July 10th, 2004 10:00 PM
THE FOLLOWING IS THE LINE BY LINE FACTUAL BACKUP FOR 'FAHRENHEIT 9/11'
Section One covers the facts in Fahrenheit 9/11
from the 2000 election to George W. Bush's extended visit to Booker
Elementary on the morning of September 11th.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Fox was the first
network to call Florida for Bush. Before that, some other
networks had called Florida for Gore, and they changed after Fox
called it for Bush.?
“With information provided from the Voter News Service, NBC was the first
network to project Gore the winner in Florida at 7:48 pm.? At 7:50 pm ,CNN
and CBS project Gore the winner in Florida as well.” By 8:02 pm , all five
networks and the Associated Press had called Gore the winner in Florida.
Even the VNS called Gore the winner at 7:52 pm. At 2:16 am, Fox calls
Florida for Bush, NBC follows at 2:16 am. ABC is the last network to call
the Florida for Bush, at 2:20 am, while AP and VNS never call Florida for
Ten minutes after the top of the hour, network excitement was again
beginning to build. At 2:16 a.m., the call was made: Fox News Channel,
with Bush's first cousin John Ellis running its election desk, was the
first to project Florida -- and the presidency -- for the Texas governor.
Within minutes, the other networks followed suit. "George Bush, Governor
of Texas will become the 43rd President of the United States," CNN's
Bernard Shaw announced atop a graphic montage of a smiling Bush. "At 18
minutes past two o'clock Eastern time, CNN declares that George Walker
Bush has won Florida's 25 electoral votes and this should put him over the
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The man who was in
charge of the decision desk at FOX on election night was Bush’s first
cousin, John Ellis.
“John Ellis, a first cousin of George W. Bush, ran the network's ‘decision
desk’ during the 2000 election, and Fox was the first to name Bush the
winner.? Earlier, Ellis had made six phone calls to Cousin Bush during the
vote-counting.”? William O’Rourke, “Talk Radio Key to GOP
Victory,” Chicago Sun-Times, December 3, 2002.?
FAHRENHEIT 9/11:? “Make sure the
chairman of your campaign is also the vote countin’ woman and that her state
has hired a company that’s gonna knock voters off the rolls who aren’t
likely to vote for you.? You can usually tell them by the color of their
“The vote total was certified by Florida's secretary of state, Katherine
Harris, head of the Bush campaign in Florida, on behalf of Gov. Jeb Bush,
the candidate's brother.” Mark Zoller Seitz, “Bush Team Conveyed
an Air of Legitimacy,” San Diego Union-Tribune, December 16, 2000.
The Florida Department of State awarded a $4 million contract to the Boca
Raton-based Database Technologies Inc. (subsidiary of ChoicePoint).? They
were tasked with finding improperly registered voters in the state’s
database, but mistakes were rampant. “At one point, the list included as
felons 8,000 former Texas residents who had been convicted of
misdemeanors.” St. Petersburg Times (Florida), December 21, 2003.
Database Technologies, a subsidiary of ChoicePoint, “was responsible for
bungling an overhaul of Florida’s voter registration records, with the
result that thousands of people, disproportionately black, were
disenfranchised in the 2000 election.? Had they been able to vote, they
might have swung the state, and thus the presidency, for Al Gore, who
lost? in Florida. Oliver Burkeman, Jo Tuckman, “Firm in Florida
Election Fiasco Earns Millions from Files on Foreigners,” The Guardian,
May 5, 2003
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,949709,00.html.? See also,
Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, May 28, 2001.
In 1997, Rick Rozar, the late head of the company bought by ChoicePoint,
donated $100,000 to the Republican National Committee. Melanie
Eversley, “Atlanta-Based Company Says Errors in Felon Purge Not Its
Fault,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 28, 2001.? Frank
Borman of Database Technologies Inc. has donated extensively to New Mexico
Republicans, as well as to the Presidential campaign of George W. Bush.
Opensecrets.org, “Frank Borman.”
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Gore got the most
votes in 2000.
[A] consortium [Tribune Co., owner of the Times; Associated Press; CNN;
the New York Times; the Palm Beach Post; the St. Petersburg Times; the
Wall Street Journal; and the Washington Post] hired the NORC [National
Opinion Research Center, a nonpartisan research organization affiliated
with the University of Chicago] to view each untallied ballot and gather
information about how it was marked. The media organizations then used
computers to sort and tabulate votes, based on varying scenarios that had
been raised during the post-election scramble in Florida. Under any
standard that tabulated all disputed votes statewide, Mr. Gore erased Mr.
Bush's advantage and emerged with a tiny lead that ranged from 42 to 171
votes.? Donald Lambro, “Recount Provides No Firm Answers,”
Washington Times, November 12, 2001.
“The review found that the result would have been different if every
canvassing board in every county had examined every undervote, a situation
that no election or court authority had ordered. Gore had called for such
a statewide manual recount if Bush would agree, but Bush rejected the idea
and there was no mechanism in place to conduct one.”? ?
