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.
Asked why he hasn't seen a bounce in his poll numbers after wrapping up the nomination, Obama chalked it up to "an extraordinary primary" and a "long, long contest." Obama also said that McCain was "getting a pass" from the media for three months while he continued to battle it out against Sen. Hillary Clinton.
With California starting tonight to issue marriage license to same-sex couples, Obama reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage and said that the action in California does not bother him and does not cause him to re-think his pledge to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. "I still think that these are decisions that need to be made at a state and local level," Obama said. "I'm a strong supporter of civil unions. And I think that, you know, we're involved in a national conversation about this issue."
McCain on Energy
John McCain is in Houston tomorrow and will deliver remarks on energy. The presumptive Republican nominee said today that he will call for lifting the federal moratorium for states that choose to permit off-shore energy and gas exploration and repeat his call for a gas tax holiday.
"We've seen the impact of [the energy crisis] in the form of food prices, the form of gasoline, and the form of threats of inflation, and indeed indications of inflation. We must embark on a national mission to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gases through the development of alternative energy sources," McCain told reporters today.
Tivo Alert #2! Tune in to Good Morning America on Tuesday for the first post-primary ABC News/Washington Post general election poll looking at the 2008 landscape.
On the campaign front. . .
-- Attends event with students, Wayne County Community College District, Taylor, MI.
As for the Republicans. . .
-- 5:00 pm ET: Speaks in Houston, TX.
At the White House. . .
-- 9:45 am ET: Briefing on Midwest flooding, White House.
-- 10:20 am ET: Meets with former commander of the International Security Assistance Force.
-- 3:00 pm ET: Speaks in honor of Black Music Month.
-- 8:30 am ET: Releases May report on housing starts.
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Obama Interview Excerpt: Reaching Across The Aisle LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper and Jennifer Parker: Obama Speaks With Iraqi Foreign Minister LINK
ABC News' Jonathan Karl: British PM Promises Tough Measures On Iran LINK
ABC News' Teddy Davis and Sunlen Miller: Obama Eyes Credit Card Clampdown LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Does This Mean No Vice President Clinton? LINK
ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Nitya Venkataraman: Gore Backs Obama's Presidential Run LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Broad Appeal LINK
ABC News' Sunlen Miller: Obama Calls For More Responsibility from Fathers at Church Speech LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Pfleger Back At Work LINK
POLITICAL VIDEO ON ABCNEWS.COM
Obama: McCain Got a Pass
Says media, opponents were distracted while he and Clinton battled. LINK
Obama Talks to Iraq Foreign Minister
Says its time for Iraqis "to start picking up more of the tab." LINK
Obama's Father's Day Message
The Democratic candidate speaks of the importance of being a father. LINK
Sens. Obama and McCain resume political in-fighting on a familiar theme: Iraq. LINK
Edwards Open to New VP Run?
The former Democratic candidate backs off his comments in El Mundo. LINK
Sunday Sound: Tim Russert Remembered
Sunday Sound: NBC newsman's work remembered by friends and competitors. LINK
Supreme Court a Key '08 Issue
Supreme Court will become a key Nov. issue according to Fred Thompson. LINK