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Is ‘no plans to run’ really a Shermanesque statement from Gore?

October 17, 2007

Has Gore announced the end of his campaign before it has even begun?

The statement that Al Gore made to a newspaper in Oslo has been seen as a declaration that he has withdrawn from the race. Certainly, the betting markets have taken him at face value with his price on Intrade.com falling to 4.2-4.5. However, as his supporters have pointed out, his suggestion that he had ‘no plans’ to run for President was hardly ‘if nominated I shall not stand, if elected I shall not serve’. Admittedly, much of this is spin, after all I said similar things about the possibility of a David Miliband bid for the Labour leadership earlier this year, and then when that was ruled out, a bid by John Reid. However, I do have to agree that this sounds more like an attempt to affect disinterest gone awry than a genuine withdrawal. After all, why would Gore start to post videos about healthcare and Iraq on the internet if he had no intention to run?

Of course, even if the media has misread this, can Gore reverse himself without losing all credibility? After all, even the nutroots have not been exactly jammed with calls for Gore to run and this could kill the groundswell that he has been relying on to enable him to legitimise his entry into the contest. My point of view is that on balance his chances of running have been severely reduced but I would still rate them as more than one third and possibly as high as evens. In any case I’m going to stay out of the market at the moment and neither sell nor add to my positions.

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