Martin Merzer, “Review of Ballots Finds Bush's Win Would Have Endured
Manual Recount,” Miami Herald, April 4, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Congressional
Black Caucus members tried to object to the election outcome on the floor of
the House; no Senator would sign the objections.
“While Vice President Al Gore appeared to have accepted his fate contained
in two wooden ballot boxes, Democratic members of the Congressional Black
Caucus tried repeatedly to challenge the assignment of Florida's 25
electoral votes to Bush…. More than a dozen Democrats followed suit,
seeking to force a debate on the validity of Florida's vote on the grounds
that all votes may not have been counted and that some voters were wrongly
denied the right to vote.”? Susan Milligan, “It’s Really
Over: Gore Bows Out Gracefully,” Boston Globe, January 7, 2001.
The Congressional Black Caucus effort failed for “lack of the necessary
signature by any senator.” Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) had
previously advised Democratic senators not to cooperate. ‘They did not.’”
Robert Novak, “Sweeney Link Won't Help Chao,” Chicago Sun-Times, January 14,
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “On the day George
W. Bush was inaugurated, tens of thousands of Americans poured into the
streets of D.C. They pelted Bush’s limo with eggs.”
“Shouting slogans like ‘Hail to the Thief’ and ‘Selected, Not Elected,’
tens of thousands of protesters descended on George W. Bush's inaugural
parade route yesterday to proclaim that he and Vice President Dick Cheney
had ‘stolen’ the election.” Michael Kranish and Sue
Kirchhoff, “Thousands Protest ‘Stolen’ Election,” Boston Globe, January
“Scuffles erupted between radicals and riot police while an egg struck the
bullet-proof presidential limousine as it carried Mr. Bush and wife Laura
to the White House.”? Damon Johnston, “Bush Pledges Justice
as Critics Throw Eggs,” The Advertisers, January 22, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “The inauguration
parade was brought to a halt and the traditional walk to the White House was
Bush made one concession to the weather -- or to security concerns: He
stayed in his limousine nearly the entire length of the mile-long
inaugural parade, waving through a slightly foggy window. He got out to
walk only for a brief distance when his motorcade reached the VIP
grandstands in front of the Treasury Department and the White House.?
Doyle McManus, et al., “Bush Vows to Bring Nation Together,” Los Angeles
Times, January, 21, 2001.
Bush's limo, which traveled most of the route at a slow walking pace,
stopped dead just before it reached the corner of 14th St. and
Pennsylvania Ave., where most of the protesters had congregated. Then it
sped up dramatically, and Secret Service agents protecting the car on foot
had to follow at a full run.? When they reached a section of the parade
route where the sidewalks were restricted to official ticketholders, Bush
and his wife, Laura, who wore a flattering electric turquoise suit, got
out of the limo to walk and greet supporters.? Helen Kennedy,
“Bush Pledges a United US,” New York Daily News, January 21, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “For the next
eight months, it didn’t get any better for George W. Bush.”
In a poll conducted September 5 to September 9, 2001, Investor’s
Business Daily and the Christian Science Monitor showed
President Bush’s approval rating at 45%, down from 52% in May (
Investor’s Business Daily/Christian Science Monitor Poll,
conducted by TIPP, 9/5 to 9/9, 2001). Zogby’s polling had Bush at 47% in
late July 2001, down from 57% in February (Zogby, 7/26 to 7/29, 2001).?
In June 2001, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed President Bush's
approval rating at 50 percent, which was the
lowest presidential approval rating in five years. Richard L. Berke,
“G.O.P. Defends Bush in Face of Dip in Poll Ratings,” The New York Times,
June 29 2001
On July 26, 2001, in an article entitled “Bush Lacks the Ability
To Force Action on Hill,” Dana Milbank of the Washington Post
wrote, “ It may be premature to conclude that Bush has lost control of his
agenda, but lawmakers and strategists in both parties said that Bush's
next year is much more likely to look like the fractious month of July
than like the orderly march toward Bush's tax cut this spring.… The
troubles began, of course, with Vermont Sen. James M. Jeffords' departure
from the GOP, giving control of the Senate to the Democrats. But the
problems are nearly as bad in the House, where moderates who supported
Bush's tax cut are proving recalcitrant on other issues. They rebelled
against GOP leaders on campaign finance reform and held up Bush's
"faith-based" legislation over concerns about discrimination. Next week,
they're likely to oppose Bush's proposal to drill in the Arctic National
California energy crisis also took a toll on Bush’s approval ratings. ?
Due to rolling blackouts and rising utility bills Bush’s ratings took a
toll among Californians.? The poll showed that almost as many Californians
disapproved of the President’s job as approved of it with an
approve/disapprove of 42/40. “Calif. Governor Says He'll Sue to Force
Government Action,” The Houston Chronicle, May 30, 2001. ?
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “In his first
eight months in office before September 11, George W. Bush was on vacation,
according to the Washington Post, forty-two percent of the time.”
“News coverage has pointedly stressed that W.'s month-long stay at his
ranch in Crawford is the longest presidential vacation in 32 years.
