Gore May Run–But Don’t Be Surprised That Kerry Supporters Are Holding Out and Not Supporting Edwards

The London Telegraph believes that a shadow campaign staff for a Gore Presidential campaign is being formed:

Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.

Two members of Mr Gore’s staff from his unsuccessful attempt in 2000 say they have been approached to see if they would be available to work with him again.

Mr Gore, President Bill Clinton’s deputy, has said he wants to concentrate on publicising the need to combat climate change, a case made in his film, An Inconvenient Truth, which won him an Oscar this year.

But, aware that he may step into the wide open race for the White House, former strategists are sounding out a shadow team that could run his campaign at short notice. In approaching former campaign staff, including political strategists and communications officials, they are making clear they are not acting on formal instructions from Mr Gore, 59, but have not been asked to stop.

His denials of interest in the presidency have been couched in terms of “no plans” or “no intention” – politically ambiguous language that does not rule out a run.

One of his former campaign team said: “I was asked whether I would be available towards the end of the year if I am needed. They know he has not ruled out running and if he decides to jump in, he will have to move very fast.

They report that many of these are former Kerry supporters, such as Michael Whouley, an expert at the “ground game” who has received much of the credit for Kerry’s come from behind primary victory in 2004.

Many of his supporters helped to run the unsuccessful presidential campaign of John Kerry in 2004. But since Sen Kerry abandoned his presidential aspirations this year, many of his leading advisers have yet to align themselves with any of the other candidates.

They were expected to join the campaign of Sen Edwards, who was Sen Kerry’s running mate last time.

The former aide, who has himself signed up with Sen Edwards, said: “The question is: where have all the Kerry people gone? The answer for most of them is nowhere. Now ask yourself why.”

The expectation that Kerry supporters should be expected to support Edwards is mistaken and should not be taken as evidence that Gore is setting up a shadow campaign. Those of us who respected both Kerry’s intellect and experience have a very difficult time taking John Edwards seriously as a candidate. While many Kerry supporters were disappointed by the votes of both Kerry and Edwards for the IWR, Kerry’s strong opposition to going to war before the war began has erased that mistake far more than Edwards admitting he was wrong only after this was the politically popular course. There is also a lack of respect for Edwards among Kerry supporters for the weak manner in which he campaigned, especially for refusing to assist in responding to Republican attacks and go on the attack himself, as is conventional for a running mate, presumably to preserve his nice guy image for a run of his own.

Ed Morrissey believes a Gore run, “will probably prove fatal to the ambitions of Barack Obama and John Edwards” and is probably correct. He argues that “Gore has a great deal more substance than both candidates put together.” This would even be true if he said “experience” rather than “substance” as Obama at least has substance of his own, even if it is early in his career for him to be running for President. Captain Ed sees Gore as the chief challenger to Hillary Clinton’s left, which might represent a rare time in which I’ve seen anyone in the conservative blogosphere describe Clinton as anything but far left. Morrissey also writes, “If so, that gives the Republicans an opening among the center.” This ignores the fact that the Republicans have moved so far to the right that anybody nominated by the Democrats will be far closer to the center than any possible Republican nominee, with the possible exception of Rudy Giuliani, whose support for the war will also make it difficult for him to win among moderate voters.

Update: A Gore spokesperson has denied this, emailing TPM saying “There is not a secret campaign operation in Nashville or any other part of the country to mobilize a campaign…other than that which the former Vice President has stated, to mobilize the American people to address the climate crisis.” As is the case with all other denials, the door is never shut to the possibility that he might wind up running at a later date.

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