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Al Gore as object lesson

August 28, 2008 |  6:09 pm

Former Vice President Al Gore waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008

DENVER -- It is not Al Gore's style to wallow in what happened in the 2000 election -- at least in public. After all, winning the Nobel Prize speaks to moving on

But how could he resist referencing tonight his popular-vote-win, electoral-college -loss, especially at a time when Democratic Party unity is not a given?

And so he did, as he appeared at Invesco Field as a warm-up act for Barack Obama.

One paragraph into his speech, he said, "Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn't really matter who became president. ... But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that that election didn't matter."

Earlier in the day, one of his former aides, Michael Feldman, embellished the point in comments to our colleague Peter Nicholas.

"When he walks out on stage tonight in front of 75,000-80,000 people, he's a very tangible symbol of what's at stake in a presidential election," Feldman said. "Anyone who looks at Al Gore and what's happened over the last eight years knows what's at stake."

"It was a very close election. And certainly, for a lot of people at that time who said there's no difference between Al Gore and George Bush, the last eight years shows what is at stake. It's an object lesson for Democrats who are contemplating choices at stake in this election.''

When Gore did, in fact, walk onto the stage at Invesco, he was greeted by strong applause -- and foot-stomping. But if attitudes about what was at stake in the 2000 election have changed, one thing hasn't: Gore for all his achievements remains a wooden orator. In general, he failed to rouse the crowd (which shortly after he exited the podium, indulged in the wave).

-- Don Frederick

Former Vice President Al Gore waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

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