Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS
CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS


CNN BREAKING NEWS

Tipper Gore Will Not Run for Senate

Aired March 17, 2002 - 18:00   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.

CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening. I'm Carol Lin at the CNN Center with some breaking news now. We have information about whether Tipper Gore is going to run for the U.S. Senate. CNN's Jonathan Karl is joining us by telephone from Nashville, Tennessee with this news. Jon, what did you learn?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, well, the news is out, at least now it will be. CNN has learned that Tipper Gore will not run for United States Senate. There has been a lot of speculation going on down here in Nashville. I've been talking with Democrats.

Tipper Gore and former Vice President Al Gore have been making phone calls over the last couple of days, saying that she was very seriously thinking about running for the Senate seat that will be vacated by Fred Thompson, but she is about to put out a written statement. We have an advance copy of it, where she says that she will not run for Senate. I can read you a couple lines.

She starts off by saying: "Over the past week, I've spoken with many Tennesseans and, of course, with my family about the possibility of becoming a candidate for the United States Senate. These conversations have been exciting and I have been truly humbled and extremely grateful for the encouragement and enthusiasm of so many good people. I want to especially thank my husband and their children for their strong and unconditional support, and there is so much important work to be done in Tennessee and across our nation. I have given this responsibility serious consideration."

She goes on to say: "It would be quite an honor," but she has decided that "it is not right for me right now to seek to represent the people of Tennessee in the United States Senate." So there you have it. It looks like this will come down to a race of Lamar Alexander or Ed Bryant on the Republican side and the consensus candidate on the Democratic side now seems to be the son of a former governor, Bob Clement, who is now in Congress.

LIN: Jon, she really didn't give much of a reason as to why she didn't run. Why do you think she declined the opportunity?

KARL: Well, I'll tell you what was going on down here in Tennessee. The news about Fred Thompson not running for reelection broke 10 days ago, and the Democrats in Tennessee have been working very hard to come up with one strong candidate. They didn't want to have a strong, bitter primary fight.

Harold Ford, Jr., 31-year-old Congressman from Memphis was talking about running. Bob Clement was famous because his father had been governor, had both been talking about running. Ford was convinced not to run. Clement was the consensus candidate.

Then all of a sudden, Tipper Gore started talking about possibly running, and Democrats down here felt like they had already gone through all of this trouble. They had already come up with a candidate, and you know frankly, a lot of the Democratic establishment down here thought that she was getting involved in this too late.

It's hard to say what was going on in her own head, but a lot of Democrats down here were completely shocked, taken by surprise that she was even considering running for Senate, and clearly that had to be a factor here. The filing deadline for this, the time in which a candidate must file and declare a candidacy is April 4, so she did not have much time to, you know, to really think this through and had to make a snap decision.

We also know Tipper Gore -- I covered, you know, Al Gore's Presidential Campaign, and she is one who was frequently very good out there on the stump and did a lot of campaigning with the Vice President but was also to be somebody who, you know, on occasion would tire of the spotlight, the campaign spotlight, and in this case the spotlight would have been on her non-stop.

LIN: Right.

KARL: And that's something else people talked about. But there was a lot of enthusiasm. I mean we asked Hillary Clinton, who's got some experience with this, on Friday Hillary Clinton told CNN that she thought that Tipper Gore would be an excellent candidate, that she was encouraging her to run, the Democrats, you know, nationally were extremely excited about the possibility of a Tipper Gore candidacy, and there were a lot of people telling her that she should run. So she had, you know, a lot of things to think about but not much time to think about them.

LIN: Yes, but, Jon, does that include her husband? I mean, how did Al Gore feel about his wife running for Senate?

KARL: Well, he was the one, one of the people making phone calls on her behalf. The former vice president, we talked to several leading Democratic figures down here in Tennessee who had received phone calls from the former vice president saying that his wife is very seriously thinking about this and asking their opinion about it. So from all signs, and we obviously haven't spoken to Al Gore about this, but from all signs he was extremely supportive of her running.

LIN: And wouldn't he have needed her help and her name recognition in his old home state? I mean, if he had won his home state to begin with, he might have been president of the United States.

KARL: Hey, there's no question. You know, Al Gore became the first presidential candidate since George McGovern to lose his home state, and if you just look at that electoral map, if he had won, it wouldn't have mattered what happened in Florida. He'd be president.

So, and you remember the famous speech when Al Gore conceded to George Bush and he said he needed to go home to mend fences in Tennessee.

LIN: Yes.

KARL: And, you know, this perhaps was one way to potentially do that, to see his wife run for Senate. By the way, Carol, you know, people have been asking Al Gore to run for Senate when Fred Thompson stepped down and he put out a statement immediately saying that he was not going to run himself.

LIN: Been there, done that.

KARL: Yes.

LIN: Thanks so much.

KARL: It is his old seat, by the way.

LIN: Yes, so nothing interesting there. I think he's got bigger plans, as we will talk about. I'm sure sometime down the road. Thanks so much, Jonathan Karl, breaking that news right here on CNN.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top