- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2001

Students who attended Al Gores post-election journalism class at Columbia University estimate that the former marathon runner and mountain climber added between 30 and 40 pounds since he lost last years presidential election. Fox News commentator and pundit Dick Morris has reported that Mr. Gore has become profoundly depressed, which if true, would be entirely understandable. After all, Mr. Gore has just failed at the endeavor to which he has devoted his entire adult life becoming the president of the United States. Furthermore, Mr. Gore may perhaps understand how businessman Bob Glass and Navy Lt. John Russell felt upon learning that their attempts to vote for Mr. Bush in Floridas presidential contest proved to be fruitless.
Messrs. Glass and Russell, two Florida residents who were more than 8,000 miles away from each other on Election Day last year, play important roles in "At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election," the incisive new book by Bill Sammon, senior White House correspondent for The Washington Times. In excerpts of the book that have appeared in The Times this week, Mr. Sammon skillfully weaves together the voting travails of Messrs. Glass and Russell to explain how the networks and Mr. Gore himself came very close to depriving Mr. Bush of his legitimate victory.
On Election Day, 11 minutes before the polls in Floridas heavily Republican Central Time Zone Panhandle precincts were to close while thousands of prospective voters were standing in line or en route, NBC prematurely and erroneously declared Mr. Gore the winner of Floridas 25 electoral votes. Mr. Glass, a party stalwart, became so infuriated at the early call and so distraught over the reported defeat of Mr. Bush in his state that he reasonably enough concluded that his vote would have been futile. In consequence, he simply drove past his polling place. Many others left without voting. Mr. Bush eventually won the state by fewer than 1,000 votes. Citing numerous studies, including one commissioned by Democratic strategist Bob Beckel that estimated the early network call cost Mr. Bush a net loss of 8,000 votes in Florida, Mr. Sammon pointedly observed, "A five-digit margin would have been much more daunting than a three-digit one."
To reverse Mr. Bushs relatively small margin of victory, no single vote was too insignificant for the vice president and his operatives to challenge. In painstaking detail, Mr. Sammon describes the deplorable, profoundly anti-democratic lengths to which Mr. Gore went to deprive thousands of overseas soldiers and sailors from participating in the election. Guided by a confidential five-page memo prepared by one of Mr. Gores Florida lawyers and filled with hair-splitting details explaining how to challenge military ballots, Mr. Gores operatives spent more than 19 hours on Nov. 17 and 18 at the canvassing board office of Duval County. They managed to disqualify nearly 150 absentee ballots cast by overseas military personnel.
One of those votes belonged to Navy Lt. Russell. Mr. Gores operatives insisted it be disqualified even though it had arrived the day before the election, albeit without a postmark not an unusual circumstance for overseas military mail. As it happened, Lt. Russell learned that his ballot was disqualified while serving on an amphibious assault ship helping to retrieve the crippled destroyer USS Cole off the coast of Yemen, where 17 sailors were killed in the attack. That didnt matter to the Gore gang. High-fiving another Gore attorney in celebration of their perfidious victory at disenfranchising so many votes cast by military personnel risking their lives around the world, one of Mr. Gores lawyers glibly explained their priorities: "A wins a win."
As Mr. Sammon meticulously details throughout his book, this was precisely the attitude that Mr. Gore displayed throughout the 36 days he challenged Mr. Bushs victory. For Mr. Gore, it was victory at any cost. Had he succeeded, as Mr. Sammon eloquently and conclusively demonstrates, he truly would have stolen the election. Any profound depression Mr. Gore may now be experiencing, it seems quite clear, would be justly deserved.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide