Hillary Clinton and Al Gore reunite, campaigning on climate change
MIAMI (CNN) — Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, campaigning Tuesday in Miami, used Gore’s electoral history to convince Florida voters that every vote counts.
The event, which focused on climate change, looked toward a future Clinton administration as much as it looked back at what Gore has called his “crushing” defeat in the 2000 presidential election.
Overlooking their past animosity, the pair campaigned together for the first time since 2000.
Clinton’s campaign enlisted Gore to campaign with the former first lady for two distinct purposes: Rally voters who are spurred by climate advocacy and to show Floridians that every vote counts by highlighting how only a few votes in Florida lost Gore the White House.
And Gore did just that in Miami.
“Your vote, really, really, really counts,” Gore said. “You can consider me as an exhibit A of that.”
He continued: “Now, for those of you who are younger than 25, you might not remember the election of 2000 and what happened here in Florida and across the country. For those of you older than 25, I heard you murmuring just now. But take it from me, it was a very close election.”
The audience responded by an organic chant of “you won” and Clinton nodded along with them.
Gore’s Florida race against President George W. Bush was so close that it took a recount and a Supreme Court decision to decide that the Texas governor had won. Gore ultimately won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College and thus the presidency.
Gore heralded Clinton’s plan to combat climate change and said the former first lady “will make solving the climate crisis a top national priority.”
While Clinton and Gore appeared comfortable on the stage together Tuesday, their decades-long relationship, including eight years in the White House, has has been defined by ups and downs.
Clinton and Gore’s relationship dramatically soured after the former vice president decided to keep President Bill Clinton away from his 2000 White House bid because of his affair with Monica Lewinsky and the impeachment that followed. The two also clashed in the White House after Bill Clinton gave Hillary Clinton considerable policy responsibility, seemingly diminishing Gore’s role.
Clinton and Gore last saw each other in 2014, according to aides.
Gore was also late to endorse Clinton in 2016, not backing the former secretary of state until July, well after Bernie Sanders had been dispatched.
A Clinton aide said Tuesday that John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman and an aide who dates back to the first Clinton White House, asked Gore to campaign for Clinton.
Clinton did not give her standard stump speech on Tuesday, instead choosing to focus almost entirely on climate change. The Democratic nominee detailed her vision for a White House that fights climate change and works with foreign countries to implement international climate agreements.
She also leaned on Gore’s expertise in the field.
“I can’t wait to have Al Gore advising me when I am president of the United States,” she said to close her speech.
The Democratic nominee cast Republican rival Donald Trump as dangerous on climate change, telling the audience that the United States “cannot risk putting a climate denier in the White House.”
“He doesn’t care what it does to the planet, he doesn’t care how much that would damage American leadership, he doesn’t care about the future we leave our kids and our grandkids,” Clinton said on Trump’s climate change plans. “Well, he may not care, but we do and that is why this election is so critically important.”
She also slammed Marco Rubio, who is running to reelection in Florida, for saying he was not a scientist when asked about climate change.
“Well, why doesn’t he ask a scientist? Maybe then he would understand,” she said.
Gore echoed Clinton on climate change, but it was his references to 2000 that really fired up the audience.
So much so that after a long speech filled with intricacies about carbon pollution and rising tides, the former vice president wrapped up by saying “in conclusion” before urging no one to sit on in 2016.
“Please,” he said, “take it from me, every single vote counts. Every single vote counts.”