Washington Post supercomputers calculated that if you add up all his
weekends at Camp David, layovers at Kennebunkport and assorted to-ing and
fro-ing, W. will have spent 42 percent of his presidency ‘at vacation
spots or en route.’”? Charles Krauthammer, “A Vacation
Bush Deserves,” The Washington Post, August 10, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Bush relaxes at
Camp David, Kennebunkport and his ranch
in Crawford Texas. ?
As of April 2004, President Bush had made 33 trips to Crawford during his
presidency, bringing his total to more than 230 days at the ranch in just
over three years. “Add his 78 trips to Camp David and five to his family’s
compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, and Bush has spent all or part of 500
days – or about 40 percent of his presidency – at one of these his three
retreats.” “Bush Retreats to a Favorite Getaway: Crawford ranch,”
Houston Chronicle, April 11, 2004.?
FAHRENHEIT 9/11:? On Sept. 10, 2001
, Bush joined his brother in Florida where he slept the night
in “a bed made of fine French linens.”
Bush has not been bashful about visiting Florida, ground zero in the
vote-recount battle that followed last year's election.? On this trip, he
was spending a good deal of time with his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush. "
President to Push Congress on Education in Fourth Florida Visit,”
Associated Press, September 10, 2001; See also, CNN Inside Politics,
September 10, 2001.
Two individuals prepared the president’s room “and made the bed with some
of the family's fine French linens.” Tom Bayles, “The Day Before
Everything Changed, President Bush Touched Locals' Lives,” Sarasota
Herald-Tribune, September 10, 2002.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11:? “As the attack
took place, Mr. Bush was on his way to an elementary school in Florida
.? When informed of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, where
terrorists had struck just eight years prior, Bush just decided to go ahead
with his photo opportunity.”?
NOTE: It should be emphasized that at the time Bush was notified of the
first plane attack, he (unlike the rest of America) was already aware that
Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes, per
the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB).? He was also aware, of
course, that the World Trade Center had been historically a target for
terrorist attacks.? He nonetheless went ahead with this photo opportunity in
a school full of children.
? “Mr. Bush arrived at the school, just before 9 am, expecting to be met by
its motherly principal, Gwen Rigell. Instead he was pulled sharply aside
by the familiar, bulky figure of 51-year-old Karl Rove, a veteran
political fixer and trusted aide of both Mr. Bush and his father, George
Sr. Mr. Rove, a fellow Texan with an expansive manner and a colorful turn
of phrase, told the President that a large commercial airliner (American
Flight 11) had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre .
Mr. Bush clenched his teeth, lowered his bottom lip and said something
inaudible. Then he went into the school.”? William Langley,
“Revealed: What Really Went on During Bush’s ‘Missing Hours,’” The
Telegraph, December 16, 2001.?
“The airborne attack on the World Trade Center was at least the second
terrorist attempt to topple the landmarks. In 1993, terrorists sought to
bomb one building so that it would explode and fall into the other. The
plot did not succeed, but six people were killed and more than 1,000
injured.” Cragg Hines, “Terrorists Strike from Air; Jetliners
Slam into Pentagon, Trade Center” The
Houston Chronicle, September 11, 2001.
August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), “Bin Ladin Determined to
Strike Inside US”: “Al-Qa'ida members -- including some who are US
citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group
apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks… FBI
information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in
this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of
attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.”
August 6, 2001, Bin Ladin Determined to Strike Inside US,
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “When the second
plane hit the tower, his chief of staff entered the classroom and told Mr.
Bush the nation is under attack.” ?
“At 9:05 a.m., the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., stepped
into the classroom and whispered into the president's right ear, ‘A second
plane hit the other tower, and America's under attack.’”
David E. Sanger and Don Van Natta Jr., “After The Attacks: The Events; In
Four Days, A National Crisis Changes Bush's Presidency,” The New York
Times, September 16, 2001.?
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Mr. Bush just sat
there and continued to read My Pet Goat.”
“It was while attending a second-grade reading class at Emma E. Booker
Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., to promote his education reforms that
President Bush learned America was under attack. In the presence of her
VIP guest, teacher Sandra Kay Daniels, 45, conducted the day's lesson,
which centered on a story about a pet goat.” “9/11: A Year
After,” Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2002.?
President Bush listened to 18 Booker Elementary School second-graders read
a story about a girl's pet goat Tuesday before he spoke briefly and
somberly about the terrorist attacks.? “Bush hears of attack
while visiting Booker,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 12, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Nearly seven
minutes passed with nobody doing anything.”
? “[H]e lingered in the room for another six minutes [after being informed
of the second plane]… [At] 9:12, he abruptly retreated, speaking to Mr.
Cheney and New York officials.” David E. Sanger and Don Van Natta
Jr., “After The Attacks: The Events;In Four Days, A National Crisis
Changes Bush's Presidency,” The New York Times, September 16, 2001
? “Mr. Bush remained in the elementary school for nearly a half an hour
after Andy Card whispered in his ear.” Michael Kranish, “Bush:
US To Hunt Down Attackers,” Boston
Globe, September 11, 2001.
GO TO SECTION TWO