TIME Washington deputy bureau chief Jef McAllister believes the remarks showed "classic vice presidential behavior." Gore, he says, "has been remarkably loyal to the President, in large measure because in the long run it is wise to remain loyal." At a time of crisis in the White House, visibly staying on board is a good way to demonstrate the solidity of your own presidential timber, particularly when the crisis has a strong partisan undercurrent. The Gore statement also serves an immediately important cheerleading function. "It puts a stop to any possible Democratic wavering that might develop in the crucial next few days," says McAllister. Of course, if there is a lot of Democratic wavering, it might also put a stop to Gore's presidential aspirations.