On election night, as Gore retracted his concession, many of his Nashville campaign staff upended their lives and rushed to all points in Florida to help in the recount effort. Over the ensuing five weeks pique set in over the fact that Gore stayed in touch with his legal team but not the larger staff. "I blame both the Gores for this," says one beleaguered Florida staffer. "He was talking to [David] Boies and [Ron] Klain [the legal team chiefs] but there was never a call to rally the troops or to thank them."
The hard feelings came out publicly this week in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to shut down the count when Klain held a conference call with the Florida staff. At first it was listen-only with just Klain able to speak. His speech was heartfelt and emotional. But after a few minutes, the AT&T operator came in to say that some people couldn't hear the call well. She offered to open up the line so everyone could speak, a move she said would increase sound clarity.
Indeed it did: As Klain continued, telling his listeners that the vice president and Mrs. Gore wanted to thank them for all their hard work, a female voice sharply cut in. "He should tell us himself," she said.
Of course, the outburst may just be the product of too many late nights, frayed nerves and a bitter loss. Anyway, Gore will get his chance to make amends next Tuesday night, when the Gores will host a party for the campaign staff.