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Nobel Prize likely to increase pressure on Gore to run

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Al Gore's statement on Nobel honor gives no hint of political ambitions
  • Former President Carter says he wants Gore to run for presidency
  • Analysts predict Gore will resist pressure to enter 2008 race
  • Poll shows 13 percent of Democrats want Gore for their party's nominee
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(CNN) -- Political analysts expect that Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize win will increase the pressure on him to run for president.

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Ole Danbolt Mjos, chairman of the Nobel committee, displays a picture of Al Gore in Oslo, Norway, on Friday.

But those who know him well predict he'll resist the pressure and stay out of the race.

The former vice president and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the honor early Friday for their work in drawing attention to global climate change.

Gore gave no hint of any political plans when he made a statement to reporters Friday.

"I will be doing everything I can to try to understand how to best use the honor and recognition of this award as a way of speeding up the change in awareness and the change in urgency," he said. "I'm going back to work right now. This is just the beginning."

Gore left the room without answering reporters' questions, including a shout of "Are you running for president?"

One source, who has been involved in Gore's political campaigns, told CNN that he won't get into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination because he doesn't want to battle Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. Gore would have given serious consideration to a run if Clinton's campaign had run into problems, the source said, but he has concluded her momentum is unstoppable.

"If she faltered, I think Democrats would probably turn to Al Gore because their argument is, 'Of course he's electable -- he's been elected,' " said CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider. But Schneider said he thought Gore's response would be that he had no interest in running.

A Gore adviser made a similar prediction to Slate.com's John Dickerson. "The view this morning is this will be energy he can just channel back into this cause he cares so much about," said Dickerson, a CNN political analyst.

Time magazine's Eric Pooley, who has reported extensively on Gore and his environmental efforts, makes the same prediction, but for a different reason.

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"Running for president would mean returning to a role he'd already transcended," Pooley wrote on Time's Web site. "He'd turn into -- again -- just another politician, when a lot of people thought he might be something better than that."

Former President Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2002, said on NBC's "Today" show Friday that he considered Gore the most qualified person to be president and that he hoped the Nobel Prize "might lead him to consider another political event."

"I've called Al Gore and urged him to run for president so many times," Carter said on "Today." "He finally told me the last time, 'President Carter, please do not call me any more.' "

Carter added, "I can at least do it indirectly through the news media."

Some of the candidates who would be Gore's rivals if he joined the race offered congratulations and praise.

"The Nobel Peace Prize rewards three decades of Vice President Gore's prescient and compelling -- and often lonely -- advocacy for the future of the Earth," said a statement from former Sen. John Edwards.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois said in a statement, "By having the courage to challenge the skeptics in Washington and lead on the climate crisis facing our planet, Al Gore has advanced the cause of peace and richly deserves this reward."

Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who has called global warming a hoax, issued a statement saying, "I congratulate former Vice President Al Gore even though we disagree on the issue. I would hope that they use the funds associated with the award for something useful, such as providing for malaria shots in Africa or clean water projects in the developing world."

Gore has said repeatedly this year that he doesn't "have any plans to be a candidate again."

But a group called draftgore.com apparently is hoping to change his mind. The organization, which describes itself as a group of grass-roots Democrats, took out a full-page ad in Wednesday's New York Times. Video Watch how the group is trying to persuade Gore to run »

Its open letter urges the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee to enter the 2008 race for the White House, saying "your country needs you now, as do your party, and the planet you are fighting so hard to save."

The letter goes on to say that "America and the Earth need a hero right now, someone who will transcend politics as usual and bring real hope to our country and to the world."

The ad also states that 136,000 people have signed Draft Gore's online petition. Eva Ritchey, from the Draft Gore campaign, said the signatures are coming in by the thousands. She also said the group will start a radio campaign in Florida.

Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said the former vice president "truly appreciates the heartfelt sentiment behind the ad; however, he has no intention of running for president."

But some Democrats aren't giving up. In the most recent CNN-Opinion Research Corp. national poll, 13 percent of Democrats surveyed supported Gore for their party's presidential nomination.

In the poll, he was in fourth place in the Democratic race, two percentage points behind former Edwards and seven points behind Obama, and ahead of five declared candidates.

Clinton leads the poll with 39 percent.

Even if Gore changed his mind and decided to join the fray, the clock is ticking on any run for the White House. "Gore would certainly shake up the race if he changed his mind and decided to get in, but less than three months before the Iowa caucuses, his window of opportunity to actually make a serious run for the Democratic nomination probably has passed him by," said CNN political editor Mark Preston.

Gore was vice president under President Clinton. In 2000, he won the Democratic presidential nomination and faced Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the general election campaign.

Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his challenge of voting results in the key state of Florida.

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"An Inconvenient Truth," a 2006 documentary featuring the former vice president, captured two Academy Awards in February. The film focuses on Gore and his worldwide travels to educate the public about the severity of global warming.

Last month Gore picked up an Emmy -- the highest award in television -- for "Current TV," which he co-created. The show describes itself as a global television network that gives viewers the opportunity to create and influence its programming. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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