Among possible Democratic White House runners, Gore was by far and away the most experienced on issues of concern to Irish Americans. He had attended no fewer than three Irish American presidential forums in 1988, 1996 and 2000. More than any other presidential hopeful since the forums were initiated in 1984.
As vice president, Gore was intimately involved in the formulation of President Clinton’s Irish initiatives, including the decision to grant Gerry Adams his first U.S. visa.
Gore, who had an Irish grandmother named Margie Denny, pledged during the 2000 presidential forum that he would place Northern Ireland at the top of his political agenda and would plan to visit Ireland if elected president.
“Personally, I’m very disappointed,” said Stella O’Leary of the Washington, D.C.-based Irish American Democrats lobby group. “Gore was the only potential [Democratic] candidate with a real knowledge and continued interest in the Irish issues.
“He knows the players and the issues and is deeply interested in using American diplomacy in situations such as that in Ireland.
“This leaves us leaderless for now. We’ll just have to see what happens.”