in the News
Monday 16 December 2002 Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find
explanations of difficult words below.
Al Gore and the Democrats
Summary: Former US Vice-President Al Gore has announced that he will not run for his Party's Presidential nomination in 2004. Gore was the obvious front-runner and in his absence both slots on the Democratic ticket - for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates - will be open. This report from Jonathan Marcus.
Mr Gore's decision marks the start of the real race for the Democratic Party's nomination for 2004. At this stage the battle is wide-open. There's no shortage of potential candidates with some five runners already identified. Several others may also decide to throw their hats into the ring. The battle for the Democratic nomination will be intense. And with Mr Gore gone, it will be less about the Party's past failures and more about its future.
President George W. Bush's victory was like a cardiac shock to the Democratic Party. Not just because of its manner - the long-running legal battle over the count - but also because Mr Gore was widely expected to win. The Democrats hoped to restore their fortunes at this year's Mid-term Congressional elections. But despite growing concerns about the economy and considerable unease at the deepening crisis over Iraq - the Democrats were unable to make any headway.
President Bush remains remarkably popular. He could emerge next year as the victor in a war against Iraq. But defeating Saddam Hussein is no recipe for electoral success at home - as President George Bush senior knows only too well. Democratic pollsters and experts stress that in political terms the United States is divided down the middle. A relatively minor shift in their favour could reverse their political fortunes.
Who the Democrats choose as their standard-bearer for 2004 is critical. But the Party is as important as the personality. The Democrats need to re-define themselves and to develop a distinctive alternative voice to that offered by the Bush administration.