St. Petersburg Times Online: Election 2000
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

A night the Bushes won't forget

While eating dinner Tuesday, the family heard that Gore had won Florida. An "emotionally intense evening'' followed, Gov. Jeb Bush says.

By JULIE HAUSERMAN and LUCY MORGAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000


TALLAHASSEE -- The Bush family always gathers on election night -- in victory and in defeat.

Tuesday was no exception. During dinner at the Shoreline Grille in Austin, Texas, the television delivered the news: Vice President Al Gore was the Florida winner.

The announcement hit Florida Gov. Jeb Bush like a fighter's punch to the gut.

"I decided after, frankly, apologizing to my brother, that I didn't do what I hoped I would be able to do -- along with a lot of other people -- which is to help him carry the state. "So I decided to start making phone calls around to talk radio in Sacramento, and Seattle and Oregon and other places where the polls were still open, to urge people to vote for my brother in those states, where, clearly, it could have made a difference. "And then, somehow, the results were overturned."

Jeb Bush then spent "one of the most amazing and emotionally intense evenings of my life."

As the hours wore on, he watched his brother's political future, as well as his own, unfold.

"It was a very emotional time," Jeb Bush said Wednesday. "I hope I'll never have to go through an evening like I did again. "For my father, this is the most difficult of all elections, I'm sure. He and my mom are parents first, and this is a field of endeavor they know something about."

During the campaign, he said, "My mother decided to have a press-free zone in the house -- no reading of papers and no news. "And my dad decided to do the exact opposite. So, for the first time in 54 years of marriage, they were about ready to separate because of this! They found a technological solution to the problem: wireless earphones, so my dad could hear it. He would be sitting there going "Aargh!' at Katie Couric, and she would be there reading or doing something else.

"From the beginning, I've always said Florida would be a hard-fought state. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be this close."

With only an hour's sleep, a red-eyed Jeb Bush returned to Florida. Just after 4 p.m., he faced the largest media frenzy to hit Tallahassee since he became governor, with reporters from all over the world there to hear what he had to say. They lined the walls and crouched on the floor of a conference room next to his office in the state Capitol.

"More reporters than we usually have, isn't it?" he joked to the tense throng.

It isn't over yet, he told reporters. I'm proud of my brother, he said. We worked hard. We all worked hard.

Florida Democrats were quick to pounce on the photo finish as evidence that the state's popular governor isn't as powerful as he seems.

"There's a lot more doubt in his political future today than there was on Monday," said Florida Democratic spokesman Tony Welch. "I think you'll see a lot more Democrats weighing challenging Gov. Jeb Bush. This shows a lot. This is not delivering your state."

Republicans, predictably, downplayed the political drama:

"I think all anybody's going to remember is the final result, and the final result is that George Bush is going to carry Florida," predicted state Sen. Jack Latvala of Palm Harbor, the Senate's Republican majority leader. "With his brother as president, he's going to be as strong -- or stronger -- than he has been."

Back to Election 2000
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
 
Special Links
Tim Nickens
The Presidential race
Florida races
Pinellas races
Hillsborough races
Pasco races
Hernando races
Citrus races


From the Times election desk

Presidential

  • Recount begins as world watches
  • What a difference 12 hours makes
  • Voters statewide say they had poll troubles
  • Why the networks' call kept changing
  • Tired eyes watch over recount
  • Media rechecking their crystal balls
  • Wall Street joins nation in long wait
  • Election mania has everyone talking, waiting
  • Remarks by George W. Bush, Al Gore on the election returns
  • The victor must earn legitimacy by uniting
  • A Rather long night
  • Inside the Electoral College
  • Overseas ballots suddenly crucial
  • Presidential results
  • Election results
  • U.S. Senate winners
  • Governor winners
  • Election briefs
  • U.S. House winners
  • State

  • A night the Bushes won't forget
  • Funding for train mystifies officials
  • Capitol leaders predict less partisan session
  • Disclosure's role debated
  • Pinellas

  • Gore vote says GOP has edge, not a lock, in Pinellas County
  • Three recounts needed in fire district race
  • Vote shocks senior center's fans
  • Hillsborough

  • Gore won city; Bush swept the suburbs
  • Tired eyes watch over recount
  • House District 60 race won by smallest margin
  • Easterling says knocking on doors helped her win
  • To their regret, non-voters learn: It matters
  • So much to count, so little time
  • Pasco

  • Decision on sheriff brings prayers, tears
  • Cannon became his 'own worst enemy'
  • Recount gives a new name to fatigue: Chad
  • Cannon has only himself to blame for his downfall
  • Two new commissioners aren't passive
  • Hernando

  • Democrats: New force in Hernando
  • Voters discard politics of race in picking elections supervisor
  • All around the county, the election is the word
  • Recount dominates day after elections
  • Citrus

  • Citrus first in state to give results
  • Hickey hopes to mend rifts
  • Republicans fare well with Citrus voters
  • Recount blurs result in Crystal River race
  • Collector, appraiser victors are grateful
  • Election results
  • Votes hit close to home for these two
  • Activist was wild card in race
  • Results leave many befuddled
  • Council races hinged on past contretemps


  • From the AP
    national wire
  • Bush Pledges Iraq Arms Hunt Will Continue
  • 'Partial Birth' Abortion Ban Passes House

    hearme.com

  •