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Al Gore Speaks Out But He Still Won't Run
Aired August 7, 2003 - 20:50 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore stepped back into the political spotlight today. In a rare speech, he blasted just about everything the Bush administration is doing. But Gore is not stepping into the 2004 presidential race, even though some Democrats say they wish he would.
It is a season of Democratic discontent, and who better to talk about that than Paul Begala, one of the hosts of -- on the left of CNN's "CROSSFIRE." He joins us from Washington.
Always good to see you, Paul.
PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Hey, Paula.
ZAHN: Paul, you often remind us that it was in fact that Al Gore who had gotten a half-million more votes than George Bush did on election day. Let's quickly review some of what Al Gore had to say today when he came out swinging against the current president. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Normally, we Americans lay the facts on the table, and talk through the choices before us, and make a decision. But that didn't really happen with this war, not the way it should have. And as a result, too many of our soldiers are paying the highest price.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Well, Paul, my question to you, do you see any scenario under which Al Gore would run in 2004? That certainly sounded like a candidate up there today.
BEGALA: He did. But I talked to people close to the former vice president today after that speech, and they said, No, no, don't misread it that way. I mean, I am, though, reminded of Mo Udall, the former presidential candidate, former congressman, who once said, "The only cure for presidential fever is formaldehyde."
But I think that what Mr. Gore was trying to do today was to contribute in his own way. And that is, I think this is -- was a very bold speech. It's a shame it was largely overshadowed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. But I think he wants the Democrats who are running for president to read that speech and attack Bush this way. I mean, it was a very, very bold speech. He basically said, Liar, liar, pants on fire. I mean, he went after the president's integrity. And that's something that most Democrats have been too timid to do. It's a very bold strategy. It would be interesting to see if his fellow Democrats pick up on it.
ZAHN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) let me ask you this, though, Paul. Strategically, wouldn't it be a pretty good move on his part if he hung out there and didn't put his toe into the race, and let everything sort of explode over the next 12 months, and then enter it?
BEGALA: Look, that could be. I mean, I'm not ruling anything out after watching a movie actor become a candidate for the governor of California.
But my sense that -- from some of the vice president's friends who I talked to today, is that they say, No, no. And, in fact, he's going to pick somebody, maybe late in the process rather than early, but he's going to sign on with a Democratic candidate.
But I think what he wants to do is try to give them a blueprint for how to run. I mean, I remember Bill Clinton, when Gore was the candidate, going out to California and giving the speech he thought Al Gore should have given.
And now it's come around. Al Gore is giving the speech he wants the other Democrats to give.
And it goes right at Bush's greatest strength. That's why I think it's so bold. It's very exciting to watch. Most people believe that the president's strong on foreign policy and national defense. They believe he's basically a truth-teller. Al Gore stood up and said he's made us weak on national defense, and he lies. He didn't use that word, but he basically said that.
ZAHN: He came pretty close to saying that, didn't he, Paul? Thanks for sharing your perspective with us tonight. I know you've worked a long day.
BEGALA: Thanks, Paula.
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