THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 14,
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
9:49 A.M. (L)
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Last night, President-elect Bush and
Vice President Gore showed what is best about America. In this election,
the American people were closely divided. The outcome was decided by a
Supreme Court that was closely divided.
But the essential unity of our nation was reflected in the words and
values of those who fought this great contest. I was proud of both men.
I pledged to President-elect Bush my efforts and the best efforts of
every member of our administration for a smooth and successful transition.
I want to say I am profoundly grateful to Vice President Gore for
eight extraordinary years of partnership. Without his leadership, we could
not have made the progress or reached the prosperity we now enjoy and pass
on to the next administration.
I am also profoundly grateful to him for putting into words last night
the feelings of all of us who disagreed with the Supreme Court's decision,
but accepted it. And, as he said, all of us have a responsibility to
support President-elect Bush, and to unite our country in the search for
I wish President-elect Bush well. Like him, I came to Washington as a
governor, eager to work with both Republicans and Democrats. And when we
reached across party lines to forge a vital center, America was stronger at
home and abroad.
The American people, however divided they were in this election,
overwhelmingly want us to build on that vital center, without rancor or
I thank the members of Congress from both parties who have pledged to
work with the President-elect. They have also pledged to elect
common-sense bipartisan election reforms so that the votes of all citizens
can be easily cast and easily counted in future elections.
Finally, I want to thank the American people for their patience,
passion and patriotism throughout this extended election season. In the
days of service left to me, I will do all I can to finish our remaining
work with Congress and to help President-elect Bush get off to a good
As I've said so many times over the last year, our country has never
before enjoyed so much peace and prosperity with so few internal crises and
so little external threat. We have the opportunity to build the future of
our dreams for our children, and every one of us has an obligation to work
together to achieve it.
Thank you very much.
Q Mr. President, what do say to Democrats who want to run on the
election issue in two years? Do you think that's a way to take back the
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think, first of all, the election two years
from now is difficult to predict and it will take whatever shape it does.
But for right now, we're in a period where we've had an election, but we
haven't had the inauguration. We had to ensure a smooth and constructive
transition, and all of us should ensure that we do our part to give the
President-elect his chance to do this job. And I would hope -- and I
believe that my fellow Democrats would be willing to do that, and I hope
they will, I hope they will set a good example by getting off to a good
start and trying to unite the country.
Two years from now, what I hope will happen is that the honest
differences that remain between the two parties will be the subject of a
wholesome, vigorous, constructive debate, but that we will be moving
further and further away from rancor. That, I think, is actually good for
our party, because I think people do agree with us on the issues -- on so
many of the vital issues of the day.
But I don't think that now is the time to do anything other than
follow Vice President Gore's lead. He spoke for all of us last night, and
he did it eloquently and well. And President-elect Bush responded with
generosity in kind, I thought, in his remarks. And I think we ought to use
this opportunity to let the country come together and try to get the new
administration off to a good start.
Q Mr. President, will your successor continue the special
relationship you've enjoyed with Britain, do you hope?
THE PRESIDENT: I can't imagine anybody who wouldn't do that. I think
he will, yes. Thank you.
END 9:53 A.M.