One Vote for Gore

By Chris Cillizza
Thursday, March 16, 2006

Al Gore, non-candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, has his first inside-the-Beltway booster for a 2008 campaign.

The support, enthusiastic if unsolicited, comes from Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who urged Gore into the race yesterday during an appearance on C-SPAN. In an interview after that appearance, Moran was careful to note that he is not formally endorsing Gore or any other 2008 candidate just yet, but he cited the former vice president's popular-vote advantage over George W. Bush in 2000 as his strongest selling point.

"I'd like to give him another shot at it," Moran said.

He went on to draw a comparison between Gore's political career and that of former president Richard M. Nixon, who lost the race for the White House in 1960 but went on to win eight years later. "That's as far as the analogy goes," Moran added, eager not to suggest Gore might emulate Nixon's Watergate scandal.

So far, the problem with this historical analogy is Gore himself. He has been emphatic in saying he is not interested in a fifth national campaign (he ran for the Democratic nomination in 1988, and was on the ticket with Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 before the frustrated effort in 2000). He told the Associated Press last fall that he had "absolutely no plans and no expectations of ever being a candidate again." But that denial has just enough wiggle room to keep many Democratic activists chattering about a potential Gore candidacy.

If he did run, a man who started his career courting conservative Democrats would likely base this campaign on support from the party's liberal base. Unlike Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), who is widely seen as the front-runner for the 2008 Democratic nomination if she decides to run, Gore has been an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq since its inception.

On Second Thought . . .

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) decided that 2006 was not the year to let the sun go down on his political career.

After announcing on Friday his decision to retire from Congress after 10 terms, Gallegly, 62, reversed course yesterday.

"I fully intend to run a vibrant campaign to win re-election in June and in November," Gallegly said in a statement. "I will not, however, seek re-election in 2008."

The reason for his sudden reversal? Gallegly said that when he announced his retirement, he thought his name could be removed from the ballot and that filing would be reopened for five days -- allowing any candidate to run. Both assumptions proved to be incorrect.

Gallegly also came under considerable pressure from national and state Republican leaders to run again. Gallegly missed a call from President Bush but fielded one from White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who urged the congressman to seek another term, a House Republican aide said.

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