CORPUS CHRISTI, TX—During a campaign swing through lower Texas Monday, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole demanded a recount of the upcoming 1996 presidential election.
"Bob Dole isn't going to take defeat sitting down," Dole told a crowd of Republican supporters, vowing to personally recount all the ballots himself if necessary. "He's going to count those ballots. He's going to count every last one of them with his bare hands."
Added Dole: "Bob Dole is going to be the next President of the United States!"
The 73-year-old Dole, trailing Clinton in most polls by about 15 points, repeated the new, recount-themed message later that day during a speech at a $500-a-plate fundraiser barbeque. He is expected to continue the strategy as he campaigns in Georgia and Florida this week.
Said Dole campaign manager James Weirer: "Mr. Dole feels it is possible that Bill Clinton's inevitable victory in this election may be the result of a vote-counting error. And Bob Dole is the sort of tireless champion of the people who will not let that kind of a possibility go uninvestigated."
New Dole campaign posters have been printed up with the phrase, "Recount 'Em!" emblazoned across a photo of Dole giving the thumbs-up sign.
A series of recount-themed TV ads will hit also airwaves across the nation in late October. The ads depict electoral college computers counting ballots and making counting errors. The grainy, black-and-white presentation is accompanied by eerie music as an announcer says, "When you vote, how do you know your vote is being counted properly? Wouldn't you be happier to know that Bob Dole himself is counting—and recounting—every single ballot?"
In a memo released by his campaign managers yesterday, Dole outlined the specifics of his recount plan, which entails the following: one full-scale recount as soon as Bill Clinton is declared the winner of the general election; two recounts if Clinton is verified as the winner upon the first recount; and then a third recount if Clinton is verified as the winner upon the first two recounts.
"Bob Dole is not a quitter," Dole said. "Just because Clinton is going to win this election does not mean Bob Dole is not going to win this election."
Dole stressed that unlike his opponent, he has been running for public office since the early '50s, instilling in him a deep, longtime love of votes. "If a ballot says 'Bob Dole' on it, Bob Dole's going to treasure it. He's going to caress the ballot and hold it very close to his breast. Bob Dole may even shed a tear for the ballot," Dole said. "Then he's going to count it and move on to the next one."
Dole also revealed that he will, win or lose, dive head first into a huge pile of ballots marked "Bob Dole."
Dole said that during the recounting process, he will continue to accept votes from the American people. "Send them on postcards, letters or telegrams," Dole said. "When I receive enough post-election votes to defeat Clinton, I will take my rightful place in the Oval Office."
After the third unsuccessful recount—and the subsequent addition of any post-election votes, which are also expected to fail to bring his vote count above Clinton's—Dole plans simply to move into the White House with his family and begin performing the duties of the President.
"Come November 5, win or lose, Bob Dole is going to be the next President of the United States!" Dole said.