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CNN Today

Gore to Lecture at Columbia University

Aired January 25, 2001 - 4:34 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: The former Vice President Al Gore who will now become Professor Gore. Columbia University in New York has announced that Gore has accepted a visiting professorship in the graduate school of journalism there -- his first appearance set to be next month. Then he plans to lecture once a week for six to eight occasions in this semester. A Gore adviser says one reason the former vice president accepted the position is because Gore's daughter and little grandson live in New York.

There could be other reasons, though.

Joining us from Seattle to talk more about Gore's new job is historian Richard Shenkman (ph).

So Richard, what do you make of Mr. Gore's new job? Does this tell us anything about his political ambitions in the future?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Al Gore is famous for constantly reinventing himself; and now he's reinventing himself as an educator. Of course, it's interesting because, during the campaign, the Republicans always accused him of lecturing -- well, now he'll officially be able to lecture people.

While George W. proclaims himself the education president, his former opponent is going to be in the classroom, actually educating people. So there's a lot of fun in this.

I think that there's something serious, which is Al Gore is sitting back and really trying to figure out, what is he going to do? Is he going to run? Does he have a future in the Democratic Party?

Just this past weekend the Democratic Leadership Council, a moderate group in the Democratic Party, they held a big meeting to decide, did Al Gore blow this election or was it really difficult to get elected this year?

So with Al Gore right now -- I think he's sitting back. It's a little bit surprising, though, that he wasn't more imaginative. This is kind of what Dukakis did after his defeat and what other failed presidential nominees have done after their defeats. One alternative could have been for Al Gore to plant himself in Washington, D.C. on George W.'s doorstep and say, I'm going to be the leader of the Democratic Party. We;re going to have a shadow government because your government's not really as legitimate as most presidents' and we're going to challenge you every step of the way. He chose not to do that.

CHEN: You know, a lot of these guys -- a lot of people in politics seem to go off to Harvard -- the Kennedy School -- a lot of people from media end up there, too.

Is there anything to be made of him going to New York, to Columbia, instead?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in addition to going to Columbia he's also, interestingly, going to be teaching in Tennessee, at Middle Tennessee State University, and also at Fisk, the black college -- largely black college in Tennessee.

So he's covering his bases. He's going to be in New York, the big media market; he's also going to be in Tennessee where -- he had said at the end of the campaign he was going to go home to mend fences. So he's doing what a politician would do. You know, if you remember during campaign, he was very famous for indiscreetly saying in front of a reporter, I think, at one point, you know, if I lose this election, I don't know what I'm going to do. George W., he can go back to Texas; I don't really have a place to go.

CHEN: Interesting; Richard Shenkman joining us from Seattle today, thanks very much.

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