OCTOBER 7TH, 2008 | Harkin for Senate
By L. LARS HULSEBUS | Des Moines Register
Read the origination story at The Des Moines Register
Iowa’s recent natural disasters are connected to global climate change, former Vice President Al Gore said in a speech at the state Democratic Party’s annual fall fundraiser Saturday.
Gore was the keynote speaker at the 2008 Jefferson Jackson Dinner at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.
Gore, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, lost the presidential election to George W. Bush in 2000. Last year, he won a Nobel Peace Prize for his effort to tackle global climate change.
Gore attributed the historic floods that devastated Iowa in June to man-made emissions causing more water to evaporate from oceans, increasing average humidity worldwide.
“In 66 of your 99 counties, the flood damage was truly historic.” Gore told the crowd of 1,000 Democratic donors. “No one has ever seen a flood like this.”
Gore also blamed climate change for increased tornadoes, including the one that leveled much of Parkersburg earlier this year.
“Yes, we’ve always had tornadoes in Iowa and in Tennessee,” he said. “But they’re coming more frequently and they’re stronger.”
Gore last spoke at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Sept. 29, 2001. On that occasion, just weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Gore called for his fellow Democrats to support President Bush.
The tone of Saturday’s speech was decidedly less conciliatory toward Bush, and to Republicans in general.
“If that election had ended differently, we wouldn’t be bogged down in Iraq,” he said. “We wouldn’t be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis. … We wouldn’t be shredding the Constitution. … We wouldn’t be denying a climate crisis, we’d be fighting the climate crisis.”
The Jefferson Jackson Dinner is one of the state party’s biggest events of the year. Last year’s dinner featured six presidential candidates and drew about 9,000 people.
This year, speeches by Iowa leaders including Gov. Chet Culver and Sen. Tom Harkin warmed up the crowd before Gore took the stage, raising the level of excitement in the room.
Gore devoted a large portion of his speech to indicting the Bush administration for not capturing Osama Bin Laden in Tora Bora in 2001. He suggested the Bush administration may have decided not to send the U.S. military into a likely bloody battle because it might have weakened public will to fight a war in Iraq, something Gore said was a goal of the Bush administration before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Gore concluded by tying current U.S. economic and military problems back to energy policy, and by framing the upcoming campaign as a pivotal chance to change those policies by electing Democratic candidates.