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Al Gore on virtual convention, Trump’s ‘trickery’ and Biden’s climate platform

Former Vice President Al Gore is among the few people who know what it’s like to deliver an acceptance speech for a major party’s presidential nomination. In a year when we might not learn the results on Election Day, Gore has a unique perspective. He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the DNC, his history with Joe Biden and why he believes Biden’s climate platform is critical to “saving the future.”

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    But right now: Few people know what it is like to deliver an acceptance speech for a major party's nomination for president.

    Al Gore is among them. And he also knows what it's like to be nominated for vice president as well. In a year where we might not know the results on Election Day, he offers a unique perspective.

    Al Gore, thank you very much for joining us. As I say, more than anybody else we can think of, you know what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are feeling tonight.

    What — give us a sense of what that is.

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me on your show, Judy.

    And I'm excited for Joe Biden tonight. It's a very big night for him. I know he's going to do great.

    I have been really enjoying the convention. And I know that Joe has probably been occupied with all kinds of telephone calls and tasks and finishing up his speech. And it's a busy time, waiting for the big moment.

    He's already had some big moments in this convention. I think it's been a spectacular convention. And I'm looking forward to all of the events tonight.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And do you think the Joe Biden you know — you served with him, you know him — do you think that's coming across?

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    I think it is. Yes, I do.

    I think that his life story has been displayed in a very moving and emotional way. And those of us who have worked with Joe for a long time know that he, as many have said, is just the most decent, nicest guy you could ever want to work with or know or have as a friend.

    And I think that's come across in the presentation of him and his career and his life story.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You know something about tough elections. And a number of Democrats, including Joe Biden himself, are saying that they think President Trump could actually try to steal this election.

    Do you think that's a fair charge?

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    Well, of course, you only have to listen to Donald Trump's own words to worry that he has some trickery in mind.

    He has apparently — the way I interpret it is, he has been sowing the seeds of doubt. I heard him say: We might not even know the result on election night.

    I thought to myself, well, now, wait a minute. I believe that's happened before.


  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    It was 36 days in the 2000 election before the Supreme Court decision.

    But we need to prepare to push away the doubts that he has planted in advance. I think it probably will be several days, at a minimum, before we know who has really won.

    And there may be a different result apparent in the day-of tabulations than when all of these absentee ballots and mail-in ballots come in. So, we just have to be patient and wait for them to count the votes. And that's an experience that I have been through.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You surely have.

    And speaking of that, do you have some guidance for them? I mean, what if — we know it's possible to lose the electoral vote, but win the popular vote, which is what you did.

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    Well, that has happened more than once.

    And I don't know of any advice I can give on that. Just make sure, in advance of the election, that all of the voters who have Joe Biden in their mind and heart get out to vote.

    As Barack Obama said last night, make a plan now. What is it, text join to 30330? Did I get their commercial line in there accurately?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You did. I think you did.

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    I just think — I also — I was moved emotionally after John Lewis' passing. And you did such great coverage of that. You knew him, coming from Atlanta and all.

    But the last time that he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in his life, last March, I believe it was, I saw him do an interview on television. And he said, we have got to vote like we have never voted before.

    That's the message that this convention has been putting out to people who don't want another four years of constant chaos and turmoil and the kind of things that Donald Trump does all the time, every day. And I hope that that message really hits home.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    One of the issues that's very important to you, Al Gore, is climate change.

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:


  • Judy Woodruff:

    Is Joe Biden where you would like for him to be on that issue?

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    In the main, yes. There are always a few things that I would like to see go farther.

    But, look, this is the strongest and best climate platform that the Democratic Party or any party in the United States has ever had. Joe's position in the primaries was good, but some of his opponents had positions that were leaning a little bit farther forward.

    And he has, since he got the nomination, reached out and picked up many of the great ideas that his opponents in the race for the nomination had offered. And the net result is really bold, net zero electricity production by 2035. I could go through the list, net zero total by 2050.

    He personally reaffirmed eliminating — his intention to eliminate all subsidies for buying fossil fuels — for fossil fuels in our country, all the charging stations. He — retrofitting buildings. And it's a great platform.

    And he has come to be a very passionate advocate on climate. And after he got the nomination, in effect — he got the nomination just now, but when the winner was determined, I have had several long conversations with him since then. And, boy, he gets it. And he is really determined to do what our country needs to do on climate.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, to sum up about that, what difference does it make whether it's Joe Biden or Donald Trump who wins in November on the issue of climate?

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    Well, there could not possibly be a starker difference. It's the difference between night and day. It's the difference between wrong and right.

    Donald Trump, of course, wants to pull out of the Paris agreement. He's called the climate crisis a hoax at different times. He is doing whatever the coal barons and the oil and gas polluters want him to do, ironically, at a time when some of the energy companies are saying, wait a minute, we would like to start moving toward reform.

    And they have even opposed some of the proposals that Trump has put in place. He eliminated the rule requiring a cap on these methane emissions, also called natural gas, but it's a very potent greenhouse gas.

    And I started to say I could give you other examples. You could almost pick any topic related to climate at random, and you would find Donald Trump wrong and destructive, and you would find Joe Biden leading in the right direction. It really is crucially important.

    And, by the way Judy, we have seen record temperatures again this week…

  • Judy Woodruff:


  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    … this month, 100 degrees north of the Arctic Circle, 130 in — well, that's Death Valley, but it's the — possibly the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth.

    Look at all the fires in California, two big storms heading toward the Gulf Coast and possibly the Eastern Seaboard this week. And the list goes on.

    We have got to solve the climate crisis. And we can do it, as Joe Biden has pointed out, by creating millions of new jobs. The fastest-growing job in the U.S. is solar installer. The second fastest-growing job is wind turbine technician.

    We can put people to work, reduce the pollution, and get our country moving in the right direction, while saving the future.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Al Gore, the former vice president of the United States, making a passionate case for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

    Mr. Vice President, thank you very much for joining us.

  • Former Vice President Al Gore:

    Always a pleasure, Judy, thank you.

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