December 16, 2002<br />
Al Gore’s announcement that he will not run for president in 2004 makes him seem less driven by political ambition, according to Vanderbilt University political scientist John Geer. In addition, the former vice president’s extensive knowledge of public policy and experience on the campaign trail are likely to be missed by Democratic party operatives, Geer says. Gore’s comment that a rematch with President Bush would put too much emphasis on the past is in keeping with how Gore ran his 2000 campaign, Geer says. While some criticized Gore for not running on the economic successes of the Clinton administration, Gore chose to focus on the issues he thought would be important to voters in the years ahead. Although the odds are slim that Gore would end up running in 2008, Geer says it is still possible Gore could try again for the presidency if he is able to maintain sufficient connections within the Democratic Party. Editor’s note: John Geer specializes in campaigns, elections and public opinion. He is on leave at Princeton University this year and writing a book on negative political ads. Geer can be reached at (609)258-0501 or by email at jgeer@princeton.EDU.