"I know this was a very difficult and personal decision for Al Gore and his family and I respect the choice he has made.  We all owe Al enormous gratitude for years of dedicated and exemplary public service and for his significant contributions to our party and country.  I know that he is going to continue to speak out and be involved on the issues that make a difference to Democrats and all Americans.  I look forward to working with him in every way possible to strengthen the country and fight for the principles we share and for the interests of working people across the nation."

Dec. 15, 2002

"Over the past several years, I have been privileged to get to know Al and Tipper Gore. They have both been incredibly generous and kind to me and my family.

"Throughout his 25 years of public service, Al Gore has worked tirelessly for his country and his party and the impact of his efforts and leadership are clear. He was instrumental in helping to create the longest period of economic growth in our nation's history, creating millions of new jobs, and turning record deficits into surpluses. He has served as a leader on environmental issues and in international affairs, working with passion and conviction to tackle the toughest challenges we face.

"Public service is more than a job for Al Gore, it's a way of life. I am confident he will continue to be a valuable contributor to the national dialogue, providing leadership for the country for years to come. I wish him success in his future endeavors."

Date: 12/15/02

House Democratic Leader
Richard A. Gephardt
H-204, U.S. Capitol

Gephardt Statement on Vice President Al Gore

“Since we were both first elected to Congress, I’ve come to know Al Gore as one of the most decent public servants I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.

“From his trailblazing work on the environment and technology as a Member of Congress to his extraordinary accomplishments as Vice President in the areas of foreign affairs and economic security, Al has defined himself as someone who identifies problems before anyone else and offers solutions while others are still mulling the question.  The hallmark of his career has been his talent to navigate great public policy challenges guided by a sharp intellect and a big heart.

“Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and I am convinced he would have been a great President.  Our nation would have benefited from his leadership over the past two years and the Democratic primary process will lose a strong voice and accomplished leader without his participation.

“While Al has decided that he is not going to seek the Democratic nomination, I believe that there is much left for him to do. Knowing Al and Tipper the way Jane and I do, we are sure that the Gores are already planning another approach to public service and our nation will be better for it.”



"I respect Al Gore's decision not to seek the Presidency in 2004.  He is a good friend and a dedicated public servant.  I look forward to his continued leadership and ideas for our party and for America."

For Release:
December 16, 2002

Lieberman Responds to Gore Decision
WASHINGTON - Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) issued the following statement in response to former Vice President Al Gore's decision not to seek the presidency in 2004:

"Through a long and distinguished public career, including service in Vietnam, the Congress and the White House, Al Gore has made a great contribution to our nation. From arms control to telecommunications, from trade to global warming, Al Gore's leadership has helped make America stronger.

He welcomed me to the Senate, he has been my friend for more than a decade, and I was proud to be his running mate in 2000, as we worked for the chance to bring this nation to even greater heights. Hadassah and I will never forget the support that the Gore family gave ours. Their kindness deepened our friendship, one that I treasure.

I would have been equally proud to support him had he chosen to run for president again. Al Gore will remain a vital part of the debate over the big issues we face. Our nation and our party still needs to hear, and heed, his wise counsel.

Obviously, in light of Al's announcement, I will spend time over the coming holidays talking with my family and friends, and announce my decision about a campaign for the presidency in early January. I also have a long scheduled trip to the Persian Gulf and Middle East starting this week, during which I will be visiting with our American military forces as well as government leaders. For today, however, Hadassah and I simply want to say that we wish Al and Tipper -- and their family -- all the best. No matter what paths they take in the months and years ahead, I know they'll keep making a real difference in people's lives."

WHITE HOUSE IN 2004------------

Monday, December 16, 2002 (Washington, DC) - The announcement by Al Gore that he will not be a candidate for President in 2004, officially ends the Gore-Clinton era in American politics in general, and specifically within the Democratic Party.  It opens a new and necessary battle for the direction of the Democratic Party in a post-Clinton/Gore era.

I wish Mr. Gore and his family well, and certainly his announcement will intensify my efforts to protect the voters that were disenfranchised in 2000, and to raise the issues that challenge the incumbent President in areas of grave concern to most Americans.  Mr. Gore was the only major potential candidate, other than myself, to openly question President Bush’s proposed military action in Iraq, as well as to question the civil liberty ramifications of the “War on Terrorism.”

I feel that it is imperative that these, and other matters, are pursued much more aggressively now.  I strongly feel in view of the dismal voter turnout of many Democrats in 2000 that it is urgent that new, clear, and proactive leadership come forward and lead the Democratic Party.

I will probably have to make my decision earlier now since the field of potential candidates may expand, but the debate among national Democrats has now narrowed even more with Mr. Gore’s vacancy.  I am in Washington, DC, today meeting with close advisors toward that end.

Reverend Al Sharpton

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer
December 16, 2002 Briefing

Q Ari, what's the President's reaction to former Vice President Gore announcing that he's not going to run?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, this is an internal matter for the Democratic Party, and somebody will emerge from the Democratic field who will ultimately seek to raise taxes on the American people, but that's a decision that the Democrats will make as they select a nominee.

Q He didn't have a personal reaction at all, I mean, when he heard yesterday? What did he say?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, I think the President is rather busy, focused on the job that he was elected to do by the American people.

Q How about internal matters in the Republican Party? (Laughter.)

MR. FLEISCHER: I'm sorry?

Q Well, you said he didn't want to comment on internal matters of the Democratic Party, how about internal matters in the Republican Party?

MR. FLEISCHER: Oh, I thought you were making a reference to somebody running for President. I thought you knew something I didn't.

Anything else, Campbell?

Q I just -- given that Gore won the popular vote by some 500,000 votes the first time around, the President wouldn't -- is not a little bit disappointed that he won't have rematch?

MR. FLEISCHER: Campbell, I think the President is looking forward. And the President is focused on the job that he is doing right now for the American people. And the President is very respectful of the democratic process, including the Democratic primary process. I think there will be no shortage of candidates.