In the Epic Electoral Battle, No One Wins

It began eight years ago, in the rubble of a candidacy toppled by a third-party candidate and a charismatic Southern governor.

Al Gore '69, then a Tennessee senator who had toiled in Congress for 16 years, was launched into the national spotlight as vice president.

George W. Bush, who had vigorously worked for his father's campaign, was left embittered and returned to Texas to help run the Texas Rangers.


Gore would slowly inherit the mantle of President Clinton's anointed successor. Bush, after surprising then-incumbent Texas. Gov. Ann Richards in 1994, would slowly figure into Republican plans to recapture the White House.

And yesterday evening, the two players returned to the national scene in an epic electoral battle that pitted both men and their legacies against each other.

But in a drama worthy of the Bard, no winners emerged last night, as victory speeches and cheering crowds were left in the lurch and concession speeches were retracted. In the end, no man would emerge victorious, or at least on this night.

And so the fate of the nation hinges on a few thousand votes--even perhaps a few hundred--in a state better known for retirement communities and Disney World than changing the political fate of the nation.

Suddenly, the national electorate knows much more about Florida than it would probably care to know.

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