On December 14, 2000, President Bill Clinton gave one of the last difficult statements of his presidency — remarking on the presidential race that his vice president conceded the night before. The Clinton Presidential Library released a number of the drafts that led up to his remarks, showing how Clinton and his team debated what to say — and how much attention they should draw to the contentious aftermath of the campaign.
The 2000 presidential election was perhaps the hardest fought in American history, settled only when the Supreme Court decided to halt vote counting in Florida, effectively declaring George W. Bush the winner. On December 13, Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, conceded. Clinton, who was in North Aylesbury, England, would comment on the concession the next morning.
We took the various versions of the statement, including updates and edits written in a number of different hands. It appears that the first drafts were composed the evening before. Over the course of the night they were tweaked and edited, until presented the following morning.
The main evolution that occurred over the course of the night was moving away from obvious frustration at the results of the election — "tens of thousands of ballots … were never tallied. But … we are a nation of laws" — and toward the sort of unity that has traditionally marked American transitions of power. "The American people," Clinton said that morning, "however divided they were in this election, overwhelmingly want us to build on that vital center without rancor or personal attack."
The first Presidential election of the 21st century will be remembered for many things. It was among the closest in our nation's history, one of the hardest fought, and certainly the longest. The outcome has now been resolved. As soon as the sun rises in America, I intend to call President-elect George W. Bush to arrange a meeting that will set in motion a smooth transition of power.
I want to congratulate Vice President Gore for his strong campaign and his principled defense of our most fundamental democratic value — the right of every citizen to vote, and to have their that vote count. For the last eight years he has been an extraordinary partner in our efforts to turn America around.
And, together, we have succeeded. But, as long as I have known him, I have never been more impressed with his courage and his character than during these past few weeks. We should never forget — his was a fight for the integrity of American democracy. He was determined to ensure that every American — no matter what their background or belief — should have a voice on election day.
Over the past month, we have passionately debated the outcome of this election. And while many believe the process could and should have been different, we must all now accept the results. It's what the Vice President has asked us to do. And I think we should follow his lead.
I also want to congratulate the American people. They have been amazingly patient over these trying weeks. Now, we should repay their patience with real progress on the pressing challenges facing this nation. We must begin by healing the partisan breach, and restoring public confidence in our electoral system. Every American should have equal access to the ballot box — not just in principle, but in practice. At the end of the day, all of us must have confidence that our voices will be heard.
As the transition begins in earnest, I want to assure President-elect Bush that my Administration will do everything possible to ensure an orderly, efficient process. On behalf of all Americans, we wish him well as he shoulders the responsiblities of the Presidency.
Just as a fabric tom and repaired becomes stronger than before ... so too can our nation emerge stronger if we rededicate ourselves to the basic principles of democracy, working together to build the more perfect union of our founders' dreams.
Dec. 13, 5:15 p.m., edits
Red text shows things removed from the previous draft; green is things that were added.
The first Presidential election of the 21st century will certainly be remembered for many things. It was among the closest in our nation's history, one of the hardest fought, and certainly the longest. The outcome has now been resolved. As soon as the sun rises in America, I intend towill call President-elect George W. Bush to arrange a meeting that will set in motion a smooth transition of powercongratulate him and invite him to the White House to discuss the transition.
I particularly want to congratulatecommend Vice President Gore for his strong campaign and his principled defense of our most fundamental democratic value — the right of every citizen to vote, and to have their that vote count. For the last eight years he has been an extraordinary partner in our effortsa close friend and a steadfast partner in our work to turn America around.
And, together, we have succeeded. But, as long as I have known him, I have never been more impressed with his courage and his character than during these past few weeks. We should nevernot forget —that his was a fight for the integrity of American democracy. He was determined to ensureto ensure that every American — no matter what their background or belief — should have a voice on election day — not just in principle, but in practice. We can — and we must — do better.
Over the past month, we have passionately debated the outcome of this election. And while many believe the process could and should have been different, we must all of us must now accept the results. It'sThat's what the Vice President has asked us to do. And I think we should follow his lead.
I also want to congratulate the American people have shown remarkable patience and confidence. They have been amazingly patient over these tryinglast weeks. Now, we should repay their patience with real progress on the pressing challenges facing this nationa renewed commitment to doing their business.
We must begin by healing the partisan breach, and restoring public confidence in our electoral system. Every American should have equal access to the ballot box — not just in principle, but in practice. At the end of the day, all of us must have confidence that our voices will be heard.
As the transition begins in earnest, I want to assure President-elect Bush that my Administration will do everything possible to ensure an orderly, efficient processa cooperative and effective transition. The American people deserve our best efforts.. On behalf of all Americans, we I wish him well as he shoulders the responsiblities of the Presidencythis office.
