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Could Gore Raise the Money?

If Al Gore decided today, on the heels of his Noble Peace Prize victory that he wanted to run for president, could he raise the money he would need to mount a bid?

The consensus among several of his former top fundraisers interviewed this morning was: we'd rather not think about it.

The reason? Most of Gore's top fundraisers have already signed on with other campaigns, and would dread having to make the decision of whether to stay put, or decamp to help someone they deeply admire.

"Think of it like trying to decide which of your own children to help. It would be very, very tough," said Alan C. Kessler, a Philadelphia attorney who was a national finance vice chair for Gore's 2000 campaign, and who is now a "Hill-raiser," collecting checks for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A number of Gore's top fundraisers are playing central roles in 2008 campaigns. Boston financier Alan Solomont, for instance, is heading up fundraising in the Northeast for Barack Obama. Florida attorney Mitchell W. Berger is now a bundler for former Sen. John Edwards. Miami lawyer Chris Korge is raising money for Clinton.

Abandoning a candidate for a Gore bid might be "a little easier if you're supporting someone who is in single digits," Kessler mused. "But if you're supporting one of the top contenders, how do you spend eight or nine months with a campaign and up and leave?"

One advantage Gore will have, several of his former supporters said, is that his highly publicized work on the issue of global climate change over the past few years would enable him to tap into a huge well of grassroots and internet support. Berger said that means Gore "wouldn't have to rely on people like me, he could just put up a web site."

After all, Berger said, "If Howard Dean could raise $40 million on line... well, you get the idea."

Already, on the Democratic fundraising Internet site ActBlue alone, the "draft Gore" movement had raised $161,621 as of this morning.

Draft Gore's founder and chairwoman, Oakland public relations specialist Monica Friedlander, has told reporters that the group raised more than enough money to pay for a $65,000, full-page advertisement in The New York Times, calling on the former vice president to get into the race.

And, political strategists note that Gore would probably not have to raise close to the amounts being posted by Clinton and Obama to compete in the primaries. He is already a well known figure among Democratic primary voters, and would benefit from an onslaught of media attention if he joined -- none of which would cost him a dime.

"Having said that," Kessler said, the question of whether his past financial backers would consider rejoining him at this late date remains "an extremely difficult one to answer, and one that a number of people won't try to answer because they ultimately don't believe he'll get into it."

"Frankly," Kessler added, "I don't want to have to think about that."

--Matthew Mosk

By Washington Post Editor  |  October 12, 2007; 12:45 PM ET
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From what I understand Gore could now fund his own campaign- reports are that he is worth as much as Romney- around $200 million.

I don't think money is the issue but Gore recently said that what he has learnt over the years is that he isn't a very good politician. I think that may be true and I think he has risen above that.

He is now a respected and duly recognized world leader in the area of global warming and climate control. Why step back into the role of hungry politician? Doesn't really make much sense any way you look at it. And judging by all the polls I have seen- what he does is kill the candidacies of Obama and Edwards as soon as he enters the race and there is a good chance he would lose to Clinton in the end anyway.

Posted by: peterdc | October 12, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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