Text: Vice President Gore's Offer
Wednesday, November 15, 2000
Following is the transcript of Vice President Gore's comments on the latest
legal developments in the Florida presidential election.
GORE: This has been an extraordinary eight days for the American people, and
I wanted to speak with you briefly about how I believe we should conclude this
The campaign is over, but a test of our democracy is now under way. It is
a test we must pass, and it is a test we will pass with flying colors. All we
need is a common agreement that what is at stake here is not who wins and who
loses in a contest for the presidency, but how we honor our Constitution and
make sure that our democracy works as our founders intended it to work.
This is a time to respect every voter and every vote. This is a time to honor
the true will of the people. So our goal must be what is right for America.
There is a simple reason that Florida law and the law in many other states
calls for a careful check by real people of the machine results in elections
like this one.
The reason? Machines can sometimes misread or fail to detect the way ballots
are cast, and when there are serious doubts, checking the machine count with
a careful hand count is accepted far and wide as the best way to know the true
intentions of the voters.
That is why there have already been partial or complete hand counts not just
in two Democratic counties in Florida, but in six Republican counties as well.
We need a resolution that is fair and final. We need to move expeditiously
to the most complete and accurate count that is possible. And that is why I
propose this evening a way to settle this matter with finality and justice in
a period of days, not weeks.
First, we should complete hand counts already begun in Palm Beach County,
Dade County and Broward County to determine the true intentions of the voters
based on an objective evaluation of their ballots.
Observers and participants from both parties should be present in every counting
room, as required under Florida law.
The results of this recount would, of course, be added to the present certified
vote total and the overseas absentee vote total. If this happens, I will abide
by the result, I will take no legal action to challenge the result, and I will
not support any legal action to challenge the result.
I am also prepared, if Governor Bush prefers, to include in this recount all
the counties in the entire state of Florida. I would also be willing to abide
by that result and agree not to take any legal action to challenge that result.
If there are no further interruptions to the process, we believe the count can
be completed with seven days of the time it starts.
Now, second, I propose that Governor Bush and I meet personally, one on one,
as soon as possible, before the vote count is finished, not to negotiate, but
to improve the tone of our dialogue in America. We should both call on all of
our supporters to respect the outcome of this election, whatever it may be.
We should both call on all our supporters to prepare themselves to close ranks
as Americans and unite the country behind the winner as soon as this process
Shortly after the results are known, we should both come together for another
meeting, to reaffirm our national unity. If I turn out to be successful, I'll
be ready to travel to Governor Bush's home. If I am not, I'll be ready to meet
him wherever he wishes.
I would also like to urge all of those speaking for either of us to do their
part to lift up this discourse, to refrain from using inflammatory language,
and to avoid statements that could make it harder for our country to come together
once the counting is over. That is the direction I have given to my own campaign.
I don't know what the final results will show, but I do know this is about
much more than what happens to me or my opponent; it is about our democracy.
My faith is in the people's will, in our Constitution and in our system of self-government.
Thank you, God bless you and God bless America.