The operative phrase for the first election of the new millennium was, “too close to call.” At 2:30 am (ET) on November 8th, 2000, Vice President Al Gore called Governor George Bush to concede the election. Despite the tight race it appeared that Bush had won Florida giving him enough electoral votes to cross the necessary 270 vote threshold. However, an hour later the Vice President called back to withdraw his concession.
As the country awoke that morning the people learned that the outcome of the election hinged entirely on Florida, where less than 1,000 votes separated the two candidates. Based on Florida law this necessitated an automatic statewide machine recount. But upon completion the Governor’s lead had dwindled down to a modest 327 votes out of almost 6 million ballots cast. Due to the continued closeness of the race, Florida law now allowed for a manual recount. After 36 days of controversy over “hanging chads” and problematic deadlines, the Supreme Court blocked the manual verification of the ballots in a combative 5-4 decision ushering in the presidency of George W. Bush. Bush became the first son to follow in his father’s presidential footsteps since John Quincy Adams in 1825.