the choice 2000
hometools for choiceare you sure?bushgore

press
the baltimore sun david zurawik

"...The two-hour film offering biographies of presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush is indispensable viewing for anyone concerned about casting the most-informed vote possible next month. The reason: research and reporting.

The producers from PBS' 'Frontline' series pull together virtually everything we know or think we know about these two men and package it into an engaging, easily-digestible two-hour narrative. Spend two hours with public television tonight, and you'll know more about the candidates than you will watching all the cable news channels every night between now and the election. I mean that."

the denver post joanne ostrow

"The choice is clear: for political junkies this is must-see public TV; for apolitical types who deplore the rhetoric and are cynical about all the fuss, this is the one program to watch. Even if you're sworn off TV's Sunday morning dissections and spin doctoring, if you avoid the campaign commercials, the ongoing coverage, and even plan to miss the debates, this one's different...

'The Choice' won't change your vote, but it will supply more informed reasons for choosing the way you do."

milwaukee journal sentinel joanne weintraub

"Given how low voter turnouts have sunk in our sort-of democracy, I almost hate to recommend the latest 'Frontline' special, 'The Choice 2000'...Nothing you'll see in this two-hour joint biography of George W. Bush and Al Gore is likely to make you run to the polls in November with wings on your heels and joy in your heart. ...

Given its detailed interviews with a dozen or so friends and associates of each man, as well as their wives, 'The Choice' goes beyond ... familiar media shorthand. The odd thing is, most of what you'll hear from these sources - the childhood recollections, the political war stories, even the wifely confidences - reinforces the image of Bush as a lightweight (and perhaps a fool) and Gore as an opportunist (and perhaps a hyprocrite). ...

Only one of them, of course, will win the war in November. And 'The Choice' just might make you grateful that one of them will lose."

houston chronicle ann hodges

"PBS' Frontline jumps into the political ring Monday with a must-choose winner, The Choice 2000.

'In a country where the saying goes that anyone can grow up to be president, there were once two little boys who really were born to the role...That intriguing prologue is also an apt description of Frontline's illuminating two-way TV bio of presidential candidates George W. Bush and Albert Gore Jr. ...

Their stories aren't new, but side by side they offer new insights, and the wealth of coments from people who knew-them-when are sometimes surprisingly revealing....

The Choice 2000 is a fascinating and colorful mosaic of what makes... these two candidates run. And it does not spare the raps when they run off track."

the wall street journal dorothy rabinowitz

"Even given all that the public knows, there's still a lot to be said for the kind of biographical data available in 'The Choice 2000,' the new 'Frontline' film on the candidates...

The first thing to notice about this enterprise is the softening glow that radiates from these profiles -- the inevitable by product of all the personal detail. As much detail, at any rate, as can be packed into any two-hour documentary made for television. ...

For all its soft tones, the film manages to provide plenty of candid observations, culled mainly from friends and associates of the two."

the new york times caryn james

"... Anyone who has been paying attention to the campaign will find 'The Choice' familiar; anyone who hasn't is not likely to be drawn in by this low-key superficial work.

.'The Choice' fails to do the very thing it should: connect all its biographical data to the ideas and styles that drive the campaigns. Only at the end does it ask, as a kind of farewell, whether Governor Bush is intellectually weighty enough to be president and Vice President Gore exciting enough to win...

'The Choice 2000' is serious, but it doesn't get points just because it avoids the candidates heartfelt opinions about peanut butter sandwiches and breakfast cereal. Disappointing and sketchy, this 'Frontline' shows that being serious is not the same as being substantial."

los angeles daily news david kronke

"...Frontline offers fairly useful biographies of George W. Bush on the The Choice 2000. ...

'The Choice 2000' implies that virtually everything Gore has done in his life outside of some recreational pot use has had an eye on political placement (his enlisting for service in Vietnam was even exploited by his father's senatorial campaign in the '70s). ...

Meanwhile, everything Bush has accomplished in his life can be chalked up to his daddy's brand name, as Dubya made a practice of failing upward. ...

The report concludes that the next president will have to prove himself 'substantial enough, authentic enough to lead.' Choice 2000 sort of splits the difference. Gore, it shows, is clearly the substantial one, while Bush is posited as the more authentic of the two."

san francisco chronicle john carman

"The two-hour program is probably the most comprehensive profile of Gore and Bush you'll find on TV, and a great primer for tomorrow's debate.

Produced by Michael Kirk ('Waco-The Inside Story,' 'The Kevorkian File') and reported by veteran journalist Peter J. Boyer, the program isn't as captivating as Helen Whitney's corresponding 'Choice' Documentary on Bill Clinton and Robert Dole four years ago.

But it is a useful personality portrait of the two main presidential candidates-who they are, how they got that way, where they've been. It's less informative about their records as public servants."

the buffalo news alan pergament

"The sense you get from this two-hour PBS exercise is that both presidential candidates are good guys, good sons and good candidates who have been preparing very differently for this moment since the day they were born into American political families.

Though the program is extremely balanced, the final conclusions in the preview tape given to critics seem more favorable to Gore.

The documentary concludes that Gore 'presented as formidable a profile-the drive, the experience, the intellectual weight-as any presidential candidate of his time. Yet he sensed that was not enough. The question about Al Gore was could he connect.'

Of Bush, the documentary concludes: 'George Bush arrived at his moment propelled not by a long record of public achievement or a lifetime of great expectations. He was carried more by a sense of his own destiny. He projected a casual certainty about the awesome place he means to assume. By force of personality his family's honorable name and the faith that the nation will decide that is enough.'

In other words, one candidate worked all his life to get in this position and had to overcome his personality. The main attribute of his opponent is his personality.

In the end, you are left wishing there was a candidate who could combine Gore's perseverance and hard work with Bush's personal charm and 'stardust.'"

chicago tribune steve johnson

"...(T)his 120-minute election special from PBS' consistently excellent 'Frontline' profiles Democratic presidential aspirant Al Gore and his Republican counterpart George W. Bush. It finds the vice president and the Texas governor, both sons of politicians, two very different men: Gore the perpetual elder-pleaser, even brown-noser; Bush the frat boy grown into crafty coalition builder who has had a lot of help from daddy's friends.

Neither man is all hero or all cad in Michael Kirk and Peter J. Boyer's measured but unfailingly watchable piece of work. If anything, despite the (undeserved) PBS reputation for liberalism, it is more revealing about and damaging to Gore, nailing him on that tendency to biographical exaggeration and a willingness to try to exploit personal tragedy for political gain."

rocky mountain news dusty saunders

"This exhaustive look at George W. Bush and Al Gore won't be viewed by supporters of either candidate as personality puffery. Neither comes across as a man you'll want to run to the polls and vote for on Nov. 5.

Reported by Peter Boyer and produced by Denver-born Michael Kirk, The Choice goes far beyond the typical media coverage that has pointed out the differences and numerous connections between the two-political family ties, Ivy League backgrounds.

This is a hard-nosed two hours-free from the traditional electronic biographical studies in which assets are given equal weight with liabilities.

According to The Choice, Bush and Gore both have major flaws, which produce doubts about presidential leadership qualities.

While not doubting Bush's basic intelligence, Frontline makes an effort to show that the Texas governor is not a particularly deep thinker when it comes to making important decisions. One example: his controversial 1998 decision not to commute the death sentence of Karla Faye Tucker.

A quick note to conservatives:

Before you complain about another biased, liberal TV report, pay attention to how Frontline treats the vice president.

Words such as opportunistic, even conniving, come to mind."

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