wouldn't be upset if Bush wins, as long as it's fair," he said, adding he was glad to see precaution was being taken in getting a fair vote.

Cindy Wooten, 46, a medical biller from Des Moines, Iowa, took a dim view of both candidates.

"All politicians are crooks. I think Bush won, but Gore's going to contest it until he wins."

One young woman said it was more than coincidence that Mr. Bush won Florida because his brother Jeb is the state's governor.

"Bush should be dis-elected because he had his brother take some votes for him. He flat-out cheated," said 16-year-old Yolanda Bullock, a student at Spingarn High who lives in Northeast D.C.

But there were many who wanted to stop talking about it, regardless of the outcome.

Among them was Carolyn Ryba, visiting from San Diego along with her children Tommilyn, 5; Jenna, 13; and Juliann, 11.

"You need to have a winner. I think it's hurting our nation," Mrs. Ryba said. "It's dividing us."

She found an irony, too, in the way the United States looks upon other country's democracies.

"It's really sad that we send our military to other countries to settle other elections and we can't even solve our own," she said.

Getting ready to board a train at Union Station to go back to Brooklyn, N.Y., Nicole Lobisco, 30, said Sunday that talk of the election fiasco broke the Thanksgiving Day peace.

Miss Lobisco, a Democrat, said she and her Republican parents constantly argued over who won the election.

"I can't talk about it anymore," she said. "It's just getting out of hand."

• Maria Hegstad contributed to this article.

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