Recount: HBO's Election 2000 Nostalgia

It was a strange feeling sort-of-watching HBO Films' Recount, a recounting of the 2000 Florida presidential election recount drama, last night.

I only sort-of-watched because, to begin with, I had forgotten about it until Howie mentioned it while we were talking, which turned out to be about 50 minutes into the thing. So then I set the DVR to record the 1am (ET) replay, but I also sort-of-watched the rest of the 9pm showing. And then this morning I watched some of the beginning.

Of course it's not difficult to get into the plot, whose outlines remain all too familiar even after all these years. At the same time, there's always that problem when you're watching a fictionalized version of real events--and you have to assume it's fictionalized when the re-creation is being presented as anything other than a documentary--the problem being that you never quite know what's God's-honest-truth and what isn't. (Howie suggests that this is like watching CNN. I can't argue.)

So you watch, sort of mentally checking stuff off: oh yeah, the Palm Beach ballot, and the Crazy Woman (I'd just as soon not mention her name) playing fast and loose with election law, essentially making it up as she goes, and the respectable-looking gangs of thugs sent by the GOP recount command to intimidate the Miami-Dade County recount, and on and on.

You get a sort of different response when there's a character or detail you don't remember. Did this or something like it really happen? For example, with Kevin Spacey clearly cast as the star of the show, you sort of figure there must have been a Ron Klain, who had been Vice President Al Gore's chief of staff until he was forced out by the machinations of later-to-be-ousted-himself campaign director Tony Coelho, at which point Ron was brought back into the campaign in a humiliatingly lower position, and wound up being the Democratic point man on the recount. They wouldn't have made that all up. Would they?


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