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Gore Stumps in Pittsburgh

Aired November 4, 2000 - 8:05 p.m. ET


BRIAN NELSON, CNN ANCHOR: As we mentioned earlier, Vice President Al Gore spent his day campaigning in Tennessee, West Virginia and he is now in Pennsylvania at a rally just getting underway in Pittsburgh. Let's join it live.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to acknowledge Mayor Tom Murphy, who is a great leader of the city of Pittsburgh. Sophie Maslov (ph), my friend Sophie Maslov who is here somewhere; and Bill Cloin (ph), and the next senator from Pennsylvania, Ron Clink.

Please allow me to acknowledge and introduce one other person, someone who arrived here with me who will be remembered in the history books, I predict, as the finest national presidential campaign manager ever, Donna Brazile; if you would stand and be recognized, Donna.


GORE: There's not much time left before the big choice on Tuesday. Justice is on the ballot Tuesday. Prosperity is on the ballot Tuesday. Health care is on the ballot Tuesday. Education for our children is on the ballot Tuesday. The environment is on the ballot. Jobs, the minimum wage, the Supreme Court is on the ballot on Tuesday.


BUSH: I come here to speak with you, knowing what on honor it is to have this opportunity, knowing what power you hold in your hands, knowing the choice that you can make, not only in the decision to vote for one person as opposed to another, but the choice not only that you will make with your head but the choice that you will make with your heart because the choice that you make with your heart will determine how many other people you take to the polls with you.

How many others you persuade, who might now be undecided. How many you confront over the next three days who might be contemplating indifference, apathy, or disaffection and how strongly you will confront them and say, this matters to me, this matters to my family. I love this country and I want you to vote, and I want you to participate.

So my purpose here this evening is very simple. I want to outline for you the reasons why I feel so passionately about the choice that faces our nation on Tuesday and how strongly I feel about your decision to vote and to bring your passion along with your soul to the polls.

I heard the kind remarks earlier about my father, and I'm grateful for those comments. I was raised in a family that I thank God for because my mother and father taught my sister and me about justice and fairness and the inner meaning of America.

It was in this state of Pennsylvania that our Constitution was crafted and yet at the time it was crafted, there were imperfect understandings of human nature. Our founders are often praised for their genius and indeed, they had genius. But their genius did not stretch to understand that African-Americans should be equal, that women should have the vote, that all human beings being created equal should have dignity and equal participation in suffrage and citizenship.

But we have grown over the last 224 years in our understanding of what the United States of America is all about. When my opponent Governor Bush says he will appoint strict constructionist to the Supreme Court, I often think of the strictly constructionist meaning that was applied when the Constitution was written, how some people were considered 3/5 of a human being. And when I hear him say that Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas will be the models that he uses for Supreme Court picks in the future, and when I hear the analysts say that there will be three or four, of perhaps even five justices of the Supreme Court selected by the president elected this Tuesday, I know that the way our Constitution is interpreted for the next 30 to 40 years will be determined by your vote and your passion this Tuesday.

I don't agree with strict constructionism. I don't believe we should base our future solely on our past, because I believe that we have the capacity as human beings to rise above our past. I believe that we have the capacity to learn from history and to be inspired by revelation and to see in one another what binds us together.

As Americans we know that this nation has a destiny, a mission, and I believe America has a two-part mission. The first part is well- known and well-accepted and often told. We are proof of the principal that freedom unlocks the human potential, more of the human potential than any other way of organizing a human society. But there is a second part to our mission that is sometimes obscured from our view, obscured by the pain that causes us to look away from our past, the pain that puts blinders that limit our vision.

But people in other parts of this world who are suffering because of the hatred that is unleashed by the fear of difference, even if it is a minor albeit almost invisible difference when viewed by outsiders, they know that the United States holds hope for them. The difference between Hutus and Tutsis is said to be unrecognizable to people who did not grow up in Burundi or Rowanda. The difference between Croations and Serbians and Bosnians is said to be invisible to those who have not grown-up in the Balkans. The difference between Azerbeijanis and Armenians and we could cite many other examples, but these slight differences are used as an excuse to unleash the hatred of which we're capable as human beings. I believe and I'm taught in my faith tradition that all of us have good and evil as a potential within us, but I also believe that good overcome evil if we intend it.


But in these other places where there is suffering from the evil that is unleashed because of racial and ethnic and religious differences, they look here to this land and they see a reason for hope. They see a reflection of their own potential. As well they should, because we are made up of peoples from every land.

But we are charged with the duty of forming a more perfect union, of becoming what the United States of America is intended to be, and each of us has that duty. Doctor King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, who once wrote, you must become the change you wish to see in the world. Each of us must become the change that we know is intended for our nation. I believe, for example, that when the family of James Byrd says that a hate crimes law would help to embody the values that might present the sort of horrific violence that befell James Byrd, I believe we ought to pass a hate crimes law in the United States.


NELSON: Listening to Vice President Al Gore at a "Get Out the Vote" rally at an African-American church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The vice president touching on a number of themes, mostly the what's at stake in the election on Tuesday: environment, jobs, minimum wage and the Supreme Court but the vice president, of course, with just two full days remaining knows the race is very tight.



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