Can Al Gore Save the Democratic Party?

The political world spent a fair amount of time last year mulling over whether Al Gore would run for president, who his running mate would be, whether he could win, etc. Once it became clear that Gore wouldn’t run, speculation shifted to who he’d endorse, when, and what kind of impact it might have.

Now, however, we should probably get ready for a new wave of Gore-related scuttlebutt, centered around a new idea: Al Gore, compromise candidate.

The first I heard of this was earlier this week, when Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), considering the prospects of a brokered convention, told a Florida paper, “If it (the nomination process) goes into the convention, don’t be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket.”
A compromise candidate could be someone such as former vice president Al Gore, Mahoney said last week during a meeting with this news organization’s editorial board.
If either Clinton or Obama suggested to a deadlocked convention a ticket of Gore-Clinton or Gore-Obama, the Democratic Party would accept it, Mahoney said.

The comments didn’t generate much in the way of attention, in part because Mahoney isn’t an especially high profile lawmaker, and also because he made the remark to a small paper with a limited audience.

But when Time’s Joe Klein starts talking about the same idea, one gets the sense a small boomlet might be in the works.

As Klein sees it, Clinton is highly unlikely to overtake Obama before the convention, and even if she did, what she’d have to do to earn it would make it very difficult for her to win the general election. Obama, on the other hand, has been weakened, Klein argues, by Clinton’s criticisms and the coverage of the Jeremiah Wright story, the latter of which might make it tough for Obama to win support from working-class whites.

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