Few politicians would jump more quickly than Al Gore at the opportunity to spend three days with a few hundred bureaucrats droning on about the intricacies of development grants and tax credits. But as with almost everything the Vice President does these days, it was hard to miss the bits of political groundwork being laid here and there at last week's White House Community Empowerment Conference in Detroit. In between sessions, Gore sped from one photo opportunity to the next with the city's hugely popular black mayor, Dennis Archer. They toured the new African-American history museum, inspected operations at a corrugated-box...

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