So much for a comeback: Rather than face the slings and arrows of another presidential campaign, Al Gore has preemptively bowed out of the 2004 race, simultaneously dashing any lingering designs he might have had on the White House and breaking a crowded Democratic field wide open. The announcement on Sunday evening's "60 Minutes" was billed as a bombshell, but, after a day of leaks, it was hardly that; it was a quiet end (for now) to the political ambitions of the man who won the popular vote but lost the presidency.
Now battle preparations for the White House will begin again, this time without Gore. Among those who would delight in taking over his mantle: former running mate and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, Vermont Governor Howard Dean, House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Where will Gore throw his support? Knowing him, he'll keep us guessing for a while.