One of the big winners at this year's
Academy Awards in Hollywood was former Vice President Al Gore. Gore was
featured in a film about global warming called "An Inconvenient Truth,"
which won the Oscar for best documentary. Now some Democrats are wondering
if Gore should seize the public spotlight in the wake of his Oscar win and
enter the race for president in 2008. VOA National correspondent Jim
Malone has more from Washington.
In a show more known for Hollywood glitz, Al Gore appeared at the
microphone in the middle of the Academy Awards to make what appeared to be
an important political announcement.
"Even though I honestly had
not planned on doing this, I guess with a billion people watching, it is
as good a time as any. So, my fellow Americans, I am going to take this
opportunity right here and now to formally announce…" he joked.
Gore did not announce he was running for president, and the audience
enjoyed the joke from a man who has been criticized in the past for being
too serious and wooden on the campaign trail.
But some Democrats who are urging Gore to run for president wish he
would seize the public attention from his Oscar win to join the Democratic
field for the White House next year.
Former President Jimmy Carter told ABC television that Al Gore is his
favorite Democrat and that he has been urging Gore to run for months.
"I think he should," Carter said. "His burning issue now is global
warming and preventing it. He can do infinitely more to accomplish that
goal as the incumbent in the White House than he can even making movies
that get Oscars. So I would hope he would, but I don't think he will."
Former Vice President Al Gore and Academy Award winner for Best
Documentary Feature Davis Guggenheim at the 79th Annual Academy Awards, 25
Former Vice President Al Gore and Academy Award winner for
Best Documentary Feature Davis Guggenheim at the 79th Annual Academy
Awards, 25 Feb. 2007
Gore indicates he is not running, but analysts
note he has not completely closed the door to a presidential bid in 2008.
Gore was asked about his political plans in an interview with ABC
shortly after the Oscar broadcast.
"I was happy to go along with their humor on that," he said. "I do not
have plans to run for president again, but I am involved in a campaign of
a different kind, to try to convince people in this country and around the
world to feel the urgency of the climate crisis."
Many political experts find the prospect of a Gore candidacy intriguing
"I think it is unlikely," said Stuart Rothenberg, who publishes an
independent political newsletter in Washington. "It is not that he does
not want to be president or be the Democratic nominee. I think he does not
want to work for it. He does not want to spend the next year campaigning
for the nomination. In a different period, it would be handed to him on
silver platter. But there are a bunch of candidates out there who are
working very hard for the nomination and I think you have to go for it if
you expect to get it."
Part of the problem for Gore if he wanted to jump into the race is that
the 2008 presidential election cycle seems to be heating up far earlier
Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and former Senator John
Edwards, along with several other Democrats, are already campaigning hard
for the nomination and raising millions of dollars, 11 months before the
first votes will be cast.
Republican presidential contenders have also been active early, in
large part because neither President Bush nor Vice President Cheney are
running next year.
University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato says this lack of an heir
apparent for the White House is a prime reason for the extra early start
to the campaign.
"It is a free for all," he said." It is the first election since 1928
with no incumbent president or vice president running in either party. And
as a result, it is an open race on both sides and we are going to see
Public opinion polls show Gore would trail Senators Clinton and Obama
if he got into the race now. But analysts say Gore might draw support from
Democratic activists because of his early opposition to the war in Iraq
and because of his narrow election loss to George Bush in 2000 when he won
the popular vote but lost the state by state electoral vote count that
determines who wins the presidency.