The rhetoric of the extraordinary moment: The concession and acceptance speeches of Al Gore and George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election

Robin T. Lakoff


The speeches delivered by Al Gore and George W. Bush at the conclusion of the contested 2000 U.S. presidential campaign are of especial interest because they represent a type of political speech that is virtually unique and, because the speakers and their staffs had no previous models to fall back upon, as spontaneous as political utterance currently gets. This paper analyzes those speeches, focusing on the relationships between their forms and what their speakers feel they have to do, and finds interesting similarities as well as differences, in style and content, between them.

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