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DECISION 2000 / AMERICA WAITS

Gore: 'Full and Accurate Count'

November 29, 2000|From Associated Press

Text of a Washington news conference Tuesday by Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic presidential candidate, as transcribed by eMediaMillWorks Inc.:

Hello, again.

As I described last night, since election day, we have had a single fundamental goal: to ensure a complete count of all of the votes cast in Florida. Not recount after recount, as some have charged, but a single full and accurate count.

That is a purpose that extends far beyond the borders of Florida, because we know that what is done in Florida sends a message as to how we will govern ourselves as Americans.

The American people have shown great patience in these extraordinary days. They understand the importance of getting this election right.

That is why we have asked the Florida courts to recognize what observers of this process know to be true; that is, that the state of Florida has certified a vote count that is neither complete nor accurate.

I understand that this process needs to be completed in a way that is expeditious as well as fair. We cannot jeopardize an orderly transition of power to the next administration, nor need we do so.

Two weeks ago, I proposed to forgo any legal challenge if [Gore's Republican rival, Texas] Gov. [George W.] Bush would let a complete and accurate count go forward, either in the counties where it was proposed or in the full state of Florida.

He rejected that proposal and instead became the first to file lawsuits. And now, two weeks later, thousands of votes still have not been counted.

This morning, we have proposed to the court in Tallahassee a plan to have all the ballots counted in seven days, starting tomorrow morning, and to have the court proceedings fully completed one or two days after that.

Let me repeat the essence of our proposal today: Seven days, starting tomorrow, for a full and accurate count of all the votes.

Once we have that full and accurate count of the ballots cast, then we will know who our next president is and our country can move forward.

Unfortunately, just about an hour ago, Gov. Bush's lawyers rejected this proposal. Instead, they have proposed two weeks of additional court proceedings and additional hearings, right up to the Dec. 12 deadline for seating electors.

And under their plan, none of the thousands of votes that remain to be counted would be counted at all.

I believe this is a time to count every vote and not to run out the clock. This is not a time for delay, obstruction and procedural roadblocks.

As I've said, I believe it's essential to our country that there be no question, no cloud over the head of the next president, whether it be me or Gov. Bush. We need to be able to say that there is no legitimate question as to who won this election, so that we can bring this country together. That is what we seek.

And so I urge Gov. Bush to support our proposal to bring this process to a fair, expeditious and truly democratic conclusion.

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