Al Gore seems to be everywhere lately, and on the tips of many mainstream media tongues. He's giving more impassioned speeches than ever; graces a slew of magazine covers; did a hilarious bit on last week's Saturday Night Live; his critically-acclaimed global warming film opens this week; and he's getting a ton of mainstream press coverage. Sunday's entire Chris Matthews Show was dedicated to the likelihood of the former veep running for president in 2008, and his chances for winning the nomination. Pretty heady stuff for a guy who says he's not running and who's supposedly not being taken seriously by Democrats.
Speaking on Matthews' show, Time Magazine's Joe Klein said "I think he's thinking about maybe running, he's out promoting a movie, but I think he's gonna take step by step by step. He's a darling of the left, especially the internet left now. If he sees this continue over the next six months, I think he'll be there."
Prompted by Matthews' suggestion that the Democrats are looking for that left-of-Hillary candidate to rally around (Hill's been oddly pro-war and chummy with the Repugs as she attempts to copy her hubby's successful triangulation strategy), the BBC's Katty Kay said "This is exactly what Gore's people are saying. They will tell you the country has changed. That the ideas that Al Gore was talking about back in 2000--global warming, the Iraq war--...that Al Gore is looking more credible on those issues that perhaps people didn't buy into in 2000. So, there's been a change of climate in the country, and I also think people are gonna start wondering if Hillary is as electable as they may have thought."
And NBC's David Gregory said many Democrats are frustrated with Hillary already seemingly running a "general election campaign" without having won the nomination yet, while "Al Gore's got the credibility, the foreign policy experience, been opposed to the war for a long time, is connected to the so-called 'net-roots to the internet."
There's been much talk lately of Gore's supposed war chest and his ability to raise funds in a race against Hillary. Said Kay: "Because he has all this money and he has the name recognition, he can get into this game pretty late in the whole process, and that allows him to run himself as somebody who's an outsider." Gore also has the support of key fundraising organizations and support groups such as MoveOn.org, and would likely have use of Howard Dean's coveted donor mailing list.
In a story Saturday The NY Times suggested that "proponents of a Gore comeback are quick to stake their own claim, oddly enough, to the precedent of Mr. Nixon. They catalog the parallels between the two men's electoral histories. As with Mr. Nixon 40 years earlier, Mr. Gore was a sitting vice president who lost in one of the closest races ever. He left the national stage and made an ill-fated reappearance (Mr. Nixon to lose the California governor's race in 1962, Mr. Gore to endorse Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, which tanked). Mr. Nixon eventually triumphed, eight years after his bitter defeat, at the expense of an incumbent party hampered by an unpopular war." I've been saying this for almost a year now. Gore's the New Nixon. He's The Comeback Kid.