Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Following is the transcript of Vice President Gore's interview with Peter Jennings on ABC's "World News Tonight."
PETER JENNINGS: Mr. Vice President, we can't remember the last time you made yourself so available to the media at your suggestion. And I'm wondering if I'm fair in trying to say that you are trying to change the perception reflected in many polls that the time is fast approaching for you to accept the certified results in Florida and concede the election.
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Peter, I'm trying to fight for a principle that I think is very important to our country. I'm trying to win this election, to be sure, but more important than who wins and who loses is the principle that every vote should be counted.
JENNINGS: You keep saying "counting the votes in Florida," sir. Do you not mean more specifically, recounting the votes?
GORE: No. These are thousands and thousands of votes that have never been counted even once. It's a little bit like going to the supermarket, through the checkout counter, and the computer scanner picks up most of the items but inevitably some of them it doesn't pick up. And they don't give you that item for free; they count it by hand.
JENNINGS: You have not, sir, been completely clear or consistent about a date certain on which you will no longer continue the legal challenge. Do you believe that date is December the 12th?
GORE: I think this is going to be over with by the middle of December.
JENNINGS: The 12th of December is indeed the middle of December.
But why don't you like to settle on a date?
GORE: Well, you know, under the law, December 18 is the date when the Electoral College meets. And I'm just not going to get into the details, I'm going to leave those to the experts.
JENNINGS: Do you support in spirit, though your name is not on the suit, the effort to throw out the absentee ballots in Seminole County because the Republicans put an identification number on the application?
GORE: If the ballots for one party were illegally changed and fixed and the ballots from the other party that didn't have that information were rejected and thrown away, that doesn't seem fair to me.
JENNINGS: Do you think in many ways, sir, you're the victim of circumstance now?
GORE: I don't feel like a victim. I feel like somebody who is fighting for a principle that's at the heart of our democracy. And I feel like somebody who's going to win on that principle.
JENNINGS: It is ironic, is it not though, sir, that after 25 years as a politician, always appealing directly to the people to be elected time and time again, you now must rely on lawyers to get you into the White House?
GORE: I'm relying on the people, and I'm relying on the fairness of our legal system to make sure that the votes of the people are counted.