USA CAMPAIGN 2000
A Night of History: Wednesday
December 13, 2000
DECEMBER 13, 2000, 21:00 EST
SPEAKER: ALBERT GORE JR., VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming
the 43rd president of the United States, and I promised him that 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 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'm with you, Mr. President, and God bless you."
Well, 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
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 democracy.
Over the library of one of our great law schools is inscribed the motto,
"Not under man but under God and law." That's the ruling principle of
American freedom, the source of our democratic liberties. I've 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 of the 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 the 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
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
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
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 over the next
four years, especially for those who need burdens lifted and barriers removed,
especially for those who feel their voices have not been heard. 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 might serve as well as victory to shape 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's time for me to
Thank you and good night, and God bless America.
DECEMBER 13, 2000, 22:00 EST
SPEAKER: PRESIDENT-ELECT GEORGE W. BUSH
Thank you all.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Good evening, my fellow Americans. I appreciate so
very much the opportunity to speak with you tonight.
Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant Governor, friends, distinguished guests, our
country has been through a long and trying period, with the outcome of
the presidential election not finalized for longer than any of us could
Vice President Gore and I put our hearts and hopes into our campaigns.
We both gave it our all. We shared similar emotions, so I understand how
difficult this moment must be for Vice President Gore and his family.
He has a distinguished record of service to our country as a
congressman, a senator and a vice president.
This evening I received a gracious call from the vice president. We
agreed to meet early next week in Washington and we agreed to do our
best to heal our country after this hard-fought contest.
Tonight I want to thank all the thousands of volunteers and campaign
workers who worked so hard on my behalf.
I also salute the vice president and his supports for waging a spirited
campaign. And I thank him for a call that I know was difficult to make.
Laura and I wish the vice president and Senator Lieberman and their
families the very best.
I have a lot to be thankful for tonight. I'm thankful for America and
thankful that we were able to resolve our electoral differences in a
I'm thankful to the American people for the great privilege of being
able to serve as your next president.
I want to thank my wife and our daughters for their love. Laura's active
involvement as first lady has made Texas a better place, and she will be
a wonderful first lady of America.
I am proud to have Dick Cheney by my side, and America will be proud to
have him as our next vice president.
Tonight I chose to speak from the chamber of the Texas House of
Representatives because it has been a home to bipartisan cooperation.
Here in a place where Democrats have the majority, Republicans and
Democrats have worked together to do what is right for the people we
We've had spirited disagreements. And in the end, we found constructive
consensus. It is an experience I will always carry with me, an example I
will always follow.
I want to thank my friend, House Speaker Pete Laney, a Democrat, who
introduced me today. I want to thank the legislators from both political
parties with whom I've worked.
Across the hall in our Texas capitol is the state Senate. And I cannot
help but think of our mutual friend, the former Democrat lieutenant
governor, Bob Bullock. His love for Texas and his ability to work in a
bipartisan way continue to be a model for all of us.
The spirit of cooperation I have seen in this hall is what is needed in
Washington, D.C. It is the challenge of our moment. After a difficult
election, we must put politics behind us and work together to make the
promise of America available for every one of our citizens.
I am optimistic that we can change the tone in Washington, D.C.
I believe things happen for a reason, and I hope the long wait of the
last five weeks will heighten a desire to move beyond the bitterness and
partisanship of the recent past.
Our nation must rise above a house divided. Americans share hopes and
goals and values far more important than any political disagreements.
Republicans want the best for our nation, and so do Democrats. Our votes
may differ, but not our hopes.
I know America wants reconciliation and unity. I know Americans want
progress. And we must seize this moment and deliver.
Together, guided by a spirit of common sense, common courtesy and common
goals, we can unite and inspire the American citizens.
Together, we will work to make all our public schools excellent,
teaching every student of every background and every accent, so that no
child is left behind.
Together we will save Social Security and renew its promise of a secure
retirement for generations to come.
Together we will strengthen Medicare and offer prescription drug
coverage to all of our seniors.
Together we will give Americans the broad, fair and fiscally responsible
tax relief they deserve.
Together we'll have a bipartisan foreign policy true to our values and
true to our friends, and we will have a military equal to every
challenge and superior to every adversary.
Together we will address some of society's deepest problems one person
at a time, by encouraging and empowering the good hearts and good works
of the American people.
This is the essence of compassionate conservatism and it will be a
foundation of my administration.
These priorities are not merely Republican concerns or Democratic
concerns; they are American responsibilities.
During the fall campaign, we differed about the details of these
proposals, but there was remarkable consensus about the important issues
before us: excellent schools, retirement and health security, tax
relief, a strong military, a more civil society.
We have discussed our differences. Now it is time to find common ground
and build consensus to make America a beacon of opportunity in the 21st
I'm optimistic this can happen. Our future demands it and our history
proves it. Two hundred years ago, in the election of 1800, America faced
another close presidential election. A tie in the Electoral College put
the outcome into the hands of Congress.
After six days of voting and 36 ballots, the House of Representatives
elected Thomas Jefferson the third president of the United States. That
election brought the first transfer of power from one party to another
in our new democracy.
Shortly after the election, Jefferson, in a letter titled
"Reconciliation and Reform," wrote this. "The steady
character of our countrymen is a rock to which we may safely moor;
unequivocal in principle, reasonable in manner. We should be able to
hope to do a great deal of good to the cause of freedom and
Two hundred years have only strengthened the steady character of
America. And so as we begin the work of healing our nation, tonight I
call upon that character: respect for each other, respect for our
differences, generosity of spirit, and a willingness to work hard and
work together to solve any problem.
I have something else to ask you, to ask every American. I ask for you
to pray for this great nation. I ask for your prayers for leaders from
both parties. I thank you for your prayers for me and my family, and I
ask you to pray for Vice President Gore and his family.
I have faith that with God's help we as a nation will move forward
together as one nation, indivisible. And together we will create and
America that is open, so every citizen has access to the American dream;
an America that is educated, so every child has the keys to realize that
dream; and an America that is united in our diversity and our shared
American values that are larger than race or party.
I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation.
The president of the United States is the president of every single
American, of every race and every background.
Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your
interests and I will work to earn your respect.
I will be guided by President Jefferson's sense of purpose, to stand for
principle, to be reasonable in manner, and above all, to do great good
for the cause of freedom and harmony.
The presidency is more than an honor. It is more than an office. It is a
charge to keep, and I will give it my all.
Thank you very much and God bless America.