The top Democrats in the US House and Senate told White House hopeful Al Gore Monday that rank and file lawmakers were solidly behind his bid to contest presidential election results in Florida.
"There's overwhelming support for your effort and a realization that if we completed the count, there is little doubt that you'd be ahead," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle told the vice president in a conference call.
"We are absolutely confident that if all the votes are counted, the vice president wins," he stressed at a press conference after chatting with the vice president, who was at his official residence in Washington.
House Democrats "continue to be entirely supportive of going ahead with this contest for the purpose of finding out how everybody voted in this election," said House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt.
It was a crucial show of support for Gore, who has formally contested in court Florida results certified late Sunday that show Republican rival George W. Bush won by a scant 537 votes.
In the conference call, Gore said he was "very encouraged" by the lawmakers' support, and reiterated that "there are more than enough votes (still uncounted) to change the outcome."
Democrats have charged that over 10,000 votes they say were never tallied would show Gore won the state's 25 Electoral College votes, without which neither candidate can reach the 270 votes needed to become the 43rd US president.
Gephardt blasted statewide results certified late Sunday as "incomplete and inaccurate. And it's premature for either side to declare victory or concede, because the fact is all the votes are still not in."
Daschle raised the spectre of declaring a winner based on such counts, only to discover when a final accounting is complete that the wrong man has been elected, saying: "That fear motivates us to be here today." -- TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)