Barack Obama said on Wednesday that, if elected president, he would offer former vice president Al Gore a Cabinet position, or even a higher post, in the administration. Obama said Gore, who has won a Nobel Prize for his environmental advocacy, would help shape an Obama administration’s policies on global warming. “Al Gore will be at the table,” Obama said, “and play a central part in us figuring out how we solve this problem." (Reuters)
What the commentators said
Does this mean that Gore is about to burst back into presidential politics? said Mike Dorning in The Swamp blog via the Baltimore Sun. Maybe. “The only position higher than a Cabinet post is vice president,” so Obama “seemed to dangle” the possibility of an Obama-Gore ticket in front of voters as he tries to muster enough support to win the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton. But Gore hasn’t even endorsed one of the candidates yet.
Maybe that’s because it’s not the vice presidency he’s after, said Steve Gill in the Nashville, Tenn., City Paper. Columnists, including Joe Klein of Time, have noted that Gore could “provide the Democrats a winning exit strategy from the protracted Obama-Clinton primary battle” by swooping in as a compromise nominee in a deadlocked convention. He could have swiftly “put the 'Al Gore scenario' to rest" by simply making it clear he has absolutely no interest in the Presidency in 2008”—instead he’s “sitting back,” slowly raising his profile with proclamations on global warming. “The longer this plays out, the better things look for Gore.”
This race is messy enough without injecting “fantasy candidates” into the picture, said Paul Beston in City Journal. It’s understandable that Democrats want someone to rescue them from their “bitter primary battle,” and Gore has achieved “near regal stature” among progressives thanks to his Nobel, his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, and his 2000 electoral martyrdom. “Yet the idea of Gore’s becoming the nominee isn’t just implausible; it’s ill-advised”—you don’t return to politics after the “infamous Florida recount” by becoming the nominee without winning a single vote.
So, what’s Gore’s “game”? said Dick Morris in RealClearPolitics. He’s probably “keeping his powder dry” by not endorsing anyone before the primaries end in June, so that he can act as “an honest broker” and persuade the superdelegates to rally behind the Democrat who wins the popular vote. He won’t end up in the Oval Office, but he’ll win his party’s eternal gratitude for being the one who prevented a “civil war.”