After making quite a splash with his early endorsement of then Democratic front-runner Howard Dean, Al Gore kind of fell off the campaign trail. Through Dean's post-Iowa trouncing, disappointing New Hampshire finish and precipitous fall in polls nationwide, Gore has been, well, not exactly visible in his support for Dean.
But with Dean pinning his candidacy on post-Feb. 3 contests like the Michigan caucuses on Saturday, Gore's back. Along with plugging Dean, Gore told a crowd at Ebenezer AME Church in Detroit: "I'm Al Gore, I used to be the next president of the United States."
Meanwhile, Washington insiders are apparently nattering about what Dean's slide means for Gore. "He's got to feel stupid," a senior party official tells Washington Whispers. An aide to a rival campaign said: "The Dean slide started the day after Gore's endorsement." A "front-running-campaign exec sneered, 'It won't require a vote of the Supreme Court to ensure that Howard Dean never inhabits the Oval Office.'"
U.S. News, which puts together the Whispers column, says the Clinton camp reportedly feels like the winner in Dean's recent losses because it all reflects poorly on Gore, possibly "snuffing out any presidential aspirations Gore might have had, leaving the door open to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008 if President Bush is reelected. 'The Clintons are loving it,' says one party insider."