Confusion, Gore's weapon
Once Gore submitted his request for manual re-tabulation something profoundly idiotic took place. The Gore team carefully changed their public message. At first they convinced people the election was "too close to call" (which is an absurd phrase when used after an election has ended!) But soon they said that the election was indeed NOT too close to call. Rather, they knew the real outcome. Gore was winner - not Bush.
Their message became, "More people intended to vote for Gore than for Bush on Election Day". This message can still be heard in Democrat circles.
If the election were actually too close to call, as originally stated, then we would not be able to declare either candidate the victor. We simply wouldn't be able to know (We would also have to ignore that Bush had more votes.)
But once that message settled in, Democrats changed their tune. They said that the election was not too close to call after all. They knew in their hearts that Gore was the real winner.
This message again misled the public. It declared that the Bush victory was invalid. It claimed that Gore was a victim. It eroded public confidence and riled voters.
In the long run it has given Gore a psychological advantage. Even though he was unable to reverse the election, he has convinced many people he was the true winner of Florida. Many people still don't admit that George Bush won legitimately.