December 10, 2003


GORE BACKS DEAN: Former Vice President Al Gore announced yesterday that he is backing Howard Dean for president, in an early-morning press conference in Harlem (which was fisked, on air in real time, by Don Imus on MSNBC- good times!). Gore, in throwing his former running mate Joseph Lieberman under the bus, said he made the decision because Dean is the only candidate who has galvanized the Democratic base (which is true), and because Dean can win (which isn't quite as true).
The most surprising moment of the speech was when Dean referred to Gore as "the elected president of the United States." Huh? That's the sort of thing I'd expect to hear from one of Dean's freakish supporters, not from the Good Doctor himself. If Dean refuses to abide by the results of the 2000 election, why does he see fit to blame Bush for everything under the sun, including the color of the sky? If he thinks Gore won, why isn't he running against Gore?
Anyway, the right-leaning pundits of course went to town- and their angle? As always, it's All About Hillary, and her supposed conspiracy to eventually become president. The Hillary-obsessed Dick Morris led his column Tuesday with

Dissatisfied at how thoroughly forgotten he is among active Democrats and resentful of all the attention Sen. Hillary Clinton, his White House rival, is getting, Al has reportedly decided to flank the Clintons by backing Howard Dean for president.

Others put forth similarly bizarre theories, seemingly taking it as a forgone conclusion that all parties, in 2003, are acting with 2008 in mind. As Timothy Noah pointed out in Slate awhile ago, the right has a considerably greater interest in a Hillary presidential run than Mrs. Clinton herself ever did; after all, the leading liberal advocate for such a run is some college freshman from Virginia.
Of course, I sort of wish Gore had borrowed a page from the WWE (by way of Sports Guy), and "turned" on Dean during the speech, whacking the former Vermont governor with a chair as "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)" blared over the loudspeaker, and Gore's "mystery partner" sauntered into the auditorium from his nearby Harlem office. "By Gawd!," Shepard Smith would scream, "That's Bill Clinton's music!"

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 10, 2003 04:59 PM
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