In the Democratic Primary, W.W.A.G.D.?

[Feeling bereft after your favorite candidate has dropped out? Partisanship got you down? Need help deciding whether to raise your children Democratic or Republican? Send your question to Stumped. Questions may be edited.]

Dear Stumped,

What is the deal with Al Gore? Is he going to sit out this campaign -- or even retire from politics altogether? -- after backing Howard Dean in 2004? What is the proper etiquette for the former vice president? Could he endorse the spouse of the man who made him vice president?

Ryan Ashworth

Dear Ryan,

Al Gore's feelings about this election must be complicated (as I have written before). Given his politics in recent years, and reports of lingering resentment toward the Clintons, I can see how the former vice president may be rooting for Barack Obama. Maybe he'll still endorse him. That would be a huge coup for Obama, obviously, and a move of greater consequence than Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean in the 2004 primaries. For one, Gore has more stature than he did four years ago. And an endorsement now would be a direct insult to the Clintons, whereas his 2004 decision was only a slight against his hapless 2000 running mate, Joe Lieberman.

Still, as much as Gore may want to make a difference and may be tempted to deploy some of his considerable moral authority -- it tends to pile up when the Supreme Court denies you the presidency and you go on to win a Nobel Peace Prize -- I believe it would be a mistake for him to enter the arena.

I say this reluctantly. Not because I care about how many endorsements Obama collects or whether they help him, but because I believe people should be free to speak their minds, and because a Gore endorsement of anyone other than Hillary (his co-vice president for eight years) would make for riveting drama.

But a Gore endorsement of Obama, however it played in the short term, would diminish the former vice president's stature as a statesman. In 2004, when Gore endorsed Dean, Bill Clinton stayed on the sidelines, playing the role of party elder statesman. Now that Clinton has shed his post-presidential gravitas to become just another political hack, Gore has an opening: He can be the guy that settles intramural spats instead of exacerbating them. He can be the Democratic Party's Official Grownup.

There is also the issue of loyalty. A number of former presidents and their vice presidents haven't been especially close during or after their terms. Dwight Eisenhower famously said that he could probably point to a notable achievement by his vice president, Richard Nixon -- if given a week to think about it. Lyndon Johnson's relationship with the Kennedys was always fraught, as was as his relationship with Hubert Humphrey.

Still, endorsing Hillary Clinton's opponent would be bad form for Gore. He would probably be just another senator (ask Chris Dodd or Joe Biden what that gets you in Iowa) if Clinton hadn't tapped him to be his running mate in 1992. Gore's endorsement of Obama would strike millions of Americans as a petulant, ungrateful act.

It wouldn't be the first time his alleged disdain for the Clintons got the best of him. Indeed, one reason he lost his bid to succeed Clinton in 2000 was that Monicagate and the impeachment saga left him unable to boast as much as he might have about his own administration's impressive record. He barely allowed Clinton to campaign much on his behalf.

Gore shouldn't compound that error by crossing the Clintons again. He may not have wielded as much power as Dick Cheney -- not even George Bush can claim that! -- but Gore was a respected and influential member of the Clinton team. To endorse the man running against his former commander-in-chief's spouse would help obscure this fact, suggesting he has far more concrete reasons for his sour grapes.

Of course, there are no fixed rules for any of this, since the Clintons' dynastic ambitions are so novel. In my view, the rule of thumb should be this: Vice presidents owe some deference to family members of the president who moved them into the Old Executive Office Building. Not all family members, mind you -- just immediate family and first cousins. And not full deference, mind you -- just enough not to endorse their opponents.

Gore doesn't need to endorse Obama to assert his independence or signal that he has issues with the Clintons. His neutrality in itself -- the fact that he is not on the campaign trail for Clinton -- speaks volumes. And having watched Bill Clinton recently diminish himself by engaging in the messiness of primary politics, Gore should capitalize on the opportunity to supplant his former boss as the party's titular head, hovering benevolently above the fray. That's how he can get the last laugh.

Dear Stumped,

Help me out here. My candidate (John Edwards) has just dropped out of the race, but before he did he got "pledges" from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that they would make his priority (fighting poverty) their own. So now I have to choose between Hillary and Obama.

