George W. Bush’s tenure as commander in chief began with one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history. After a tense election night, it became apparent that the race between Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore would be decided by Florida’s electoral votes. Bush appeared to have won by the skin of his teeth, but a series of recounts uncovered a voting debacle in which the fate of the election appeared to rest on the interpretation of a “hanging chad.”
That is, until the Supreme Court halted a subsequent recount and granted Bush the seat in the Oval Office. Though Bush likely would have claimed Florida anyway if the limited recount had been completed in its entirety, Gore managed to win the popular vote. The controversial election set the tone for a presidency in which Bush could not seem to catch a break.