KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
Friday, July 18, 2008
AUSTIN, Tex. — Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, was asked a question here at a bloggers conference about energy. Ms. Pelosi glanced at her BlackBerry, noting that she had an e-mail message from a friend on that very subject.
With that, the voice of former Vice President Al Gore came over the public address system, as if reading the e-mail message: “Dear Nancy.” This created a sea of quizzical looks in the audience, then gasps, cheers and a standing ovation as Mr. Gore strode on stage.
The surprise appearance produced the first electric moment at the conference, the Netroots Nation, an ever-widening group of progressive bloggers whose major interests — the war in Iraq, the environment and technology — mesh well with Mr. Gore’s current pursuits. Indeed, many in the crowd of about 3,000, most of whom are supporting Senator Barack Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, were overheard saying they wished Mr. Gore were running for president.
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As waves of cheers washed over the cavernous convention center, Mr. Gore said to Ms. Pelosi, “We ought to take that act on the road.”
“We are on the road,” she replied.
“Well, I feel right at home here, I’ll tell you,” he said.
Mr. Gore, later answering questions from the audience, said he would not accept a role in the next administration. The best use of his talent and experience, he said, is “to focus on trying to enlarge the political space” within which politicians can address the climate crisis.
This article was posted: Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 5:18 am