|In Brief - Chairman of Current (formerly INdTV), an independent cable and satellite TV network that launched on August 1, 2005. Chairman of Generation, a London-based investment management company he launched with former Goldman Sachs chief executive David Blood in late 2004. Democratic nominee for President in 2000, winning 50,992,335 votes (48.38 percent) but losing the Electoral College vote by 271 to 267 after a protracted post-election tussel in Florida. 45th Vice President of the United States, served two terms; Jan. 20, 1993-Jan. 20, 2001. Elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee in 1984, re-elected in 1990. Elected to the U.S. House, representing the 4th district of Tennessee, in 1976; served four terms, 1977-85. Investigative reporter for the Tennessean. U.S. Army, 1969-71; enlisted and served as a military journalist in the 20th Engineers Brigade in Vietnam. Harvard University, B.A., 1969. Born March 31, 1948 in Washington, DC. [Timeline].|
The Global Warming Crusader
In "An Inconvenient Truth," the documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim, former Vice President Al Gore travels the country, and indeed the world, delivering his slide show presentation warning about global warming. The film was released in Los Angeles and New York on May 24, 2006 and rolled out across the country over the next month. For a documentary, the movie did well at the box office and it received generally favorable reviews. Gore also came out with a book version of "An Inconvenient Truth" (Rodale Books, May 26, 2006). He did a few book signings which generated large crowds. In the naysayers' corner, the Competitive Enterprise Institute produced two 60-second television spots "focusing on the alleged global warming crisis and the calls by some environmental groups and politicians for reduced energy use;" the ads ran in 14 U.S. cities from May 18-28, 2006. Gore is devoted all of his profits from the movie and the book and Paramount contributed 5 percent of ticket sales to a new group, the Alliance for Climate Protection, of which he is chair.
Gore received very significant media attention in May and June 2006, greatly boosting his profile and leading to considerable speculation about whether he would run for president in 2008. He wasn't in Vogue, but he did make the cover of the May issue of Vanity Fair's special green issue, in an Annie Liebowitz photo with George Clooney, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Julia Roberts. He appeared in the opening skit on the May 13, 2006 "Saturday Night Live," addressing the nation from an Oval Office-like setting, on the premise that he had been President for the past six years. In a July 2006 feature Rolling Stone magazine had him "looser and more outspoken than ever."
The slide show was only a first step. Through The Climate Project, Gore is training a thousand "Climate Change Messengers" to spread the word about global warming. On Feb. 9, 2007 Gore appeared with Sir Richard Branson to announce the Virgin Earth Challenge, which "will award $25 million to the individual or group who are able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects." On Feb. 13, 2007 Gore joined with celebrities in Los Angeles to announce "Live Earth - The Concert for a Climate in Crisis," a series of concerts involving over 100 musical acts that will be held on July 7, 2007 (7/7/07) on all seven continents, the proceeds from which will "create the foundation for a new, multi-year global effort to combat the climate crisis." On Feb. 25, 2007 Gore and "An Inconvenient Truth" were back in the news, as the film won Oscars for director Guggenheim and lyricist Melissa Etheridge. At that time, according to boxofficemojo.com, the film had grossed $25.1 million domestically, placing it third in its documentary genre classification behind "Farenheit 9/11" and "March of the Penguins." Gore testified at a joint hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality and the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on March 21, 2007. Live Earth organizers proclaimed on July 9 that "the 7-continent, 24 hour music extravaganza on July 7th was the largest global entertainment event in history." > On October 12, 2007 the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Gore would share the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007. "He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted," the Committee declared in its press release. >
One could see all this activity as an ideal preface to a presidential campaign, except that Gore has expressed repeatedly expressed disinterest in running.
Last time he had the opportunity, Gore did not run. On Dec. 15, 2002, appearing on CBS's "60 Minutes" Gore stated, "...I personally have the energy and the drive and the ambition -- to make another campaign. But I don't think it's the right thing for me to do." Supporters tried to draft him to run back then as well, but on Dec. 9, 2003 he endorsed Gov. Howard Dean, declaring that Dean "really is the only candidate who has been able to inspire at the grassroots level all over this country the kind of passion and enthusiasm for democracy and change and transformation of America that we need in this country."
This time too, when asked about the possibility of a White House bid, Gore states that he is not planning to run, and he has been very consistent about that. In a widely reported remark, at the 2005 Summer Television Critics Association press tour on July 18, 2005, Gore stated, "I consider myself a recovering politician. I'm on step nine." In the July 31 issue of Time magazine he put his odds of running for office again at "close to a zero-percent chance." In a Sept. 10, 2006 remark in Sydney, Australia Gore continued to leave the door open a tiny crack, stating, "I haven't completely ruled out running for president again in the future but I don't expect to."
