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Senator Tom Daschle and Congressman Dick Gephardt Speak Out in Support of Al Gore

Aired November 27, 2000 - 1:31 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And now we are joined again by, again, Senator Tom Daschle, Republican Dick Gephardt.

Gentlemen, thank you for being with us. We've seen you on conference call with Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman. We've seen you holding a news conference. And now you're here with us. And we thank you. But does this mean that you have an uphill P.R. battle on your hands?

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: Basically, we're just here to do what the Gore campaign has been doing now for several weeks. And we want the message to be that we're united, and the believe that a fair and accurate count is what should be done. How tragic it would be if we only got that fair and accurate count well after the inaugural. It doesn't have to happen. We can do it now. And that's why we are here.

ALLEN: Representative Gephardt, what, though -- what would happen if the American people start sending signals that they don't want this to go on? What happens then?

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: I think the American people have said many, many times, through a lot of research, that they want a fair and accurate count. They want every ballot to be counted. And the problem here is that the secretary of state's certification yesterday didn't count all the ballots that are out there.

As has been said many times by Republicans, they have counted these votes three times. Well, that's not true. There are about 9,000 ballots in Miami-Dade that have never been counted. They were thrown out by the machine on the first count. And then maybe they were recounted, but they were thrown out. They were never counted by a machine or by a human being.

We simply believe very strongly that all of those votes should be counted, so that we know the rightful winner of this election. Again, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman won the national popular vote by over 300,000 votes. We think they won the Florida vote. But we certainly think there ought to be a fair and accurate count here, before we rush to judgment.

ALLEN: What about the argument that you are not going to find any election anywhere in the country that has a 100 percent perfect, fair election?

DASCHLE: Well, I think that's true. But when you are down to the stakes as important as they are, recognizing, as Dick just said, that the Gore campaign has won the popular vote across the country, now the question is: Who has won the electoral vote? We know that Al Gore leads in the electoral vote. It makes this state, under these circumstances, all the more critical.

Certainly we can do better than to put a huge question mark over at least 13,000 ballots. Certainly we can do better than that when the margin of error is plus or minus 100 votes.

ALLEN: When do you think this is all going to be over? Any ideas?

GEPHARDT: Well, it will be over when we get the fair and accurate count. Obviously, December the 12th is an important date, because Florida has to send its electors onto Washington for the Electoral College. But, again, this could have all been done by now.

The reason that we have had delays and roadblocks is that, seemingly, the Republicans in the Bush campaign don't want all the votes counted. They are the ones that have feared, in my view, what the vote would actually show in some of these counties. So they've been throwing up roadblocks. And, again, to go back to this point about divining what the intention of the voter was: This is done all the time.

These are ballots where there was an indentation or a partially torn chad, in a ballot that had every other electoral office with the chad thoroughly out. So it's clear that they intended this to be their vote. And, again, in the state of Texas, there is procedure for doing precisely that. So in Governor Bush's own state, they would have counted all these ballots.

We say let's get on with it. Let's find out who won this election. And let's restore the confidence of all the people of this country that we have an accurate count for who actually should be president of the United States.

ALLEN: Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle, thanks for joining us again. Thank you.

GEPHARDT: Thank you.

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