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Al Gore might yet join 2008 contenders

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Mr. Gore, who turns 60 in 2008, could remain noncommittal and enter the presidential fray late, given his fame and fund-raising potential -- unlike lesser-known Democrats already stumping in the early-nominating states to be the Clinton alternative, such as former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh. If Mr. Gore ran -- or were drafted, as Ms. David suggests -- the longtime Washingtonian would run as an outsider, Democrats expect, helped along by his relationship with Internet-savvy MoveOn.org activists.

There would be no small irony in Mr. Gore re-emerging with a crusade against global warming. In 2000, he played down the issue he had so long been identified with in Congress, on his consultants' advice. They feared the younger Bush, like his father, would use the issue to reinforce an image of Mr. Gore as a bloodless wonk, and make it a jobs question for voters in swing industrial and coal-mining states. "The campaign took this issue off the table and robbed him of seeming 'big' and visionary," says former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. "I think he regrets that."

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