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Gore, Schwarzenegger push climate forum

By Laura Kurtzman (Associated Press) - November 16, 2007

Former Vice President Al Gore and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will take part in a bipartisan presidential forum on energy and climate change next month in New Hampshire, shortly ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation primary.

Gore, who has been the target of several Democratic grass-roots efforts to persuade him to run for president, has said he has no plans to become a candidate, but hasn’t firmly shut the door to a bid. Schwarzenegger, a Republican and native of Austria who is prohibited by the Constitution from becoming president, had previously signaled his intention to play a role in the 2008 contest by drawing attention to issues of special interest, including global warming.

A spokesman for Schwarzenegger confirmed the forum after Arizona Sen. John McCain, a GOP presidential candidate, mentioned it Thursday during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Adam Mendelsohn says the forum is still being planned, but candidates from both major parties are expected to attend. Gore — who won the popular vote for president in 2000, but lost the electoral vote count through a Supreme Court decision — will handle the Democratic candidates at the forum, while Schwarzenegger will handle the Republicans.

“I know the issue,” said McCain, who has been an advocate in Congress for legislation regulating the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. “I’ve been involved in it for many, many years. And I’m proud to have played a role in leadership on it.”

Gore’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Mendelsohn said the former vice president was actively involved in designing the forum.

This year, Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his effort to inspire action to curb climate change, and a documentary based on his effort, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Academy Award.