His endorsement was coveted during the long primary season and he was courted by the Democratic contenders, yet Al Gore chose to stay on the sidelines until today.
Tonight at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, home of the 2008 Stanley Cup Champions Red Wings, the former Vice President will appear at a rally with presumptive nominee Barack Obama and give him the Goreacle stamp of approval.
In an email to his supporters today, Gore committed to doing everything he can to make sure Obama wins in November and gave his unambiguous endorsement: "On the issues that matter most, Barack Obama is clearly the right choice to lead our nation."
"Over the next four years, we are going to face many difficult challenges -- including bringing our troops home from Iraq, fixing our economy, and solving the climate crisis. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America," the former Vice President said.
A few questions:
Why now and not a few weeks ago when Obama was still battling with Hillary Clinton for the nomination? (Remember, Gore is a superdelegate so his endorsement is twice-as-nice.)
Is Gore on that VP list being shopping around by Obama's vetting squad?
How much money will the Obama campaign bring in from the members of AlGore.com?
Gore endorsed Al Franken in the Minnesota Senate race. Will Obama follow his lead? (ABC News' Jake Tapper asked this question today.)
Will we ever see a day of dueling conference calls, with Gore playing surrogate for the Obama campaign and his 2000 running mate Sen. Joe Lieberman doing the same for the McCain campaign?
Speaking in Flint, MI today, Obama said that the Gore endorsement "means a lot" and said the two have been talking throughout the primary season, per ABC News' Sunlen Miller.
"We've had ongoing conversations about a whole host of issues. A lot of them around climate change, energy, and the environment. But you know he's also provided good political advice," Obama said. "[H]e's somebody who has been a visionary but just for the party but the country. And there are very few people who are more knowledgeable than he is on a whole host of issues and challenges we're going to me facing in the years to come."
ABC News' Miller and Nitya Venketaraman report that though the former vice president has been largely invisible from the presidential primary season up until today, "his presence in the party -- that of Democratic heavyweight-cum-Novel Prize-winning environmental crusader-cum-party elder -- always lingered near."
In April, Obama said he would consider the former vice president and 2000 Democratic presidential nominee for a Cabinet position in his administration. "I can guarantee you that Al Gore will be invited to take part in my administration. And I don't know what he'll want to so and what he'll be willing to accept," Obama said at the time in Indiana, per Miller and Venketaraman.
In March, Obama said "I've talked to him mostly about policy -gotten guidance and good ideas from him and so I'm not really pushing for an endorsement. I'd love to have it but you know when you've won the Nobel Peace prize you know, making an endorsement politically you know may be a step down but he's very supportive in terms of thinking through ideas."
Tivo Alert! ABC News' Jake Tapper sat down with Obama in Flint, MI for a wide-ranging interview that hit on bipartisanship, general election polling and going after women voters.