Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has collected endorsements from almost all of the biggest names in Democratic politics — President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. There’s one major party leader missing: former Vice President Al Gore.
Indeed, of Tennessee’s eight super delegates, Gore is the only who has not already thrown his support to Clinton.
“As far as we know, VP Gore is still uncommitted. We haven’t had a conversation with him about his status,” Tennessee Democratic Party Communications Director Spencer Bowers said in an email.
According to one source close to the former vice president, Gore simply hasn’t gotten to it. He has been in China this week and they have not met in person since she secured the delegates needed for the nomination.
It’s an unusual, situation given not only the state of the race but also Gore’s ties to Bill Clinton. Almost every prominent Democrat at Gore’s level has endorsed either Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders, or at least weighed in on the primary. And with Warren backing Clinton, the risk of backlash from the liberal wing of the Democratic party is minimal.
Multiple times throughout the cycle, he has been pressed about endorsing a candidate and demurred. In late May during an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Gore once again declined to say which candidate he favored but suggested that both campaigns were nudging him to decide. That was before Clinton had secured the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination and a flood of holdout endorsements came through.
Previously, a Gore aide told POLITICO he would endorse after the Democratic Party picked a nominee. Officially, that won’t be until the July convention.
“So I don’t have anything for you on this one,” Gore Director of Communications Betsy McManus said in an email on Friday.
There’s a sensitivity around Sanders that might be motivating Gore as well, said Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, who advised the former vice president during his run for the presidency in 2000.
“He is sensitive to giving Sanders room and respect…it’s made sense to him to not push Sanders,” Shrum said of Gore. “You have to understand, Gore won the nomination —although he lost it once before— but he won the nomination, he got elected president but didn’t get inaugurated. So I think [Gore] understands what Sanders is going through and is sensitive to it.”
Darren Samuelsohn contributed reporting.
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