- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Al Gore supporters nationwide say the Democrat is so skilled at not running for president that he might just win the next race for the White House.

“We call it the noncampaign, and it’s pretty good,” said Nelson Jacobsen, a leader of DC for Gore 08.

Members of Draft Gore movements think the former vice president’s new book “The Assault on Reason” is a call to action and say that if they beg Mr. Gore to be a candidate, he will deliver.

“It may be necessary” for citizens to push him, agreed Joyce Reimherr of Takoma Park. “He’s grown into a winnable candidate.”

A central theme of Mr. Gore’s book is how apathetic voters who would rather watch Britney Spears gossip on television have “allowed” policies that led to the war in Iraq, erosion of civil liberties and massive budget deficits.

“We will fix these problems when we, the people, decide that nobody else is going to do it for us, but that we have to get personally involved,” he said at a book signing Tuesday.

Gore believers say there is an unspoken message in the 320-page best-seller, ranked No. 3 yesterday on Amazon.com.

“He has thrown the gauntlet down to us — draft me, or leave me alone,” Mr. Jacobsen said. “His network is already so vast he could have 200,000 people show up in one day. He already has the grass-roots campaign built.”

Others say Mr. Gore’s new book and 2006 global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” have inspired them to favor him among the 2008 contenders.

Two New Hampshire state representatives will staff a “Draft Gore” table this weekend at the state Democratic convention to drum up support for a “potential Gore candidacy.”

“If the American people request that he run, if they want him to be president, he’s definitely going to consider their wishes,” said state Rep. Jeff Fontas, a Democrat. “Vice President Gore, above everybody else, has a great understanding of the circumstances and the situation we’re in, and will show the best leadership to getting us to the place we need to be.”

Mr. Gore, the noncandidate, polls in third or fourth place among the eight announced Democratic hopefuls. Supporters note that he has already won the popular vote — despite losing the Electoral College vote to George W. Bush — and say he has generated more fame since his movie won an Oscar.

“Please run,” begged one Pennsylvania resident Tuesday, as Mr. Gore emblazoned his signature on her book.

“Thank you for saying that,” he said, adding: “But I’m not planning on it.”

Mr. Gore told PBS interviewer Charlie Rose that he aims to “inspire” his readers to “breathe life into our democratic system and reclaim the integrity of our democracy.”

When asked what it would “take” for him to run in 2008, Mr. Gore told Mr. Rose: “I guess I would know it if I saw it, but I’m not looking for it.”

A former Gore adviser speculated that if the 2000 nominee were to run again, Mr. Gore could opt for a “different” kind of campaign, using a citizen-driven Internet operation and forgoing the traditional money race and 30-second political spots that he derides in his book.

The Washington Times reported this month that of the 25 major Gore fundraisers during the 2000 campaign, at least 12 have not publicly backed a new candidate.

The Internet’s blogosphere has been on fire about a potential Gore candidacy.

“Everyone who voted for Gore in 2000 would love to get a chance to do it again. And I suspect a ton of people who voted for Bush would also vote for Gore if they were allowed to make up for their mistake,” wrote radio host Cenk Uygur on HuffingtonPost.com. He argued the Democrats “are much better off with a candidate who has already won a popular vote for president — and has only added supporters since.”

In one of hundreds of DailyKos posts yesterday on Mr. Gore, “woodstockmom” shared a letter she had written to his Tennessee office, telling him: “You lead, and we’ll get folks organized at the grass-roots level.”

Raj and Rosetta Borkar of McLean recently signed a Draft Gore petition. “The people will stand by him now more than ever before,” Mrs. Borkar said.

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