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Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
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"Election Night 2000" Transcript
David Hume Kennerly:

This is right here in Austin. This is election night. I think it's one of the best political pictures I've ever taken. That evening, I was traveling with Dick Cheney whom I'd known in the White House--was the deputy to Donald Rumsfeld and--this was after--there were two phone calls made--and I don't have to recap the whole night but it looked like Bush was losing, then it came even, and it looked like he was going to win. So at that point, I was with Cheney at the Four Seasons Hotel and Bush called over and we drove over to the mansion. Everybody was really happy. All the--a couple of photographers who were inside with Bush were getting a lot of good snaps. It's amazing how if everything's going well, how much easier it is to work. And so--then there was a phone call from Bill Daley to Don Evans. Evans was the (Bush) campaign chairman, a former chairman of the Board of Regents here at Texas, I believe. And--and he said "We want--we're going to be a little bit--we want to be sure that Bush doesn't go out and declare--give his speech before we do." I mean that's a fairly routine issue. And, that was fine. About a half-hour went by and everybody's getting antsy and finally the phone rang again. It was Daley calling, Bill Daley, the (Gore) campaign chairman calling Evans to say things were tightening up in Florida and they weren't quite sure what they were going to do. Right after that phone call, they all went--they all went into this little anteroom and here's the whole group. I mean, Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida is watching his life pass before his eyes; Former President Bush is probably laying 5000 off on Gore at this point--and President--Governor Bush and Cheney--I mean, this was just the most extraordinary moment. The other photographers who had just been with Bush for so long really didn't want to go into this room at this moment. I, on the other hand, hadn't been around him at all, so I just went in and took this shot. But it is one of the defining moments of that whole period.

(Audio excerpt from The Littlefield Society Symposium, March 28, 2003, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas)

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audio clipElection Night 2000
The Briscoe Center for American History