How Al Gore Was Turned Back From the Brink

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Al Gore smiles at his wife, Tipper, as they simultaneously exit voting booths

"When we left the hotel, we were 50,000 votes behind," says Gore adviser Greg Simon. "When we got [to the war memorial where Gore was to have given his concession speech], we were 600 votes behind."

Simon had traveled by bus to the venue ahead of the candidate, and his cell phone went off as he waited in the rain for Gore to appear. It was "a friend of mine who works in the Internet world" imploring Gore not to concede. "People were calling us from everywhere, saying you're only 500 votes, 600 votes behind," Simon says. There were no televisions back there, so everyone was on the phone, "getting the vote count, hundred by hundred."

Now you can decide whether you believe this from Simon: "Gore has been the calmest person in the room all night long," from the time Bush was declared the victor and through all the rest of the craziness.

And then they knew they wouldn't concede. A few moments later, campaign chairman Bill Daley strode across the carpeted stage, carrying a statement someone had found the time to type. As the crowd got the news, it chanted, "Stay and fight" and "We count." And finally, "Fuzzy math."