IMAGE: Al Gore
Jeff Zelevansky  /  Reuters file
Al Gore listens to a speaker at a New York news conference on June 28 for Live Earth, the global climate change concert on July 7 that he helped promote.
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updated 10/12/2007 12:14:27 PM ET 2007-10-12T16:14:27
AP Analysis

An Oscar, an Emmy and the Nobel Peace Prize. Will Al Gore now seek the ultimate reward and Oval Office mantel space? Don’t count on it.

Odds are that the former vice president won’t risk his Nobel-burnished image and huge public platform with a return to the rough-and-tumble world of presidential politics — at least not in 2008, advisers say.

“We face a true planetary emergency,” Gore said in a statement shortly after winning the prize on Friday. “The climate crisis is not a political issue.”

Actually, it is. Years after Gore adopted climate change as his signature issue, Democrats and Republicans alike now face the scientific certainty of global warming and a public that wants something done about it.

Nobody is better positioned than Gore to ride the issue to the White House.

Several Gore advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to share his thinking, said the award will not make it any more likely that he will seek the presidency. If anything, it makes the presidential race less appealing to Gore, they said, because now he has an international platform and may not want to do anything to diminish it.

One adviser said that while Gore is unlikely to rule out a presidential bid in the coming days, the prospects of the former vice president entering the fray in 2008 are “extremely remote.”

More comfy as 'Citizen Al'?
“This clearly will help make this campaign he’s embarking on on climate change an even larger campaign, and he’ll have an even louder voice,” said Donna Brazile, his campaign manager in 2000. “But for now he’s citizen Al Gore, and I think he’s comfortable being citizen Al Gore.”

“Citizen Al” is 59, young enough to run for the presidency in 2012. For now, look for Gore to stick with his coy refrain: He has “no plans” to seek the presidency.

Plans, of course, can change.

“I’ve called Al Gore and urged him to run for president so many times,” former President Jimmy Carter told NBC’s “Today” show. “He finally told me the last time, ‘President Carter, please do not call me.”’

Carter added, “I can at least do it indirectly through the news media.”

Also indirectly pressing Gore are scores of Internet-savvy supporters who are raising thousands of dollars for petition drives and advertising in an effort to lure him into the race. One group, Draftgore.com, ran a full-page open letter to Gore in Wednesday’s New York Times, imploring him to enter the race.

Upside of a race
Associates of Gore say the upside of seeking the presidency is obvious to him:

  • There is no better place to fight global warming than the Oval Office. The current occupant was slow to acknowledge mankind’s role in climate change; President Bush said through a spokesman Friday that he was happy for Gore.
  • He has the money (Internet stocks made him rich after leaving the White House), the following and the name recognition to launch a serious campaign. “An Inconvenient Truth,” the global-warming documentary about his work, won an Oscar and an Emmy.
  • He is not convinced that the current field is committed to the cause of global warming.

But he also knows that it’s late in the cycle and the race has taken shape without him, associates say, with polls showing Democratic voters are satisfied with the current crop of candidates. A losing or nasty political campaign could tarnish his carefully crafted image as a man above politics.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Gore never really had the stomach for tough political fights, which is one reason he didn’t make the best candidate in 2000.

Gore would not be welcomed by the Democratic candidates, especially front-running Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton — the former first lady who had a prickly relationship with him while they were in the White House. In the 1990s, the vice president and first lady vied for then-President Clinton’s political capital as they staked out their futures.

Asked by NBC this week if she expected to face Gore in the primary fight, Clinton said coolly, “You know, I think we’ve got great candidates running. We have a wonderful field.”

“Congratulations!” read the home page of Sen. Clinton’s campaign Web site Friday, featuring a picture of the former vice president. “His dedication and tireless work have been instrumental in raising international awareness about global warming.”

Next to Gore’s picture is a box that says, “Eight things you can do” to help Clinton become president.

Ron Fournier has covered politics for The Associated Press for nearly 20 years.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Al Gore, politician and Nobel laureate

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  1. Former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, his wife Tipper and Rajendra Pachaur, head of the Nobel Peace Prize winning UN climate panel, right, with his wife Saroj, wave to the crowd from the balcony of Grand Hotel in Oslo during a torchlight procession in honor of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winners on Dec. 10, 2007. (Lien, Kyrre / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. U2 singer Bono speaks with Al Gore during the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on Sep. 24, 2008, in New York City. Gore attended the fourth annual meeting of the CGI, a gathering of politicians celebrities, philanthropists and business leaders to discuss pressing global issues. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Al and Tipper Gore arrive at the inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2009. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Journalist Laura Ling hugs former Vice President Al Gore as they stand with Euna Lee, right and former President Bill Clinton, left, on Aug. 5, 2009. Ling and Lee, of San Francisco-based Current TV, were arrested by North Korean authorities in March for illegally entering the country on the Chinese border. They were pardoned by President Kim Jong-Il after a meeting with Clinton. (Ann Johansson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Al Gore attends a launch party for his new book "OUR CHOICE: A Plan To Solve The Climate Crisis" at the American Museum of Natural History on Nov. 3, 2009 in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Rodale) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Former Vice President Al Gore appears at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver Colo., Aug. 28, 2008. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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