Al Gore has insisted that he has no interest in returning to electoral politics and wants to focus on his media interests and on solutions to global warming. The former Vice President has shown no inclination to run against the wife of his former boss, at least not publicly. However, the London Telegraph reports that Gore has secretly begun to recruit a campaign staff and will challenge Hillary Clinton for the nomination:
Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.
Two members of Mr Gore's staff from his unsuccessful attempt in 2000 say they have been approached to see if they would be available to work with him again.
Mr Gore, President Bill Clinton's deputy, has said he wants to concentrate on publicising the need to combat climate change, a case made in his film, An Inconvenient Truth, which won him an Oscar this year.
But, aware that he may step into the wide open race for the White House, former strategists are sounding out a shadow team that could run his campaign at short notice. In approaching former campaign staff, including political strategists and communications officials, they are making clear they are not acting on formal instructions from Mr Gore, 59, but have not been asked to stop.
Gore has run in the top tier of Democratic candidates without having announced any intention to run. Thanks to the buzz from his Oscar-winning documentary, Gore has not needed to eat up resources for traditional campaigning. With a new book coming out this spring, Gore will have even more free media access, expanding his reach and making him seem even more presidential than ever.
After jumping into the race, though, Gore has to win it. He has proven himself rather wooden on the stump in past campaigns. He has improved during his global-warming tour, but that may not equate to the kind of speechmaking that a presidential campaign requires. It will also task his ability to project a warm and engaging personality, rather than the cold scold of 2000.
A Gore entry will probably prove fatal to the ambitions of Barack Obama and John Edwards. Both have run on Gore's turf so far, and neither will outshine him with party donors desperate to find a credible alternative to Hillary Clinton. Gore has a great deal more substance than both candidates put together and will almost immediately be the chief challenger on Hillary's left, once he formally enters the race.
Given that Hillary's negatives keep going higher, Gore could easily convince the Democrats that he has more electability than his ex-boss' wife. If so, that gives the Republicans an opening among the center.