Baker Say Gore Should Concede Race
WASHINGTON (AP) _ George W. Bush’s campaign accused Al Gore Friday of mounting ``endless challenges″ to a disputed vote count in make-or-break Florida and said the vice president should concede the race for the White House if he loses the state. Gore’s top campaign aide countered: ``this election is not over.″
At a news conference in Florida, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III said Republicans had twice in the last 40 years decided against prolonged challenges in closely contested elections.
``For the good of the country and for the sake of our standing in the world, the campaigning should end and the business of an orderly transition should begin,″ said Baker, who is Bush’s point man in Florida.
Earlier, Gore’s campaign chairman, William Daley, said, ``The fact of the matter is, this election is in dispute right now.″
An unofficial tally by The Associated Press of the recount in Florida’s 67 counties showed the Texas governor with a 327-vote lead over the vice president in the state whose 25 electoral votes will determine the next president. Not counting the Sunshine State, Bush had won 29 states for 246 electoral votes. Gore had won 18 states plus the District of Columbia for 255, with 270 needed for victory.
A formal state recount is under way, but no final results are expected for several days, in part because the state has yet to tally an unknown number of ballots cast by Floridians living overseas.
Gore’s campaign has argued that there was a faulty ballot design in Palm Beach County that left some of the vice president’s supporters inadvertently voting for Pat Buchanan.
Several lawsuits have been filed challenging the election.