There have been many times in American history when disasters have been averted, and only afterward do we understand the significance of the escape. Rarer still are those occasions in which not only are people aware of the danger avoided, but that the avoiding of the disaster is anticipated, announced and broadcast on national television. On this day in 2000, America avoided what would have been a catastrophe when Vice President Al Gore finally conceded the disputed election results that emerged from Florida.

Via History:

Vice President Al Gore reluctantly concedes defeat to Texas Governor George W. Bush in his bid for the presidency, following weeks of legal battles over the recounting of votes in Florida, on this day in 2000.

In a televised speech from his ceremonial office next to the White House, Gore said that while he was deeply disappointed and sharply disagreed with the Supreme Court verdict that ended his campaign, ”partisan rancor must now be put aside.”

“I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College” he said. “And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”

Gore had won the national popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, but narrowly lost Florida, giving the Electoral College to Bush 271 to 266.

Read the rest here.

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