WASHINGTON - Former Vice President Al Gore will endorse Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean on Tuesday, sources familiar with the decision said, reinforcing the former Vermont governor's commanding position in the 2004 race.
Gore, who won the popular vote in 2000 but lost the White House to President Bush after a bitter 36-day recount battle in Florida, will endorse Dean at a morning event in Harlem in New York City.
Former US Vice President Al Gore will endorse Howard Dean on Tuesday, December 9, 2003, sources say. (AFP/Alex Wong)
The pair will travel to Iowa for a joint campaign event later in the day before Dean returns to New Hampshire for a Democratic debate on Tuesday night.
The Dean campaign had no comment on Gore's endorsement.
The endorsement from Gore, who considered another White House run but decided against it nearly one year ago, had been one of the most highly sought prizes in the Democratic race and gives the insurgent Dean the backing of one of the party's most senior figures.
It is a particular blow to Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who was Gore's vice presidential running mate during the 2000 contest and had promised he would not run if Gore did.
Lieberman last year criticized Gore's populist campaign themes, and has been a strong supporter of the Iraq war. Like Dean, Gore has been outspoken in his opposition to the war, although he has largely confined himself to periodic public speeches during the last year.
Dean has moved into a commanding position in New Hampshire, which holds the first key primary on Jan. 27, and is battling with Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt for the lead in polls in the first caucus state of Iowa.
Copyright 2003 Reuters Ltd