Election Issues

Markus Schreiber/AP
Al Gore

Campaign Profiles: Key Speakers at the Democratic National Convention: Thursday

August 28, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
FindingDulcinea profiles Al Gore and Bill Ritter, two of the key speakers on Thursday, the final day of the Democrat National Convention in Denver.

Al Gore

Al Gore, two-term vice president under Bill Clinton, presidential candidate in 2000 and environmental protection advocate of long standing, has made a name for himself this decade with the message of “An Inconvenient Truth,” a book and film about climate change that has helped promote a legislative platform to reduce human impact on the environment. 

Hailing from Tennessee and educated at Harvard University, Gore is a Vietnam veteran, as well as a onetime military reporter and a newspaper journalist for the Tennessean. He was a four-term U.S. representative of Tennessee (1976–1984) and a senator from 1984 until 1992, when he assumed the vice presidency under Clinton. He ran for president unsuccessfully in 1988 and 2000.

Credited with disseminating solutions to global warming to a wider audience, Gore shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “An Inconvenient Truth” is believed to have been a catalyst for a “green movement” in this country.

At the DNC, Gore will be seen as a representative of Obama’s goals for U.S. energy independence and the fight against global warming.

Bill Ritter

Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado is often cited as an example of Colorado’s recent shift toward the Democrats, but is somewhat set apart from Obama’s “new politics” platform.

A strict anti-abortionist, the former Denver district attorney has earned a reputation for bipartisan legislation, emphasizing clean development and encouraging technology companies to come to Colorado.

The first Colorado governor in 35 years to have been born in that state, Ritter was raised in Arapahoe County, the sixth of twelve children. He received an undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and a law degree from the University of Colorado.

Residing outside of Colorado only once—to run a food distribution and nutrition center in Zambia with his wife Jeannie—Ritter has remained a popular figure in his home state. However, his ascent to the governorship was seen to stem from a regional frustration with the Republican Party; since 2002, six other Western states have elected Democratic governors.

An avid supporter of Barack Obama, Ritter dismissed early reports that the presidential candidate might select him as his running mate.

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