Text: Vice President Gore on CBS's
Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Following is the transcript of Vice President Gore's interview with Dan Rather
on CBS's "Evening News."
DAN RATHER: Today, in effect, sent out Dick Cheney to really pour it
on you. He suggested, among other things, that you were now endangering the
country. Your response?
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Well, I didn't hear that charge. I'm reluctant
to comment on it. I didn't hear it.
I think that the real danger, if any, that our country faces now is the danger
that we might fail to count all the votes in this election, Dan.
RATHER: Mr. Vice President, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against
you on Friday, will you then give it up?
GORE: Look, I'm not going to speculate on what the Supreme Court will
do. I have tremendous respect for them. The question technically before them
is on the first deadline. They refused to hear the Bush lawsuit challenge on
whether the hand counts are legal or not; they affirmed the--or they, in effect,
said the Florida Supreme Court was correct on that point.
RATHER: But back to the question: If they rule against you, you don't
have to speculate on what they're going to do, if they rule against you, are
you then prepared to say, "I still think it's unfair, I still think I won the
election, but for the good of the country I'll concede"?
GORE: Well, it depends on what the ruling is and what--I mean there
are all kinds of things the court could say.
I'll tell you this: I will have absolute deference and respect for whatever
the Supreme Court says. You won't hear me going to the public airwaves criticizing
the independent judiciary. I think that's wrong. That's one of the--the independence
of our judiciary is one of the bulwarks of our freedom, and I think they're
to be--their decisions are to be respected.
RATHER: And that's an implicit criticism of the Bush camp's--what they've
done with the Florida Supreme Court; am I correct in that?
GORE: Well, I--you took--you're taking me a little bit farther than
I wanted to go. You know, I think it's wrong, I think that was wrong, yes.
RATHER: Do you or do you not believe that the Bush forces are being
if not dishonest, at least not altogether straightforward by moving to a transition,
by being seen and in effect saying, "Look, we won the election, George Bush
is the next president, and we're moving to it"?
GORE: I've tried very hard not to criticize him personally during this
period. The campaign is over with. All that remains is for the votes to be fully
counted. And I think the time for electioneering is over.
I'm fighting for a simple principle, Dan: Once the votes have been legally
cast they have to be counted. That's what we do here in America. We don't give
the control over the outcome of the election to the people who are in charge
of the voting system or machinery. We count the votes and let the people decide.
And that's the only way we can have a legitimate outcome.
RATHER: George Bush's argument is that those votes have gone through
a machine at least once, and many of them have gone through twice, and it's
his argument that they have been counted, most of them not once, but twice.
GORE: They haven't been counted. It's just like the supermarket checkout
line, where that scanner misses some of the items and the clerk has to go back
and write it in by hand. They look at it, see what it says and write it in.
We trust the people to make up for the mistakes in the machines.
And I'll tell you another thing, Dan. It's a fact that these cheap and less
reliable machines are much more likely to be found in areas of low-income people
and minorities and seniors on fixed incomes. And it's more important to have
a hand count where there are more of the ballots that the machine mistakenly
If you set aside their votes and then in the wealthy areas they have these
fancy new machines more often, where they don't make those kinds of mistakes,
in fact, if you make a mistake the machine automatically tells you and gives
you a new ballot to fill out, if they count the votes in those areas but refuse
to count the votes in the other areas, that is wrong. It's not fair and it's
a violation of the basic principles of our democracy.
If people vote, the votes have to be counted.
RATHER: Mr. Vice President, thank you.
GORE: Thank you, Dan.