Seven years after defeating former Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, President Bush today welcomed Gore to the Oval Office. The former presidential candidate turned environmental crusader attended a White House ceremony honoring the five American Nobel Award recipients.
After their private meeting, Gore and Bush stood shoulder-to-shoulder posing for cameras in the Oval Office not looking once at each other, rather staring straight ahead to snap-happy photographers. The quick encounter didn't offer a chance for the biting rhetoric the two men famously exchanged during the 2000 debates. Instead both resorted to nervous chuckles, only Gore spoke to the cameras noting his wife's presence in the room.
"There's some familiar faces here…there's Tipper over there!" Gore said with a nervous smile.
After the meeting, Gore walked with Tipper from the White House to the street as a swarm of cameras followed them, reminding many that Al Gore still claims the popular vote.
White House staff confirms that Bush actually telephoned Gore to invite him to the private meeting in the Oval Office. The White House worked with Gore's staff to find a convenient time for this; the other laureates joined for the photo op afterwards.
Gore, who also starred in "An Inconvenient Truth" — the Academy Award-winning documentary on global warming — shares his peace prize with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Bush's policy doesn't see eye to eye with many of Gore's talking points on climate change, the issue on which Bush today congratulated the former vice president. Asked last year whether he would watch Gore's documentary on climate change, President Bush said coolly, "Doubt it."
And on the flip side it's no secret that the former vice president doesn't agree with the Iraq War and many of President Bush's domestic policies.
In his recent book entitled "Assault on Reason," Gore writes, ""History will surely judge America's decision to invade and occupy [Iraq] … as a decision that was not only tragic but absurd."
The two leaders have spoken a few times since the 2000 election, but never on the presidential stomping grounds.
ABC News' Ann Compton contributed to this report.