Jewish World Review Nov. 3, 2004 / 19 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765
CBS declares former veep surprise winner
Election Night 2004 served up one of the biggest surprises in American political history as CBS News declared former Vice President Al Gore the winner shortly after 10:00 PM.
The network's decision to call the election for Mr. Gore was particularly surprising, political insiders said, because the former vice president had not run for election this year, nor had his name appeared on any of the states' ballots.
Perhaps in part because of the stunning nature of the election's outcome, veteran anchor Dan Rather said that before he went live with the results, "I was as nervous as a hippo taking a walk on a frozen pond on a sunny day."
CBS had been prepared to declare Mr. Gore the winner as early as 4:00 in the afternoon, but Mr. Rather, haunted by the memory of missteps during the network's election coverage in 2000, insisted that the network double-check the numbers first.
"If we don't get this right, I'm going to be hotter than my Aunt Maisie's gumbo in July," Mr. Rather reportedly told his producer.
Satisfied that the network's calculations were air-tight, Mr. Rather appeared on the air at 10:03 PM announcing, simply, "It's Gore."
Moments later, Mr. Rather placed a congratulatory phone call to the former vice president, who seemed taken aback by the news.
"Dan, if this is your idea of a prank, all I can say is, 'real mature,'" Mr. Gore said before abruptly hanging up.
"Thank you, Mr. President," Mr. Rather replied.
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JWR Contributor Andy Borowitz, the first-ever recipient of the National Press Club's Award for Humor, is a former president of the Harvard Lampoon,and a regular humor columnist for Newsweek.com, The New Yorker, The New York Times and TV Guide. Recognized by Esquire magazine as one of the most powerful producers in television, he was the creator and producer of the hit TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and producer of the Oscar-nominated film Pleasantville. He is the author of, most recently, "The Borowitz Report : The Big Book of Shockers" Comments by clicking here. Visit his website by clicking here.
© 2004, Andy Borowitz