Former Vice President Al Gore said the rapid expansion of information flow on the Internet could change the future of campaign finance, but that hunger for campaign cash will continue as long as political TV ads remain effective.
The 30-second TV ad isn't going away anytime soon, Gore said at a media conference at Middle Tennessee State University on Tuesday evening.
"The Internet is a great source of hope, and I believe its importance is growing every day," Gore said. "But I think it's important to have a sense of perspective on where we are at the present time. Television is still completely dominant."
Gore said he made taxpayer-supported financing of all federal elections a platform in both his 1988 and 2000 presidential campaigns. Few - including opposition researchers for other campaigns - took note, he said.
"They always assumed that it was so implausible that there was no point in attacking me about it," he said.
His thinking has not changed much in the intervening years, he said. And any laws to reduce campaign spending are likely to cause independent expenditure groups to make a commensurate increase in spending, he said.
Gore, whose documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth" about global warming won an Academy Award on Sunday, has said repeatedly he has no plans to join the field of 2008 Democratic presidential aspirants.
But Gore's unwillingness to rule out a run completely has given some activists hope that he might change his mind.