Voters who lived through it might still be bitter, but as it turns out former Vice President and Presidential candidate Al Gore has a pretty good sense of humor about losing the 2000 election despite capturing the majority of the popular vote. And 17 years later, he’s even willing to note that he (probably) won in the state that decided the election when its recount was halted by the United States Supreme Court.
A cautiously optimistic Gore appeared as the top of the show guest on tonight’s episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher,” the first after the show took a month long hiatus, to reassure Maher and viewers that despite dire recent milestones, it’s not too late to stave off the worst effects of global warming. It’s the same message as one of the several in the former Vice President’s new film “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” and it was welcome, especially for viewers in the various heat waves sweeping the United States at the moment.
We’ll get back to that momentarily, however, because during the conversation, Maher brought up the still-frustrating 2000 election, and Al Gore said what at least 50% of us still think: he won the Florida vote.
“We could lose Venice,” Maher said during a discussion of the threat rising sea levels post to coastal regions. “We could lose Florida! And who would know better about losing Florida than you?” Maher said directly to Gore.
“Actually,” said Gore while laughing, “I think I carried Florida,” prompting huge cheers from the audience.
Later, Maher brought up the 2016 election, comparing Hillary’s loss directly to Gore’s. What can be done, Maher asked, about those kinds of election outcomes? “You got 500,000 more votes than your opponent. Hillary got almost 3 million more,” Maher said. “This thing where we get the most votes and they get to be president anyway has to stop.”
Said Gore: “I do think it’s time to get rid of the electoral college.”
As for the guy who became president last year despite losing the actual vote by millions, Gore was initially optimistic that he wouldn’t be as bad as people feared. He famously talked at length to both Ivanka Trump and Donald himself immediately after the election and came away thinking they would continue on the course set by his predecessor.
That optimism turned out to be severely misplaced after Trump announced intent to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. About that, said Gore: “I thought actually there was a chance he might come to his senses but I was wrong.”
The talk ended with Maher returning to the 2000 election. Thanking Gore for showing up, he added “he should have been President.”
Watch Maher’s full interview with Al Gore above.