Al Gore is emerging as a dark horse candidate to take on Hillary Clinton in 2016, with some big-name political players stepping up to support a possible presidential run for Gore.
The former Vice President has been largely quiet since his failed run in 2000, content to push environmental causes while remaining an arm's length from most political debates. But there are growing whispers that Gore could not only take on Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016, he could actually win.
Beltway pundit Mark Halperin this week sent out a stream of tweets laying out Gore's strengths for a potential run. On an appearance on MSNBC, Halperin said he has no inside information about Gore's intentions, but believes he would be a formidable candidate if he ran.
"I'm not saying he's going to do it," Halperin responded. "I'm just saying if he did, he brings enormous strengths within the Democratic Party to capture the anybody-but-Hillary support if she continues to be dinged."
Halperin also disagreed with the opinion that Hillary Clinton will steamroll her way to the Democratic nomination, saying instead that she could be quite beatable.
"People besides me who know Gore better than I do say that there is a vacuum right now and that she is extraordinarily vulnerable," Halperin said. "But she is not vulnerable to Bernie Sanders, she's not vulnerable to Howard Dean, I don't think. She's vulnerable to somebody who's got what Gore has. Again, he's won Iowa, he's won the national popular vote, and he has a history with [the Clintons] that could animate a run."
The idea of Al Gore running in 2016 has also energized environmentally conscious voters. In an essay for Salon, Matt Rosza said that Gore could excel as a single-issue candidate focusing on the environment.
"[W]hile a strong case can be made that Gore would make an excellent president (a premise with which a plurality of American voters agreed in 2000), the primary objective would not be to promote Gore the man, but to guarantee due attention is paid to the threat of climate change. While other campaigns on both sides would continue the practice of focusing on several issues in the name of advancing a name brand (i.e., the individual candidate), Gore would have the advantage of representing not his own cause, but the cause of creating an environmentally sustainable future."