"That would be news to me, so I think somebody's off base," the friend told the Tennessean. "I've heard nothing along these lines, and I'd be very surprised."
A "senior Democrat" quoted by BuzzFeed, of course, had quite a different take.
“They’re getting the old gang together,” the unnamed source said. “... They’re figuring out if there’s a path financially and politically. It feels more real than it has in the past months.”
Denying that one is running for the presidency is, of course, a favorite pastime of some folks who eventually wind up running for the presidency — which puts the news media in an awkward position. As Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton hands over her e-mail server to the Justice Department and seems to be losing ground to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Gore's entry into the race would turn the race on his head. That is, if he were actually looking to run, which seems, well, a little weird.
But who knows, right? What if there's something to this?
That apparently remote possibility led to some creative headline-writing on the part of journalists. Below are some examples, along with what the headline really means
Marketwatch: "Al Gore said to be looking at another run for president"
TRANSLATION: If we're wrong and someone "said to be looking" isn't really looking, just blame whoever said it.
The Hill: "Report: Al Gore insiders chatting potential 2016 bid"
TRANSLATION: Whether Gore might run or not, his insiders are clearly chatting about it.
The Stranger: "Al Gore Thinking About Running for President"
TRANSLATION: This is actually kind of bold, because it ascribes the deliberations directly to Gore and not various unnamed advisers and friends. But could it ever truly be disproven? Do we really know what Gore is thinking about at any given time, besides lockboxes and Katherine Harris?
Politico: "Al Gore not planning to run against Hillary, advisers say"
TRANSLATION: If we're wrong and he actually is planning to run, just blame the advisers who said he wasn't.
USA Today: "Gore 2016? Rumors were flying after new report"
TRANSLATION: Don't ask us; we weren't there. We just know there were "rumors." And don't you know what a question mark means?
ABC: "Al Gore's Friends and Former Aides Eyeing 2016 Race"
TRANSLATION: Just like one might "eye" an episode of "Game of Thrones" or ketchup for a side order of French fries. It's there, and they are looking at it with their eyes.
Detroit Free Press: "Gore 2016? Yep, there's apparently talk."
TRANSLATION: Yep. Apparently.
As the tentative phrases and hedge-betting question marks unfurled, it was perhaps Uproxx — a publication not known for its political commentary — that played it the straightest: "Al Gore May Be Considering A Run For President."
Indeed — just as he may not be.