Eleanor Clift on Gore on the Un-Campaign Trail

Eleanor Clift doesn’t buy Gore’s denials that he is a candidate, and describes his current activitiess as being on the Un-Campaign Trail: 

Since the documentary he starred in, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Academy Award, speculation has only increased about Al Gore’s potential entry into the presidential race. He is not taking any overt steps toward running, and that may be the cleverest strategy of all. A Democratic strategist sent Gore a memo sometime ago suggesting he announce, but forgo the traditional campaign trail and continue promoting the cause of global warming. He would be the nonpolitical candidate. Word came back: Gore isn’t running. But in fact he is. Whether it results in an official run depends on what the field looks like six months from now. Laurie David, who helped bankroll Gore’s film, and whose “personal fantasy” is that he run, says that when she presses him, he’s always coy and says his cell phone is breaking up. “I believe him when he says he doesn’t have any intention of running,” David told NEWSWEEK. “But I also believe the door is not completely shut.”

Regardless of whether he intends for this to be part of a political campaign, the timing of his upcoming book is perfect:

Gore is also finishing a book that sure seems like a prelude to something. “The Assault on Reason,” to be published in May, is about “the forces in society that are undermining democracy,” says Roy Neel, Gore’s chief of staff. The manuscript has gone through three rewrites in the past month because of new Bush administration scandals.

This would also play in perfectly with the national sense of buyer’s remourse related to George Bush, leading many to regret that Gore was not allowed to take office in 2001. There was speculation that Gore might announce upon winning the Oscar, but that was too early for his un-campaign strategy. Clift has a more realistic scenario:

Gore undoubtedly knows that he’d lose his iconic status the minute he got in the race. But Earth Day is coming up. Laurie David and Sheryl Crow will lead a college tour that will culminate with a rally in Washington. Perfect setting for a presidential announcement, but Gore won’t be there. He’ll be conducting a virtual reunion of the thousand “climate messengers” he has trained to carry on his crusade.

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