Gore Fans Can't Believe He Won't Run
REBECCA ROBERTS, host:
Al Gore will be in Hollywood tomorrow night to see if his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," wins an Oscar for best documentary. In the film, the former vice president is credited with winning over skeptics of global warming. Now he needs to work on skeptics who don't believe him when he says he's not running for president. NPR's Robert Smith checked in with the online draft Al Gore movement.
ROBERT SMITH: For fans of Al Gore, the dream begins like this.
Unidentified Man #1: The 78th Annual Academy Awards.
SMITH: Gore in a dapper earth tone tuxedo steps to the podium to accept the gold statuette and says...
Vice President AL GORE: Today I announce that I am a candidate for president of the United States.
(Soundbite of applause)
(Soundbite of alarm clock)
SMITH: Okay, okay, wake up sleepyheads. That tape was from eight years ago. In 2007, the man who was mocked as being wooden has become a kind of rhetorical yoga master of the denial. Gore says he doesn't expect to run for president. He says he has no plans, no intention of running. He can't foresee any circumstances; nay, he can't even imagine any circumstances in which he'd run for office again. In other words, he's said it all, except the word no. And for Internet activists, that might as well be a yes.
Mr. P. EDWARD MURRAY: When Al Gore finally steps up to the plate and says I am going to run for president...
SMITH: P. Edward Murray organizes a Draft Al Gore group in Pennsylvania.
Mr. MURRAY: ...this is going to be the biggest political tsunami that ever hit.
SMITH: So you're sort of building the ark before the rains come.
Mr. MURRAY: Yeah. We're building the campaign.
SMITH: Except for one thing. He has yet to say that he wants to be president.
Mr. MURRAY: Yes, but we kind of believe that he will.
SMITH: There's something beautifully idealistic about these kind of Internet draft campaigns. Every candidate seems perfect when it looks like they don't actually want the job. To his supporters, Al Gore, the lifelong politician, the senator's son, has become this outsider, a truth teller, and not just on environmental issues. Dylan Malone, who runs the web site AlGore.org, says Gore is both a great man and a great symbol.
Mr. DYLAN MALONE (AlGore.org): The vice president is sort of a walking campaign advertisement for what the last six or seven years could have and should have been if history had taken a different course.
SMITH: So Malone is setting up a virtual campaign headquarters at AlGore.org.
Mr. MALONE: So now you can find where all the closest Al Gore supporters are, what they're doing - we'll send you literature, really high quality union printed literature; of course on recycled paper, because this is an Al Gore campaign.
SMITH: You're putting so much time and effort into this. Do you ever have to remind yourself that Al Gore, as of yet, isn't actually running for president?
Mr. MALONE: Well, you know, it's easy to forget because he has such a busy schedule that he's in the news more than some of the people who are running for president.
SMITH: And prepare ye for the season of Gore. After the Academy Awards, Gore will release another book, go on tour, testify before both houses of Congress on global warming, host a day of rock concerts to save the planet - oh, and did I mention he's nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize? By September, his followers say, a run for the presidency will be as inevitable as a rise in ocean levels after increased CO2 emissions. Until then, the Draft Al Gore movement will be waiting and watching online, scanning every Gore speech and event for some kind of sign of his political return.
Mr. MALONE: I can't deny it. You know, a draft campaign is partially about faith and believing in something bigger than your typical political process.
SMITH: Do you own the domain name for Al Gore 2012?
Mr. MALONE: No comment. Actually, I have several 2012-related domains just in case. After all, we've got to re-elect him, don't we?
SMITH: Robert Smith, NPR News, New York.