I know you don't tell people how to vote, but I see precious little difference between the two on policy, at least on policies that matter to me. So I find myself making my decision based on which one I just like better -- and that's Obama. Is this so wrong? I know everyone said Bush was more "likeable" than Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004, and we all know how that worked out, so I'm wary of basing my vote on this. But honestly, what else do we have to go on? Especially if, as can be expected, the remaining candidate incorporates former opponents' issues into his or her platform? Aren't character and integrity and all that stuff more important anyway?

Mr. Personality

Dear Mr. Personality,

I think everyone is having a hard time discerning meaningful policy differences between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which is why so much time is spent on trivial matters like the non-handshake at the State of the Union address. I believe Freud called this the "narcissism of small differences."

To answer your question: Yes, go with your gut. The Bush-Gore comparison is flawed, because in 2000 only Naderites failed to see that a Bush presidency and a Gore presidency would be vastly different. I believe ideological affinity trumps beer-drinking compatibility (and with Bush, I realize, that's non-alcoholic beer). But when the two candidates are on the same page (yours), vote for the one you'd like to hang out with. It's okay. Really.

By Andres Martinez |  February 1, 2008; 12:00 AM ET
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Posted by: hdncyeo cjisrot | March 6, 2008 7:30 PM

sorry, no sale.

Gore is not endorsing anyone because he has to work with however wins on climate change. And because in Bill Clinton support for his wife, Gore is the party leader.

Given Obama's ties to coal and nuclear power, I am amzed anyone would assume the Gire nod would automatically go to him.

Seems there's an awful lot of wishiful thinking.

Posted by: Elizabeth | February 18, 2008 3:59 AM

A Journalist has not developed their logic and reasoning skills the same way that a mathematician or engineer has. A Journalist tends to create shallow and inconsistent analysis.

A Journalist has no knowledge from the depths of any natural system, the way a physicist or a surgeon has. A Journalist tends to have no sense of scale or complexity.

The Journalist, then, is just like every other person who believes they possess intellectual powers, but has never tested their intuitions against reality in any kind of systematic fashion. They simply believe that their conclusions are correct by virtue of the conclusion being their own.

Of course, every person is entitled to say and think as they please.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 2:01 PM

Why is Mr. Personality asking if it's okay for him to vote in a particular way? It's none of anyone's business how you vote, dude. What goes on behind the curtain is between you, your conscience, and your deity(ies) if you have one. You don't have to explain or defend how you vote to anyone, including anyone replying to you here.

Posted by: Bucinka8 | February 5, 2008 9:57 AM

cyberella: Obama's a Christian, you idiot. Stop spreading lies about people - you only make yourself look foolish.

Posted by: Brian in NYC | February 4, 2008 7:24 PM

RIP 2-5-2008 The Democratic Party.
The death of the Democratic Party was announced today.
Mourners comprised Universal Health Care, Womens' Rights, Fight against Poverty, Environmental Campaigners and a representative from the Dollar Family.

Absent from the grave side were a well known senator and a well known TV personality.

Later in the day the formation of the New Democratic Party was announced. The health care industry is to be self-regulating, the country is to be covered in nuclear power stations, a hundred thousand more troops will be recruited for combat (new enemies have yet to be determined) and a senator will become very rich.

The Democratic Party needs to determine where it stands, rather quickly. There is a massive gulf between the strong approach of Clinton and the half-baked ideas of those who think you just sit and chat nicely and all will change.

Posted by: DavidFlorida | February 4, 2008 10:14 AM

Do yourself a favor. Go to the following sites and educate yourselves:

. But every time the truth oozes out, as it did again today, Obama's staff goes crazy and flies into full Clinton-style "war room" damage control.

Barack Hussein Obama is the closest Democrats can come to electing a foreign Muslim President of the United States without actually violating the constitutional requirement that American Presidents be native-born.

Posted by: cyberella | February 3, 2008 6:16 PM

Obama is not a real Democrat. He likes what Reagan did. Read why he says that people voted for Reagan.
"I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."
The excesses and growth of the government were what the Democrats did. It was Medicare, Civil Rights, the Great Society, the Environmental Movement, Progressive taxation, Government Regulation of Corporations and Gay Rights. Calling them excesses is Republican language. Most Democrats didn't think they went far enough. Clarity refers to Democrats concerns with Watergate, Vietnam, supporting Dictators, basing our economy on carbon fuels and fighting for our rights.

