ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Former Vice President Al Gore touted New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s economic recovery efforts and his policies on health care and the environment as he urged the state’s Democrats to do all they can to help get him re-elected.
“He’s the real deal,” said Gore. Gore was in Atlantic City Friday to give the keynote address at the New Jersey Democratic State Committee’s annual convention.
“You have a man who has the knowledge, the experience, the commitment, the compassion and the record of solid accomplishments fighting every single hour of every single day for New Jersey. Let’s re-elect Jon Corzine,” Gore said as the crowd of 500 cheered.
Corzine, who faces a tough re-election bid from GOP rival Chris Christie, a federal prosecutor during the Bush administration, promised a victory in November. Corzine has lagged consistently in polls.
“Make no mistake, we are going to win on Nov. 3,” Corzine said. “We will hold the Statehouse and the Assembly. We are not turning the keys to the Statehouse over to the people who wrecked the White House.”
Gore, who won the popular vote for the presidency in 2000 but lost the electoral college vote to George W. Bush, deadpanned that “elections matter.” He reminded the crowd of the differences between Democrats and Republicans on a range of issues including health care before warning them not to permit a Republican victory in the race for New Jersey’s top elected post.
Gore referred to Corzine as a friend, and said the governor “has proven his ability to accomplish things that benefit the people of New Jersey.”
His 30-minute address contained repeated references to what he called Bush’s failed economic policies. At the same time, he praised Corzine’s economic recovery efforts , which include the creation of thousands of jobs for government construction and mass-transit projects. Gore said some of Corzine’s ideas were later adopted nationally.
He said Corzine also helped secure health insurance for 150,000 uninsured New Jersey residents during his first term and has demonstrated a commitment to the environment dating back to his days in the U.S. Senate. Gore won a Nobel prize in 2007 for his work on global climate change.
“There is no governor who has understood it more clearly or who has been bolder in taking the initiative in making New Jersey one of one of three states out of 50 to have a meaningful program to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem,” he said.
Gore dismissed the third candidate in the race , independent Chris Daggett, a former Department of Environmental Protection commissioner who has gotten the Sierra Club’s endorsement , as having no chance against the better known and better financed candidates.
“You could also throw your vote away and pretend you’re not doing it,” said Gore. “Let me tell you how that works out.”