Section 1. Fox was the first network to call Florida for Bush. Before that, some other networks had called Florida for Gore, and they changed after Fox called it for Bush.
“With information provided from the Voter News Service, NBC was the first network to project Gore the winner in Florida at 7:48 pm. At 7:50 pm ,CNN and CBS project Gore the winner in Florida as well.” By 8:02 pm , all five networks and the Associated Press had called Gore the winner in Florida. Even the VNS called Gore the winner at 7:52 pm. At 2:16 am, Fox calls Florida for Bush, NBC follows at 2:16 am. ABC is the last network to call the Florida for Bush, at 2:20 am, while AP and VNS never call Florida for Bush.
Ten minutes after the top of the hour, network excitement was again beginning to build. At 2:16 a.m., the call was made: Fox News Channel, with Bush's first cousin John Ellis running its election desk, was the first to project Florida -- and the presidency -- for the Texas governor. Within minutes, the other networks followed suit. "George Bush, Governor of Texas will become the 43rd President of the United States," CNN's Bernard Shaw announced atop a graphic montage of a smiling Bush. "At 18 minutes past two o'clock Eastern time, CNN declares that George Walker Bush has won Florida's 25 electoral votes and this should put him over the top."
“John Ellis, a first cousin of George W. Bush, ran the network's ‘decision desk’ during the 2000 election, and Fox was the first to name Bush the winner. Earlier, Ellis had made six phone calls to Cousin Bush during the vote-counting.” William O’Rourke, “Talk Radio Key to GOP Victory,” Chicago Sun-Times, December 3, 2002.
A Fox News consultant, John Ellis, who made judgments about presidential ‘calls’ on Election Night admits he was in touch with George W. Bush and FL Gov. Jeb Bush by telephone several times during the night, but denies breaking any rules.
John Ellis, the Fox consultant who called Florida early for George Bush, had to stop writing about the campaign for the Boston Globe because of family ‘loyalty’ to Bush.
“The vote total was certified by Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris, head of the Bush campaign in Florida, on behalf of Gov. Jeb Bush, the candidate's brother.” Mark Zoller Seitz, “Bush Team Conveyed an Air of Legitimacy,” San Diego Union-Tribune, December 16, 2000.
The Florida Department of State awarded a $4 million contract to the Boca Raton-based Database Technologies Inc. (subsidiary of ChoicePoint). They were tasked with finding improperly registered voters in the state’s database, but mistakes were rampant. “At one point, the list included as felons 8,000 former Texas residents who had been convicted of misdemeanors.” St. Petersburg Times (Florida), December 21, 2003.
Database Technologies, a subsidiary of ChoicePoint, “was responsible for bungling an overhaul of Florida’s voter registration records, with the result that thousands of people, disproportionately black, were disenfranchised in the 2000 election. Had they been able to vote, they might have swung the state, and thus the presidency, for Al Gore, who lost in Florida. Oliver Burkeman, Jo Tuckman, “Firm in Florida Election Fiasco Earns Millions from Files on Foreigners,” . See also, Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, May 28, 2001.
In 1997, Rick Rozar, the late head of the company bought by ChoicePoint, donated $100,000 to the Republican National Committee. Melanie Eversley, “Atlanta-Based Company Says Errors in Felon Purge Not Its Fault,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 28, 2001. Frank Borman of Database Technologies Inc. has donated extensively to New Mexico Republicans, as well as to the Presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Opensecrets.org, “Frank Borman.”
[A] consortium [Tribune Co., owner of the Times; Associated Press; CNN; the New York Times; the Palm Beach Post; the St. Petersburg Times; the Wall Street Journal; and the Washington Post] hired the NORC [National Opinion Research Center, a nonpartisan research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago] to view each untallied ballot and gather information about how it was marked. The media organizations then used computers to sort and tabulate votes, based on varying scenarios that had been raised during the post-election scramble in Florida. Under any standard that tabulated all disputed votes statewide, Mr. Gore erased Mr. Bush's advantage and emerged with a tiny lead that ranged from 42 to 171 votes. Donald Lambro, “Recount Provides No Firm Answers,” Washington Times, November 12, 2001.
“The review found that the result would have been different if every canvassing board in every county had examined every undervote, a situation that no election or court authority had ordered. Gore had called for such a statewide manual recount if Bush would agree, but Bush rejected the idea and there was no mechanism in place to conduct one.” Martin Merzer, “Review of Ballots Finds Bush's Win Would Have Endured Manual Recount,” Miami Herald, April 4, 2001.
* See also, the following article by one of the Washington Post journalists who ran the consortium recount. The relevant point is made in Table I of the article.
“While Vice President Al Gore appeared to have accepted his fate contained in two wooden ballot boxes, Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus tried repeatedly to challenge the assignment of Florida's 25 electoral votes to Bush…. More than a dozen Democrats followed suit, seeking to force a debate on the validity of Florida's vote on the grounds that all votes may not have been counted and that some voters were wrongly denied the right to vote.” Susan Milligan, “It’s Really Over: Gore Bows Out Gracefully,” Boston Globe, January 7, 2001.
The Congressional Black Caucus effort failed for “lack of the necessary signature by any senator.” Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) had previously advised Democratic senators not to cooperate. ‘They did not.’” Robert Novak, “Sweeney Link Won't Help Chao,” Chicago Sun-Times, January 14, 2001.
“Shouting slogans like ‘Hail to the Thief’ and ‘Selected, Not Elected,’ tens of thousands of protesters descended on George W. Bush's inaugural parade route yesterday to proclaim that he and Vice President Dick Cheney had ‘stolen’ the election.” Michael Kranish and Sue Kirchhoff, “Thousands Protest ‘Stolen’ Election,” Boston Globe, January 21, 2001.
“Scuffles erupted between radicals and riot police while an egg struck the bullet-proof presidential limousine as it carried Mr. Bush and wife Laura to the White House.” Damon Johnston, “Bush Pledges Justice as Critics Throw Eggs,” The Advertisers, January 22, 2001.
See also film footage.
Bush made one concession to the weather -- or to security concerns: He stayed in his limousine nearly the entire length of the mile-long inaugural parade, waving through a slightly foggy window. He got out to walk only for a brief distance when his motorcade reached the VIP grandstands in front of the Treasury Department and the White House. Doyle McManus, et al., “Bush Vows to Bring Nation Together,” Los Angeles Times, January, 21, 2001.
Bush's limo, which traveled most of the route at a slow walking pace, stopped dead just before it reached the corner of 14th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., where most of the protesters had congregated. Then it sped up dramatically, and Secret Service agents protecting the car on foot had to follow at a full run. When they reached a section of the parade route where the sidewalks were restricted to official ticketholders, Bush and his wife, Laura, who wore a flattering electric turquoise suit, got out of the limo to walk and greet supporters. Helen Kennedy, “Bush Pledges a United US,” New York Daily News, January 21, 2001.