Vice President Biden said Tuesday evening that Al Gore was the actual winner of the 2000 presidential election and that his willingness to abide by the law and accept the Supreme Court ruling giving the election to George W. Bush was an act of nobility.
Biden, who spoke at a Washington fundraiser for Senate candidate Rep. Ed Market (D-Mass.), added that most senators he has known over the years would not have made the same decision as the former vice president. Gore was also at the event.
From the press pool report:
“This man was elected president of the United States of America,” Biden said. “No, no, no. He was elected president of the United States of America. But for the good of the nation, when the bad decision in my view was made, he did the right thing for the nation.”
“I’ve served longer than all but 13 members of the United States Senate. I can’t think of very many who would put his country first like that, at a really, really, really difficult time. There’s an awful lot of folks Al and I both know who have run for president and still haven’t gotten over it.”
“Al, you set an example for this country that is going to live as long as recorded history, about the man who won by a decision that I think constitutional scholars now and in the future will conclude was an ill fated decision,” Biden said. “The way you stepped up, it was amazing.
Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), concurred: “In my house we still call him president,” she said of Gore.
Gore does not appear to have tried to contradict Biden’s assertions. He commended Biden on his work as vice president:
“I probably know at least as much as anybody here about how hard his job is in ways that you might not recognize,” he said. “And I know the tremendous skill and grace with which he has pulled it off.”
Biden also said President Obama is uniquely able to lure minorities to the polls and that Markey is endangered because Obama is not on the ticket:
“There’s a big difference in this race,” Biden said. “Barack Obama’s not at the head of the ticket. And that means those legions of African Americans and Latinos are not automatically going to come out. No one has energized them like Barack Obama. But he’s not on the ticket. So don’t take this one for granted.”
Biden heaped praise on Markey, commending him for his “emotional IQ.”