A Conversation with Al Gore

05/23/2007 12:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017


In a snide comment about Al Gore's new book, yesterday Tony Snow said: "I don't know if they're going to do a reprinting of the book to try to get the facts straight. The fact-checkers may have to take a look at it."

Ahem. Oh, the irony. Oh, what an easy pitch.

Yesterday afternoon in a blogger call with former Vice President Al Gore, he didn't miss a beat responding.

"This book, unlike the President's State of the Union Address, has been fact-checked." - Vice President Al Gore

Score one for Gore.

Needless to say it was a remarkable conversation, talking about Al Gore's new book, The Assault on Reason, which I received from the publishers and have briefly walked through. I'll be talking about it on my radio show today. It was interesting that we even got to talk to him before Larry King did last night.

The whole conversation, a full hour, is taped for you to listen to. The whole hour podcast, plus a couple of podcasts breakdowns, can be found in full here.

It was quite an opportunity, with all of the questions thought provoking, which you'll hear in the audio. Not a single blogger asked Gore the Sawyer question: Are you running in '08, blah-blah-blah. Repeat question and recycle it again. Oh, and no questions about how much weight he has lost either. We know our jobs even if the corporate hack pack does not.

I asked him a tough question on Iraq, which most are these days. Gore had been traveling all morning, which I knew, so it was impossible for him to know the details, but it was important to get his take on what was developing on the Iraq spending bill. The news hadn't yet broken that the Democrats were taking out timelines and leaving only benchmarks that Bush can waive.

"I have enormous respect for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and how the new majority is trying conscientiously to come to grips with the power of the legislative branch; how to wield it in a way that validates the mandate they received from the American people to bring about a change, especially in this catastrophically mistaken war policy. The instruments available to the legislative branch are blunt instruments, often difficult to use, awkward in their executions. And I think there has to, there should be an appreciation for how difficult it is to wield these tools. I think that they have been doing a really conscientious job of trying to use these blunt instruments deftly. I don't know what the latest twists and turns are, but I have confidence in their bona fides and intentions and I wish them well." - Vice President Al Gore

I followed up:

TM: How do you combat it when the media comes back and says the Democrats caved?

GORE: Well, the hypothetical presumes that they did and I don't know that they are.

TM: So, you just come back with that?

(insert laughter here)

GORE: Are you convinced that that's what's happening?

TM: No, no, absolutely not, I'm saying it's already starting in the media to say that is what's happening--

GORE: Even before it actually happens?

TM: Pretty much already, in the headlines.

GORE: I, well... you know... --insert priceless moment here--

It's right about here you really need to hear the tape. It was, well, classic (full interview audio here).

I got to ask a second question that was also on my mind. Gore has a chapter in his book entitled "Assault on the Individual." It brought to mind for me the GOP debate and the talk of torture.

TM: "When you talk about the 'assault on reason,' I think of the GOP debate where Mitt Romney said 'double Guantanamo.' And you've got a chapter in your book, I was looking at it, called 'The Assault on the Individual.' I was wondering if you'd talk a little bit about that and just Gitmo and the torture thing and where the Republicans stand and where we stand today that presidential candidates can stand up there and say 'double Gitmo,' and the audience erupts in applause."

You simply must hear Vice President Al Gore's response (audio is here), because it cannot be paraphrased and goes to the heart of his book. It's about the very fundamentals of our country and how America was founded and upon what values and ideals. Those values and ideals have nothing to do with the Republican idea that torture has anything to do with our democratic republic or that a double Gitmo would be George Washington's idea of America.

"I put my heart and soul into this book. ... What this book is is an effort to really lay out, not only a diagnosis but also a prescription. Those of you on this call are part of the group in America that I do see as on the cutting edge of the change I hope is coming on strong." - Vice President Al Gore

It was a remarkable hour, especially on what turned out to be a very tough day. It reminds you that politics is a worthy means by which to change this country, as well as hold our politicians accountable. Gore's book also just might show us the road back. Because we've lost so much in these last years under George W. Bush and the Republicans. It might be a beginning back to the road where America began. Al Gore offers hope. What we do with it is up to us.

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