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Republicans, Democrats meet analysis with a shrug

So what?

President Bush's spokesman discounted it. Former Vice President Al Gore wouldn't address it. And Gov. Jeb Bush reacted to the most comprehensive review of last year's uncounted presidential ballots with a big shrug.

"The election was settled a year ago, President Bush won and the voters have long since moved on," said White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. "There's no news here. It's over."

Gore, meanwhile, issued a statement that didn't address the examination of 175,010 uncounted ballots in the election he lost.

"As I said on Dec. 13 of last year, we are a nation of laws, and the presidential election of 2000 is over. And of course, right now our country faces a great challenge as we seek to successfully combat terrorism. I fully support President Bush's efforts to achieve that goal," the 2000 Democratic nominee said in a statement.

Carter Eskew, a key adviser to Gore, was a little more open about his feelings.

"You've got to accept it, put the bitterness aside and move ahead," said Eskew. He added that the results backed up the conviction of Democrats that their man had won.

Katie Baur, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jeb Bush, downplayed the entire undertaking by the media.

"Who cares? The American people are more concerned about our national security and the economy than the umpteenth recount of an election that was decided over a year ago," Baur said.

Florida Republican Party Chairman Al Cardenas pointed out that the Legislature and Gov. Bush changed election laws to improve vote counting.

"We learned some valuable lessons," Cardenas said Sunday night. "I think we learned three things. To restore voters' confidence, we had to go to the best technology possible. We thought a central voter file, and keeping those lists up to date, was a good thing to do, and the third issue was voter education, or a voter's bill of rights."

The state Democratic Party wasn't satisfied.

"Tens of thousands of votes lost. That should make us shudder," said Tony Welch, spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party. "We would have put monitors in other countries where that happened. We don't get to pat ourselves on the backs until we pull off a flawless statewide election."

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