Remarks by George W. Bush, Al Gore on the election returns
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000
Bush, speaking at a news conference in Austin, Texas, with his running mate, former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney:
"This morning brings news from Florida that the final vote count there shows that Secretary Cheney and I have carried the state of Florida. And if that result is confirmed in an automatic recount, as we expect it will be, we have won the election.
"The recount is already under way, and I understand the secretary of state of Florida has announced to the media that it will be completed by 5 p.m. tomorrow.
"We have asked former United States Secretary of State James Baker to travel to Florida on our behalf. He's a man of impeccable credentials and integrity, and someone the American people can trust to make sure the outcome is finalized as quickly as possible and in a calm and thoughtful manner.
"The strength of our American democracy was displayed in this exciting election, a close contest that produced a huge turnout. I want to thank all the supporters who worked hard on our behalf.
"I also want to thank the vice president's supporters for their hard work and their belief in their cause. I want to assure them that should the election go the way that we think it will that I will work hard to earn their confidence.
"America has a long tradition of uniting once elections are over. Secretary Cheney and I will do everything in our power to unite the nation, to call upon the best, to bring people together after one of the most exciting elections in our nation's history."
Gore, speaking at a news conference in Nashville, Tenn., with his running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut; campaign chairman Bill Daley, a former Commerce secretary; campaign manager Donna Brazile; and former Secretary of State Warren Christopher:
"Yesterday the people of our country joined together to make a great national decision: to choose the next president of the United States. We still do not know the outcome of yesterday's vote, and I realize that this is an extraordinary moment for our democracy.
"(Vice presidential nominee) Joe Lieberman and I want to thank the nearly 50 million Americans who gave us their votes and confidence. And I want to express my deep and profound gratitude to all of those who cast their ballots, however they cast them.
"We now need to resolve this election in a way that is fair, forthright and fully consistent with our Constitution and our laws. What is at issue here is the fundamental fairness of the process as a whole. Because of what is at stake, this matter must be resolved expeditiously, but deliberately and without any rush to judgment.
"Despite the fact that Joe Lieberman and I won the popular vote, under our Constitution it is the winner of the Electoral College who will be the next president. Our Constitution is the whole foundation of our freedom and it must be followed faithfully, toward the true result ordained by the American people with their votes in our respective states.
"We are now, as we have been from the moment of our founding, a nation based on the rule of law. When our founders pledged their sacred honor to bring forth this republic, upon which the hopes of humankind still rest, they affirmed the bedrock principle that Americans have followed ever since: the consent of the governed, given freely in an election process whose integrity is beyond question, is the living heart of our democracy.
"It is also crucial that the American people have full faith and confidence in the electoral process from which the president derives authority.
"Let me make my own resolve clear. No matter what the outcome, America will make the transition to a new administration with dignity, with full respect for the freely expressed will of the people, and with pride in the democracy we are privileged to share.
"And I want all Americans, indeed the whole world, to be absolutely assured of that.
"I don't believe it's appropriate for me to take questions or comment further at this time. But I am going to ask Secretary Daley and former Secretary of State Warren Christopher to follow this statement with comments of their own. Secretary Daley and campaign manager Donna Brazile met with Joe Lieberman and me, and we agreed to ask Warren Christopher to play a key role in the process from here forward.
"Thank you very much."
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