Matt Lauer Hosts Al Gore Infomercial [Full Transcript]

Not only did Matt Lauer push Al Gore to run for President, as pointed out here, on this morning's Today show, he also repeatedly plugged Gore's An Inconvenient Truth DVD and pushed the former Vice President to call the President's decision to invade Iraq, "The worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States." First Lauer pressed Gore on the Iraq Study Group's findings: "So it's being described by some as 'cut and stay,' as opposed to 'cut and run.' Does it do enough to acknowledge the results of the midterm election and, and the message that voters were sending this administration, if these are listened to, these recommendations?" Then Gore moved on to Gore's pet cause, the environment, and pressed him to run for President with the following questions:

Lauer: "This is obviously gonna be a huge issue in 2008 for whoever's running for president, Iraq and radical Islam. Another issue that you want to see as a major issue is the environment, in particular, global warming. Are you hearing any one out there who may be thinking of running for president spending enough time and energy talking about this issue to satisfy you?"

Lauer: "What, what it makes me think is, from your point of view, if you were to run for president you could take this issue to the next level, even during just a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency you'd sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make, you could be in a position to save the planet, without putting too much emphasis on it. Wouldn't that be enough of a reason to run for president for you?"

Gore thanked Lauer for the endorsement: "Well I appreciate the impulse behind the question."

Lauer: "But as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again? Because although you're a former Vice President, being a sitting president would give you a much higher and much more powerful platform."

Gore, again, grateful for Lauer's imploring: "Well again I, I appreciate that very much. I, I'm not making plans to do it."

The following is the transcript of the entire interview that occured during the 7am half hour of the December 6th, Today show:

Matt Lauer: "Let's get more now reaction from former Vice President Al Gore whose documentary about global warming called An Inconvenient Truth is now available, by the way, on DVD. Vice President Gore, good to have you here."

Al Gore: "Good morning, Matt."

Lauer: "So you know, probably, what we know about this Iraq Study Group's report. What stands out in your mind?"

Gore: "Well I haven't read it yet. I've read some of the newspaper accounts. There are a lot of very good people who are part of the group but whether it's a lowest-common denominator committee result or not I really don't know. The fact is this is a very bad situation. Our country has to find a way to get our troops out as quickly as possible without making the situation worse, even worse in the manner of our leaving."

Lauer: "So it's being described by some as 'cut and stay,' as opposed to 'cut and run.' Does it do enough to acknowledge the results of the midterm election and, and the message that voters were sending this administration, if these are listened to, these recommendations?"

Gore: "Well the, the report this morning is actually one of several studies. There's one in the Pentagon. There has reportedly been one the White House itself is ginning up."

Lauer: "The NSA."

Gore: "And they're all basically saying the same thing, Matt. This is an utter disaster, this was the worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States and now we, as a nation, have to find a way in George Mitchell's words to manage a disaster. But I would urge the President not to, to try to separate out the, the, the personal issues of being, of being blamed in history for this mistake and instead recognize it's not about him, it's about our country and we all have to find a way to get our troops home and, and to prevent a regional conflagration there."

Lauer: "So, so two quick things then, would you pull, if you were president, would you pull U.S. troops out now even if it was seen as a military defeat?"

Gore: "Well if I were president I would have the full flow of information and have and test each of these options to see what kind of give. This, this is the equivalent of a car wreck and when it is in the process of happening you make, you make judgments in the moment. Now, in fact, the option of winning militarily, according to former Secretary Rumsfeld is, is gone. The, the stated goal of a military victory has gone the way of weapons of mass destruction. No longer exists."

Lauer: "This is obviously gonna be a huge issue in 2008 for whoever's running for president, Iraq and radical Islam. Another issue that you want to see as a major issue is the environment, in particular, global warming. Are you hearing any one out there who may be thinking of running for president spending enough time and energy talking about this issue to satisfy you?"

Gore: "Global warming?"

Lauer: "Yeah."

Gore: "No, not yet but it's early. And here's the linkage between those issues Matt. We are, I mean the climate crisis is caused by the burning of all these fossil fuels and our entanglement in the Persian Gulf region, where the biggest proven reserves are to be found, is linked to it. Here's a second linkage. There were clear warnings before the decision to invade Iraq that it was gonna be a catastrophe. This was predictable. And the, the head of the Army said, 'We don't have enough troops.' Others said this is a terrible mistake. And now what we're seeing with this report and all of the others is a situation that really where there are no good outcomes because the warnings were-"

Lauer: "So you're saying the global warming, the warnings are now and if we don't heed that advice we're gonna have the same situation?"

Gore: "Except infinitely worse, because, imagine on a global scale a nearly irretrievable situation. We still have time to avoid the mistakes that are creating this climate crisis."

Lauer: "What, what it makes me think is, from your point of view, if you were to run for president you could take this issue to the next level, even during just a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency you'd sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make, you could be in a position to save the planet, without putting too much emphasis on it. Wouldn't that be enough of a reason to run for president for you?"

Gore: "Well I appreciate the impulse behind the question. I am not planning to run for president again. I'm involved in a different kind of campaign to change the minds of the people here, in our country, and around the world on why the climate crisis is the most serious crisis we've ever faced and why we have to move into a completely different way of approaching it."

Lauer: "But as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again? Because although you're a former Vice President, being a sitting president would give you a much higher and much more powerful platform."

Gore: "Well again I, I appreciate that very much. I, I'm not making plans to do it. I have no intention to do it. I haven't completely ruled it out-"

Lauer: "Will you rule it out?"

Gore: "-at some point in the future."

Lauer: "You won't sit here and say, 'Matt I will not run in 2008?'"

Gore: "No but that's merely because I'm, I was in it for a long time. I'm in the process of sort of shifting gears on this but I do not, I seriously do not have any intention of doing it and this, this climate crisis is my focus. I want to change people's minds on this so that the people who do run, in both parties, will encounter Americans who say, 'Look you have got to make this your top priority.'"

Lauer: "The New York Times said earlier this week that, 'Barack Obama has the potential of upending the race more than any other Democrat short, perhaps of,' you. Alright? So A.) Is Barack Obama the man to meet and the man to beat and, and what are the chances that someone reaches out to you and makes a phone call and gets you to upend this race?"

Gore: "Well I think it's still too early. I can't use that answer much longer."

Lauer: "Right."

Gore: "But I do think it's still too early to evaluate the potential candidates who, who are planning, who look as if they're planning to run. And I hope that all of them, in both parties, will address the climate crisis. I think that this Iraq disaster is, is not gonna wait until 2008 or 2010 or whatever they're talking about here and this is unfolding very rapidly. This is even worse than a civil war. But the climate crisis, again, is infinitely more serious and we need to make it a bipartisan issue. We need to engage people around the country. There are house parties all around the country on December 16th on, focused on getting more people to see this DVD. And if you want to host a house party you can go to Algore.com. This is a bipartisan effort to change the way we deal with the most serious issue we've ever confronted."

Lauer: "Former Vice President Al Gore. Appreciate you being in the studio today, thanks very much."

Gore: "Thanks very much, Matt."

Lauer: "And if you're interested in seeing An Inconvenient Truth, as we mentioned it is now available on DVD."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.