Why Gore Wants Clinton on the Campaign Trail

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"I love you, I love you not." As though plucking petals from a dandelion, Vice President Gore has vacillated in the past couple of weeks about whether to enlist President Clinton's help in his bid for top billing in the White House. A new television ad campaign introducing him to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire makes no mention of Clinton, while harping on the wisdom the veep gained from his late father, former senator Albert Gore, Sr. Last week Gore, asked by The Washington Post whether he would forgo the President’s help, said "I have not made my decision yet. I may do that." But Tuesday he flip-flopped, telling the Democratic Congressional Caucus that Clinton would be part of the campaign.

It's more a case, of course, of "I need you, I need you not" — and Gore has finally decided in the affirmative. A sensible move, says TIME Washington correspondent John Dickerson. "Gore needs Clinton in his corner," he says. "If the guy can get himself off from being impeached, he can certainly deal with whatever image problems Gore has. If Gore wins it’s probably going to be thanks to Clinton as much as anything." After seven years in the White House, Gore’s most famous attribute remains his stiff persona, while Clinton is unquestionably one of the world’s most gifted campaigners. The challenge remains for Gore to link his campaign agenda with the successes — mostly the booming economy — associated with the Clinton administration, while distancing himself from the President’s legal troubles and laundry list of scandals. Al and Hillary have a lot to talk about.