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Text: Vice President Gore on CBS's 'Evening News'
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?

(LAUGHTER)

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 doesn't read.

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.


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