Back from the political wilderness.

Nobody who endured the presidential debates of 2000 would have ever thought it possible, said John Heilemann in New York. But some Democrats are starting to contemplate the idea of Al Gore running for president again, 'œand reaching the astonishing, nay improbable conclusion that it might be a good idea.' Some see him as the only candidate who can stop Hillary Clinton—widely feared to be unelectable. Others are impressed by his unwavering opposition to the Iraq war, and his prescient warnings about global warming. Gore's documentary on the latter topic, An Inconvenient Truth, is now getting rave reviews. But most important, the man seems to have changed. In recent public appearances—including a self-mocking cameo on Saturday Night Live—the sighing, self-conscious robot of the 2000 campaign debates has given way to someone 'œpassionate, funny,' and 'œutterly authentic.' Gore denies he's planning to run—but won't rule it out, either. 'œI am a recovering politician,' Gore says, with a mischievous glint. 'œBut you always have to worry about a relapse.'

It's global warming that could get him back in the game, said Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune. Gore may be sincere when he denies that his new film is a 'œlaunching pad' for another White House run, but 'œhis timing could hardly be better.' Six years ago, said Sebastian Mallaby in The Washington Post, Bush won mainly 'œbecause voters thought he'd be a nicer guy to have a beer with.' But with the ice caps melting, polar bears drowning, and Category 5 hurricanes battering the U.S. coastline every year, a detail-oriented eco-nerd in the White House suddenly looks very appealing.

Maybe to you, said John Tierney in The New York Times. In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore 'œstill has that wooden preachiness' that made him a national joke. Just as laughable is the simplistic way he portrays global warming 'œas an obvious crisis-in-the-making for decades,' with the evidence covered up by 'œevil oil companies and Republicans.' If only we'd listened to him earlier, Gore tells us in this self-serving 'œmorality tale,' we wouldn't be in this mess. As for solutions, he talks about mass transit and windmills, but says nothing about more realistic—if less utopian—solutions, such as taxing gasoline to reduce consumption or replacing fossil-fuel plants with nuclear ones. For a man who still feels he was cheated out of the presidency, saying, 'œI told you so' must be very 'œtherapeutic.' But it's hardly a platform for a presidential campaign.

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