ABC's Shipman on Gore: "[J]ust look at his face. I don't think any of us ... could take him at his word"

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On This Week, ABC News' Claire Shipman said of former Vice President Al Gore, "[J]ust look at his face. I don't think any of us watching your interview could take him at his word." Host George Stephanopoulos, who had interviewed Gore earlier, asked Shipman whether journalists should "take [Gore] at [his] word" about his statement, "I have no plans to be a candidate for president again."

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On the June 4 edition of ABC's This Week, ABC News senior national correspondent Claire Shipman said of former Vice President Al Gore, "[J]ust look at his face. I don't think any of us watching your interview could take him at his word." Host George Stephanopoulos, who interviewed Gore earlier in the program about his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, May 2006), asked Shipman whether journalists should "take [Gore] at [his] word" about his statement, "I have no plans to be a candidate for president again."

During his interview with Gore, Stephanopoulos had asked, regarding Gore's campaign to inform the public about global warming: "So, you're determined to educate, not to run for president again?" Gore replied, "I have no plans to be a candidate for president again. I don't expect to ever be a candidate for president again. I haven't made a so-called 'Sherman statement' because it just seems unnecessary, kind of odd to do that."

Later, during a roundtable discussion among Stephanopoulos, Shipman, American Prospect founding chairman and former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, and syndicated columnist George F. Will, Reich said: "I believe that he [Gore] really doesn't want to run unless he has a very good chance of winning. But when I hear some politician say three times in a short interview, 'I'm not going to make a Shermanesque statement,' I believe that they are going to, in fact, run." Stephanopoulos then said to Shipman, "Al Gore would say ... 'This is exactly the kind of cynical commentary you see among journalists all the time -- why not take me at my word?' " Shipman replied: "Well, just look at his face. I don't think any of us watching your interview could take him at his word, and I think everyone's talking about Al Gore right now." Nevertheless, Shipman subsequently acknowledged, "I don't know that he's gonna run," after noting that "[h]e looks like he's been right on a number of issues -- people are suddenly focusing on the environment again."

From Stephanopoulos's interview with Gore on the June 4 edition of ABC's This Week:

STEPHANOPOLOUS: Couldn't you make the most of this opportunity if you were president?

GORE: Well, I'm under no illusions that there's any position in the world with as much influence as that of president of the United States. But I ran for president twice, and I was in politics for a quarter-century, and I honestly believe that the highest and best use of my skills and experience is to try to change the minds of people in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world about this planetary emergency that we simply have to confront.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, a lot of Democrats are trying to change your mind about that. Here's how their argument goes. They said you were ahead of the curve on global warming. Ahead of the curve on the Internet. Right to support the first Gulf War and oppose the Iraq war. No one has as much experience in national office, and they believe because of all that, you have not just the right to run again, but a duty to do it.

GORE: I appreciate them saying that. But I don't -- I don't feel that I have to apologize for focusing my energies on trying to create a sufficient awareness and sense of urgency on the single biggest challenge that humankind has ever faced. It doesn't have to happen. We can solve it. We can stop the worst of the results of this crisis, and we have everything we need, save perhaps political will. And in America, that's a renewable resource. But the way to renew it is to follow the advice of James Madison and to cultivate a well-informed citizenry. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free," is what --

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you're determined to educate, not to run for president again?

GORE: I have no plans to be a candidate for president again. I don't expect to ever be a candidate for president again. I haven't made a so-called "Sherman statement" because it just seems unnecessary, kind of odd to do that. I'm 58 years old. That's the new 57 now, so --

From the roundtable discussion later in the program:

REICH: I believe that he really doesn't want to run unless he has a very good chance of winning. But when I hear some politician say three times in a short interview, 'I'm not going to make a Shermanesque statement,' I believe that they are going to, in fact, run.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know what Al Gore would say about all this, Claire. He'd say, "This is exactly the kind of cynical commentary you see among journalists all the time -- why not take me at my word?"

SHIPMAN: Well, just look at his face. I don't think any of us watching your interview could take him at his word, and I think everybody's talking about Al Gore right now because the gods could not have conspired to provide a better backdrop for him right now. People think, they've missed him, the president's approval ratings are in the toilet. He looks like he's been right on a number of issues -- people are suddenly focusing on the environment again. But if I read one more time that if we'd only seen this Al Gore during the election -- this is the same Al Gore. That storyline was written every two months during the 2000 campaign.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He's gotta let it rip.

SHIPMAN: I don't know that he's gonna run. I do know it's provided a useful exercise for the Democrats right now because it's put a spotlight on the big elephant in the room -- the Hillary Clinton conundrum, which nobody wanted to face.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Government
Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Claire Shipman
Show/Publication
This Week
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine, Al Gore, 2008 Elections
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