What I heard: My goal this evening is to read the script my minions wrote for me, to look and act presidential and to convince you that I'm the victim of a great injustice.
What GORE said: Every four years there is one day when the people have their say. In many ways the act of voting and having that vote counted is more important than who wins the majority of the votes that are cast, because whoever wins, the victor will know that the American people have spoken with a voice made mighty by the whole of its integrity.
What I heard: The only thing important here is that I win and I am willing to do whatever it takes even if it means disenfranchising the military voters and building so much animosity that our government will be in gridlock the next 4 years. Besides, I have to win because the people of my home state don't want me back.
What GORE said: On that one day every four years, the poor as well as the rich, the weak as well as the strong, women and men alike, citizens of every race, creed and color, of whatever infirmity or political temper, all are equal. They're equal, that is, so long as all of their votes are counted.
What I heard: That is unless they are members of America's Armed Forces stationed around the world who voted by absentee ballot. We don't want their votes counted.
What GORE said: A vote is not just a piece of paper, a vote is a human voice, a statement of human principle, and we must not let those voices be silenced.
What I heard: Unless it's the human voices of members of America's Armed Forces who spoke via absentee ballot.
What GORE said: Not for today, not for tomorrow, not for as long as this nation's laws and democratic institutions let us stand and fight to let those voices count.
What I heard: This does not apply to the men and women stationed around the world who are prepared to risk their lives for everyone's right to vote.
What GORE said: If the people do not in the end choose me, so be it. The outcome will have been fair, and the people will have spoken. If they choose me, so be it. I would then commit and do commit to bringing this country together. But, whatever the outcome, let the people have their say, and let us listen.
What I heard: If you believe that first line... And we will let the people have their say as long as they are not saying it on an overseas absentee ballot and my democratic canvassing boards are able to "divine" their real intent.
What GORE said: Ignoring votes means ignoring democracy itself. And if we ignore the votes of thousands in Florida in this election, how can you or any American have confidence that your vote will not be ignored in a future election?
What I heard: But, it's OK for us to ignore military absentee ballots.
What GORE said: That is all we have asked since Election Day: a complete count of all the votes cast in Florida. Not recount after recount as some have charged, but a single, full and accurate count.
What I heard: A full hand recount in the predominately Democratic counties, conducted by democratic appointees who will "divine" the intent of the voter and disqualify overseas absentee ballots.
What GORE said: We haven't had that yet. Great efforts have been made to prevent the counting of these votes. Lawsuit after lawsuit has been filed to delay the count and to stop the counting for many precious days between Election Day and the deadline for having the count finished.
What I heard: "Great efforts have been made to prevent the counting of these votes." In fact, we sent teams of democratic lawyers to every county armed with a five-page memo on how to successfully have overseas absentee ballots submitted by members of the military challenged and disqualified. We are proud to report that we challenged every single absentee ballot in many counties, having many of them thrown out for missing a postmark that wasn't required.
What GORE said: And this would be over long since, except for those efforts to block the process at every turn.
What I heard: And this would be over long since if the recounts had proclaimed Al Gore the winner.
What GORE said: In one county, election officials brought the count to a premature end in the face of organized intimidation. In a number of counties, votes that had been fairly counted were simply set aside. And many thousands of votes that were cast on Election Day have not yet been counted at all, not once.
What I heard: Because their initial screening of ballots showed no significant change warranting a total recount, and we were not able to intimidate them into re-counting. And many military absentee ballot votes were cast that have not yet been counted.
What GORE said: There are some who would have us bring this election to the fastest conclusion possible. I have a different view. I believe our Constitution matters more than convenience. So, as provided under Florida law, I have decided to contest this inaccurate and incomplete count, in order to ensure the greatest possible credibility for the outcome.
What I heard: The majority of the Americans polled since Florida certified the election think it should be over. I will continue to contest this election until the last possible moment because I am not able to accept that I lost.
What GORE said: I agree with something Governor Bush said last night. We need to come together as a country to make progress. But how can we best achieve that? Our country will be stronger, not weaker, if our next president assumes office following a process that most Americans believe is fair.
What I heard: I could start bringing the country together by first demanding that every single military absentee ballot be counted then by conceding the election.
What GORE said: In all our hands now rest the future of America's faith in our self-government. The American people have shown dignity, restraint and respect as the process has moved forward.
What I heard: You haven't shown restraint. You are just accepting the fact that once the politicians and lawyers start waaahing, there is nothing you can do about it until next election.
What GORE said: This is America. When votes are cast, we count them. We don't arbitrarily set them aside because it's too difficult to count them.
What I heard: We count the votes unless they are military absentee ballots and we don't arbitrarily set them aside unless we have been unable to "divine" that the voter really meant to pick me.
What GORE said: In the end, in one of God's unforeseen paths, this election may 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.
What I heard: And I have probably done more to alienate the military in a few days than President Clinton did in 8 years.
What GORE said: So this extraordinary moment should summon all of us to become what we profess to be: one indivisible nation. Let us pledge ourselves to the ideal that the people's will should be heard and heeded and then, together, let us find what is best in ourselves and seek what is best for America.
What I heard: Unless they are members of the military who cast their vote via absentee ballots.
What GORE said: Two hundred years from now, when future Americans study this presidential election, let them learn that Americans did everything they could to ensure that all citizens who voted had their votes counted. Let them learn that democracy was ultimately placed ahead of partisan politics in resolving a contested election. Let them learn that we were indeed a country of laws.
What I heard: Two hundred years from now, when future Americans study this presidential election they will be utterly astounded that the ballots of men and women who stand ready to risk their lives for the good of this country were thrown out because of something totally out of their control and there was no public outrage about it.
What GORE said: Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America.
What I heard: I hope they bought that line of presidential like sound bites.
© 2000 J. D. Pendry