Tennessee Blues: How Gore Lost His Home State

NASHVILLE--If Al Gore '69 fails to win the presidency, he need look no further than his neighbors in Tennessee to wonder what might have been.

While Texas Gov. George W. Bush won his home state with 59 percent of the vote, Vice President Gore lost Tennessee--and its 11 badly needed electoral votes--by nearly 80,000 votes.

From the appearance of the downtown center in Nashville last Tuesday, it would have been difficult to conceive that Tennessee was not a Gore stronghold and an Electoral College lock.

Nashville was transformed into "Gore Central" on election day. On almost every street corner, supporters waved blue Gore/Lieberman 2000 signs and nearly everyone wore Gore buttons and stickers.

The streets and parking lots around the War Memorial Plaza, the epicenter of the city, were filled with people selling everything from buttons and bumper stickers to bears and Gore baseball caps. One of the most popular signs read, "Read my lips, No New Texans."

Two blocks from the Plaza, Anthony E. Pellicone, a stockbroker and Bush supporter by day, hawked blue beanie babies emblazoned with Gore 2000 and a photo of the vice president. Not to miss a market, his partner in the venture spent the week in Austin, Tex., selling red bears that read Bush 2000.

Regardless of his own political views, Pellicone said he was enjoying the buzz of campaign fever.

"It's exciting," he said. "You're in where the whole world is watching."

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