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Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election Hardcover – October 2, 2001
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Praise for Jeffrey Toobin’s national bestseller
A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President
"An admirably clear, vigorously written, plain-spoken and common-sensical book."
--The New York Times Book Review
"A superb work of factual and legal analysis. . . . Few novels are as gripping."
--The New York Review of Books
"A story as taut and surprising as any thriller. . . . Unimpeachable page-turner."
"A superlatively researched and written book."
--The New York Observer
"An irresistibly readable new overview of the whole ugly case."
--The Boston Globe
"A good read . . . a brave book."
"A rich and readable reprise . . . by the New Yorker writer who shows brilliantly how the American legal system spun out of control."
"Compulsively readable. . . . A Vast Conspiracy delivers new information, provides arresting perspective and is a helluva read for all that."
--New York Daily News
From the Inside Flap
From the best-selling author of A Vast Conspiracy and The Run of His Life comes Too Close to Call--the definitive story of the Bush-Gore presidential recount. A political and legal analyst of unparalleled journalistic skill, Jeffrey Toobin is the ideal writer to distill the events of the thirty-six anxiety-filled days that culminated in one of the most stunning Supreme Court decisions in history.
Packed with news-making disclosures and written with the drive of a legal thriller, Too Close to Call takes us inside James Baker's private jet, through the locked gates to Al Gore's mansion, behind the covered-up windows of Katherine Harris's office, and even into the secret conference room of the United States Supreme Court. As the scene shifts from Washington to Austin and into the remote corners of the enduringly strange Sunshine State, Toobin's book will transform what you thought you knew about the most extraordinary political drama in American history.
The Florida recount unfolded in a kaleidoscopic maze of bizarre concepts (chads, pregnant and otherwise), unfamiliar people in critically important positions (the Florida Supreme Court), and familiar people in surprising new places (the Miami relatives of Elián González, in a previously undisclosed role in this melodrama). With the rich characterization that is his trademark, Toobin portrays the prominent strategists who masterminded the campaigns--the Daleys and the Roves--and also the lesser-known but influential players who pulled the strings, as well as the judges and justices whose decisions determined the final outcome. Toobin gives both camps a treatment they have not yet received--remarkably evenhanded, nonpartisan, and entirely new.
The post-election period posed a challenge to even the most zealous news junkie: how to keep up with what was happening and sort out the important from the trivial. Jeffrey Toobin has now done this--and then some. With clarity, insight, humor, and a deep understanding of the law, he deconstructs the events, the players, and the often Byzantine intricacies of our judicial system. A remarkable account of one of the most significant periods in our country's history, Too Close to Call is endlessly surprising, frequently poignant, and wholly addictive.
Top Customer Reviews
Unlike (perhaps) the other reviewers of this book, I have hands-on experience with punch-card ballot counting machines, software and procedures. I can say without qualification if you want to be absolutely sure, you have to look at the ballots themselves. The voting machines mis-calibrate, voters and others mishandle the cards, the counting machines jam possibly losing or double-counting a ballot. Anyone who has used a copier has a sense of how much trust we should place in these devices.
Toobin briefly describes the events, legal issues, political maneuvering and, in particular, the failure of Florida's elected officials to do the jobs the citizens entrusted to them. He has criticism for many of the participants and particularly Katherine Harris, Joe Lieberman, Theresa Lapore and Sanders Sauls. If you admire any of those people, you won't like this book.
Several reviewers have given "Too Close To Call" one-star for Toobin's presumed liberal bias. He clearly argues that Floridian's INTENDED choice for President did not win. Those who already disagree with that conclusion will find no comfort here.
Toobin's theme is that while Gore focused on managing the process in a statesmanlike way, the GOP concentrated on winning at any cost. According to this author, Clinton said he would have declared victory, played the race card, fought the inclusion of the controversial military ballots, and encouraged mass protests in the streets. One wonders where such an approach would have led.
The author's harshest criticism is reserved for the US Supreme Court, where Rehnquist and his allies abused their power and behaved as unscrupulous political hacks. Even conservatives find it difficult to defend Rehnquist's action that stopped the statewide recount. Ironically, later examination of the ballots showed that the statewide recount would have ended in Bush's favor anyway, and all Rehnquist's intervention accomplished was to taint the (already dubious) legitimacy of Bush's victory.
Toobin reminds us that a non-partisan consortium that examined every ballot discovered that under any criterion of defining what constituted a valid vote, Gore would have won the election (although not under the rules imposed by the Florida Supreme Court for the statewide recount, which limited the recount to ballots already deemed questionable). In an ideal world, Gore deserved to win the Florida vote count and hence the presidency, but no voting system can hold up when an election comes down to roughly a hundred votes in a nation of a quarter-billion people. Toobin blames the ruthlessness of the Republicans and the spinelessness of Al Gore for what happened.