GOREWATCH. It's...

GOREWATCH. It's getting a bit hard to keep up with Gore's press. He's got the cover of New York Magazine this morning, under the heading "The UnHillary?" The story is written by John Heilemann, who received significant access to the man himself, and came back with the stories to prove it. "Eleven years ago, I wrote a story about Gore in which I remarked that 'what any sensible person does in anticipation of a sustained piece of oratory by Al Gore' is 'order another cup of coffee�black.' So I can�t help but laugh when Gore arrives for the first of our conversations carrying a dainty white cup, walks silently over, waiterlike, and intones, 'I understand, sir, you take it black.'"

And Heilemann, for his part, takes his comments on Gore's plodding oratory back. He calls Gore's speech "a stump speech�or rather, half a stump speech. And a damn fine one at that. It�s certainly a more coherent and rousing condemnation of the Bush administration than I�ve heard from any other potential 2008 candidate." He gets all manner of consultants and politicos to talk up Gore's chances. He relays word of a thaw in the chilly, post-2000 relations of Gore and Bill Clinton, and gets one Clintonista to chuckle "that 'you can see Bill talking to Hillary one minute, then ducking into his study to take Gore's call and advise him on how to beat her. He�s Clinton, you know�he just can�t help himself.'"

So will he run? Far too early to tell. But Heilemann comes to the same conclusion I did -- that if he is interested in the race, he's doing everything right. "What Gore," he writes, "is being is smart. His rehabilitation has been propelled by his liberation�by the fact that, as Roy Neel puts it, 'he�s not forced into various boxes that you subject yourself to when you�re a traditional politician running for office.' But Gore�s liberation isn�t simply about the words that he can utter; it�s about how those words are heard. He is liberated from the filters that people put on their ears when they�re listening to scheming candidates."

Meanwhile, USA Today has the standard "Gore Comeback" narrative, and the San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting tidbit: Gore's canceled a speech at Berkeley to avoid crossing an AFSCME picket line. No use burning bridges you still may need to cross, I guess.

--Ezra Klein

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