This presidential cycle brings back so many memories. Remember when Al Gore narrowly lost his bid for the presidency by avoiding ties to the Clintons — and they blamed that for Gore’s loss? Well, it doesn’t look as though the former Clinton VP and Democratic presidential nominee still wants an arms-length relationship with the Clintons sixteen years later, according to The Tennessean:
Al Gore will not be attending this week’s Democratic National Committee Convention in Philadelphia despite being a Tennessee superdelegate, a spokeswoman for the former vice president said Sunday.
Gore is one of eight Tennessee superdelegates this year, but he’s the only one who is not committed to a candidate.
Not only is Gore not committed to a candidate through the normal political process, he’s not inclined to jump aboard the bandwagon either — at least, not yet. Six weeks ago, Politico reported that Gore refused to endorse Hillary Clinton even though she had won enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee. Gore said he’d wait until the official nomination to decide on an endorsement:
It’s an unusual, situation given not only the state of the race but also Gore’s ties to Bill Clinton. Almost every prominent Democrat at Gore’s level has endorsed either Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders, or at least weighed in on the primary. And with Warren backing Clinton, the risk of backlash from the liberal wing of the Democratic party is minimal.
Multiple times throughout the cycle, he has been pressed about endorsing a candidate and demurred. In late May during an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Gore once again declined to say which candidate he favored but suggested that both campaigns were nudging him to decide. That was before Clinton had secured the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination and a flood of holdout endorsements came through.
Previously, a Gore aide told POLITICO he would endorse after the Democratic Party picked a nominee. Officially, that won’t be until the July convention.
It’s more than just unusual — it’s almost unprecedented, at least on that side of the aisle. The media made much of the fact that Bob Dole was the only former Republican nominee or president to attend last week’s GOP convention, and Gore was Bill Clinton’s VP. It’s not as if Gore served with Sanders in the Senate for some competing loyalty, or that Sanders has a prayer of wresting the nomination away at this late date either.
His absence is veeeerrrry strange, unless there’s some pressing need for him to be somewhere else other than the convention that’s been on the schedule for two years. According to the Tennessean’s Joey Garrison, the Gore team says that he, er, has “obligations in Tennessee.” On all four days of the convention — the Democratic Party event that only occurs once every four years? The one event with national coverage to allow him a platform to make his anthropogenic global warming case to the American people? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
Presumably, Gore will offer up an obligatory “vote Hillary” statement after Thursday night. His absence over four days will speak much louder than those words.