Speculation about Al Gore entering the presidential campaign continues to mount.
His 2000 campaign manager Donna Brazile says “I do not know for sure if he’s looking or flirting, but, I have an opinion — Gore remains a headliner and can raise money and rally the base.”
His former chief spokesman, Chris Lehane, says that although “Gore has been pretty public that he does not intend to run in 2008. I do think that this is indeed where his head is right now.”
In addition, former presidential advisor and Clinton insider Dick Morris says that Gore “may be a man whose time has come in his party,” and like a “completely refurbished ‘pre-owned vehicle,” Al Gore seems to be positioning himself to Hillary Clinton’s left and greener than John Kerry. His slogan might well read ‘re-elect Al Gore.'”
Political analysts are also having fun with this, citing the historic precedents of candidates who won the popular vote but lost the electoral college vote, only to win later, like Andrew Jackson, losing in 1824 and winning in 1828, and Grover Cleveland losing in 1888 but winning in 1892.
But Rep. Jim Moran, a fellow liberal Democrat, likened Gore’s political career to another candidate who served in the Senate and was a two-term vice-president but who lost a scandalously close race, only to try again eight years later and win — Richard Nixon.
Although Gore consistently outpolled Hillary in the early days of the 2004 campaign, the combination of Hillary’s high profile and his time out of the limelight appear to have taken a toll, as a Marist poll in late February had Hillary up 33% to 17% against Gore.
“The numbers suggest that a case could be made for Mr. Gore in 2008 though it’s a little unclear what he may have in mind,” said Marist pollster Lee Miringoff. “Clearly, he is someone to be watched, especially as an alternative to Hillary Clinton.”
Another possible wildcard is Bill Clinton’s view on a Gore candidacy. Would the former president endorse his loyal VP, or at least have kind words to say about him?
Mr. Clinton could follow the example of Bush 41, who also had to choose between a loyal VP — in this case Dan Quayle — and a family member during a presidential primary. This will be probably be an instance where Hillary will muzzle her husband just to be on the safe side.