Gore Plans Prime-Time Address to Nation
(CNSNews.com) - Vice President Al Gore Wednesday suspended his Florida recount effort and said he would address the nation Wednesday night. The big question now: Will Gore concede the election, or simply "withdraw"?
Press reports offered different accounts Wednesday morning, some using the word "concession," while others left open a less conclusive possibility.
Gore aides refused to comment on what the Vice President might do, saying only that he will speak for himself sometime tonight, probably around 9 p.m. EST.
However, wire services quote two senior Gore aides as saying that "The race is over. We're done."
After this morning's word that Gore would address the nation, President-elect George W. Bush said he, too, would address the nation tonight, presumably after Gore appears before the microphones.
Bush smiled and waved to reporters as he entered the Governor's mansion in Austin Wednesday morning, but he didn't say anything of substance. Asked if he would be clearing out his desk in Texas, he just laughed. Then, asked if he would address the nation tonight, Bush responded, "I hope so."
According to wire services, Gore aides said the vice president intends to telephone Bush, probably before tonight's address.
In a Dec. 3 interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, Al Gore told Leslie Stahl, "Regardless of how [the election] comes out, whoever is sworn in as president on January 20th should have the support of the all the people, and if that's not me, I will not question the fairness or legitimacy of the final outcome."
"Even if you didn't get a recount?" Stahl asked Gore.
"Absolutely right," Gore said, adding, "At the end of the day - let me just cut to the bottom line -- on January 20, if the person standing up before the Capitol taking the oath of office is George Bush and not me, he will be sworn in as my president, too, and I will spare no efforts in saying to people who supported me, let's not have any talk about stealing the election."
During that 60 Minutes interview, Gore said, "At the end of the day, whichever one of us wins, the other one should step forward and help to rally the country toward unity."
Earlier Wednesday, wire services reported that Bush was making plans to go to Washington to pay a courtesy call on President Clinton and to meet congressional leaders of both parties. Vice President-elect Dick Cheney was on Capitol Hill Wednesday, meeting with Republican leaders.
Bush is expected to name his White House staff and Cabinet very soon, once Gore concedes the election.