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Sweet column: Obama's convenient truth. No sign Gore will run.

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Former Vice President Al Gore, in Chicago on Wednesday, gave no indication he wants to run for the White House again as he delivered the best stump speech I have heard in the 2008 presidential season.

Gore talked about change in its most useful context, attached to a subject -- the climate. He also, in his dismal predictions, gave reason for hope. There is a lesson here for candidates who campaign on change and hope.


"I'm Al Gore. I used to be the next president of the United States," he deadpanned in opening before the Economic Club of Chicago. A crowd of 2,101 people came to the Hyatt Regency to listen to Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize last Friday for sounding the alarms on the climate crisis.

"The planet has a fever," said Gore, who was introduced by new club chief William Daley, the mayoral brother who chaired Gore's 2000 presidential campaign.

Gore calls himself a "recovering politician." The Nobel Prize triggered speculation that Gore would jump into the 2008 race. There is no political intelligence to indicate that's a course Gore will take.

Earlier on Wednesday, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee told a Norwegian broadcaster, "I don't have plans to be a candidate again."

"What I am working to do," said Gore, is to "create conditions" in the United States so that a new president in 2009 "will face a new transformed political situation at home."

Gore painted a depressing picture of the catastrophic effects of global warming in a 35-minute verbal version of his Oscar-winning movie, "An Inconvenient Truth."

The North Polar ice cap is melting at a record pace, but Gore said it's not a reason to quit. "Don't give up hope. ... We can solve it."

I've been in Chicago listening to supporters of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). They're worried that Obama's message of change and hope is too vague and cautious. They're worried that he is so consensus oriented that he is not making it clear where he draws a line.

Rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards also are chanting the change mantra. Obama does not own the word. His most ardent backers I've been talking to worry that his caution makes it hard to discern his non-negotiable moral imperatives.

"We now face common challenges worldwide," said Gore as he wove climate change into the international picture. He said he wants to use the recognition from the Nobel Prize to deliver his climate warnings "more effectively."

Said an Obama backer, "Good thing he is not running."

8 Comments

I, too, used to be the next President of the United States (were not we all) and, as such, I now plan to institute 'a new transformed political situation at home'.

This home-front campaign is about 'change and hope'.

Granted, cheerless predictions are rampant, but don't give up hope. Together, we can solve this. I want to make it clear where I am drawing the line. These are non-negotiable moral imperatives. This is a worldwide challenge.

We must, must shed the burden of WMD's.

In the 'hope' for a better world, possibly more ice at the North Pole and even, maybe, a Nobel Peace Prize (long shot), I propose we re-define and shorten WMD's to WD's. This is certain to chill things a bit.

WD's......Wifely Duties!

How do you like me, now! Pretty 'cool', huh?


"Convenient Truth for Obama"

This is how you cover Mr. Gore's live presentation and the important information he discusses? A "Convenient Truth for Obama"? Man, you really are working for him, aren't you? But I must concede, it would be a convenient truth for Obama, because he won't have much support if there actually was a choice in this election. The funny thing is when I hear folks actually think Mr. Obama's principles and policy might warrant an endorsement from Mr. Gore.

I agree, Obama can only hope. Because he's been in this campaign long enough for some to actually see his hypocrisies that he gives good speech on. And how the intelligent ones who recognize the gift to say one thing and do another, still support him, only tells me they have a similar lack integrity. But I really don't care about the Corporatists, Lobbyists and Special Interests that Obama and the other (d)emocrats are in bed with and pushing their agendas, from refusing to cap interest rates from lender enabling gouging for the less unfortunate-to campaigning for the US Senate on the Iraq War and the Patriot Act....then spending the next 2 years not writing, sponsoring, or voting to end the war and to have VOTED FOR the Patriot Act 2, to his Lobbyist pushed Liquefied Coal Bill that environmentalists begged him to stop supporting and pushing for 6 months, 'til it went down in defeat. I and millions want the best for our country and the world. I hope Al Gore will dig down to find that passion he has and realize he needs to rise again to the challenge to seek the Presidency for all our futures sake.

Time for a COOL change,
Gore
2008

I like this account of Mr. Gore's presentation.

"'Resist short-term gratification. This is being thrown at us from every direction,' he said during his Wednesday address to the Economic Club of Chicago at the Hyatt Regency. He used the speech as an opportunity to send a message to the Chicago business community.

'If you bang the drums for change and environmental responsibility, the rest of the world will respond,' Gore said.

He says the current climate situation is even worse than many experts might think. Contrary to the previous estimate of 20 years, he said the polar ice caps could completely melt as soon as seven years from now.

Gore urged the business audience to 'accept the gift from history that our decisions today will affect the human race' and took an opportunity to discuss the Internet and its impacts on contemporary society."

I'd like to know when our media and elected officials start taking this all serious and stop treating this like a Beauty Pageant and start looking at the big picture. Or before long, you won't have a picture to worry about.

