New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich was featured on Wednesday night's Charlie Rose show on PBS to talk about Al Gore's return to Capitol Hill, and his description of the former vice president-turned-global warming-crusader was even gushier than his news story on Wednesday.
After host Rose read excerpts from Leibovich's front-page article, Rose asked the reporter to discuss Gore's "fascinating transformation."
Leibovich: "I mean, the narrative of Al Gore's life post-2000 has been obviously very compelling. I mean, from the obvious heartbreak of his defeat, which was a very divisive chapter in our country, to you know, reinvention is a cliche, but clearly his ' second act' as a crusader against global warming, as someone who has been far more outspoken than a lot of people remembered him, and someone who, you know, clearly has developed a following, who the climate has arrayed for so to speak. So, you know, clearly this is a comeback, and I think it's natural for Washington to sort of see it through the guise of what does he want? What will he do next? And obviously the presidential question came up another, you know, few thousand times today, as it has, you know, in the last few days, weeks."
Rose: "I want to ask that again. Because everywhere he goes he hears this refrain, 'Run, Al, run, run, Al, run.' But the idea of Al Gore as the messenger for global warming that we have to do something, as we saw on that clip. I mean, it clearly is resonating, yet there are some people who -- how successful is the resonance from Al Gore?"
Leibovich: "Well, certainly the resonance on the issue has been very successful as measured by, you know, the success of 'Inconvenient Truth,' as measured by the reception he got today from, you know, overflow crowds and so forth. He's obviously, developed a mantle through which people are certainly listening, and he would say that the climate has been -- the Mother Nature herself has been a very eloquent, you know, witness in this crusade. I mean, I think what happens is certainly, you know, in this day and age, it's very, very easy to sort of look through the most simplistic, kind of horse racy lens, and obviously in the zero-sum game of politics, people are going to look at this in terms of, you know, will he run for president? I mean, I think Al Gore has been through this enough to know that, you know, as soon as he -- if he were to ever say, 'I'm going to run for president,' the ride might not be as fun as it seems right now."
Rose: "In the meantime, he feels strongly and passionately about what he's doing and he seems to be enjoying himself."
Leibovich: "Clearly. I mean, he is a very, very unique hybrid of sort of pop culture icon and science 'guru.' And, you know, he's very compelling in a lot of the more compelling narratives of the American culture, whether it's Silicon Valley or Hollywood or Washington, Wall Street. And he has certainly developed a piece of all that."
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