Twenty-four hours after a poll placed him as the most popular Democrat in New Hampshire, Al Gore seemed to be very content to stay in his present job: Savior of the planet. Thursday afternoon, Gore descended on the Hearst Building on West 57th Street—Lord Norman Foster’s steel and glass monument to reinvention—and formally announced that, instead of spending this summer raising campaign money and firing off blast faxes, he’ll be participating in a series of concerts called “Live Earth.” Clearly modeled on Bob Geldof’s 1985 Live Aid concerts, and his more recent benefits for debt relief, the concerts will feature the likes of Madonna and the Black Eyed Peas, performing on all seven continents (yes, including Antarctica, provided it doesn’t melt first). The American event will take place on July 7 at Giants Stadium.
(Speaking of which, the Live Earth website currently features a large illustration of a tattooed couple sitting in a bathtub, underneath the headline, “Bathe Together … Do It For The Planet.” One shudders to think of what Al and Tipper might have in store for the next Democratic Convention.)
Gore arrived several minutes late — one cameraman remarked, “he still must be running on Clinton time” — but when he did, sporting open collar Obama look, standing tall and, yes, pretty stiffly, he spoke with urgency about the threat posed by global warming. “We have to be bolder,” he said, “and we have to go faster.”
I walked closer to get a better look at the man who became vice president when I was six. (Ed note: Forget global warming. That’s really scary.) Gore was not smiling — during the entire event, I only counted three smiles — and his eyes were even tearing from staring into the darkness. He appeared tired.
The vice president did not comment — and was asked no questions by the two dozen-plus reporters at the Live Earth press conference — about his invisible presidential campaign’s soaring numbers. But I caught up with his entourage as he was being rushed out of the room–“no, we have to go, thank you!” his assistant was shouting—to ask him about the Michael Bloomberg boomlet. Obviously, Gore has been striking some of the same Washington-is-broken notes himself lately.
“I like Michael Bloomberg,” Gore said deliberately, his voice trailing off. “I don’t know what other than that would stick.”
As for the “stick” part, don’t ask: I’ve listened to my tape recorder 12 times now and that is what he said. Mysterious man, that Al Gore.