Now With Alex
updated 5/7/2013 11:18:31 PM ET 2013-05-08T03:18:31

The man who "used to be the next president of the United States" now has several hundred million dollars. But is there still a sense that something's missing?

Former Vice President Al Gore is doing just fine. Actually, since losing his bid for president in 2000, he’s been enormously successful. Bloomberg’s Ken Wells and Ari Levy call Gore “Romney-rich,” reporting that the sale of Current TV and a slew of Apple stock in January earned him more than $100 million in one month.

New York magazine’s Steve Fishman recently spent a day at what he calls “Gore’s White House,” his massive estate in the Belle Meade area of Nashville. Since 2000, Gore has picked up a Nobel Prize, written best-selling books on global warming, and made an Oscar-winning movie.

But Fishman indicated Monday on NOW with Alex Wagner that something will always be missing for the man who was almost, nearly, should-have-been the president. ”There’s a certain sense of consolation prize to the golden years, the golden decade,” Fishman said, talking about the years following the Florida recount. Speaking about Gore’s 10,000 square foot house, Fishman continued, “he’s alone there. There’s a sense of this man rattling around in this big house.”

Watch the video above as Alex Wagner and the NOW panel discuss Al Gore’s legacy and his reaction to former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s big regret.

Video: Al Gore’s Plan B is working out pretty well

  1. Closed captioning of: Al Gore’s Plan B is working out pretty well

    >>> i have been blown away by this conference. and i want to thank all of you for the, the many nice comments about what i had to say the other night. and i say that sincerely. partly because i need that. put yourselves in my position. that was former vice president al gore , circa 2006 . chuckles aside, life isn't all that bad for the man who used to be the next president of the united states . bloomberg news reported this week that al gore is now romney-rich. while gore was worth less than $2 million when he ran for president in january, he sold current tv , the cable network he helped create, to al jazeera , making a personal profit between $70 million and $7100 million. he cashed in on nearly $30 million worth of apple stock where he serves on the board and holds another $45 million in options. steve fishman 's article calls the last decade, al gore 's golden years. his current tv cash flow add that to his books, and other ventures, you have a flawless american success story. except for one detail. the detail happens to be the first thing that comes to mind whenever somebody says al gore .

    >> good evening, just moments ago i spoke with george w. bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the united states . and i promised him that i wouldn't call him back this time.

    >> the what if's will always follow gore. but his historic moment of electoral crisis was thrust back into the news last month when former justice, sandra day o'connor questioned whether the high court should have intervened and prevented a florida recount . justice o'connor was the deciding fifth vote in that case and if she had voted differently, we might now be discussing a former president. gore says he was surprised at o'connor's admission and by surprised we're not sure if that's code for quietly devastating. but he stands by the decision he made in 2000 . the could have, would have, should have been vice president was truthful about how tough it truly was. i don't want to pretend that it wasn't a devastating experience, it was. it was really, really hard. sometimes people say oh, you've been able to do more since you left politics , gore tells me. i know better than that, i'm under no illusion that there is any position with anywhere near as much potential for shaping the future in a positive way than as president of the united states . joining us now is contributing editor at new yo"new york magazine," steve fishman . i read this with a little bit of happy, a lot of happiness for al gore having moved on, his success. but money can't buy you happiness and there does seem to be a tinge of melancholy that surrounds the narrative.

    >> there's a certain sense of consolation prize to the golden years, the golden decade . he's happy, he's dug in, he's made peace with it to the extent that you can. but visually you walk into the house and it's a 10,000 square-foot house, not that i saw all of it. but he's alone there. there's a sense of this man rattling around in this big house . with purpose, but having kind of streamlined his life. there aren't kids, he's separated from tipper. so there isn't that famous drum kit in the living room . you have a sense of this other life having been wiped away. streamlined for his new purpose. but still, there's a sense of what the past was. that is always with him.

    >> karen and howard , we were talking about where you guys were on election night , 2000 , which was a different place, not doing recounts and hanging chads. the tragedy of al gore , the saga still remains , knife shards still touching us in the soft spots, the sandra day o'connor comments, you must think it's, if the scar tissue is in fact scarred over and it's not still an open wound , it must slightly open it just that much. when you hear something like that.

