He wouldn’t, would he?  Following on from Joe Klein’s speculative piece in Time last week about whether superdelegates would reject Obama and Clinton and install Al Gore instead, two former Gore campaign officials have told The Sunday Telegraph that “a scenario first mapped out by members of Mr Gore’s inner circle last May now has a sporting chance of coming true.”  

As John McCain’s lead in the polls expands over both Obama and Clinton, the paper quotes Tim Mahoney, a Democrat congressman from Florida, who said last week: “If it goes into the convention, don’t be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket.”

How to win a knife fight, by Karl Rove: It’s been a while since the last contested convention. So, drawing on the 180-year history of presidential nominating conventions, let me suggest a few rules for winning in Denver. Rule #1: Control the Convention Mechanism. If you set the rules, decide who votes, organize the event and control what is said, it’s almost impossible to lose. So while Democratic National Committee chief Howard Dean is ostensibly in charge, both candidates would be well advised to gain control of the levers of the convention. — Karl Rove, Newsweek

The Gore idea won’t go away: Plans for Al Gore to take the Democratic presidential nomination as the saviour of a bitterly divided party are being actively discussed by senior figures and aides to the former vice-president. The bloody civil war between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has left many Democrats convinced that neither can deliver a knockout blow to the other and that both have been so damaged that they risk losing November’s election to the Republican nominee, John McCain. Former Gore aides now believe he could emerge as a compromise candidate acceptable to both camps at the party’s convention in Denver during the last week of August. Two former Gore campaign officials have told The Sunday Telegraph that a scenario first mapped out by members of Mr Gore’s inner circle last May now has a sporting chance of coming true. — The Telegraph UK

The Huckabee option: On Meet The Press this morning, David Brooks said this: I think she should slow down the campaign, run what Mike Huckabee ran, a dignified campaign, not attacking her opponents, go through North Carolina and then get out. She really has very little opportunity to win. The Jeremiah Wright thing was big, the big scandal, the biggest thing Barack Obama’s faced really in months. It didn’t hurt him. We now have the polling results from poll after poll. It’s clear it didn’t hurt him. The voters were not shaken off him. The–Michigan and Florida are not going to revote, the superdelegates are never going to overrule the pledge delegates, so her chances are really small. — The Plank, The New Republic

Going negative: The woman who has a great and admirable record on racial issues, whose husband was described as the country’s “first black president”, the candidate with the strongest Hispanic support . . . now needs the votes of older conservative whites, who are uncomfortable with the idea of a black president and suspicious of Latino immigration. Some candidates at this point would feel so divorced from their own core principles and values that they would see the mathematical near-impossibility of winning and withdraw. One recalls that great line from Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons, when Thomas More reproaches the man, Richard Rich, who betrayed him for petty political advancement. “Why Hillary, it profits a woman nothing to give her soul for the whole world. But for Pennsylvania?” — Andrew Sullivan, The Times UK

Why did Hillary stick with the Bosnia story?: Most politicians lie. Most people over 50, as I know all too well, misremember things. So here is the one compelling mystery still unresolved about Hillary Clinton’s Bosnia fairy tale: Why did she keep repeating this whopper for nearly three months, well after it had been publicly debunked by journalists and eyewitnesses? In January, after Senator Clinton first inserted the threat of “sniper fire” into her stump speech, Elizabeth Sullivan of The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that the story couldn’t be true because by the time of the first lady’s visit in March 1996, “the war was over.” Meredith Vieira asked Mrs. Clinton on the “Today” show why, if she was on the front lines, she took along a U.S.O. performer like Sinbad. Earlier this month, a week before Mrs. Clinton fatefully rearmed those snipers one time too many, Sinbad himself spoke up to The Washington Post: “I think the only ‘red phone’ moment was: Do we eat here or at the next place?” Yet Mrs. Clinton was undeterred. — Frank Rich, NY Times

McCain, party of one: For the Republican Party, McCain’s candidacy could prove to be a godsend, despite the fact that a large segment of it fought fiercely against it. Protesting his perceived apostasies on issues ranging from taxes to immigration, conservatives rallied for every last opportunity to stop a candidate once thought to be finished. Increasingly though, even those who fought it are becoming converts to the McCain campaign. At least some GOP operatives now believe they have the best candidate they could have hoped for under the current circumstances. — CBS News 

Peter Fray

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