Washington Prowler

Kerry and Gore Unite

But very secretly. Plus: Labor has a veep for John he can't refuse.

By 4.29.04

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More troubling news for Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign: Al Gore is supporting Kerry and up to his old tricks.

On Wednesday, Gore asked for and received a private meeting with Kerry when the presumptive presidential nominee was in Cleveland on his jobs tour. Gore was adamant that word of the meeting not be made public, and Kerry, perhaps recalling what Gore's support did for former Vermont Gov. Howie Dean, readily agreed.

The two Senate colleagues met in a hotel room, and what they talked about is between them, though it is believed that Gore discussed his decision to funnel $6 million he raised for his presidential campaign into the DNC and other groups in support of Kerry.

It is also assumed that Gore was asking be involved in the campaign, whether as a surrogate or a "senior adviser."

We'll probably know exactly what the two men talked about when Gore leaks the conversation to the press the same way his people apparently leaked word of the "secret" meeting. No sooner was Gore out of the hotel room, than he was spotted in the lobby by reporters tipped off to his presence there.

"We don't know about any meeting," said a Kerry campaign staffer in Philadelphia, where the Kerry campaign was to wrap up his three-day bus tour. "As far as we know, no meeting took place between the two men."

Gore has had almost no contact with anyone at the Kerry campaign. Even his former campaign strategist, Bob Shrum, has been silent on Gore.

Kerry's job's tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania is mostly a sop to organized labor. On Wednesday, Kerry was telling United Auto Workers that he wasn't going to appoint a "political" attorney general. Instead, he was going to appoint a person from a "legal" background ... like Janet Reno.

According to organized labor lobbyists in Washington, Kerry is considering an even bigger sop to their brethren -- Dick Gephardt as his vice presidential candidate.

"We know Gephardt is being vetted," says an AFL-CIO lobbyist. "We know Jim Johnson is looking at him seriously. It isn't just for show. Kerry can't afford to jerk us around on this. A lot of us want Gephardt."

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