Former Vice President Al Gore is working in the shadows of the Democratic presidential nomination battle, working to ensure the party is not ripped apart by a bitterly divided convention.
According to The New York Times, Gore and other senior Democratic leaders are staying neutral in the race between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, because they're worried that a pre-convention fight for 795 superdelegates could be disastrous for the general election.
Democrats want to avoid public perception of a back-room deal that would nullify the will of millions of voters who have cast ballots in primaries and caucuses.
“It would be a problem for the party if the verdict would be something different than the public has decided,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
Also at issue: Whether delegates from Michigan and Florida -- states won by Clinton -- should be counted in the final delegate total. Both states were officially stripped of their delegates by the Democratic Party for holding their primaries earlier than the party wanted.
Gore's endorsement has been sought by both camps, but he has not voiced his support for either candidate yet. A close ally of Gore told the Times: “He recognizes the need for a few party elders to stay on the sidelines to ensure, if needed, that the process is fair and honest. It could very likely take a group of senior party people, including Gore, to settle this, but the only way they can settle it is if they stay on the sidelines now.”
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