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No, I'm not running, but please keep asking

June 14, 2007 |  3:24 am

Former vice president and senator, losing Democratic presidential candidate, book author, documentary-maker, frequent speaker and Oscar winner Al Gore sure is spending an awful lot of time these days not running for president.

Truth is, despite what we see on TV news, most Americans are not running for president. They just don't do it so publicly and so often as Gore. The guy is popping up everywhere--speeches that provide sound bites, Nobel Prize nominations in wire stories and book signings that lead to TV and newspaper interviews including Tine Daunt's recent chat with him in The Times.

Gore has his Al Gore Live Earth Concerts coming up on July 7, which is helping to promote with concert-watching parties because "7/7/07 may be the most significant day since the discovery of oil." You'll never guess who's going to be speaking that night.

As part of his non-campaign, Gore has also penned a personalized email for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee urgently seeking sufficient donations to raise $500,000 by June 30. "It's important for all of us to remember," he writes, "that the very same Republican senators who have failed us so badly in the past are poised once again be (sic) in the majority if they pick up only one seat in the next election."

As an experienced public figure, Gore knows every time he's interviewed he'll be asked if he's running. He'll say he has no plans or expectations. But if pressed, like any wise public figure, he says he never says never. Which, of course, gets everybody talking again.

So much so that he's regularly included in the polls and in the recent Times national poll comes in at 15%, nearly twice the support of John Edwards, who's spending a fortune and busting his chops on the campaign trail every day to come in a distant fourth. As Top of the Ticket noted the other day, how frustrating must that be for a real candidate?

So by not running, Gore is actually running in third place behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He doesn't have to raise his hand at the debates when Wolf Blitzer commands. And he can focus more on turning his large electricity-gulping Tennessee home more green.

What's not to like?

So what do you think? Should Al Gore jump into the campaign? If so, why? Or has he had his shot? As we said in our very first Top of the Ticket item, the comments section is wide open. We may even do an item on the comments if they're good.

--Andrew Malcolm