On the 36th day after they had voted, Americans finally learned Wednesday who would be their next president: Governor George W. Bush of Texas.
Vice President Al Gore, his last realistic avenue for legal challenge closed by a U. S. Supreme Court decision late Tuesday, planned to end the contest formally in a televised evening speech of perhaps 10 minutes, advisers said.
They said that Senator Joseph Lieberman, his vice presidential running mate, would first make brief comments. The men would speak from a ceremonial chamber of the Old Executive office Building, to the west of the White House.
The dozens of political workers and lawyers who had helped lead Mr. Gore’s unprecedented fight to claw a come-from-behind electoral victory in the pivotal state of Florida were thanked Wednesday and asked to stand down.
“The vice president has directed the recount committee to suspend activities,” William Daley, the Gore campaign chairman, said in a written statement.
Mr. Gore authorized that statement after meeting with his wife, Tipper, and with top advisers including Mr. Daley.
He was expected to telephone Mr. Bush during the day. The Bush campaign kept a low profile and moved gingerly, as if to leave space for Mr. Gore to contemplate his next steps.
Yet, at the end of a trying and tumultuous process that had focused world attention on sleepless vote counters across Florida, and on courtrooms form Miami to Tallahassee to Atlanta to Washington the Texas governor was set to become the 43d U. S. president.
The news of Mr. Gore’s plans followed the longest and most rancorous dispute over a U. S. presidential election in more than a century, one certain to leave scars in a badly divided country.
It was a bitter ending f