Al Gore on the Limits of D.C. Schmoozing

The former vice president on Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and the corrosive power of money in politics

Al Gore has been through a lot with America. Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, confused Florida voter or enthusiastic environmentalist, you’ve got to hand it to him: He’s weathered America’s worst scandal, survived a heart-stopping presidential race, and gifted the public with the grossest kiss of all time.

Gore took some time to reflect on his time in U.S. politics in an interview with Atlantic Editor in Chief James Bennet on Monday night at the magazine’s CityLab summit. In the video above, he starts out by offering a few thoughts on how well President Obama is doing in the White House, going on to decry the growing influence of “big money” in politics and fondly call Bill Clinton “the greatest schmoozer in history.” When Bennet asked him how he felt about his dashed presidential hopes – well, you’ll just have to watch the video to see how he reacted.

The four-minute clip summons memories of an Al Gore from another time: A politician, a Southerner, and most of all, a Democratic Party hopeful. Oh, and the best part: He wore cowboy boots.

Emma Green is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also writes about religion and culture.

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