"Truman" Author Weighs in on 2000 Presidential Election
by Tom Reed
WMV Web News Cleveland
Story filed November 16, 2000

Some day historians will weigh in on the Presidential Election of 2000, analyzing it and putting it into perspective.

That will take time. Most of us don’t want to wait that long. So it was only natural that when David McCullough spoke at the University of Akron a week after the election, the first question from the audience was about Topic A.

“It’s not a crisis yet, and I don’t think it will be,” McCullough said. His appearance on November 14 was on the same day that the Florida Secretary of State had set as the deadline for the state’s 67 counties to certify the election returns. At the close of that day, George W. Bush was clinging to a slim 300 vote lead over Al Gore. Still unknown were the results of the overseas absentee ballots, and the outcome of legal challenges from both sides.

“I think the two candidates have met their first presidential test,” McCullough said, adding, “and I don’t think either one has passed it.” McCullough knows quite a bit about presidents who have faced challenges. His best-selling book “Truman” won the Pulitzer Prize. He is currently writing a biography of John Adams, scheduled for publication next spring. In fact, that was the subject of his speech to a large, appreciative, audience at the E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. Elaborating on his answer about the presidential test, McCullough said one of the candidates must come forward, putting the interests of the country above himself and his party. “Whoever concedes,” he added, “better concede in the right spirit.”

In expressing confidence that we aren’t in a crisis situation, he said, “Let’s all take it easy. It will all work out.”

When McCullough started work on his current book, he planned to make it a dual biography of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The two men were once bitter political rivals who later became friends, and carried on an extensive correspondence until both died, ironically on the same day -- July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Somehow it’s hard to imagine George W. Bush and Al Gore becoming pen pals in their later days. But stranger things have happened.

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Copyright 2000 Tom Reed