Politics & Policy

Al Gore Stumps for Kendrick Meek in Tampa

Al Gore made a stop on the campaign trail Thursday in Tampa to throw his weight behind Democrat Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate.

“I really would be hard pressed to find words adequate to describe how proud I am to stand next to my friend, to stand next to this distinguished public servant, to this great candidate, to your nominee, and to the next Senator from the state of Florida — Kendrick Meek,” Gore said. “I’m here because I believe in this guy. I trust him. I respect him.”

Conspicuously absent from Gore’s speech was anything but the most veiled reference to Republican Marco Rubio, who holds a double-digit lead in the latest polls. Instead the focus was on Gov. Charlie Crist and convincing Democrats and independents to rally behind Meek instead of the governor’s “declining” campaign.

“I’ve looked at a lot of political campaigns, and I’ve been in a few,” Gore said. “This is really already a two-person race. So don’t throw your vote away.”

Gore also hit Crist for his erratic stances on key issues.

“It’s an old charge in politics that somebody flip-flops. It’s a little unusual to have somebody flip-flop and then flap-flip,” Gore said. “As I say — I like the guy — I do not really know where he stands on lots of these really important issues.”

The crowd of approximately 700 contained many obvious supporters — including a group wearing purple SEIU t-shirts — but a few critics, too. Gore spoke about Florida’s unique vulnerability to global warming, and the need to confront the issue head on, prompting several cries of “Global warming is a hoax!”

Gore is the latest in a heavy lineup of prominent Democrats to endorse Meek. Bill Clinton and Joe Biden have also visited Florida and stumped for the campaign, and others — from James Carville to Al Franken — have lent their names to fundraising emails.

But the polling picture going into the Nov. 2 election still leaves much for the Meek campaign to desire. Quinnipiac’s latest numbers, from the day of Gore’s visit, place Meek behind both Rubio and Crist, 46-33-18.

Gore endorses Kendrick Meek:

Gore on Gov. Charlie Crist:

Gore heckled on global warming:

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