Posted by: maxstar | February 3, 2008 4:43 PM

Gore in his fabulous fighting book, "Assault on Reason" knows that to survive as a democracy the US, led by a real president, needs to fight what he calls the "radical-right corporatist faction (empire)" --- and thus he can't endorse the corporatist owned Obama.---or Clinton.

Gore will run with Nader on a Green independent ticket and win the 2008 election by exposing and fighting against the corporatist Empire hiding behind this facade of 'Vichy America', which by November will have thrown the US into a second Great Depression and a greatly expanded war in the Middle East.

Gore knows that you can't save the environment (or a democratic world) without beating the Empire --- and thus it's not so far-fetched that he can't endorse any corporate imperialist candidates, nor that he wouldn't join with another Green (Nader) who has the courage, commitment, and knowledge to really fight the Empire on the way to a sustainable world.

Sure Gore and Nader seem like an improbable pair, but so did Bogey and Captain Renault --- and that was the start of a great friendship --- because they all know that fighting Empire is the key to everything. :

Posted by: Alan MacDonald | February 2, 2008 10:20 PM

Gore won't endorse.

He still has egg all over his face for endorsing Dean in 2004. That helped a lot.

Posted by: rcwkent | February 2, 2008 4:27 PM

Here' a big problem with Hillary Clinton's policies---she tries to have it both ways. See this analysis I've written about her answer here in Iowa in the closing days of the caucus campaign to a questioner in Tama, IA about her stance on Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

Hillary Clinton finally voices her stance on gays in the military...

In Tama, an Air Force veteran asked Clinton about her support for allowing gays to serve openly in the military. How would privacy be protected, he asked?
Clinton said she believed all service members, including gays, must be expected to observe the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which determines appropriate behavior.
"I feel strongly that if someone wants to serve their country, if they're a patriot, if they'll comply with the code of military justice and have appropriate behavior, they should not be disqualified simply because they are gay," she said.

Let's look at the Uniform Code of Military Justice's statement on appropriate behavior...

925. ART. 125. SODOMY
(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex . . . is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.
(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Notice the careful legal doublespeak of this experienced Washington insider. She cleverly leads us to believe that she will repeal don't ask don't tell, when in reality, she merely places another level of don't ask, don't tell upon us. "Serve as an openly gay citizen," she urges, "but make sure your behavior is in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice which forbids same sex intimacy." In other words, it's okay to be gay as long as you don't act on it. That's the same rule Brigham Young University operates by, and we know how welcome gays are at that institution. Just like her husband before her, Hillary leads us on with snippets of hopeful phrases, yet her carefully worded statement lets us know that she, like her husband, plans on abandoning us after we elect her to office. "I'm so sorry, folks, but the pressure was too great. I had to compromise! And besides, it's in the Uniform Code, so how am I expected to change that?" It's déjà vu all over again!

As a 16-year army veteran who is currently barred from serving in the military because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I've been keenly interested in the various candidates' positions on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

A recent statement by Hillary Clinton causes me to wonder how it is she garners so much support from the gay and lesbian community.

A few weeks ago in Tama, Iowa, an Air Force veteran asked Senator Clinton about Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

She answered: "I feel strongly that if someone wants to serve their country, if they're a patriot, if they'll comply with the code of military justice and have appropriate behavior, they should not be disqualified simply because they are gay."

Gay and lesbian publications hailed this response as a promise to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. But a studious reading of her purposefully worded response shows us she intends to do just the opposite.

The Clintons never use words randomly. Notice that her response focuses on two major issues: the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the behavior of the individual servicemember.

Section 925, article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice clearly bars physical intimacy between members of the same sex and states unambiguously that such 'behavior' is grounds for court-martial.

"Serve as an openly gay citizen," she seems to urge, "but make sure your behavior is in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice which forbids same sex intimacy." In other words, it's okay to be gay as long as you don't act on it. This merely transforms Don't Ask, Don't Tell to a more convoluted and cruel level of lies and secrecy on the part of gay and lesbian servicemembers.

