- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2006

Al Gore seems to be leading a complicated life these days, replete with noisy but mixed messages.

In recent weeks, Mr. Gore has alternately been sued by a public radio affiliate and an Internet provider, and then picketed by environmentalists. Like a candidate posturing on the campaign trail, he has publicly opposed the Bush administration’s foreign policy, then proclaimed that he had no interest in another White House run.

The former vice president also has written a second cautionary book on global warming and hosted a companion documentary film. Both are due out this spring.

“Al Gore definitely seems to be stirring things up. He’s clearly pitching hard, though it’s a little unclear what he may have in mind,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion, which surveyed voters Wednesday about presidential contenders.

Among Democrats, only Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York outranked Mr. Gore, 33 percent to 17 percent, as a potential candidate. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina followed with 16 percent, and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the party’s 2004 presidential nominee, drew 11 percent.

“Those numbers suggest that a case could be made for Mr. Gore in 2008,” Mr. Miringoff said. “We included him in the poll because he is among those who may be testing the waters, such as Rudy Giuliani or Condoleezza Rice.”

Since his loss to President Bush in 2000, Mr. Gore has reinvented himself as a media mogul, last year financing and mentoring Current TV, a California-based cable-TV network aimed at those younger than 30.

Seen in 20 million homes for six months, the network has already been sued by Minnesota Public Radio and Maryland-based Internet provider Current Broadband for trademark infringement. Each claims they had already registered “Current” for their own use.

Mr. Gore’s company reminded the businesses that 300 other American firms also use “Current” in their names, noting, “We know of no consumers who confuse us with Minnesota Public Radio.”

The former vice president has also caught flak as a board member of Apple Computer. Last Friday, singing protesters from the California-based Computer TakeBack Campaign picketed Mr. Gore’s Nashville, Tenn., office, demanding that the company advocate proper disposal of computers.

“Al Gore has been a vocal supporter of environmental issues. We are appealing to Al Gore to use his public profile and credibility on these issues to work with us,” spokesman Robin Schneider said.

Meanwhile, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Mr. Gore’s second book on global warming, will be published by Rodale Books in May. A documentary from Paramount Pictures is hosted by Mr. Gore, who “strips his presentations of politics,” said the film’s director, Davis Guggenheim.

“We are recklessly, mindlessly destroying the Earth. As Lincoln said, ‘We must disenthrall ourselves. And then we will save our country.’ And our planet,” Mr. Gore told reporters Feb. 14.

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