Will Nobel mean Gore will run for president?
The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Democrat Al Gore and the United Nations climate panel on Friday intensified pressure on the former United States vice-president to launch a late bid for the presidency, but advisers said he is showing no signs of interest in the 2008 race.
Gore, who lost a Florida vote recount battle in the 2000 election to Republican George Bush, has attracted growing support in recent days from thousands of Democratic activists who want him to enter the race.
An organisation called Draftgore.com said the award “will only add to the tremendous tidal wave of support for Al Gore and the growing demands that he become a candidate for president in 2008”.
“We believe that under these circumstances he has no choice but to take the one step left to have the greatest impact in changing policy on global warming—run for president,” it said.
“He is needed now, not in the future,” said Peter Ryder, of another draft movement, Algore.org, which has been trying to get Gore’s name on the ballot in many states. “He’ll have to say ‘no’ more definitively.”
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards issued statements of appreciation for Gore.
“By having the courage to challenge the sceptics in Washington and lead on the climate crisis facing our planet, Al Gore has advanced the cause of peace and richly deserves this award,” Obama said.
The Norwegian Nobel committee chose Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to share the 2007 prize from a field of 181 candidates. “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 said in its award citation.
The attention represents how far Gore has taken his quest to call global attention to concerns about climate change with his documentary that won an Oscar, An Inconvenient Truth.
San Francisco-based Current TV, Gore’s television network, won an Emmy award last month for outstanding achievement in interactive television service.
‘Light bulbs, not politics’
After losing the Supreme Court case that cost him the White House, Gore from all accounts had a difficult time getting over the closest presidential election in US history. He escaped to Europe for a time, and grew a beard.
Once considered a wooden speaker, he now is a pop-culture icon, and happily engaged in a life that includes many speaking engagements about climate change, positions on corporate boards and much travel.
At a time when the US is preoccupied with the most wide-open presidential race in more than 50 years, former aides like Julia Payne say he does not talk much about politics, recalling that she saw him at the wedding of a former staffer in Nashville, Tennessee.
“The last time I talked with the vice-president, we talked light bulbs, not politics,” she said.
Long-time adviser Carter Eskew said he talks to Gore about once a week.
“I don’t think he’s going to run,” said Eskew. “He has said technically he hasn’t ruled it out. But I can tell you he’s making no moves and no sounds to indicate to me that he’s going to run.”
Gore’s spokesperson, Kalee Kreider, was more definitive. “He has no intentions of running for president in 2008,” she said recently from Nashville, where Gore lives.—Reuters
Additional reporting by Jim Christie in San Francisco