Hillary leads us on with snippets of hopeful phrases, yet her carefully worded statement lets us know that she, like her husband before her, plans on abandoning us after we elect her to office. It's déjà vu all over again!

Hillary's own doublespeak lets us know that she has no intention of bucking the winds of public opinion. If as Commander in Chief, she won't adequately address Don't Ask, Don't Tell, how can we rely on her as President to tackle more controversial issues of civil equality for the GLBT community?

Posted by: Dean A. Genth | February 2, 2008 10:21 AM

What is this? Are you trying to tempt Gore into speaking up by telling him to shut up?

Posted by: Bob | February 1, 2008 11:45 PM

This paper has fallen so far below journalistic ethics that is it hard to believe it is in any way related to the watergate expose many years ago before I was born. It is trash. There is no meaningful differences between the candidates? One is a hard worker and developed comprehensive policies and one has done nothing in the little time he has been in the senate. One is trying to ensure that all americans are covered and the other is thinks that people will be responsible enough to get insurance if given incentives. Personal responsibility, sounds very republican. But no difference, no none. Go with the guy you want to have a beer with...amazing.

Posted by: Sandra | February 1, 2008 7:27 PM


Have you left something out there or are you coining a new use of the word?

Perhaps a sentence or phrase was deleted-- "fraught with" something...

Posted by: Paul R | February 1, 2008 6:18 PM

Could we have at least tried to play out the scenario of Gore endorsing Clinton?

Posted by: Kevin | February 1, 2008 6:16 PM

"I think everyone is having a hard time discerning meaningful policy differences between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which is why so much time is spent on trivial matters like the non-handshake at the State of the Union address."

Wow, this column is incredibly irresponsible. Did you watch the debate last night? In all seriousness, did you? There were plenty of "meaningful" policy differences discussed including differences on health care policy, fiscal policy, the Iraq War, immigration, etc. Perhaps instead of recommending "going with your gut", you could have offered a summary of these differences? I'm tired of the media playing dumb and blaming their own laziness and need to sensationalize on the candidates who, last I checked, have real positions on actual important stuff. Andres, who is it that is "spending so much time on trivial matters"? Why, it's YOU and YOUR COLLEAGUES! Reading your recommendation to Mr. Personality, it's like you sit at your desk with your fingers in your ears singing "la, la, la, la" while smart people are actually discussing important things. You may have a "hard time discerning meaningful policy differences" between the candidates, but I'm afraid that it's your job, so suck it up and do some research. You have an obligation to inform your readers - our democracy depends on it!

Posted by: jps78 | February 1, 2008 5:58 PM

I find it a bit ironic for the Hillary supporters below who suggest that Al Gore should endorse Hillary out of a sense of loyalty, or because he 'owes' Bill Clinton. These are the same people who espouse that Hillary should win on her _merits_. Gore is more than free to choose the candidate whose policies he most agrees with, the candidate who is most able, or whatever quality he chooses to base his decision on. Frankly, he should pick the candidate that he believes will be best for the country, regardless of who they may have one point have been aligned with. This is exactly the reason so many people are adverse to and rebuke dynastic politics. Also, this sort of quid pro quo is just the sort of action Obama stands against.

Posted by: agirm | February 1, 2008 5:10 PM

Billary is the past. Obama is the future. The dinosaurs need to wake up and realize that extinction is upon them

Posted by: T | February 1, 2008 4:35 PM

Go Hillary! (Nuff said.)

Posted by: lockheed | February 1, 2008 4:27 PM

I like Obama a lot (...and I bet You this column writer likes Obama too and wish he became the president no matter how neutral-sounding he may like to come across in this article--it is pretty obvious he likes Obama better than Hillary). What hurts Obama is the fact that he talks about changing the white house, but the reality is that Rome was not bult in a day and it will be so hard to make all these drastic changes within 8 years talk less of 4. The truth is when it comes to a likeability contest Obama wins hands down. But, when it comes to who will make some practical and reasonable change in 2008 and someone who is better qualified and tough enough to do the job--it is Hillary Clinton. This is why I am voting for her and I do not care if she is a woman. As far as the endorsements go, they help but they never really amount to much when it really comes down to the wire. i personally also think some endorsements Obama is getting lately is actually going to hurt him than help him. One that sticks out is John Carey. This is a man who the world thought was going to nail Bush but woefully failed. I bet you that Hillary Clinton will win this time around. I can see Obama becoming Hillary's Vice President as this will boost his future presidential aspirations in the next 4 or 8 years time. Now is not his time, but people are too blind to see this. But, they will be forced to start seeing this from Super Tuesday onward. Endorsements, Mainstream media's manipulations, and even newspaper's chosen favorite picks are not going to decide who will win this year, but it is the people who will decide and will make this change.

