Gore considers presidential campaign


Richard Moore

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Gore chases Oscar nod, possible 2008 bid
By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer
Tue Dec 12, 5:56 AM ET

Al Gore is waging a fierce campaign for recognition and an Oscar statuette for 
his global warming documentary, while reviving talk that he's pursuing a bigger 
prize: the presidency.

His recent itinerary has been the ultimate in high profile. The former vice 
president made self-deprecating jokes on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," 
offered ideas on preserving the environment to Oprah Winfrey and her daytime 
audience and parried questions on Iraq from Matt Lauer on the "Today" show.

This Saturday Gore is hosting a network of 1,600 house parties across the 
country to watch and discuss his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," with the 
Democrat planning to address the gatherings by satellite hookup. The movie is on
the short list of feature-length documentaries being considered for Oscar 

Crisscrossing the country to promote the DVD version of the movie ‹ just in time
for holiday gift-giving ‹ Gore insists that he's not planning a return to 

"I am not planning to run for president again," Gore said last week, arguing 
that his focus is raising public awareness about global warming and its dire 
effects. Then, he added: "I haven't completely ruled it out."

Those words make Gore the 800-pound non-candidate of the Democratic field. The 
possibility of another presidential bid delights many Democrats still steamed 
over the disputed 2000 election, in which they argue a few more votes, a state 
other than Florida and a different Supreme Court could have put Gore, not George
W. Bush, in the White House.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the front-runner, but a polarizing one 
for some Democrats. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is the electrifying newcomer, but
limited in his experience. Gore remains, for many party activists, the Democrat 
and popular vote-getter done wrong.

"He won the election in 2000 ‹ he just lost the (electoral) count," former 
Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler said. "If I were he, I 
wouldn't rule out a run. It's an uncertain field, and he's a person who is 
widely respected."

In many respects, Gore is better positioned for a political comeback than in his
previous bids.

He has won fame for "An Inconvenient Truth," the highest-grossing documentary of
the year. His outspoken environmentalism and opposition to the Iraq war has 
drawn raves from many Democrats, who have been frustrated by the caution among 
some party lawmakers on those issues.

Derided in 2000 for being a wooden know-it-all, the new Gore is funny. He's done
humorous turns on "Saturday Night Live" and voiced a disembodied head on the 
cartoon "Futurama," which is being made into a movie.

Perhaps most important for his future political endeavors, Gore has gotten rich.
Thanks to a range of business ventures, including a longtime advisory 
relationship with Google and a seat on Apple Computer's board of directors, 
aides say he could spend as much as $50 million of his own money to launch a 
credible presidential run.

To be sure, Gore has given plenty of signals that he does not intend to become a

While Clinton, Obama and other likely contenders have begun courting activists 
and building their organizations, Gore has steered far from campaign mechanics.

And while many prospective candidates have visited states with early 
presidential contests such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Gore 
spends most weekends at home in Nashville, Tenn., training environmentalists to 
deliver a slideshow presentation on global warming to audiences across the 

"I see no signs of Gore organizing supporters right now," said Donna Brazile, 
Gore's presidential campaign manager in 2000.

Neither Clinton nor Obama has yet announced plans to run. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack 
has declared his candidacy, while Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (news, bio, voting 
record) has formed an exploratory committee. Other likely candidates include 
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 presidential nominee; former North 
Carolina Sen. John Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee; Delaware Sen. 
Joe Biden; Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd; and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Despite his protestations to the contrary, some Democratic strategists believe 
Gore could be persuaded to enter the race and will wait to see how the field 
shakes out before making a final decision.

Joe Trippi, who managed Howard Dean's Internet-fueled presidential campaign in 
2004, said Gore would be a formidable candidate and could probably wait longer 
than others to enter the field.

"If anything, he's more relevant than anyone in the race because of his 
positions on the war and global warming," Trippi said. "And that's really tough 
to do in the Democratic Party, which treats its failed presidential candidates 
like members of leper colony."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announce the Oscar nominations 
Jan. 23, with the 79th Oscars slated for Feb. 25. Iowa caucuses would be less 
than a year after that.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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