Pelosi puts Gore on the phones for climate lobbying

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has put the brakes on having former Vice President Al Gore travel to Washington on Thursday to personally lobby Democrats on the climate change bill, opting instead to have Gore make calls from Tennessee.

“It’s a question of what was energy-efficient for the vice president,” Pelosi explained at her weekly press conference Thursday.

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The Speaker had originally dispatched Gore, who is seen by the left as one of the most authoritative voices on environmental issues, to help Democrats secure enough votes to pass their climate change bill through the House, perhaps as early as Friday.

Gore was to speak at the Democratic Caucus meeting at 1 p.m. and then join leaders at a press conference.

But Pelosi said she felt as though Democrats were getting close enough to securing enough commitments to support the bill that they didn’t need Gore’s personal touch.

“We were narrowing the list of the undecideds and thought that perhaps another occasion we could call upon his time to come here,” she said.

Some leadership aides, though, offered a slightly different explanation — one that left open the possibility that Democrats needed Gore’s one-on-one lobbying efforts more than they needed him trapped in an airplane for most of the morning.

One aide said that, with Democrats still eyeing a Friday floor vote on legislation that much of the caucus has yet to digest, the Speaker wanted Gore to spend his time and energy calling individual members who are still on the fence.

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