Nation Could Get Bipartisan Presidency

Congress Has Power to Give Shrub and Joe the Keys; Gore, Cheney Would Get Bus Fare Home

DECEMBER 5—With Al Gore barely holding on, there are still scenarios that could save the Democrats, at least partially. Gore's best shot still lies with the suit, scheduled for trial tomorrow, that challenges thousands of absentee votes in Seminole County. But there's another way Team Gore could score—if they could get the election dumped into the U.S. House of Representatives. And anticipating that the power struggle between Gore and George W. Bush might do just that, House leaders are reported to be quietly drawing up plans for how they would handle the mess.

Here's one way Gore could score a mini-victory: If the House and Senate can't figure out who won Florida and throws out the state's 25 electoral votes because of mistakes made in holding the election, then the representatives would vote for the presidency. Since the GOP holds a narrow margin, the presidency presumably would go to Bush.

Across the Capitol in the Senate, a new group of members will have been sworn in on January 3, and one of their first tasks would be to elect a vice president to Shrub. But with the narrow election of Maria Cantwell in Washington State, the Senate will be evenly split. Since there is no new vice president, the old veep—Al Gore—sits as president of the Senate and casts the tie-breaking vote, presumably for his running mate, Joe Lieberman. This then leads to a true national unity government.

 
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