BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Friday, 10 November, 2000, 14:26 GMT
US papers watch and worry

As the United States waits for the result of Tuesday's presidential election, the country's newspapers are warning the candidates not to say or do anything that will further undermine the electoral process and damage America's reputation.

Under the headline "A fateful step towards court", the New York Times' editorial criticises Vice President Al Gore for escalating the atmosphere of combat surrounding the presidential election results with his decision to go to court in Florida.


Part of the test of presidential leadership, it seems to us, is finding a way to resolve electoral matters in the political arena

New York Times
"Of course Mr Gore has a right as a private citizen to take his grievances to court, but he and Governor George W Bush are also political figures seeking the world's most important leadership position. Part of the test of presidential leadership, it seems to us, is finding a way to resolve electoral matters in the political arena."

The New York Times concedes that the irregularities in the voting in Florida are worrying, but warns that a legal battle may be much more damaging, and could make nervous "a world that looks to the United States as a model of political stability."

Several newspapers also warn Mr Bush against appearing presumptuous by announcing preparations for a Republican presidential transition team.

Fair in the End

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times says the legal challenges may stretch for weeks, but in the end, "Americans can be assured that this election will be settled in due time, fairly and legally - a democratic confidence still sadly too rare in the world".

The paper's editorial goes on to defend the electoral college system that may give the presidency to the man who won less of the popular vote.


Americans can be assured that this election will be settled in due time, fairly and legally - a democratic confidence still sadly too rare in the world

LA Times
"The electoral college is a foundation of our federal system, in which much power rests with the states. If the popular vote were all that mattered, what candidate would ever waste time on small or thinly populated states like Wyoming or Maine?"

The newspaper goes on to warn against the calls for a new vote in Florida.

"This should be a last resort, because it is impossible to replicate a moment that is past," it says.

Political sacrifice

A columnist in the same newspaper, David Nyhan, pleads with Mr Gore to concede for the sake of the country.

"The nation's stability is more important than whichever side falls upon the spoils of office. I voted for Gore and hold a dim view of Bush ...But we'll survive him. The country should not be put through the wringer. The system is more important than either man or either party," Mr Nyhan argues.


One of these candidates - the one behind in the final Florida count - is going to have to make a political determination. You have to hope that whoever that turns out to be has in mind the country's interests ahead of his own

Washington Post
The Washington Post has angry words for Mr Gore's aides and, by implication, the vice-president.

The newspaper supports the Democrat call for as careful a count as possible in Florida.

"But Gore campaign manager William Daley then took the reckless further step of suggesting in so many words that the election will be illegitimate if in the end Mr Bush is declared the winner. [This] is a poisonous thing to say ..."

The Washington Post says both candidates, even as they pursue their interests in Florida, should work to minimize the likely bitterness of the outcome.

"They owe it to the office to which they aspire, and to their own reputations over time, to conduct themselves such that whoever wins has the best possible chance of being accepted as the rightful occupant of the office."

The newspaper then goes on to ask one of the candidates to make the ultimate political sacrifice for the wider good.

"One of these candidates - the one behind in the final Florida count - is going to have to make a political determination. You have to hope that whoever that turns out to be has in mind the country's interests ahead of his own."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

State-by-state guide

Inauguration:

Bush presidency:

PICTURE GALLERIES

Texts and transcripts:

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories