Former Vice President Al Gore is harshly critical of President Bush in his new book, "The Assault on Reason," in which he claims that "the current White House has engaged in an unprecedented and sustained campaign of mass deception."
In an interview with ABC News, Gore goes one step further on the war in Iraq, calling it "the worst strategic mistake in the whole history of the United States."
However, Gore refuses to place the blame squarely on Bush. "When our country made a decision to invade Iraq, it's too partisan to simply blame that on the current president," he said.
Despite his chapters focusing on "the politics of fear" and "democracy in the balance," Gore insists that "this is not a political book." Rather, he claims, the focus of the book is "the structural problems in the way we make decisions in our country."
Gore also dismisses the notion that this is an "angry" book. But when asked if he agreed with President Carter's assertion that the current administration is "the worst in history," Gore refused to answer. "I've recently begun to fear that I've been losing my objectivity on Bush and Cheney. …You would rather have someone else do that."
Later in the interview, Gore acknowledges that he did feel he would have been a better president than Bush. "Anybody who runs for president, as I did twice, has the impression that they could do the job better than anyone else," he said.
Gore also said that the events in the period following the 2000 election were what led him to "examine what it is about the conversation of democracy that is not working well," and was the point at which he felt "it's not like it used to be here. Facts don't seem to matter as much."
The book also covers other perceived problems in the United States, criticizing the Bush administration's decision "to lead by inciting fear" rather than courage, and dismissing claims that he himself is fear-mongering on the climate issue.
In the interview, the former vice president also addressed the ever present question of his potential candidacy for president in 2008.
Gore underscored in the interview that he is "not a candidate," and that he is "not looking for a set of circumstances that would open the door for me to get back into politics. I'm really not."
But he does leave some wiggle room for the possibility of running in 2008. "Look, we're a year and half away from this election," he said, "[I] see no need to say, 'OK. I'm not ever going to even think about that in the future.'"