Former Vice President Al Gore stopped in Cedar Rapids this afternoon to give his endorsement in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Gore says it’s great to be back in Iowa and says he loves Iowa. He says it’s great to be here are he’s endorsing Howard Dean as the next President of the United States of America. Gore won the Iowa Democratic caucuses four years ago — trouncing challenger Bill Bradley 60 to 35 percent. He went on to become the Democratic nominee and lost the disputed election of 2000. Gore says he’s come to the conclusion that among all of the campaigns, Howard Dean has managed to do a better job of igniting the grassroots all across America. Gore says that’s what’s needed to rebuild the Democratic party. Gore borrowed from former Republican President Ronald Reagen in declining to say anything about the other democrats. He says he’s not going to say a negative word about any of the other candidates, and says he thinks they ought to observe an 11th commandment on the democratic side of the ledger. He says, “Let’s just stop as much of this criticism among the candidates on our side as we can. Because, I don’t think the stakes have ever been as high in our lifetime as they are in 2004. You know that.” Dean talked about learning that Gore would give his endorsement.
He says Gore called to talk about a defense paper and told Dean he thought the time had come to make an endorsement. Dean says he appreciates the endorsement as he knows Gore was considering other candidates. The endorsement is expected to give a boost to Dean, who has been the frontrunner in the campaign with the Iowa Caucuses just over one month away. The endorsement of Dean pushes aside Gore’s 2000 runningmate Joe Lieberman.