This is a strong and a resilient people.Just as a fabric tom and repaired becomes stronger than before ... so too can our nation can emerge stronger still if we rededicate ourselves to the basic principles of democracy, working together to build the more perfect union of our founders' dreams.
Dec. 14, 2:45 a.m.
This draft appears to have been distributed more widely for feedback. Multiple edits from different people ensued.
Good morning. Last night President-elect Bush and Vice President Gore showed what is best about America. In this election, the American people were closely divided. The outcome was decided by a Supreme Court that was closely divided. But the essential unity of our Nation was reflected in the words and values of those who fought this great contest. I was proud of both men.
I pledged to President-elect Bush my efforts and the best efforts of every member of our administration for a smooth and successful transition.
I want to say I am profoundly grateful to Vice President Gore for eight extraordinary years of partnership. Without his leadership, we could not have made the progress or reached the prosperity we now enjoy and pass on to the next administration.
I am also profoundly grateful to him for putting into words last night the feelings of all of us who disagreed with the Supreme Court's decision, but accepted it. And as he said, all of us have a responsibility to support Presidentelect Bush and to unite our country in the search for common ground.
I wish President-elect Bush well. Like him, I came to Washington as a Governor, eager to work with both Republicans and Democrats. And when we reached across party lines to forge a vital center, America was stronger at home and abroad.
The American people, however divided they were in this election, overwhelmingly want us to build on that vital center without rancor or personal attack.
I thank the Members of Congress from both parties who have pledged to work with the President-elect. They have also pledged to elect commonsense bipartisan election reforms so that the votes of all citizens can be easily cast and easily counted in future elections.
Finally, I want to thank the American people for their patience, passion, and patriotism throughout this extended election season. In the days of service left to me, I will do all I can to finish our remaining work with Congress and to help President-elect Bush get off to a good start.
As I've said so many times over the last year, our country has never before enjoyed so much peace and prosperity with so few internal crises and so little external threat. We have the opportunity to build the future of our dreams for our children, and every one of us has an obligation to work together to achieve it.
Thank you very much.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
When President Obama left, I stayed on at the National Security Council in order to serve my country. I lasted eight days.
In 2011, I was hired, straight out of college, to work at the White House and eventually the National Security Council. My job there was to promote and protect the best of what my country stands for. I am a hijab-wearing Muslim woman––I was the only hijabi in the West Wing––and the Obama administration always made me feel welcome and included.
Like most of my fellow American Muslims, I spent much of 2016 watching with consternation as Donald Trump vilified our community. Despite this––or because of it––I thought I should try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration, in order to give the new president and his aides a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America's Muslim citizens.
Meet the protesters who tricked conference attendees into waving Russian flags.
Two men made trouble—and stirred up a social-media frenzy—on the third day of the Conservative Political Action Conference by conducting a literal false-flag operation.
Jason Charter, 22, and Ryan Clayton, 36, passed out roughly 1,000 red, white, and blue flags, each bearing a gold-emblazoned “TRUMP” in the center, to an auditorium full of attendees waiting for President Trump to address the conference. Audience members waved the pennants—and took pictures with them—until CPAC staffers realized the trick: They were Russian flags.
The stunt made waves on social media, as journalists covering CPAC noticed the scramble to confiscate the insignia.
Long after research contradicts common medical practices, patients continue to demand them and physicians continue to deliver. The result is an epidemic of unnecessary and unhelpful treatments.
First, listen to the story with the happy ending: At 61, the executive was in excellent health. His blood pressure was a bit high, but everything else looked good, and he exercised regularly. Then he had a scare. He went for a brisk post-lunch walk on a cool winter day, and his chest began to hurt. Back inside his office, he sat down, and the pain disappeared as quickly as it had come.
That night, he thought more about it: middle-aged man, high blood pressure, stressful job, chest discomfort. The next day, he went to a local emergency department. Doctors determined that the man had not suffered a heart attack and that the electrical activity of his heart was completely normal. All signs suggested that the executive had stable angina—chest pain that occurs when the heart muscle is getting less blood-borne oxygen than it needs, often because an artery is partially blocked.
Millions of Americans are worried that Donald Trump is an ominous figure. Investors have another theory: maybe not.
Donald Trump so permeates the collective consciousness of the country that it is hard to imagine now living in a world without him. But there is one place where the president seems to be relatively invisible—the U.S. stock market.
