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Gore Retracts Concession Call

November 8, 2000 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Vice President Al Gore conceded the presidential race in a telephone call to George W. Bush on Wednesday morning _ then took it back.

``He called an hour ago to concede. He just called us back to retract that concession,″ said Karen Hughes, communications director for Bush. ``It’s unbelievable.″

That was an apt description of the seesawing election night. At one point, the key state of Florida was teetering toward Bush and the TV networks called the race in Bush’s favor. Gore picked up the telephone and called Bush.

``We gave them a cliffhanger,″ the vice president told Bush, according to Hughes.

Bush replied, ``You’re a formidable opponent and a good man. I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard for your family. Give my best to Tipper and your children.″

A senior adviser with the Gore campaign confirmed that the vice president made the two calls, one to concede and the other to retract.

Thousands of supporters stood in the streets of Nashville, Tenn., where Gore was headquartered, and Austin, Texas, Bush’s home _ awaiting word from their favorite sons. Bush, however, wasn’t sure what to say just before 4 a.m. EST.

``We’re trying to decide,″ Hughes sighed. ``We’re going to watch what the vice president says. We’re going to wait and see what he says, I guess.″