Tuesday, May 30


In an interview with the Guardian, Al Gore demonstrated more of his straight talk about the Bushies that he has been sharing since at least 2002 and the runup to the Iraq war.

Al Gore has made his sharpest attack yet on the George Bush presidency, describing the current US administration as "a renegade band of rightwing extremists".

In an interview with the Guardian today, the former vice-president calls himself a "recovering politician", but launches into the political fray more explicitly than he has previously done during his high-profile campaigning on the threat of global warming.

Denying that his politics have shifted to the left since he lost the court battle for the 2000 election, Mr Gore says: "If you have a renegade band of rightwing extremists who get hold of power, the whole thing goes to the right."

Al indicated once again that he will not be a candidate for president in '08. I think that is currently his true intention, and perhaps with his newly recognized stature as prescient statesman (he opposed the war in Iraq, called out the truth about the Bush administration early on, and his decades-long crusade for the environment is now being, finally, recognized as ahead of its time, and accurately based in good science) he can actually be more effective outside of government than in it.

But I believe that Al Gore is, above all things, just that, a statesman. And the reason he is not categorically stating that he will never be a candidate for president is that if he truly believed the nation needed him, he would put aside his present contentment and activities and respond to the call.

At the weekend, Time magazine reported that he was telling key fundraisers they should feel free to sign on with other potential candidates. The magazine quoted unnamed Democratic sources as saying that the former vice-president had also been asking the fundraisers to "tell everybody I'm not running".

Mr Gore would not find it difficult to raise millions of dollars, if he did decide to run. But while public denials might prove a wise campaign strategy - not least by prolonging the period of positive attention Mr Gore is now receiving - actively turning away fundraisers does suggest a firmer resolve not to re-enter electoral politics.

It is significant, however, that Mr Gore refuses to go beyond saying that he has no "plans" for such a campaign. "I haven't made a Shermanesque statement because it just seems odd to do so," he has said - a reference to the famous announcement by the civil war general William Sherman, who unequivocally refused to stand in the election of 1884. "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve," General Sherman said.

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