Text: Vice President Gore on NBC's
Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Following is the transcript of Vice President Gore's interview with Tom Brokaw
on NBC's "Nightly News."
TOM BROKAW: Mr. Vice President, you keep talking about the role of
the people in all of this. Don't the people of this country deserve to know
how you would react if next week sometime early the headline reads "Gore Loses
in U.S. Supreme Court"? Now you don't have to speculate on that, I just have
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Well, I will respect the judgment of the Supreme
Court, Tom, whatever it is. I will not attack the independent judiciary. I think
But nobody knows what the Supreme Court will rule. Nobody knows which questions
they will rule on. We know that they rejected consideration of the question
the Bush team most wanted them to address, that is the legality of the hand
counts. And in effect said, "Yes, Florida law says it's legal to count those
ballots by hand," by not reviewing the Florida Supreme Court's decision.
And that's my basic point. When a vote is cast--legally cast, it must be counted.
You can't just arbitrarily set it aside or set it aside for any other reason.
BROKAW: All right. Well, let's then--why not count the more than 1
million votes that were cast in Miami-Dade County and in Palm Beach County as
Governor Bush's team has requested today?
GORE: Those that have already been counted by the machine have been
counted. Those that were rejected by the machine have not been counted.
You know, if you go through a supermarket checkout line, Tom, and you put
all your items through the scanner, every once in a while the clerk stops and
says, "The scanner--the computer's not picking this one up." They don't just
set that aside and refuse to let you have it or give it to you for free.
BROKAW: But that...
GORE: They write down the amount by hand. And that's because computers
make mistakes. And Florida law, just like the Texas law Governor Bush signed,
recognizes that fact and requires those ballots to be counted by real people.
BROKAW: But Mr. Vice President, there are another 160,000 of those
ballots in the state of Florida and you're not asking for them to be recounted.
GORE: Anyplace where the results are that close, they should be. And
I offered to have all of them counted, and the Bush campaign turned that down.
More--also, you should know, Tom, that in quite a few Republican leaning counties,
those ballots were counted by hand on the motion of the Republican election
officials during the time for the machine recount. One of those counties was
Seminole County, the last county to be reported.
BROKAW: And Republicans want to know that if you're so eager to have
every vote counted why you don't repudiate that lawsuit that has been filed
in Seminole County contesting those absentee ballots, just the application for
them, in which the registration was filled in by others, fulfilling what many
Republicans are saying was a mere technicality. Why not repudiate that lawsuit?
GORE: Well, you know, I didn't join that lawsuit. And now we know that
there were three counties where apparently Democratic applications lacking those
numbers were rejected and thrown out, but Republican applications were give
to the Republican Party workers, who in some cases were allowed right in the
election offices with their computers to tamper with those ballots. In other
cases, they were allowed to take applications. In other cases, they were allowed
to take those applications home with them and work on them. And while the Democratic
applications were rejected, the Republican applications were changed by the
party workers and those votes counted.
One side was rejected, the other side was included. Doesn't sound fair to
BROKAW: Final question, Mr. Vice President: If there is not a final
recount by December 12 when the electors must be selected in Florida, will you
set aside your personal interest and get out of this race in what you could
perceive to be the interest of the country?
GORE: Tom, I am going to do the right thing whatever the outcome of
this is. But I think our country has a tremendous interest, an overriding interest,
far more important than which candidate wins and which candidate loses.
I want to win. I make no bones about that. But far more important is the principle
that the next president should be legitimate--legitimized in an election in
which every vote that is legally cast is counted.
Especially in a close election, Tom, when the passions are running high and
feelings are so strong, it's more important than at any other time for the final
decision to be in the hands of the American people.
The consent of the governed is the bedrock of our democracy. And the consent
of the governed can only be given freely in an election where votes are counted,
not where the machines miss them like those supermarket scanners.
GORE: But where every vote is counted and not arbitrarily set aside
in some areas but not others by officials that control the machinery.