Gore in '08, or why it won't happen

His former political director says he's "got all he needs."

Published October 12, 2007 2:18PM (EDT)

What are the odds that Al Gore enters the presidential race?

We put that question this morning to Karen Skelton, who served as Gore's political director while he was vice president. Her response: "He will not run. Negative odds. He's got all he needs. He's a Nobel Prize winner, which means he's being rewarded for following his passion successfully in a way that's changed the world. His passion was never politics for the fight, it was for the cause."

For what it's worth, Time magazine's Eric Pooley, who has spent "a good deal of time" with Gore this year, has come to the same conclusion. The issue isn't that it's too late or that Hillary Clinton can't be beat. Rather, he says, Gore "put himself in position to win the Nobel by committing to an issue bigger than himself -- the fight to save the planet." By getting into the '08 campaign Pooley says, Gore gives that all away.

"If he runs for president now, he'll be hauling himself back up onto that dusty old pedestal, signaling that he is, after all, the most important thing in his world," Pooley writes. "Sure, he'd say he was doing it because he feels a moral obligation to intervene in a time of unparalleled crisis. But running for president is by definition an act of hubris, and Gore has spent the past couple of years defying his ego and sublimating himself to a larger goal. Running for president would mean returning to a role he'd already transcended. He'd turn into -- again -- just another politician, when a lot of people thought he might be something better than that."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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