Posted by: Fairness4All | February 1, 2008 2:57 PM

mr. cheng and ms. lawson - i don't think that voting for hillary out of fear that obama will be another bush is good enough of a reason. bush wasn't all talk, no substance. the bush administration had a LOT of just wasn't the kind that's good for an evolving democracy or for supporting the constitution. the bush admin has done more to strengthen the power of the presidency at the expense of the supreme court, constitution, congress, federal agencies, and american people than any other president has since...i dunno...andrew jackson....the bush administration did lots of concrete, substantive damage (maybe also a few half-hearted good deeds). This was damage done in a way that lots of people suspected would take place during both of the previous elections. obama and his room of people represent something very different than that and if his work as a charismatic leader affects half as much transparent change in the positive direction as they've whispered in the backlight of these primaries as the bush pack's folks did in the negative then i'm hoping obama can pull it off and turn some things around

Posted by: monet11744 | February 1, 2008 2:14 PM

Everyone keeps on noting that the policy differences between Obama and Clinton are relatively minute which is true. However, the leadership abilities and qualities are worlds apart, and these attributes are at least as important as a candidate's policy stances. Honestly, how much of a candidate's proposed policy actually come to fruition?

Posted by: stan | February 1, 2008 1:50 PM

This column is aptly titled.

Posted by: david | February 1, 2008 12:56 PM

What a truly stupid argument in favor of having Al Gore opt out of having any say at all in the most dynamic nomination process in a generation.

Posted by: tenley | February 1, 2008 12:39 PM

** his 2004 decision was only a slight against his hapless 2000 running mate, Joe Lieberman.**

That's just stupid. Gore was passionately and publicly against the Iraq War before it started, before Howard Dean was. Joe Lieberman by 2004 was dedicated to it.

Posted by: Jim | February 1, 2008 12:22 PM

Mr. Personality,

Your argument is eminently reasonable, and I mean this as no slight to you, but the mere fact that you have to construct a rule of thumb regarding VP loyalty to a POTUS's spouse makes me ill and highlights just how revolting this dynastic trend really is.

Posted by: Zugernaut | February 1, 2008 12:19 PM

Oops I meant, win my 'vote'. (no way to edit these comments).

I'd also like to mention that it hasn't snowed in NY all winter. Maybe that type of observation on the part of a candidate would have resonance with us NY voters..

Posted by: NYC Steve | February 1, 2008 12:14 PM

This article is about etiquette and political favors, but that widely misses the point!

Both Hillary and Obama should be actively drawing Gore back into the debate by pointing out the horrific environmental policy that's been a centerpiece of Republican leadership.

If either candidate demonstrated a genuine determination to take on big oil they would win my note, they would win the primary, and you can bet they'd win Gore's support.

Posted by: NYC Steve | February 1, 2008 12:11 PM

Why is it out of the realm of possibility that a Gore endorsement would be based on the merits? Yes, a VP endorsing the opponent of his former mate might not be the norm, but this election is anything but. For the first time, we have the wife of a former president running for president.

Posted by: clark | February 1, 2008 11:33 AM

PJ123 is right. As someone in a similar bind, I want to know about the people each candidate surrounds him/herself with. I want to know how capable their staffs are. I want to know how hard they work, how smart, how intellectually curious they are. We've had enough of dumb and lazy...and Albertos and Harriets and "Brownies" last us a generation.

Posted by: bannerscwt | February 1, 2008 11:22 AM

Cosmic Al needs to go back to his 44 room estate and wring his hands over the unwashed using too much energy. He's a bitter old fool who really needs to divorce that hog and get a life.

