Remarks by Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. on the Conclusion of the Year 2000 Election (12/13/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release                                        Contact: (202)
Wednesday, December 13, 2000

                       Wednesday, December 13, 2000

     Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on
becoming the 43rd President of the United States.

     And I promised I wouldn?t call him back this time.

     I offered to meet with him as soon as possible, so that we can start
to heal the divisions of the campaign, and the contest through which we
have just passed.

     Almost a century and a half ago, Senator Stephen Douglas told Abraham
Lincoln, who had just defeated him for the Presidency, "partisan feeling
must yield to patriotism.  I am with you, Mr. President, and God bless

     In that same spirit, I say to President-elect Bush that what remains
of partisan rancor must now be put aside.  And may God bless his
stewardship of this country.

     Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road.  Certainly,
neither of us wanted it to happen.  Yet it came.  And now it has ended,
resolved as it must be resolved -- through the honored institutions of our

     Over the library of one of our great law schools is inscribed the
motto: "not under man but under God and law."  It is the ruling principle
of American freedom, the source of our democratic liberties; I have tried
to make it my guide throughout this contest, as it has guided America?s
deliberations of all the complex issues of the past five weeks.

     Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken.  Let there be no doubt: while I
strongly disagree with the Court?s decision, I accept it.  I accept the
finality of this outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the
Electoral College.  And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and
the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.

     I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge
unconditionally -- to honor the new President-elect, and do everything
possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the great
vision that our Declaration of Independence defines, and that our
Constitution affirms and defends.

     Let me say how grateful I am to all those who supported me -- and
supported the cause for which we have fought.

     Tipper and I feel a deep gratitude to Joe and Hadassah Lieberman, who
brought passion and high purpose to our partnership -- and opened new doors
not just for our campaign, but for our country.

     This has been an extraordinary election.  But in one of God?s
unforeseen paths, this belatedly-broken impasse can point us all to a new
common ground.  For its very closeness can serve to remind us that we are
one people, with a shared history and a shared destiny.

     Indeed, that history gives us many examples of contests as hotly
debated, as fiercely fought, with their own challenges to the popular will.
Other disputes have dragged on for weeks before reaching resolution.  And
each time, both the victor and the vanquished have accepted the result
peacefully, and in a spirit of reconciliation.

     So let it be with us.

     I know that many of my supporters are disappointed.  I am, too.  But
our disappointment must be overcome by our love of country.

     And I say to our fellow members of the world community: let no one see
this contest as a sign of American weakness.  The strength of American
democracy is shown most clearly through the difficulties it can overcome.

     Some have expressed concern that the unusual nature of this election
might hamper the next President in the conduct of his office.  I do not
believe it need be so.

     President-elect Bush inherits a nation whose citizens will be ready to
assist him in the conduct of his large responsibilities.  I personally will
be at his disposal.

     And I call on all Americans -- I particularly urge all who stood with
us -- to unite behind our next President.

     This is America.  Just as we fight hard when the stakes are high, we
close ranks and come together when the contest is done.

     And while there will be time enough to debate our continuing
differences, now is the time to recognize that that which unites us is
greater than that which divides us.

     While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is a
higher duty than the one we owe to political party.

     This is America -- and we put country before party.  We will stand
together behind our new President.

     As for what I?ll do next, I don?t know the answer to that one yet.
Like many of you, I?m looking forward to spending the holidays with family
and old friends.

     I know I?ll spend time in Tennessee and mend some fences -- literally
and figuratively.

     Some have asked whether I have any regrets, and I do have one regret:
that I didn?t get the chance to stay and fight for the American people for
the next four years.  Especially for those who need burdens lifted and
barriers removed.  Especially for those who feel their voices have not been

     I heard you -- and I will not forget.

     I?ve seen America in this campaign.  And I like what I see.  It?s
worth fighting for.  And that?s a fight I?ll never stop.

     As for the battle that ends tonight, I do believe, as my father once
said, that no matter how hard the loss, defeat may serve as well as victory
to shake the soul and let the glory out.

     So for me, this campaign ends as it began --

     With the love of Tipper and our family;

     With faith in God and in the country I have been so proud to serve --
from Vietnam to the Vice Presidency;

     And with gratitude to our truly tireless campaign staff and
volunteers, including all those who worked so hard in Florida for the last
36 days.

     Now the political struggle is over.  And we turn again to the unending
struggle for the common good of all Americans, and for those multitudes
around the world who look to us for leadership in the cause of freedom.

     In the words of our great hymn, "America, America,-- let us -- crown
thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea."

     And now, my friends, in a phrase I once addressed to others -- it is
time for me to go.

     Thank you, and good night.  And God bless America.

                                     # # #

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