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37 DAYS: A SPECIAL REPORT

The Phone Call

December 17, 2000

Al Gore, who had phoned George W. Bush to concede the election after midnight, phoned again at 2:30 a.m. CST. According to several news reports, which varied in detail, the conversation went like this:: Gore: "The state of Florida is too close to call." Bush, incredulous: "Are you saying what I think you're saying? Let me make sure that I understand. You're calling back to retract that concession?" Gore: "Don't get snippy about it! ... Let me explain ... I don't think we should be going out making statements with the state of Florida still in the balance." Bush then explains to Gore that the research of his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, showed W. had won.

Gore, coolly: "I don't think this is something your brother can take care of." Or: "With all due respect to your brother, he is not the final arbiter of who wins Florida.' Or: "Let me explain something. Your younger brother is not the ultimate authority on this." Bush: "Do what you have to do."

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