Posted by: muskrat | February 1, 2008 10:20 AM

I've never understood the concept of voting for the person I'd like to hang out with. I want the leader of the free world to dance intellectual circles around me.

Posted by: Elizabeth8 | February 1, 2008 9:43 AM

what to do with gore...i supported him heart & soul when he ran for president but i feel he lost it. and blame him for it.

then he endorsed dean. i don't think he really thought about that. well, another bad decision. if he endorses obama, then he's living up to his rep.

this nomination is aboout who is best qualified for the presidency.
not about bruised feelings, like ted kennedy or black pride like toni morrison or hip like leo dicaprio.

it's about america. and who will work best for america.

Posted by: mikel | February 1, 2008 9:16 AM

One quibble: It is unfair to Gore to say that he would have been an "obscure senator" if Clinton had not tapped him as VP. He won as many or more primaries in the 1988 presidential election than any of the current candidates--so far.

Posted by: Gene | February 1, 2008 8:53 AM

IT IS NOT OKAY TO VOTE FOR THE PERSON YOU WOULD LIKE 'MOST TO HANG OUT WITH'! ARE YOU NUTS??? It wasn't okay in 2000 (look where that got us) and it isn't okay now. If you don't know who to vote for - then do some research (there are differences beyond their capacity for conviviality). After eight years of stupid stupid stupid, I am voting for the smartest, most experienced person in the room. As I see it, it is the only option we have.

Posted by: PJ123 | February 1, 2008 8:38 AM

There is a chasm between the secretive Clinton and Obama, who supports a wide variety of initiatives towards transparency and empowering the citizenry to hold government accountable.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness | February 1, 2008 8:33 AM

Is Martinez putting us on? His tortured formulation of loyalty towards "immediate family members of one's former commander-in-chief" may be appropriate for a monarchy, but is anathema to American principles.

In fact, the nation and the planet urgently need Al Gore's advocacy NOW. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate who has the best chance of leading a united, international effort on global warming on a moral basis that transcends ideology. Gore needs to follow his own advice and take immediate action in support of Barack Obama. "The time of half-measures is over. We're now entering a time of consequences."

Posted by: Luke | February 1, 2008 8:05 AM

Thank you, John Y. Cheng - hit the nail on the head.

Posted by: ellenlawson | February 1, 2008 7:51 AM

Only a hopeless fan aware of his candidate's shortcomings would advise readers that there is no useful criterion, beyond their positions, to separate two candidates than the utterly foolish who-you'd-want-to-have-a-beer-with test. Martinez has really embarrassed himself with this one. No, it's NOT OK to vote on the "beer" test, because there remain a few other things the voter is responsible for evaluating: track record, work ethic, PROVEN ability to unite with respected bipartisan Senate work, experience, competence...

But there is more to be said on positions, if one truly cares about "WWAGD"... Clinton's policies to restore scientific integrity to government, crucial to so many vital issues that require evidence-based policy, and to reduce global warming, are notably stronger.

Posted by: Bo | February 1, 2008 7:05 AM

This is such an Obama column. LOL. Another pathetic WPost journalist who doesnt know what objectivity smells like. Too bad you guys weren't partisan during the lead-up to the war....

Posted by: Tony | February 1, 2008 7:03 AM

Why should Gore endorse Hillary? She blamed him for the Telecommunications bill of 1996 that consolidated all of the major media companies. The same media that took him out in 2000... She's running off of his experience anyways, so why should he help her?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 6:25 AM

This sounds like a lot of dribble based on flawed assumptions. Does the Washington Post actually pay people for writing such claptrap? First, how can someone diminish their stature by expressing their opinion. As far as either of these two candidates are concerned, it's not support of them that can be called into question but how that support manifests. Case in point, Bill Clinton's recent statements which are now being considered for 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan 2.' In fact I think they are working on a whole new prequel - Bill: Political Rhetoric of American President for Making Benefit Glorious Bank Account. Second, Mr. Andrés Martinez assertion that it would be bad form for Gore to support another candidate other than the Clintons since he owes so much to them is utterly and totally ludicrous. Wait a second: is Mr. Martinez talking loyalty to Bill 'I didn't have sex with that woman' Clinton, thereby crippling his bid for the White House? Oh I get it. Clearly, if President Gore (if the one person one vote dictum has any relevance) wants to publicly support a candidate then all the power to him. He just has to keep from putting Bill Clinton's foot in his mouth. And while I'm at it, the Vice President stays at the Admiral's House - not the Blair House. Surely the 'Washington Post' can find a more qualified reporter who at least, if he doesn't know the answer, does his homework.

