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U.S. newspapers react to presidential finale

(CNN) -- Vice President Al Gore's concession speech on Wednesday night, and President-elect George W. Bush's response, prompted a variety of reactions in U.S. newspapers published Thursday morning. Here are some samples:

The New York Times:

Mr. Bush's address to an applauding audience in the Texas House of Representatives chamber offered a hopeful note of conciliation that has been missing in the last five weeks. Mr. Gore cast his acceptance of defeat as a patriotic duty. But he was within his rights to disagree firmly but respectfully with the Supreme Court's rejection of a full recount of all votes in Florida.

The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Gore's concession last night was gracious and much needed. It repairs some of the damage his unprecedented legal challenge has wrought. .... But Mr. Gore's ferocious post- election campaign is another story, which shouldn't now vanish as if it were routine. He and four members of the Florida Supreme Court are responsible for the political wreckage since November 7.

The Washington Post:

The remarks of both men were gracious. The tradition of reconciliation after even bitterly fought elections remains strong, and in invoking it, both men offered welcome relief from the scorched-earth tactics and rhetoric of the last five weeks. They also sent the right message to their followers.

The Seattle Times:

Americans belatedly saw the best in the two candidates last night. Gore was generous and self-deprecating when he conceded and admitted he needed to mend fences -- figuratively and literally -- in Tennessee. An equally nice touch was forthcoming from Bush .... The president-elect focused on reconciliation and repairing the breach the election revealed in the country.

USA TODAY:

This was not a night to acknowledge the underlying political reality, but it nonetheless stands between Wednesday's high- minded words and meaningful results. Much of the rhetoric of the last five weeks has left wounds deeper than even a perfect performance by Bush and Gore can heal.

The Arizona Republic:

Bush's speech struck some of the right notes. ... But he also reiterated familiar campaign issues: Education, saving Social Security, Medicare and presription drugs, tax relief, and a bipartisan foreign policy. This hit a discordant note. Americans are divided over these issues, and particularly Bush's policies regarding them.

The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Gov. Bush climbed onto that lonely tightrope where he must try to deliver on his promise to be a "uniter, not a divider." He had to begin reaching out to Gore voters, above all to minorities who believe the outcome hinged in part on their disenfranchisement. Last night, he made an encouraging, healing beginning.


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Thursday, December 14, 2000


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