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Former Vice President Al Gore Releases Documentary on Global Warming

Former Vice President and presidential contender Al Gore is back in the limelight with a newly released documentary on global warming. Following a background report on his re-emeregence on the public stage, a reporter and his former chief of staff reflect on the new Al Gore.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    His 2000 presidential defeat was excruciating, razor-thin and hotly contested. For years afterward, Al Gore simply fell silent.

    But step by cautious step, Gore — who introduces himself these days as the man who "used to be the next president of the United States" — has returned to the limelight, speaking out in 2004 against President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq.

  • AL GORE:

    When you boil it all down to precisely what went wrong with the Bush Iraq policy, it's actually fairly simple: He adopted an ideologically driven view of Iraq that was tragically at odds with reality.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    And launching new business ventures, including Current TV, an independent cable network aimed at young adult audiences. Now with the release of the film "An Inconvenient Truth," the former vice president has found a new platform for one of his old passions: the threat posed by global warming.

  • AL GORE:

    We are facing a global environmental crisis.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The film's launch has landed Gore on red carpets, as well as on magazine covers, New York, Wired, Vanity Fair.

  • AL GORE:

    What a screen!

  • GWEN IFILL:

    With Al Gore in the role of exhorter-in-chief, the full-length feature film focuses on the science and the politics of global warming, and on Gore himself.

  • AL GORE:

    If you look at the 10 hottest years ever measured, they've all occurred in the last 14 years. And the hottest of all was 2005.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Gore's multimedia presentation, which he has toted around the world on his laptop, grabbed Hollywood's attention last year, but it is not Gore's first foray into the topic. His 1992 book "Earth in the Balance" was a best-seller.

  • AL GORE:

    If we listen carefully and clearly to what the scientific community of the entire world is saying — not just saying. They're shouting it now. They're saying, "Hey, wake up! We're facing a planetary emergency here."

    And we're not used to hearing phrases like that or encountering alarming messages like that, but we have to tear the mask away.

    Labeling this a political issue is just another way of saying it's insignificant. This is the most crucial challenge that any of us have ever faced, and it's happening in our lifetimes.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Some critics have called Gore alarmist, as in this ad released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think-tank.

  • COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE ANNOUNCER:

    Carbon dioxide: They call it pollution. We call it life.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    But the critics have not slowed Al Gore's big comeback. Appearing this morning on NBC's "Today Show," Katie Couric asked the inevitable question: What will Gore do in 2008?

  • AL GORE:

    I don't intend to be a candidate ever again, and…

    KATIE COURIC, Host, "Today Show": Never, never, never?

  • AL GORE:

    Well, look, I have no plans to be a candidate and no intention of being a candidate. I've said that I'm not at the stage of my life where I'm going to say, "Never in the rest of my life will I ever think about such a thing."

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