    >> if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. there was no point in her saying that. howard and i worked together, howard was i boss on hillary's 2000 senate campaign. we knew hillary had won. it was so exciting, but tempered by we didn't know what was happening in the presidential, so we were sort of hedging our bets for several hours trying to figure out what to do. when howard found out, we thought we just got to go. i think for a lot of democrats it was a very sort of tortured evening. because there were some great victories, but then there was this sort of cloud hanging over you know, even the next day, and then we saw the drama that unfolded.

    >> howard , we're so focused on syria and the talk about iraq, the ten-year anniversary of us going into iraq. the opening of the george w. bush presidential library , the anniversary of "mission accomplished" and we're so focused on those years. when you think about al gore , you can't help but ask, what if it had been the other.

    >> the entire history of the world would have been radically different. i can't imagine a greater divergence about what happened and what could have happened, had al gore been elected.

    >> i had a conversation with mike bloomberg when he was running for re-election in '09. we had a bad moment at one point and he looked at me and said, if i lose, my plan b is better than most people's plan a.

    >> and it turns out that al gore 's plan b worked out pretty well for him. he may have wallowed a little bit. he had a depression, he gained some weight. he grew a beard, which i think is totally fine.

    >> al, keep the beard. but he's done extraordinarily well and he's made a lot of money and a tremendous difference in the world. he's helped change the world . he's right, he would have changed the world more had he been president, but he still applied himself in the way that he always had throughout his life to public service in a different venue.

    >> steve , you talk about the contradictions of his life post election. he has this mansion, well 10,000 square feet , if we're talking romney rich, what is the square footage of a true mansion. uses 20 times the electricity of the average u.s. household. he wants to talk about environmentalism in an "an inconvenient truth" and he sold current tv to al jazeera funded by qatari oil money. a series of seeming contradictions and the ultimate one, do his actions befit a nobel prize win centre someone who used to be vice president, someone who would have been president? he constantly has to sort of grapple with all of that.

    >> there's a couple standards against which we judge al. the interesting thing here, too, is he's become and still is a political kind of lightning rod . obviously the right wing hates him and uses every chance it can get to pounce on him. it's kind of interesting how they've converted the environmental movement into a right/left issue. if they didn't have al gore , they would have had to invent him is the issue. to get back to the house, it's, it's 20 times larger than the average u.s. i mean what's the average u.s.? i think you should compare it to other 10,000 square-foot houses, he's extremely environmentally conscience. as he hastens to point out, he's the 33 solar panels , geothermal heating.

    >> so does jonathan capehart. i'm kidding.

    >> you let me secret out.

    >> he comes with a burden. of -- he is somebody who speaks his conscience. he has, he wants to be, he has a kind of stature, as ex-vice president, as perhaps the person who should have been president. so i think we kind of rightly scrutinize his actions. in the al jazeera deal, think it was a business decision. you know, al jazeera came in and bid a couple hundred million more than the next. my figure is 784 million on the record. rather than the 500 million. but in any case, he probably cleared about $100 million. and you know, he was in business with people who are business people . as well.

    >> well, right. and jonathan capehart, you give him, you're like, go get it.

    >> i'll take the rounding error, it's fine by me. the thing about former vice president gore. there's the cliched saying, living well is the best revenge and he's been having a wonderful revenge moment.

    >> revenge life.

    >> yes.

    >> the last thing, steve , was surprising to me, is that he's hoping to enlighten rupert murdoch and took him on in a public forum . and no spoilers here, but you talk about the fact that he hasn't given up on trying to convert murdoch to the path of lightness, if you will.

    >> kind of in general i think history has proven to be on al gore 's side. global warming is real. he was saying that 30 years ago, he really is a prophet with a p-h in that regard and this kind of fascinating thing is that he's devoted to business and to making money and to being involved in interesting projects. but he's got this kind of weird missionary side. not weird in any kind of profound sense, but in contrast to the rest of his life. so that he does seem to be willing to go into the wilderness, fly to istanbul. talk to a couple hundred people and he seems willing to convert the world one by one, if necessary.

    >> al gore .

    >> delivering the sermon. "new york magazine's" steve fishman . catch the article on stands now.

    >>> as f. scott fitzgerald once wrote there are no second acts in american lives, but the legendary writer probably did not have south carolina 's mark sanford in mind. we'll talk second acts and double standards , just ahead. have a gooood


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