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Bush Rejects Gore Recount Proposal

November 16, 2000

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Texas Gov. George W. Bush rejected Al Gore’s proposal for a statewide manual recount in Florida, calling the procedure underway in Democratic-leaning countries ``neither fair or accurate. It would be arbitrary and chaotic,″ he said Wednesday night.

Following Gore in front of a nationally televised audience, Bush accepted Gore’s offer to meet together after Florida’s contentious election outcome is resolved _ but did not mention the vice president’s suggestion that they meet sooner.

``Not for Vice President Gore or me, but for America this process must have a point of conclusion. America and the world must know who will be the next president,″ Bush said from the living room of the governor’s mansion, a setting that resembled a formal White House scene.

Bush hastily returned to Austin from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, after Gore appeared before the cameras earlier in the evening. Dressed in a suit and tie, he was flanked by American flags.

The Texas governor said the ``next and final deadline″ for Florida ballots to be tallied is Friday at midnight, the cutoff for absentee votes from overseas to be counted. At that time, he said those votes should be added to the certified totals as outlined by Florida’s Republican secretary of state _ minus any hand counts under way.

He said the hand counts aren’t fair.

``This means every vote in Florida would be evaluated differently, by different individuals using different judgment and perhaps different local standards, or perhaps no standards at all. this would be neither fair nor accurate, it would be arbitrary and chaotic.″

``The votes of Florida have been counted. They have been recounted. And tonight they have been certified,″ Bush said. ``We do not know yet who has won.″

Bush said both candidates must respect the law and not challenge it if the outcome is unsatisfactory.

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