"OH, WAITER! ONE ORDER OF CROW!" Inside the Strangest Presidential Election Finish in American History

Jeff Greenfield, Author . Putnam $24.95 (313p) ISBN 978-0-399-14776-0

Breezy, witty, urbane, sophisticated and erudite all describe Greenfield's "You Are There"-style chronicle of what it was like to be at the CNN anchor desk election eve 2000. He flawlessly matches laugh-out-loud humor with genuine insight into the factors that shaped the Bush-Gore contest for the presidency and the bitter political trench warfare that was the fight for Florida. Making ample use of satire, skewering members of the working press, legal scholars of the left and right, and most satisfyingly the political establishments of both Republicans and Democrats, Greenfield captures the sublime and the ridiculous of this history-making election, although there is (perhaps necessarily) a heavier helping of the ridiculous. Greenfield takes readers through each of the pivotal moments in the campaign and its aftermath, specifically highlighting the primaries, the conventions, the debates, the recount battles and the court arguments and decisions with a characteristically unpretentious approach that will be familiar to readers who have followed his career as a political commentator for ABC and CNN. And although the touch is light, the analysis is never lightweight. Among the many strengths of the book is the attention it devotes to the primary campaigns of both Bush and Gore, depicting in detail why the internal dynamics of the Republican and Democratic parties respectively made it impossible for either John McCain or Bill Bradley to mount successful challenges. This is a valuable political commentary wrapped in a wonderfully entertaining package. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
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