Concerns about party unity are keeping Al Gore and other senior Democrats neutral in the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton face-off—at least for now, the New York Times reports. Party elders are painfully aware that infighting or back-room dealing at the Democratic National Convention could look like the will of the people is being thwarted and sour the public on the whole party.
If the nomination comes down a battle over superdelegates, insiders say it could take an honest broker with gravitas to settle things. That duty might have fallen to a popular former president—but Bill Clinton is hardly neutral, so many eyes have turned to Al Gore. "He’s probably the only unaligned person with the kind of stature to step in to that role," says a Gore associate.