пятница, 2 марта 2012 г.

Gore gives his support to Dean Surprise move bolsters candidacy

Adam Nagourney and Jodi Wilgoren
International Herald Tribune
Former Vice President Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean for president on Tuesday, a move that rocked the Democratic presidential field and hastened Dean's evolution from a long-shot maverick to a leading candidate of the Democratic establishment. ''I'm really proud and honored to endorse Howard Dean to be the next president of the United States of America,'' Gore said at a rally in New York. ''Howard Dean really is the only candidate who has been able to inspire at the grassroots level all over this country the kind of passion and enthusiasm for democracy and change and transformation of America that we need in this country.''The decision by Gore, the former vice president who opened the floodgates to this crowded Democratic nomination contest by declaring last December that he would not run again, stunned Democrats and emboldened the Dean campaign, which chartered three jets to carry Dean, Gore and dozens of reporters to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. ''This is huge,'' Donna Brazile, who was Gore's campaign manager in 2000, said upon learning that Gore would make the endorsement. ''It gives Dean what Dean has been missing most: stature. Gore is a major-league insider, somebody with enormous credibility that Democrats respect, who can rally the grass roots and who's been speaking very strongly in the last few months about the direction he wants to take the country.'' Gerald McEntee, the president of the municipal workers' union, which endorsed Dean last month, said: ''I think this may be the beginning of the end for the other candidates. I don't know how they stop him.'' Gore's decision put him in the odd position of supporting an insurgent candidate who has built his campaign attacking the centrist Democratic positions that the former vice president has espoused for two decades.It also came as a devastating surprise to Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, who was Gore's running mate in the disputed 2000 election.Lieberman delayed entering the 2004 race until he was sure that Gore would not run, a show of courtesy to Gore that Democrats later blamed for Lieberman's slow start in the race.Lieberman vowed to remain in the race, saying he was ''more determined than ever to continue to fight for what's right for my party and my country.'' Gore's support for Dean is also a serious setback for Representative Dick Gephardt, Democrat of Missouri, and seemed likely to complicate his efforts to defeat Dean in Iowa, a state where Gore is highly popular.It also is a rebuke to General Wesley Clark, who has surrounded himself with many former advisers to Gore and to former President Bill Clinton, as he has sought to present himself as the candidate with the implicit support of the last White House. The support of Gore should go a long way in addressing one of the questions that has clouded Dean's candidacy: Is he too far out of the mainstream to be taken seriously in presidential politics? At a late-night fund-raiser at the Roseland Ballroom in midtown Manhattan, the crowd interrupted Dean's speech with chants of ''Al Gore, Al Gore,'' but the candidate just shrugged and said, ''I cannot confirm or deny.'' Gore did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. But his associates noted that Gore had long said that he wanted to make an endorsement that would have an impact on the race, and said that he had been unimpressed with what one described as Lieberman's tepid campaign. By contrast, they said he had been enthralled by what he saw as the huge surge of interest in Dean's campaign, and had taken particular notice of the turnout for a speech Gore gave on civil liberties in Washington last month. The speech was sponsored by MoveOn.org, a progressive Internet group that provided a major boost to Dean's campaign.''There's something that Gore finds very appealing about Dean energizing the Democratic base,'' one of his associates said Monday.''I would say it's wistful but, when Gore gave a speech to MoveOn, he got 3,000 people there. There were times in the race when we couldn't get 3,000 people to turn up and he was the nominee. He sees an energy and vitality here.''This aide said that Gore also was struck by Dean's position as an opponent of the war in Iraq, and was distressed that his former running mate, whom he had warmly described in 2000 as the most qualified person he knew to be vice president, had become such a strong supporter of the war. In 2000, Dean, then the governor of Vermont, considered running for president and met with Gore, who dissuaded him in what one former Gore aide described as ''awkward conversation.'' At the time, the aide said, Dean told Gore that ''he's going to challenge him for the presidency,'' and Gore ''made a bunch of snide comments after he left.'' ''Obviously, between then and now, things have changed,'' the aide said. And officials close to Dean and Gore said that before Gore decided not to join the 2004 field, Dean went to him and said, ''I'm going to run against you if you run.'' Dean endorsed Gore in January 2000, a few weeks before the primary in New Hampshire. At that point, there were discussions about Dean being named commissioner of health and human services, the aide said. Gore has, in recent weeks, told longtime friends that Dean's policy positions were closest to his own. Those involved with the endorsement negotiations said that Gore's wife, Tipper, was an early Dean enthusiast, because both shared an interest in mental health issues.But after Gore decided not to run, Dean began what an adviser described as a ''long courtship'' of the former vice president, calling him for advice. Last month, the two men had a long meeting at Gore's home in Nashville, Tennessee; a Gore adviser said Gore heard from Dean much more often than he did from the other eight candidates in the field.*Adam Nagourney reported from Washington and Jodi Wilgoren reported from New York.

2003 Copyright International Herald Tribune. http://www.iht.com

Комментариев нет:

Отправить комментарий