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Archive for Friday, December 15, 2000

It’s time to move on, local politicos say

Depending on who you talk to, Gore either fought too long or not long enough

December 15, 2000

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Vice president Al Gore went down for the count Wednesday in the fight for the presidency while those outside the ring either sighed in relief or grieved their champion's loss.

Mark Joslyn, Kansas University assistant professor of political science, said Americans recognized that the Supreme Court's pivotal ruling Wednesday put the White House out of Gore's reach.

"I think the country was ready for that overall but I think from (Gore's) perspective and the perspective of his supporters, he fought the good fight and it was time," Joslyn said.

Chris Miller, president of the Douglas County GOP Club, echoed the sentiments of many Americans saying, "It's about time."

"I think that's something he should have done long ago," Miller said of Gore's concession. "Certainly it was obvious a long time ago that no matter how the votes were counted, he was going to lose and he didn't take the chance to step forward in a gentlemanly fashion and concede ... He was fighting a losing battle."

But Democratic County Chairwoman Alice Lieberman disagreed, saying she was disappointed Gore gave up the fight. Lieberman said that though she accepts Bush as the president-elect, she is convinced the vice president would have won the election had all votes been counted accurately.

Lieberman said she will continue to work as part of the "loyal opposition" during the Bush administration.

"There are a lot of people who feel the Democrats were robbed and they won't forget," she said. "There's nothing like anger to fuel the drive for a change."

Richard Morantz, coordinator for the Kaw Valley Green Party, shared Lieberman's disappointment in Gore's concession. But Morantz insisted the Green Party could not be blamed for Gore's loss in one of the closest elections in history.

"Some people are holding Ralph Nader responsible," Morantz said. "It's important that Al Gore lost votes, not that we took them."

Bush and Gore handled their national addresses Wednesday night in a manner that should move the country beyond election differences, Joslyn said.

"Gore needed to turn his support to Bush, the president-elect, and he in fact did that. Bush was gracious and pointed towards the future. Both did what they needed to do," he said.

Gavin Smith, KU College Republicans chairman, said that Gore's announcement that he would give up the fight came in due time.

"Gore's concession speech was appropriate," Smith said. "Democratic or Republican, the vast amount of the country wanted to know for sure. People wanted a definitive answer. The vote was recounted. It was time for him to step down."

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