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Gore’s New Book Criticizes Bush Administration, Election Process

Former Vice President Al Gore speaks with Gwen Ifill about his new book, "The Assault on Reason," which criticizes the Bush administration and the diminishing role of logic in America, among other issues.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Mr. Vice President, welcome.

    AL GORE, former vice president of the United States: Thank you.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The book reads as a screed. It's an attack on media, on politics, and mostly against George W. Bush. Is that what you intended?

  • AL GORE:

    Well, the examples that are taken from the Bush-Cheney administration are alongside examples taken from other parts of American history, also. It's heavy on examples from the last six years, because I think they make the case very well.

    But the book is really not about Bush and Cheney; it's about what has happened to our democracy. I'm deeply concerned that the role of reason, and facts, and logic in the way we make our decisions in America has been diminished significantly, to the point where we could make a decision to invade a country that didn't attack us, at a time when 70 percent of the American people genuinely had the impression and belief that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks of 9/11.

    In the same way that the truth about 9/11 was ignored in the rush to war, the truth about the climate crisis has been ignored in the shaping of policies that basically do nothing to stop the most serious crisis our civilization has ever faced. And there is a long list of serious policy mistakes that our country has been making in the last several years that are added to the war and the climate crisis and these others.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    So when you say that this is about cracks in fundamental democracy and not just about Bush and Cheney, does that mean that, if you had been president, these same problems would have existed?

  • AL GORE:

    I think many of them — well, I would have made different mistakes if I had served as president, and I like to think that I would have avoided some of the large ones that our country is suffering through now, having 150,000 of our soldiers trapped in the middle of a civil war, for example, and being an outlier and almost an outcast in the global community, when the rest of the world is trying to confront the climate crisis.

    But some of the same problems with the way Americans — the way we Americans communicate among ourselves, they have no tether to which party is in control or which person is president of the United States. How we deal with them, I think, can be affected by leadership, but the problems outlined in this book and the solutions recommended really go much broader than who's president or which party controls Congress. This is a much deeper set of challenges that we have to address together as Americans.

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