"Let it Rip"
In a June 2002 meeting with fundraisers Gore rued an overreliance on consultants in his 2000 campaign and said if he ran again he would "let it rip." Gore's speeches since then show that freer approach. In the 2004 cycle he delivered a number of speeches sharply critical of the Bush administration, including several sponsored by the liberal group MoveOn.org (or its PAC). On Aug. 7, 2003 at New York University he decried "the manner in which we were led into war." On May 26, 2004 at New York University he called for the immediate resignations of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others "who are most responsible for creating the catastrophe that we are facing in Iraq." On Oct. 18, 2004 in a MoveOn-sponsored speech at Georgetown University, he delivered a broad indictment of the Bush and his administration, lambasting "his belief in the infallibility of the right-wing Republican ideology that exalts the interests of the wealthy and of large corporations over the interests of the American people." After reports of eavesdropping on some overseas calls surfaced, Gore delivered a Jan. 16, 2006 speech to the American Constitution Society for Law and Justice warning that "America's Constitution is in grave danger" and that "the American values we hold most dear have been placed at serious risk by the unprecedented claims of the administration to a truly breathtaking expansion of executive power." In May 2007 Gore came out with a new book, "The Assault on Reason." This type of direct talk continued to spark enthusiasm among his supporters.
Dick Morris, the former advisor to President Clinton, was one key figure talking up a Gore run. He wrote in a February 22, 2006 column ("Look out, here comes Al") that, "Gore may be a man whose time has come in his party." In a May 22, 2006 column Morris argued that "Only Gore Can Stop Hillary."
Supporters Hold Out Hope
Gore's supporters emphasized that he had not issued a Shermanesque statement completely ruling out a presidential bid. Various unofficial, grassroots efforts sought to prepare the ground for a possible Gore 2008 campaign. Lori Learned of Lawrence, KS, active in AlGore.org, the "Grassroots 2008 Draft Campaign," opined that, "If we build it, he will come. That's what we're hoping." Learned's husband Steve Robinson stated that "...if his grassroots support is there and he feels like he can run the new politics style of campaign -- that's my person opinion, is what he'll do is the new politics, the Dean politics, the Trippi political style of campaign -- if he feels like he can do that, I think he'll run." > Gore advocates tabled at major Democratic and progressive gatherings. In late June 2007 Draft Gore ran a radio ad in Iowa, and on July 12, 2007 Draft Gore treasurer Eva Ritchey delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures to Gore's office in Nashville. > On Oct. 10, 2007 Draft Gore ran a full-page ad in the New York Times. In a number of states supporters started work to put his name on the ballot (CA, NH), however Gore eventually discouraged those efforts (CA press release).
A Different Candidate, A Better
As a result of his defeat and his work in the past eight years, Gore would be a different candidate and he might be a better president. There is no guarantee that the wooden Al Gore, the pedantic Al Gore, might not re-emerge if he were to become a candidate or that "Ozone Al" would be able to effectively fend off Republican criticisms or that he would get more favorable media coverage. After 24 consecutive years of public service, Gore has broadened his experience, serving as chairman of Current (formerly INdTV), a new independent cable and satellite TV network, and chairman of Generation, a London-based investment management company, in addition to his global warming crusade. To take him at his word, Gore is unlikely to leave Belle Meade and those endeavors to return to the hurley-burley of a presidential campaign, but the speculation has continued.
May 22, 2007.
THE ASSAULT ON REASON: How the Politics of Fear, Secrecy,
and Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision Making, Degrade Our Democracy, and
Put Our Country and Our World in Peril. New York: Penguin
"Gore's larger goal in this book is to explain how the public sphere itself has evolved into a place hospitable to reason's enemies, to make us more aware of the forces at work on our own minds, and to lead us to an understanding of what we can do, individually and collectively, to restore the rule of reason and safeguard our future. Drawing on a life's work in politics as well as on the work of experts across a broad range of disciplines, Al Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking."
Will Dana. "Al Gore
Stone. July 13-27, 2006.
Karen Breslau. "The Resurrection of Al Gore." Wired. May 2006. (cover story).
John Heilemann. "The Comeback Kid." New York. May 29, 2006. ("The Un-Hillary" cover)
Ezra Klein. "The New New Gore." The American Prospect. April 2006. ("Reborn. To Run?" cover).
June 2, 2007-Draft Gore table at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convetion in Concord, NH.
May 29, 2007-Promoting his new book The Assault on Reason in an event at the George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium.
Feb. 3, 2007-Draft Al Gore effort at the DNC Winter Meeting.
Nov. 6, 2006-Former Vice President Al Gore rallies Maryland Democrats at Leisure World in Silver Spring, MD.
June 12-14, 2006-Draft Gore effort at Campaign for America's Future's "Take Back America" Conference.
Jan. 16, 2006-Former Vice President Al Gore warns "America's Constitution is in grave danger" in a speech at Constitution Hall.
|Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action||