In a graceful, quietly witty speech, the Vice-President bowed out of the election contest after five weeks of disputation over the counting of votes in Florida.
Earlier, Gore had telephoned Bush to offer congratulations. In his opening words, the Vice-President joked that he would not be ringing Bush back.
"I offer my concession," Gore said.
Gore said he disagreed with the Supreme Court decision, but would abide by it.
"It's time for me to go," Gore said, echoing the words he used against the new president's father, President George Bush, in 1992.
A speech from Bush is expected within the hour.
Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated
him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States, and I
promised him that I wouldn't call him back this time.
I offered to meet with him as soon as possible so that we can
start to heal the divisions of the campaign and the contest through
which we just passed.
Almost a century and a half ago, Senator Stephen Douglas told
Abraham Lincoln, who had just defeated him for the presidency,
"Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I'm with you, Mr.
President, and God bless you."
Well, in that same spirit, I say to President-elect Bush that
what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God
bless his stewardship of this country.
Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road.
Certainly neither of us wanted it to happen. Yet it came, and now it
has ended, resolved, as it must be resolved, through the honored
institutions of our democracy.
Over the library of one of our great law schools is
inscribed the motto, "Not under man but under God and law. That's the
ruling principle of American freedom, the source of our democratic
liberties. I've tried to make it my guide throughout this contest as
it has guided America's deliberations of all the complex issues of the
past five weeks.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt,
while I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it. I
accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday
in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity of
the people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.
I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge
unconditionally, to honor the new president elect and do everything
possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the
great vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that our
Constitution affirms and defends.
Let me say how grateful I am to all those who supported me
and supported the cause for which we have fought. Tipper and I feel a
deep gratitude to Joe and Hadassah Lieberman who brought passion and
high purpose to our partnership and opened new doors, not just for our
campaign but for our country.
This has been an extraordinary election. But in one of God's
unforeseen paths, this belatedly broken impasse can point us all to a
new common ground, for its very closeness can serve to remind us that
we are one people with a shared history and a shared destiny.
Indeed, that history gives us many examples of contests as hotly
debated, as fiercely fought, with their own challenges to the popular
Other disputes have dragged on for weeks before reaching
resolution. And each time, both the victor and the vanquished have
accepted the result peacefully and in the spirit of reconciliation.
So let it be with us.
I know that many of my supporters are disappointed. I am too.
But our disappointment must be overcome by our love of country.
And I say to our fellow members of the world community, let no
one see this contest as a sign of American weakness. The strength of
American democracy is shown most clearly through the difficulties it
Some have expressed concern that the unusual nature of this
election might hamper the next president in the conduct of his office.
I do not believe it need be so.
President-elect Bush inherits a nation whose citizens will be
ready to assist him in the conduct of his large responsibilities.
I personally will be at his disposal, and I call on all
Americans -- I particularly urge all who stood with us to unite behind
our next president. This is America. Just as we fight hard when the
stakes are high, we close ranks and come together when the contest is
And while there will be time enough to debate our continuing
differences, now is the time to recognize that that which unites us is
greater than that which divides us.
While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is
a higher duty than the one we owe to political party. This is America
and we put country before party. We will stand together behind our