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Drafting Gore

A Draft Al Goregroup yesterday delivered the former vice president more than 100,000 signatures on a petition urging him to run for president.

Draft Gore organizers brought the list of Gore fans to the Democrat’s office in Nashville, Tenn., and called the petition a “major milestone.”

“This enormous outpouring of support for Al Gore is testimony both to his enduring appeal among the grass roots and to the dissatisfaction of the Democratic base with the current crop of declared candidates,” said Monica Friedlander, chairman of the draft effort, which has been active here and in New Hampshire, New York, Iowa and California.

The group also is running radio ads to persuade Mr. Gore to jump in the race.

Some of the petitioners added comments lauding Mr. Gore. Here’s a sampling:

c ”I am a lifelong Republican and in 2000 I foolishly voted for President Bush. I was wrong. I am older and wiser now. I wish to offer my support and help in my very GOP state of Wyoming.” — Philip Hritzak, Casper, Wyo.

c ”Mr. Gore, my son is going into Iraq today. Please run and bring some reason to this world. He is in the 3rd ID. Please help!” — Sharon Pote, Booneville, Ark.

c ”There’s no higher calling, than when a nation asks for you to lead. We are asking you to lead now, and I hope you’ll rise to it.” — Jarrett Wold, Minot, N.D.

Even Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, who lost to President Bush in 2004, seems to be a Gore fan. He called Mr. Gore a “great leader” on the environment in a recent interview with reporter Christina Bellantoni of The Washington Times.

“I’ve learned never to urge anybody … people have to make up their own minds,” Mr. Kerry said when asked if Mr. Gore should run in 2008. “He’d clearly be a very credible candidate if he decided to do it. He won once; he just didn’t get inaugurated.”

En espanol?

Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson yesterday said his use of a Spanish word that some say is a slur against homosexuals was meant to be playful but apologized to anyone who was offended. With critics revisiting the statement he made on a radio program a year ago, Mr. Richardson questioned the timing of their comments.

“My record is the strongest among the presidential candidates on gay rights issues and I’m puzzled by the timing of this. When it happened a year ago, nobody seemed to think it was terribly important. Now it surfaces,” he told the Associated Press in an interview. “It’s probably a sign from other campaigns that they are little worried about me.”

Mr. Richardson was a guest on Don Imus‘ radio program on March 29, 2006. Mr. Imus jokingly said one of his staffers suggested Mr. Richardson was “not really Hispanic.” Mr. Richardson replied in Spanish that if the staffer believes that, then he is a “maricon.” The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation says the Spanish word is similar in tone to “faggot” in English.

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