Excerpts from Washington press session

By Globe Staff, 12/6/2000

Excerpts from Vice President Al Gore's news conference at the White House yesterday, as reported by eMediaMillWorks, Inc.

Q. Mr. Vice President, sir, is this the last battleground, sir? If you lose at the Supreme Court of Florida, will you concede?

A. Well, the effort I have underway is simply to make sure that all the votes are counted. And when the issues that are now being considered in the Florida Supreme Court are decided, that'll be an important point. But I don't want to speculate on what the Florida Supreme Court will do.

Q. Realistically, would you say the odds are against you now?

A. I don't really feel that way, no.

Q. Mr. Vice President, you said last week that you thought your chances were 50-50.

A. Yes, I'll stay with that. I'll stay with that.

Q. Even after the court rulings have gone against you consistently the past three or four days?

A. Well, I think the US Supreme Court ruling was neutral. It may have even been slightly favorable to us, in the sense that it gave a clear road map to the Florida Supreme Court. But those are things that the lawyers can tell you more about than I can.

Q. Do the votes in Seminole and Martin County count, the absentee ballots?

A. Well ... the applications for ballots were thrown into the trash can by the supervisor of elections there, apparently, even though they were missing the same number that the Republican Party workers were allowed to come in and fix the other applications with.

So I don't want to speculate on what remedy might be. I'm not a party to that case.

Q. What do you make of the fact, sir, that the American people don't seem to be outraged that not all the ballots have been counted?

A. Well, actually, you know, I spent a lot of time debunking the importance of public opinion polls. Every once in a while, I see one that I like.

One of them that caught my eye recently indicated that, by a very solid majority, the American people believe that every single vote that is legally cast should be counted and not just arbitrarily not be counted.

And the votes in Miami-Dade County, for example, deserve to be looked at and counted. And I think there is a very strong feeling among the American people that that ought to happen.