Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.
So says Tim Shipman in the Telegraph. I suggest a high degree of skepticism.
The story is built on leaks from two members of Gore's 2000 campaign team. They say they were approached by other former Gore staffers about whether they'd be available to help Gore if he ran.
Both were told that the former staffers were not working on behalf of VP Gore:
In approaching former campaign staff, including political strategists and communications officials, they are making clear they are not acting on formal instructions from Mr Gore, 59, but have not been asked to stop.
"Have not been asked to stop?" So Gore's supposed to find out that his aides from 6 years ago are informally asking around, and ask them to stop?
No. I'll wager this story says very little about Gore's intentions, but it may say something about his past staff and current politics.
Remember that Gore's 2000 campaign was bad. Legendarily bad. Totally feckless when it came to countering the unremitting hostility of the mainstream media. Much of the loss was blamed on the toxic coterie of consultants Gore surrounded himself with, many of whom remain unemployed and probably have little better to do than sniff around a possible Gore campaign.
The real question is why those who were asked -- remember, there were only two, "including political strategists and communications officials," which means one political strategist and one communications official -- wanted to get this out in the media.
My suspicion is that the clue lies here:
The second aide approached by Vice-President Gore's allies said: "There is no love lost between Gore and Hillary. They don't think she can win and they're probably right. If Gore runs, he's got a really good chance of getting the nomination. And he has a good chance of pulling off the election, too."
The former aide, who has himself signed up with Sen Edwards, said: "The question is: where have all the Kerry people gone? The answer for most of them is nowhere. Now ask yourself why."
To me this smells like an Edwards guy who's seized on an opportunity to make Hillary look bad. Gore's people don't think Hillary can win!
I'll be surprised if there's anything more to it than that.
UPDATE: No sooner do I finish this post than Gore's people deny it all. Figured.