Time columnist: Gore-Obama in '08?

A fanciful scenario where neither Obama nor Clinton is the Democratic nominee for president.

By Katharine Mieszkowski
Published March 27, 2008 5:52PM (EDT)

As if it weren't enough fun speculating about an Obama-Bloomberg ticket, Time magazine's Joe Klein imagines a long-shot scenario in which the Democratic Party's nominee for president this November is neither Sen. Barack Obama nor Sen. Hillary Clinton. Instead, it could be ... Al Gore, the former vice president, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who is dedicated to fighting global warming.

As Clinton and Obama continue to bloody each other in the primaries, here's why Klein thinks a Gore nomination, while extremely far-fetched, is still not entirely out of the question. What if at the end of the primaries, a significant fraction of the superdelegates, fewer than 100 might even do, decide that neither Obama nor Clinton is a viable candidate? Withholding their votes at the convention would "deny the 2,025 votes necessary to Obama or Clinton," writes Klein. "What if they then approached Gore and asked him to be the nominee, for the good of the party -- and suggested that he take Obama as his running mate? Of course, Obama would have to be a party to the deal and bring his 1,900 or so delegates along."

While most of the Democratic power brokers whom Klein ran this fanciful scenario by found it extremely unlikely, a few would at least humor him and consider the idea: "A prominent fund raiser told me, 'Gore-Obama is the ticket a lot of people wanted in the first place,'" writes Klein. "A congressional Democrat told me, 'This could be our way out of a mess.'"

One sticking point could be Gore himself: "Others suggested Gore was painfully aware of his limitations as a candidate. 'I don't know that he'd be interested, even if you handed it to him,' said a Gore friend. Chances are, no one will hand it to him. The Democratic Party would have to be monumentally desperate come June. And yet ... is this scenario any more preposterous than the one that gave John McCain the Republican nomination?"

Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Al Gore Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton War Room