Al Gore in 2008 Speculation


On Principles & Values: On 2008: “Been there, done that; not pursuing it”

“I wanted it, and it was not to be,” said Al Gore, the former vice president and two-time presidential candidate. “I am not pursuing it. I have been there, and I have done that.” Gore dismissed - with a combination of weariness and wariness, but with something approaching finality - speculation that his rising profile should be interpreted as the first stirrings of another bid for the White House.

“Why should I run for office?” Gore asked, the impatience evident in his voice. “I have no interest in running for office. I have run for office. I have run four national campaigns. I have found other ways to serve my country, and I am enjoying them.“

After a period in which he had worn out his welcome in some quarters, these have been days of some vindication for Gore, who likes to introduce himself as ”the man who used to be the next president of the United States,“ a melancholy reference to his defeat - a characterization he might be inclined to dispute - by Pres. Bush in 2000.

Source: 2008 speculation, Adam Nagourney in the NY Times May 28, 2006

On Principles & Values: On 2008: can bide his time & raise Internet money later

Gore’s statement that he had no interest in running in 2008 approached finality but was not ironclad. It is not that Gore does not want to be president. When asked whether he thought he would have more influence fighting global warming in the White House or making movies, he responded instantly. “There’s no position anywhere equal to the president of the US in terms of one’s ability to influence policy.”

Yet as much as Gore wants to be president, his image and legacy-think the defining first clause in his eventual biography-could not absorb another race in which he lost again, or really lost. What that means is that Gore would only run if he was absolutely confident that he could win.

If Gore wanted to run, he would have no trouble enlisting the resources. Gore could bide his time before entering the race, confident that the power of the Internet would permit him to raise money almost instantly. Current praise from the netroots and left suggests there is a ready-made base just waiting for him.

Source: 2008 speculation, Adam Nagourney in the NY Times May 28, 2006

On Energy & Oil: An Inconvenient Truth: Gore’s movie about global warming

A movie about Al Gore giving a PowerPoint presentation about global warming doesn’t sound all that exciting [in Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”]. Getting the country to face up to global warming is his life’s mission, and it could be his ticket to the presidency. Voters yearning for a principled leader who truly believes in something may find what they’re looking for in the former vice president. Gore said that he’s in the middle of a campaign, but it’s not a campaign for a candidate. “Been there, done that,“ he said.

Nobody believes him. By not playing the overt political game, Gore may be putting in place the first issue-driven campaign of the 21st century, one that is premised on a big moral challenge that is becoming more real with soaring gas prices and uncertain oil supplies.

Whether he is or isn’t running almost doesn’t matter. Gore has the luxury of waiting until late in the political season to announce. He has universal name recognition and a proven ability to raise money.

Source: 2008 speculation: Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, “Gore Redux” Apr 28, 2006

On Energy & Oil: Global warming captured Gore’s interest as student

This could be the ultimate remake for Gore, whose struggles with his persona during the 2000 campaign made him an object of ridicule. He seems more approachable now, and he’s a first-rate teacher as he explains in “An Inconvenient Truth” about the inescapable march of global warming, along with its consequences, that first captured his imagination as a college student. The film is not apocalyptic; you don’t leave the theater feeling all is lost. Gore says he deliberately left out recent scientific predictions that the world has just 10 years to reverse global warming or a tipping point will be reached beyond which it cannot be stopped. Reflections about the 2000 presidential race (“It was a hard blow, but you make the best of it”), a childhood split between farm life and a hotel room in Washington and his beloved sister’s death from lung cancer interspersed with the slide show give the movie a biopic feel that makes viewers wonder what might have been if history had taken a different turn.
Source: 2008 speculation: Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, “Gore Redux” Apr 28, 2006

On Principles & Values: Parallels to Nixon’s comeback from 1960 vs. 1968

There is a parallel for Gore in another president who lost narrowly, retreated to private life and then returned to win the presidency. His name was Richard Nixon. He lost to John F. Kennedy in 1960 in what was then the closest race in American history. Written off by the political establishment, Nixon went to New York and practiced law. Then in 1964, the Republicans took a drubbing with Barry Goldwater, and suddenly the uptight and sober Nixon looked pretty good. John Kerry came much closer to winning than Goldwater, but Kerry turned out to be a wind-surfing dilettante who in retrospect reminded Democrats they had a better candidate in Gore.

Gore is not anything like Nixon, but there is an underlying psychological subtext they have in common. Once you’re bitten by the presidential bug, you stay bitten. This is his Richard Nixon remake. The question is-is he willing to challenge Hillary Clinton? That’s a question not even Gore seems to be able to answer.

Source: 2008 speculation: Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, “Gore Redux” Apr 28, 2006

On Principles & Values: Documentary reintroduces more likable Gore to public

Hillary just isn’t liked enough to be president. The presidential election is in large part a popularity contest-go back at least 30 years and you’ll find the winner was always the more personally engaging of the two parties’ nominees. Hillary may be smart and highly capable but she’s not liked.

That, I suspect, as much as anything, is the reason behind the sudden re-emergence of Al Gore in the last few weeks. The rehabilitation of the former vice-president is proceeding apace. Tanned, fitter, six years on from the nightmare of the 2000 election, he has a had a fresh start. Messianic now about global warming, with a well-received documentary on the subject, Gore now looks less like the man who lost in 2000 and more like man who won most votes in 2000.

But there is something else that could really propel Gore to make a run. There is nothing Al Gore would like more than to beat Hillary for the Democratic nomination. There’s history here: deep, bitter, personal feuding history.

Source: 2008 speculation by Gerard Baker in The Peninsula (Qatar) Apr 8, 2006

The above quotations are from Speculation about the 2008 Presidential race.
Click here for other excerpts from Speculation about the 2008 Presidential race.
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