A blurb in the Taipei Times may telegraph a shakeup in the Democratic primary race, which has settled into a contest for the second spot already. Hillary Clinton may have a tougher fight on her hands, as a cancellation in Al Gore’s schedule portends a presidential bid by the former Vice President (via Power Line and The Corner):
Al Gore visit postponed
Former US vice president Al Gore will not be able to make it to Taiwan this September to address the issue of global warming, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said yesterday. Tien, who invited Gore to visit Taiwan to promote awareness on global warming, told reporters yesterday that she received an e-mail from the Harry Walker Agency, which has the exclusive right to arrange Gore’s speeches, saying that Gore had canceled all his scheduled events in the next six months. The visit to Taiwan had been postponed to next year, she added. Tien said the reason for the cancelation was that Gore was considering a presidential bid.
If this is accurate, it’s the best indication that Gore will challenge Hillary for the top spot on the ticket. He has made it his mission to campaign worldwide against global warming, as well as making a living from at least some of his appearances. Cancelling six months of commitments clears him throught at least the start of the primary elections next year.
Of course, this could just be Gore’s way of dumping the Taiwan appearance in a way that doesn’t burn bridges. He could have decided not to irritate backers who want to concentrate on wheedling Beijing into changes, and a Taiwan appearance by Gore may have bruised some feelings in mainland China. The politics in that region have become very strained, and Beijing may have resented a challenge from Gore from the disputed island.
We should keep our eyes and ears open for other cancellations. If a rash of them suddenly appears, I think we will have our answer. Given the mood of the activists in the Democratic Party, Gore could give Hillary a real problem in the primaries — and she might wind up at the bottom of the ticket.
UPDATE: Lowell at Raising Kaine (and a BlogTalkRadio host) called Gore’s office and got a loud guffaw in return:
It is completely and utterly false.
1. He never accepted an event in Taiwan
2. We have loads of events on the schedule in the next six months
I don’t know how to spell bubkus but there’s no credibility to this whatsoever.
It’s spelled bupkis, and it looks like that’s what Gore has in mind for this presidential cycle, at least at the moment. Hillary can breathe a sigh of relief …