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Definitive, historical examination of the Florida recount
Behind-the-scenes views of all the key players
Includes first disclosures about the United States Supreme Court deliberations


Drawing upon well-placed sources and previously unreleased documents, TOO CLOSE TO CALL by Jeffrey Toobin tells the complete story of the thirty-six day post-Election Day battle to determine the forty-third president of the United States, a story that culminates with one of the most stunning Supreme Court decisions in history. The book will be published by Random House on October 28, 2001 ($25.95). Toobin is a staff writer at The New Yorker, the ABC News legal analyst, and the best-selling author of the highly acclaimed, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President and The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson.

"Al Sharpton tactics"
TOO CLOSE TO CALL sheds new light on the behind-the-scenes struggle that produced the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore. Toobin reveals that in a late draft of her dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg accused the justices in the majority of sanctioning racial discrimination in the tallying of votes in Florida. An outraged Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a memorandum to Ginsburg asserting that her draft opinion employed "Al Sharpton tactics." After that accusation, Ginsburg removed the reference to race from her opinion.

Votes never recounted
TOO CLOSE TO CALL also raises new questions about the conduct of the vote-counting in Florida. During the recount, spokesmen for the Bush campaign often said that the votes in Florida had been "counted and recounted." Florida law called for an "automatic" machine recount of votes in all elections decided by less than one-half percent, but Toobin reveals that more than a quarter of the six million votes in the state have never been recounted. Eighteen of Florida's sixty-five counties did not recount their votes because Katherine Harris, the Florida Secretary of State, did not instruct them to do so -- even though her office had previously insisted that all counties recount their votes in "automatic" recounts.

Gore v. Clinton
Examining the strategies of both sides, Toobin shows there were deep splits within the Democratic ranks about how vigorously to push their challenges in Florida. In an echo of their tortured relationship during the campaign, Vice President Gore and President Clinton also clashed about recount tactics. For example, in the moments after the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the statewide recount on December 9th, Al Gore sent a BlackBerry message to his spokesmen: "PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT NO ONE TRASHES THE SUPREME COURT." At the same precise moment, Bill Clinton said to his chief of staff, "Gore ought to attack those bastards."

In TOO CLOSE TO CALL Jeffrey Toobin also reports:
• James Baker's first choice to represent George W. Bush in the contest lawsuit was former Oliver North attorney Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr.
• Gore's campaign weighed issuing a subpoena to Katherine Harris to testify under oath about her ties to the Bush campaign -- but ultimately rejected the idea as too confrontational.
• Al Gore twice called Erin Brockovich to ask her to come to Florida to recruit plaintiffs for a lawsuit based on the butterfly ballot.
• On the day after the election, Elian Gonzalez's Miami relatives met with a Republican political consultant to plan ways to defeat Gore in Florida.

The Passion Gap
Toobin identifies key stylistic differences between the Democrats and Republicans, which were critical to the outcome of the recount -- and thus the election. Toobin portrays the vice president as a creature of Washington, hungry for the approval of editorial writers and other elite opinion makers. By contrast, "Elite opinion mattered little to Bush; he was steeled by a sense of entitlement that protected him from criticism. Bush was shielded, too, by the devotion of those around him. His campaign and legal staff included a great number of people who were willing to do almost anything to see George W. Bush elected president of the United States. His supporters were willing to take risks, bet their careers, and bear almost any burden for a Republican victory. One candidate had supporters in the streets of Florida, and it wasn't Al Gore."

A History of Feral Loathing
TOO CLOSE TO CALL is the first book to place the 2000 recount in its historical perspective. In particular, Toobin ties the fight in Florida to the Republicans' long struggle against the Clinton presidency. Toobin writes, "The Republican Party had not just disagreed with Clinton's policies during his administration; it regarded him with an almost feral loathing. From the day Clinton was elected, Republicans described him as morally unfit and politically illegitimate, though they met a singular lack of success in persuading the greater American public that they were right. Republicans vented much of their anger against Clinton in legal settings - in lawsuits, investigations, and, ultimately, an impeachment. For Republicans, the Florida struggle against Gore, much of which also took place in courtrooms, served as a useful proxy for all the failed onslaughts against Clinton."

In the end, TOO CLOSE TO CALL raises troubling questions about the procedures and the results of the vote in Florida -- and thus the nation. Concluding, Toobin writes, "if more people intended to vote for Gore than for Bush in Florida -- as they surely did -- then it is a crime against democracy that he did not win the state and thus the presidency. It isn't that the Republicans 'stole' the election or that Bush is an 'illegitimate' president. But the fact remains: The wrong man was inaugurated on January 20, 2001, and this is no small thing in our nation's history. The bell of this election can never be unrung, and the sound will haunt us for some time."


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TooClose to Call | Jeffrey Toobin
Random House | Hardcover
October 2001 | $25.95
0-375-50708-6

Also available as an ebook