The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq have set record highs in the months after Trump’s election. On Thursday, the Dow has its tenth consecutive record closing in a row, at 20,810. This is happening, despite the fact that investors seemed terrified of a Trump presidency in the general election campaign. Trump came into office promising to antagonize America’s allies and economic partners while crushing the international establishment. None of this is particularly favorable to multinational corporations. Even worse, Trump’s first few weeks in office were a maelstrom of hasty lawmaking and furious backtracking, exactly the sort of behavior one might consider a threat to the all-important “certainty” that markets ostensibly crave. What’s more, mainstream economists are nearly united in their certainty that Trump’s core policies, like scrapping free trade agreements while severely limiting immigration, would be bad for the country.
“No… it’s a magic potty,” my daughter used to lament, age 3 or so, before refusing to use a public restroom stall with an automatic-flush toilet. As a small person, she was accustomed to the infrared sensor detecting erratic motion at the top of her head and violently flushing beneath her. Better, in her mind, just to delay relief than to subject herself to the magic potty’s dark dealings.
It’s hardly just a problem for small people. What adult hasn’t suffered the pneumatic public toilet’s whirlwind underneath them? Or again when attempting to exit the stall? So many ordinary objects and experiences have become technologized—made dependent on computers, sensors, and other apparatuses meant to improve them—that they have also ceased to work in their usual manner. It’s common to think of such defects as matters of bad design. That’s true, in part. But technology is also more precarious than it once was. Unstable, and unpredictable. At least from the perspective of human users. From the vantage point of technology, if it can be said to have a vantage point, it's evolving separately from human use.
The administration admits to asking the bureau’s deputy director to help it knock down a damaging story about the Trump campaign’s Russia contacts.
The White House’s admission that it asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to publicly dispute stories in the New York Times describing contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials raises serious ethical questions, according to former Justice Department officials.
"It's quite inappropriate for anyone from the White House to have a contact with the FBI about a pending criminal investigation, that has been an established rule of the road, probably since Watergate," said Michael Bromwich, a former Department of Justice inspector general and director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management under Obama. "When I was in the Department in the ‘90s, that was well understood to be an inviolable rule."
The state legislature nearly reversed Governor Sam Brownback’s signature policy after a voter rebellion. His economic legacy, one GOP lawmaker says, “is going down in flames.”
It was only two months ago that Governor Sam Brownback was offering up the steep tax cuts he enacted in Kansas as a model for President Trump to follow. Yet by the time Republicans in Congress get around to tax reform, Brownback’s fiscal plan could be history—and it’ll be his own party that kills it.
The GOP-controlled legislature in Kansas nearly reversed the conservative governor’s tax cuts on Tuesday, as a coalition of Democrats and newly-elected centrist Republicans came within a few votes of overriding Brownback’s veto of legislation to raise income-tax rates and eliminate an exemption for small businesses that blew an enormous hole in the state’s budget. Brownback’s tax cuts survive for now, but lawmakers and political observers view the surprising votes in the state House and Senate as a strong sign that the five-year-old policy will be substantially erased in a final budget deal this spring. Kansas legislators must close a $346 million deficit by June, and years of borrowing and quick fixes have left them with few remaining options aside from tax hikes or deep spending cuts to education that could be challenged in court. The tax bill would have raised revenues by more than $1 billion over two years.
The preconditions are present in the U.S. today. Here’s the playbook Donald Trump could use to set the country down a path toward illiberalism.
It’s 2021, and President Donald Trump will shortly be sworn in for his second term. The 45th president has visibly aged over the past four years. He rests heavily on his daughter Ivanka’s arm during his infrequent public appearances.
Fortunately for him, he did not need to campaign hard for reelection. His has been a popular presidency: Big tax cuts, big spending, and big deficits have worked their familiar expansive magic. Wages have grown strongly in the Trump years, especially for men without a college degree, even if rising inflation is beginning to bite into the gains. The president’s supporters credit his restrictive immigration policies and his TrumpWorks infrastructure program.
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Tucker Carlson’s latest reinvention is guided by a simple principle—a staunch aversion to whatever his right-minded neighbors believe.
Tucker Carlson is selling me hard on the swamp. It is an unseasonably warm afternoon in late January, and we are seated at a corner table in Monocle, an upscale Capitol Hill restaurant frequented by the Fox News star. (Carlson, who typically skips breakfast and spends dinnertime on the air, is a fan of the long, luxurious, multi-course lunch, and when I requested an interview he proposed we do it here.) As we scan the menus, I mention that I’ll be moving soon to the Washington area, and he promptly launches into an enthusiastic recitation of the district’s many virtues and amenities.
“I’m so pathetically eager for people to love D.C.,” he admits. “It’s so sad. It’s like I work for the chamber of commerce or something.”