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Florida 2000
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Text: Vice President Gore's Conference Call
Monday, November 27, 2000

Following is the transcript of Vice President Gore's conference call with Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt.

GORE: Hey, guys. How are you?

DASCHLE: Hey, Mr. Vice President. We're just fine.


LIEBERMAN: Hello, Leaders. I'm here, too. Thank you.

DASCHLE: Hello, Joe.


DASCHLE: We're down here...


GORE: ... you all going down to Florida to be a part of this whole effort.

DASCHLE: Well, we wanted to tell you that we've had the opportunity now to talk to so many of our colleagues over the last several days, and there is overwhelming support for your effort to ensure that we have a fair and full count.

There's a recognition, of course, that we've got a lot of work to do to obtain that count. We're encouraged by the numbers that we've seen in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach and some of the other numbers around. And we were just given a new tally this morning that if we counted all of the votes that have already been counted in some of the recount, we'd actually be ahead by maybe nine votes. So we're encouraged by that.

I think there's overwhelming support for your effort and a realization that if we completed the count, there is little doubt that you'd be ahead. So we wanted to come down and be as emphatic as we can that we support you in your effort, and we support this full and fair recount.

In order to win, you've got to have the votes. We think you've got the votes.

GORE: Well, thank you, Tom.

And, Dick?

GEPHARDT: Al and Joe, let me just add that Joe knows that we've been on many conference calls with the House Democrats.


GEPHARDT: And they have been entirely supportive and continue to be entirely supportive of going ahead with this contest for the purpose of finding out how everybody voted in this election.

And our members, as you know, feel very strongly that we need to have a fair and accurate count.

GEPHARDT: It's important for the country, and it's important for whoever is found to be, in the end, in the lead and to be the next president of the United States. And so we've been wanting to come here and to add our voice and to let you know that our members feel very strongly that this needs to be done.

DASCHLE: I will also say that our colleagues were impressed with your offer to count all of the counties, and to live with the results of that effort, and to have that concept endorsed by the Supreme Court also, I think, impressed a lot of our colleagues.

As I have talked to a number of people, the fact that you've repeated it now a couple of times, is also, I think, an encouraging sign, that you're willing to live with the results, and so we are.

We'd like to get on with it. We know we're working against the clock. It's important to get it done and we just want to applaud your efforts and thank you for caring on as you have so far.

GORE: Well, thank you both for your friendship and for your participation in this.

Joe and I believe very strongly that every vote has to be counted. We hear statements on the other side quite frequently to the effect that we've had a count and a recount and another recount, but that's really beside the point.

GORE: What we're talking about involves many thousands of votes that have never been counted at all. And if we ignore the votes that have been cast, then where does that lead? The integrity of our democracy depends upon the consent of the governed, freely expressed in an election where every vote is counted.

I thought Joe was very eloquent when he asked the question, ``How can we tell our children that every vote counts if we don't count every vote?'' And that's really the principle involved here.

And I want to make it very clear that this really is about much more than which candidate wins and which candidate loses. It is about the integrity of our system of government. And that integrity can only be assured if every vote that is legally cast is actually counted according to the law, the laws of America, including the laws of Florida.

GORE: And that's really the principal that we're standing upon.

And under Florida law, the law says, when votes haven't been counted, you go to court and say, look, here's the situation, take a look at it and do the right thing. And that's essentially what we're doing.

I just appreciate all the hard work that you guys are doing.

Joe is right here with me.

LIEBERMAN: Just very briefly to both of you, our leaders, thank you very much for your support throughout this extraordinary and unusual time. You've been steadfast and correct in just the most encouraging way. And appreciate very much your taking the time to go to Florida and be right there on the scene and to report to us from the scene directly, as you have.

As you know, Al and I feel that what we're doing here is right, and what we're asking for is fair, and that is just to count the votes that were cast.

LIEBERMAN: But I must say, as right as we feel it is, both not just for ourselves and the 50 million people who voted for us, but for the country and the system and the precedent we set here, it is very encouraging and important to us to have the kind of steadfast support you and the members of the two caucuses in the House and Senate have given us. I honestly can't thank you enough.

And I guess I would just stress what Al has said, which is that what we're asking for today, not withstanding the certification by the secretary of state that occurred last night, which as I said last night was based on an inaccurate and incomplete vote, what we're asking for today, as our lawyers go to court, is exactly what we've been asking for from Election Night, which is, in this closet election in American history, that every vote be counted. And we are doing so in the courts of Florida today exactly according to Florida law and, more particularly, on a time schedule that was set by the justices of the Florida Supreme Court in their wisdom in the decision that they issued last week.

LIEBERMAN: So, thank you very, very much for your friendship. And we look forward to going forward together in answers to the country.

GORE: Before we go, let me just add one other point. This really is about the larger principle that I outlined. But I want you to know that, on a personal basis, I'm also very encouraged by what you said at the outset, that from your perspective there on the ground in Florida, if every vote is counted, there are easily more than enough to change the outcome and decide the election in our favor.

It's about the principle, but there are more than enough votes to change the outcome, and that's an important factor as well.

GEPHARDT: One of the things we found here that I didn't know was that, if these votes are counted, under the Freedom of Information Act somebody can come here, a professor or some other academic, and count these votes in the days ahead.

GEPHARDT: So if we don't find out who won and who had the most votes, we're going to find out later.

Wouldn't it be a terrible thing for the country to find out a month or two months from now that you got the most votes, you already had the national popular vote by 300,000 votes in the country? How terrible would it be to find out that you also had the most votes in Florida and should have won this election.

DASCHLE: That is true especially given the fact that we've got 9,000 approximately that haven't been counted at all. We hear the Republicans talk a lot about how many times these ballots have been counted. Well, there has never been a real count of 9,000 votes in Miami-Dade, maybe 4,000 votes that were erroneously counted in Palm Beach. So you're down to about 100 votes plus or minus right now. With those 13,000 votes, what Dick has said is absolutely right, how tragic it would be to know that in January or February that you actually won by several hundred votes and we just didn't have an accurate count until then.

LIEBERMAN: That is so correct because what we're about here is obviously to protect the right to vote and to have the votes be counted. But also to make sure that, again, this closest of all elections in American history, that whoever takes office on January 20 as our next president does so without clouds of doubt or anger hanging over his head.


LIEBERMAN: And the way to do that is to make sure that all the votes are counted. Let's speak the fact, which is that Governor Bush is picking up votes in these hand counts, as well.

DASCHLE: You both are.

LIEBERMAN: Right, absolutely, we both are.

GORE: Well, listen, to both of you, thank you for giving us a report from on the ground in Florida. And I'll be speaking this evening on the larger principles involved here, after the events in the Florida courts today and elsewhere. We look forward to seeing you both very soon. So thank you all very much.

GEPHARDT: Thank you.

DASCHLE: You're welcome, thank you.

GORE: Bye-bye.


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