Al Gore's televised plea for more time to contest the election results in Florida is getting a mixed response from the nation's editorial boards, with many newspapers expressing increasing impatience with the vice president's continuing election battle.
On its editorial page, the Washington Post sharply criticizes Gore for sending his lawyers to Florida courts in an attempt to have the state's certified election results overturned, noting that he "has already had many bites at the apple." The paper rebukes the vice president's reliance on dimpled chads for his winning formula and charges him with hypocrisy for claiming he wants every vote counted, in light of the Democratic scrutiny of overseas absentee ballots.
The New York Times' editorial is considerably more sympathetic, arguing that Gore deserves to see his legal challenges through "as a matter of law and fairness," and siding with the Democrats on a number of key election issues. The Times calls Sunday night's vote certification by Katherine Harris "transparently incomplete" and praises the General Services Administration for withholding transition funds from George W. Bush's transition team.
Most Americans have given up on a completely accurate count in Florida, according to Tuesday's USA Today editorial, and Gore has yet to convince them otherwise. "The voters' preference will never be known," the editorial asserts. "The election, with tens of thousands of discarded and unreadable ballots, was just too flawed."
The Boston Globe strongly disagrees with that assertion, siding with the Gore team's view that Bush would lack legitimacy as president without a resolution of the undervote issue. The paper repeats a nightmare prophecy advanced on Monday by House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt -- that, in a year, any academic with enough idle time could use the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to voting records, conduct an independent hand recount and discover that President Bush had not won Florida at all. "It is not a farfetched scenario," the editorial argues.
According to the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, an increasing number of Americans want Gore to give up. Of those surveyed on Monday (before Gore's televised national address), 56 percent think it's time for the vice president to call it quits. That's up from 46 percent who felt the same way one week ago.
Quote of the day
"I don't know why it should be suspicious. It doesn't matter now."
-- Palm Beach County canvassing board chairman Charles Burton, downplaying the need to release official final results of the county's manual recount. (Associated Press)
Check the latest news on the Florida election battle.
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