Al Gore deserves the chance to run again for the White House after his disputed loss to George W. Bush in 2000, the Democratic Party chairman said Sunday.

``He was robbed, and that's a fact,'' Terry McAuliffe said.

The former vice president has said that he will decide by year's end whether to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.

The parties' political focus now is on the Nov. 5 election, which will determine control of Congress.

By the next morning, McAuliffe said, ``I do believe that the presidential campaign will get off and everybody will be out there. I think there's going to be six or seven people running for president, which I like.''

He said on ABC's This Week that Gore ``deserves to run again. Listen, this is a primary process, and I have to be totally neutral in this, and I have talked to many candidates who have told me that they are probably going to run.

``But listen, if you're Al Gore, you get up every morning knowing that you got a half a million more votes than George Bush did.''

McAuliffe did not answer directly when asked how soon should Gore make up his mind.

Bush was declared the winner over Gore 36 days after the voting in 2000, following the Supreme Court decision that effectively halted a partial recount in Florida.

Despite losing the popular vote, Bush won the electoral vote by 271-266 — one more than needed.