Stahl: Fair enough. But I'm not sure if you're persuading people. If the Florida votes are not counted again, you have said that it would, quote, 'Present a serious risk to Bush bringing the country together again.'NEXT: "60 MINUTES" DIVA-STYLE (Cont'd)
Gore: Isn't that obvious? You and I both know that historians and academics are waiting in the wings, biding their time, until they are able to count the votes and publish their conclusions in peer-reviewed journals. And when they do? When the people see that their election was stolen from them? What then, Leslie? Do we just tell them that that's the way the cookie crumbles? That we had to hurry? That stability in the financial markets was more important than the expression of their will?
Stahl: Even if you didn't get a recount?
Gore: Because the votes were not fully and accurately counted at all.
Stahl: Even if it comes about through the Florida legislature selecting a slate of electors by themselves?
Gore: Ah. The nuclear option. In a way, I hope they do exactly that. I hope they do it on live TV. I hope the American people have that image burned into their brains for eternity. The image of the same republican lawmakers who trotted from media interview to media interview attacking the process, sitting there in the Florida legislature overruling the will of the people.
Stahl: No matter how that comes about?
Gore: We all know how that would come about. Bush the father told you how it would. Right there, on The Today Show, he made it clear that Jeb could be counted on to the hold the family line. Jeb is a good boy. Jeb will see that it is done.
Stahl: You didn't get your count.
Gore: What difference does that make to the Bush's? Have you seen anything in their behavior to indicate that they have any confidence in the outcome if all the votes are counted? I offered a state-wide recount, and they rebuffed the offer. They know that accurately counted votes mean defeat for them. They have statisticians, too, you know.
Stahl: Have you set a deadline?
Gore: When the votes are counted. I think this is going to be completely over with by the middle of December.
Stahl: December 12?
Gore: My expectation is it will be over on or about then. But, then again, I also expected that Florida would put on a fair election. Shows what I know.
Stahl: The Supreme Court hearing -- you sent your four children to listen. You've heard the tape I assume.
Gore: Part of it.
Stahl: Did you think they were leaning with you or against you -- you couldn't tell?
Gore: I have no idea. Could you?
Stahl: It was interesting. I thought questions went right along ideological lines.
Gore: Brilliant assessment, Leslie.
Stahl: I have to stop. Let's be honest. I mean you're sitting here, they call this house where we are "the bunker."
Gore: Who does? Mr. Sincerity, James Baker? How about Mr. Honesty, Karl Rove? Or maybe Mr. Integrity, Ari Fleischer? Consider the source, Leslie.
Stahl: Everybody. That you're wrapped up in this and want to present this picture to the public that everything is okay and it's a great civics lesson. You have to be angry, you have to be angry at what's happening? I mean you do think you won the election, don't you?
Gore: I know I won. And I am angry. But, believe it or not, I am angrier for the American people than I am for myself. Nothing is being stolen from me; borrowed for a while, maybe. The history books will tell the tale of this "election," and I will be vindicated. But the people… I can't imagine the impotent rage that has to come from knowing that the right to vote has been dangled in front of you like a brass ring, and the whole time the person holding the ring is laughing at your gullibility, at your silly expectation that your voice is going to be heard and honored. That must be an awful feeling... (Continued)