“Electing the President, 2000: The Insiders’ View”

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Edited by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman
240 pages, $17.95 paper

The contest to elect the 43rd president of the United States was the costliest in the nation’s history. With the outcome uncertain for 36 days after the nation voted, it was also the country’s longest general election to date. “The election of 2000 will be scrutinized and debated for generations,” wrote the political staff of The Washington Post.

Two months after the Supreme Court put an end to the Florida recounts, key strategists from the Gore and Bush campaigns—senior Bush adviser Karl Rove and ad producers Mark McKinnon and Alex Castellanos, Gore advisers Bob Shrum and Carter Eskew and pollster Stanley Greenberg—gathered at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication to analyze their successes and failures. In an unusually frank discussion moderated by Annenberg Dean Kathleen Hall Jamieson, they disclosed the intentions, the research and the tactics behind their decision-making on matters ranging from message development to campaign advertising to debate strategy.

Why did the Gore team not enlist President Clinton’s help more extensively in the campaign? How did the Bush campaign undercut Gore’s strategy on Social Security? Why was Gore unable to take credit for the strong economy? Was the press fair to the candidates? Did the mistaken calls made by the networks on election night affect the election’s outcome? In “Electing the President, 2000,” edited by Jamieson and Annenberg postdoctoral fellow Paul Waldman, campaign insiders offer their answers to these and many other questions.

With its wealth of behind-the-scenes information, “Electing the President, 2000” will be an essential guide for future campaign and political strategists and will benefit anyone seeking to understand this most unusual presidential race.

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Originally published on August 30, 2001