Tags: Gore | Won't | Concede | Even | After | Florida | Recount

Gore Won't Concede Even After Florida Recount

Thursday, 09 November 2000 12:00 AM

As a result, it seems likely that the outcome of the presidential election may not be determined for weeks.

According to Gore campaign spokesman Chris Lehane, the Gore-Lieberman campaign has begun transition to a freestanding committee that will oversee the recount in Florida.

Gore has been ahead of Bush in the unofficial national popular vote by about 200,000 votes, and is leading in electoral votes by an unofficial tally of 260 to 246.

Lehane said Thursday, "It is becoming increasingly clear that Al Gore not only won the popular vote in the country at large, he probably won the popular vote in Florida as well."

Campaign Chairman William Daley said in Florida Thursday, "If the will of the people is to prevail, Al Gore should be awarded a victory in Florida and be our next president of the United States."

Gore adviser Carter Eskew said, "There is a real sense that the will of the people was thwarted there and we want to see what our options are."

Democrats are particularly concerned about 19,000 votes in Palm Beach County that were disqualified because they had been punched twice, and 3,400 votes that were cast for Buchanan. Democrats argue that the ballot used in the county was designed in such a way as to create confusion among voters, resulting in the elimination of votes that were intended to be cast for Gore.

Buchanan himself said on NBC's "Today Show" Thursday morning, "It does seem to me that those are probably not my votes. My guess is I got some votes down there that probably should not belong to me and I don't feel good about that. I don't want any votes that weren't meant for me." (However, see

Democrats say they are planning to pursue any number of legal options in Florida, including even the possibility of calling for a new election in Palm Beach County, said Gore lawyer Kendall Coffey.

Daley added: "We will be working with voters from Florida to support a legal action to demand some redress for the disenfranchisement of more than 20,000 voters in Palm Beach County. We believe that, with so much at stake, steps should be taken to make sure that the people's choice becomes the president.

"In addition, we are still collecting accounts of other irregularities, voter intimidation and other oddities in other parts of the state. They, too, will be part of the legal process. And, if substantiated inappropriate, they too will be part of this legal action."

As a result, Gore officials say the recount going on in Florida is not going to be the last word on the election. "There is no way were going to know where this thing is even by the end of today," Lehane said Thursday.

But Republicans argue that the recount should be definitive and the election should be considered complete when the recount is complete Thursday evening. As of 4 p.m. EST, Bush's lead in the Florida vote had been reduced to 403 votes, with nine counties still to be counted.

Former Secretary of State James Baker, leading Bush's recount review team in Florida, told reporters Thursday, "It's the position of Gov. George W. Bush that we would like to see this process carried out in a very transparent, open, deliberate way, as expeditiously as possible of course, given the national interest," he said.

"We feel quite confident that's the way the process has been conducted so far, and we are hopeful that's the way it's going to be concluded sometime later in the day," Baker said.

Bush strategist Karl Rove said Thursday that the Buchanan tally in Palm Beach should come as no surprise, because the county has a large number of voters registered with the Reform Party or the Independent Party.

Rove also said that there are a number of other states where there are additional ballots to be counted which may narrow Gore's margin of victory in the popular vote, including Oregon, California and Arizona.

Bush spokesman Karen Hughes acknowledged Thursday that Bush staff members have begun discussing plans for a transition, a step that Democrats condemned as a "rush to judgment."

"There have been some discussions, some preliminary discussions," about the transition, Hughes said. Bush is "beginning to think through the transition process in the event that the recount tonight confirms that that was the outcome. I wouldn't say [he's spending] a great deal of time [on it]. This process began even before the election, on both sides."

Lehane blasted the Bush campaign for even entertaining discussions of the transition.

"Their campaign seems to specialize in trying to rush the judgment of the American people," Lehane said.

Daley echoed these charges, saying the Bush campaign's "actions to try to presumptively crown themselves the victors, to try to put in place a transition, run the risk of dividing the American people and creating a sense of confusion."

The irony of Gore remaining in Nashville during the Florida recount is that Florida would be irrelevant had Gore carried his home state of Tennessee. The Volunteer State has 11 electoral votes, enough to put Gore over the top. But the vice president lost Tennessee by 100,000 votes, a margin of 51 percent to 48 percent.

Eskew acknowledged the campaign's disappointment over losing Gore's home state. Gore probably "let Bush have the airwaves a little too long" without responding, Eskew said.

Gore is likely to return to Washington by early today, Gore aides said, as the campaign winds down and the recount effort gears up.

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As a result, it seems likely that the outcome of the presidential election may not be determined for weeks. According to Gore campaign spokesman Chris Lehane, the Gore-Lieberman campaign has begun transition to a freestanding committee that will oversee the recount in...
Thursday, 09 November 2000 12:00 AM
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