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Al Gore doesn't rule out 2008 presidential run

J. Leo Dowd and Catherine Mellon Dowd Lecture Series
December 13, 2006
President-elect Al Gore

by Seth Rogovoy, editor-in-chief, Berkshire Living

(Great Barrington, Mass., December 14, 2006) -- Before presenting his public lecture before an overflow crowd in the auditorium of Monument Mountain Regional High School last night, former Vice President and President-elect Al Gore said last night at a closed press conference that he is "not planning on running for president" in 2008, a verbal construction that gave great hope to the many in attendance who were obviously gunning for Gore to reclaim the office that was stolen from him in the 2000 election.

Later on, during the lecture itself -- which coincidentally took place exactly six years to the night of his "concession speech" after the Supreme Court refused to allow further recounts of disputed vote tallies (Gore claimed to have been totally unaware of the anniversary) -- chants could be heard of "In 2008, Gore is great!"

But this was no campaign speech. Instead, Gore was calling on the assembled crowd to channel their energy -- and perhaps their frustration with the presidential electoral process -- into a grassroots movement to create a "carbon
freeze," mirroring the nuclear freeze movement of the mid to late '80s and even the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

While Gore said even he didn't support the nuclear freeze movement at the time, he realizes in hindsight that a popular uprising along those lines can (and did) effectively move the lumbering bureaucracy and outwit the lobbyist-controlled Congress towards taking steps to address an impossible-to-ignore wave of public interest.

What Gore left unsaid, but what some might have inferred, is that such a grassroots movement could also quickly morph into a grassroots campaign to draft Al Gore to become the Democratic nominee for president.

Earlier in the evening, Gore was asked if he found himself by some strange coincidence the Democratic nominee, would he choose as his running-mate be Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Gore declined to answer.

The main gist of Gore's talk, which was animated and dynamic, veering from his schoolteacher demeanor at one extreme to his thundering preacher mode at the other end, was the responsibility of every individual, business, and government to take measures to freeze or lessen immediately the effects of what they do on the climate -- specifically to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Gore said he and his family and businesses use hybrid vehicles, setback thermostats, compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar panels, and wrap water heaters.

Gore also called on government to change dramatically the tax system, with the goal of eliminating payroll taxes on workers and replacing them with carbon emission taxes to reflect the true cost of pollution.

Gore insinuated that when George W. Bush bullied his way into the Oval Office, he brought with him numerous personnel from the oil industry and placed them in high governmental staff positions, resulting in policies that protect the interests of oil at the expense of the environment and the consumer.

He said, in what could only be assumed to be a tone of understatement, that he has "begun to lose his objectivity where George Bush is concerned."

Reflecting on the day six years ago when the Republican-dominated Supreme Court effectively took matters into their own hands and handed the keys to the Oval Office to their candidate, George Bush, Gore said somewhat facetiously, "Unfortunately there's no intermediate step between Supreme Court decisions and violent revolution."

He added, "You win some, you lose some -- and then there's that little-known third category."

Gore also invited two students who he had heard earlier in the day perform a rap song inspired by his movie and book, An Incovenient Truth, to join him on stage and perform the song for the assembled crowd.

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