Veterans of Al Gore's past are quietly assembling a campaign to draft the former vice president into the 2008 presidential race — despite his repeated statements that he's not running.
His top policy adviser from his 2000 presidential campaign and other key supporters met Thursday in Boston to mull a potential Gore campaign. The participants and Gore's Nashville office both said Gore, who is in London, is not involved.
Elaine Kamarck, a veteran of the Clinton White House and Gore's policy guru in 2000, said the meeting was informal and shouldn't be taken as a sign there will be a Gore 2008 campaign.
Chris Mackin, a Boston consultant and Gore supporter, called it "an early stage conversation." But he added: "We're very serious about exploring this."
Convenient political climate
Gore's spokeswoman, Kalee Kreider, said the only campaign Gore is on right now is against global warming.
"He so appreciates the sentiment behind efforts like this. But he's been very clear he really has no intention of running for president in 2008," she said.
Gore won a hard-fought primary campaign to become the Democratic nominee in 2000. He won the popular vote but lost to President Bush after a messy legal challenge ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Since then, the former Tennessee senator has worked against global warming and served on corporate boards, including Google and Apple Inc. Due to a range of business ventures, aides have said Gore could spend as much as $50 million of his own money to launch a credible presidential run.
And, in the background, groups have been lobbying for Gore's return to presidential politics.
"He certainly has the right political climate. How many political candidates are being nominated for Nobel prizes and winning Oscars?" said Dylan Malone, co-founder of AlGore.org and organizer of a political action committee trying to draft Gore.
His work on global warming earned him a Nobel nomination and two Oscar nods for his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." He has re-branded himself on late-night television and has brought together a stable of grass-roots supporters.
No wave-off of efforts so far
In 2002, Gore asked Malone to stop a draft effort he had begun; Malone did. Malone started up again and, so far, Gore hasn't waved him off.
"The difference is dramatic. His time has come," Malone said. "We're raising tens of thousands of dollars fairly easily. Our mailing lists are growing so quickly we have to buy new computers."
In a New Hampshire poll released this week, Gore ranked fourth, behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards. Gore earned 8 percent.
The results mirror other polls nationwide.
"He certainly is in a position he can get into this," said Doug Hattaway, Gore's campaign spokesman in 2000. "He doesn't need to jump into this right away. He can keep his powder dry for a while."
Gore is scheduled to be in Washington next month to testify on Capitol Hill on global warming.