Gore turns to healthcare, and suddenly comes alive

By Published on .

Can this be the same Al Gore who just two weeks ago spoke about the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with all the ease and grace and quiet confidence of C3PO?

Here he is talking about guaranteeing healthcare for all of our nation's children, yet he seems completely relaxed. And confident.

And, get this, natural!

It's as if someone in the campaign threw him in the dryer with four sheets of Bounce. The man is warm and soft and springtime fresh. Also reasonably persuasive.

"I think it's just unconscionable," he says, "at a time when we have the strongest economy in history, we're the wealthiest nation on earth, to have millions and millions of children who have no healthcare coverage at all. We ought to change that. And we ought to start by making a commitment to having affordable, high-quality healthcare for every child before the end of the next president's term. And we can do that within a balanced budget. Then we can go down the road toward coverage for every single American."

The spot ends kinds of abruptly, but never mind that. It's a measured but enticing promise, without seeming pie-in-the-sky or grandly Clintonesque in scale.

Most importantly, for the first time in memory, Gore looks not only comfortable but presidential. The stiffest thing about him is the starched white shirt. But he's left the suit coat off and -- here's the key -- he seems to be in conversation with an offscreen interviewer, vs. the awkward deer-caught-in-the-camera-lens we've grown accustomed to.

It's not a different veep, just a different angle. We know he can't orate. He can, however, talk.

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