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Special Event

Rep. Dick Gephardt Addresses the Florida Recount

Aired December 9, 2000 - 2:21 p.m. ET

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

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to be getting some information now, that going to Washington to see House Minority Leader Dick Gephart as well as Bill Daley for the Gore campaign speaking at the podium.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: ... Two weeks ago, Republican Whip Tom DeLay dispatched staffers to Florida, not to observe the count, but to disrupt it. I call on him, on all leaders on both sides, not to engage in improper tactics. This election should be settled by counting the ballots, not by attempts to intimidate the counters. If that had not happened, the votes would already be counted today. The adherents of Governor Bush have no right to decry the chaos they have sought to create.

Equally disturbing are attacks on the integrity of the courts. Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman have lost several cases during this process, and not once have they criticized the judicial branch. In contrast, Governor Bush's operatives and adherents have engaged in an assault on the courts unprecedented in 50 years, and unhealthy for our democratic system. Mr. DeLay has used terms like "judicial aggression."

It is time now to speak and act responsibly, respect the courts, count the votes, and if you don't like a decision, appeal it to a higher court, but don't engage in attack politics against the judicial branch of our great democracy.

In short, we need to count all the votes. We need to count them in minority areas, where the undercount is especially high. So I call on all parties to agree to abide by the vote and the final decision of the courts.

Vice President Gore has made that commitment repeatedly. Governor Bush needs to make it, as well. Whoever loses the vote count should concede. That should be the end of the process.

The last thing this nation needs is an attempt to nullify the vote of the people of Florida, by having the legislature pick electors for Governor Bush, even if Vice President Gore has more votes. At the heart of our system is the commitment that politicians run in elections, but the people decide who wins. Governor Bush should make it clear now that he opposes any effort to substitute legislative fiat for the popular will. CHEN: All right, we want to break away from the coverage of the events at the U.S. Capitol. Dick Gephardt, the the House minority leader speaking there, encouraging those who are not happy with the situation in Florida to avoid attacks on the courts and on the process under way there.

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