Actually, Obama should own this endorsement rightfully - he's got a life-long rating from the League of Conservationist Voters of 96, and scored a 100 in 2006. In 2006, Hillary scored in the 50's, and Edwards has a life-long voting record of between 50-60. Edwards, Obama & Dodd are the only ones to have personally courted Gore so if he does play "Kingmaker" he will most likely root Obama.

AND Obama released his energy plan - an enormously bold plan that uses the market magnificently the same week Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, and garnered national praise from all sorts of Environmentalists.

Go Obama!

I am not going to debate Global Warming, because it is happening for whatever reasons. However, it is only the Northern Polar cap that is receding. The southern pole ice cap is actually growing. Al needs to get on that. If we don't start thawing the southern cap soon, the Earth's rotation will be forced out of balance and we will all be thrown into outer space. Good Grief!

To R.L.---You've Got to be Kidding. This is sarcasm isn't it? I hope so. In 2002 a portion of the Larsen Ice Shelf the size of Rhode Island collapsed & melted in the South Polar Sea-which btw is getting warmer. The reason it collapsed is the melt water forming both in place & flowing from the glaciers on land on top of, within & beneath them. The Reason the Antartic Ice cap Appears to be 'growing is that melting inland is lubricating the base of glaciers, causing them to advance toward the sea where they calve ice bergs &/or compress the ice shelves grounded on the sea bottom aiding in their collapse.
Yes, if the entire Antartic Ice cap were to melt the Earth's angle of axial rotation (daily spin & angle of tilt causing seasonality) would be changed in some small manner w/the (more even) redistibution of mass. This change wouldn't have affect Earth's Orbit (revolution around the Sun)!
You certainly must be joking about this! I suppose it's sarcasm aimed at the 'alarmists'. Well there Is good reason for alarm if you think of your family's future. The wars in Africa are a direct result of loss of resources (desertification, etc)other. 30k ppl died in France from a heat wave and the Mediterrainian Sea is growing hotter faster (& losing water) than the Atlantic-resulting in higher salinity & an incipient change in currents to & from the Atlantic. Southern Europ's fishing industry is already affected. N. China is in dire circumcstances, loosing rain & farmland at a rapid rate in a country of 1 billion-at the same time more former farm land is being mined for coal & taken for coal-fired energy plants. Where will the food fo 1 billion ppl come from? US?.
The entire Western U.S. & Southern U.S. & Great Plains 4(40% of the U.S.) is in drought & it's expected to continue. This includes the Great Plains-the 'World's Bread Basket' which also depends on the country's largest single aquifer-The Oglala-for sufficient water. This & ALL other U.S. aquifers are drying up from wasteful overuse. Where is water for 350mil ppl gojng to come from? Mexico is also in drought-why do you think we have an immigration problem here? (Same for Europe's influx of Middle Eastern people.) The level of the Great Lakes (20% of the world's fresh water) is dropping rapidly.
The inland seas & large Lakes of SW Russia (Aral Sea), Turkey, the Black & Caspian Seas, Lake Chad-Every Lake in the E. African Rift zone are rapidly loosing water. Mountain glaciers & snow fileds throughout the world are shrinking-these provide the drinking water for many hundred's of millions. There is drought in the Rain forest of S. America, & extensive regions of Pakistan & India. Australia was Already dry, but's suffering drought throughout the entire country.
As the population approaches 10 billion & water becomes very scarce how will we continue to exist? War. What else will accompany war? Increased severity of New global pandemics. If All nations don't act to solve the problems of warming, increasing sea level, & especially loss of water & farmland & extinction of ocean fisheries w/mechanism that will also prevent war. Yes, there is reason for alarm-for your children & grand children.
And there are Huge "Ocean Dead Zones" extending from river mouths & populace coastlines around the world. The CO2 that the atmosphere can't absorb enters the ocean-along w/nitrogen, phosphorous, & sulfur polution we a re Killing our oceans. Without the Oceans the ecosystem will totally collapse-read any intro Historical Geology text.
R.L. if you're from the U.S., don't have children or at least a high school education I'm not surprised you think alarmists are out-of-line or that Warming isn't anthropogenic. We're spoiled, don't see gradual changes & don't pay attention to the rest of the world--except when it comes to 'Our' oil (of course we should go to war for that, right?). Well, just wait for the Global Water Wars. They Are coming.

David, I was kidding. How astute of you to pick up on that.

A little addendum to the last message, Dave. I am aware of all the items you have listed in your posting. I read the newspaper (for what it is worth), National Geographic, and other circulars/websites pertaining to this subject. I was attempting to poke fun at Al. When it comes to the Democrats, they don't have the tools to really enact change. They are more concerned with getting absolute power back. On the other side of the coin, the Republicans are clueless and unconcerned. Forgive me if I struck a nerve.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 19, 2007 7:20 AM.

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