Posted by: woody21 | February 1, 2008 4:44 AM

Gore should endorse Hillary. He can not achieve what he is today without the Clintons.Be grateful and act like a stateman, besides had he accepted the Clintons' assistance in the 2000 campaign, he would have been the president,thus the whole country should not have suffered under the Bush administration for eight long years.He owes to the Clintons and the whole country to endorse Hillary. Obama could be another Bush, all talks with no substance. Can the Americans take the chance again?

Posted by: John Y.Cheng | February 1, 2008 4:39 AM

You are so partial to Obama, it is pathetic. Al Gore should endorese Hillary, what happen to the good old grateful moral sense? I don't think Gore could have achieved what he is today without the Clintons. He could have been the president,had he not refused the Clinton's assistance in the 2000 presidential campaign, it was his own fault and the whole country suffered under the Bush adm. Gore should endorse Hillary to make up the mistake he committed. Gore owes to the American people,Obama could be another Bush in the making, all talks with no substance.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 4:28 AM

"To endorse the man running against his former commander-in-chief's spouse would help obscure this fact"

Clinton was never Gore's commander-in-chief. Clinton was the President and he was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Go look it up.

This "commander-in-chief" thing is constantly used by people like Martinez who hate democracy and want the U.S. to be run like a banana republic.

Posted by: XYZ | February 1, 2008 4:07 AM

It's not clear to me that Gore wouldn't actually see his prestige enhanced by an endorsement, because it would surely tip Obama over the top.

Posted by: CBP | February 1, 2008 2:44 AM

To Gore; stay out, you've much more to lose if your choice doesn't make it.

To the author; please be one of the first to stop using the commander-in-chief title incorrectly. A President is commander-in-chief ONLY to members of the armed forces. It's in the Constitution, look it up.

This constant misuse of the title by the press makes us look like some militaristic banana republic.

Posted by: cleal | February 1, 2008 2:26 AM

As a global statesman for 'one planet' consciousness, Al Gore would/should act to support the one candidate whose platform is most like his principles for unity and action---Barack Obama.

Posted by: msd1 | February 1, 2008 2:24 AM

I must concede that you know how to write first class drivel such as 'a Gore endorsement of Obama ... would diminish the former vice president's stature as a statesman'.

I must be blind because I cannot see why this assumption should not be supported by a substantive argument.

Posted by: Robert James | February 1, 2008 1:41 AM

Dear Stupid:

Your suggestion that Gore could become the Dems' party leader is just ________ naive, for many reasons:

(1) Being an intelligent man, Gore is fully aware of his own shortcomings as a politician. Instead of returning to politics, he has been very successful as an environment advocate turned celebrity.

(2) Democrats are in the middle of a historic primary; the winner will be the party's leader for the years to come. There is no way for someone else to come and share that one-person chair.

(3) As soon as Gore shows up again in the political arena, his "loser" banner will be very difficult to hide.

Anyway, I agree with your conclusion: Gore should stay home and enjoy the Superbowl.

Posted by: tropiburguer | February 1, 2008 1:15 AM

Hillary Clinton is the only Democratic candidate to, until just last year, support torture.

(See the story "Hillary backs off support for torture" [])

Bill Clinton still supports the abominable practice"and I am not referring here to his campaign style.

That is one reason, among many, that as a long-time human rights advocate, I am supporting Barack Obama.

Posted by: MARTIN EDWIN ANDERSEN | February 1, 2008 1:05 AM

Andres' analysis of Gore's situation seems exactly right.

Posted by: jhbyer | February 1, 2008 12:50 AM

Blair House? Don't you mean the Admiral's House? That's the name of the official residence of the VP. Blair House is where foreign dignitaries stay when they're on a state visit to the USA.

Posted by: kyblue1220 | February 1, 2008 12:29 AM

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