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Interview with Al Gore

Aired November 15, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Al Gore, the interview.

What should President Obama do about the war in Afghanistan?


AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He has to proceed very carefully in order to get it right.


KING: And global warming -- is time running out?


GORE: All over the world, people are beginning to come to grips with it.


KING: His reaction to the Fort Hood massacre, his relationship with Bill Clinton and a response to Sarah Palin.


GORE: I don't know what her future is in politics.


KING: Al Gore for the hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We are so honored to welcome back Al Gore to the show, the former vice president of the United States and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the best-selling author -- all in one person. His new book is "Our Choice." There you see it. It's a plan to solve the climate crisis. And it is brilliantly put together.

In three years since "An Inconvenient Truth," you've done well -- an Oscar and all this.

What do you make of all this happening to you?

GORE: Well, it's not about me. It's about this crisis that we've got to come to grips with. And the good news is, Larry, all over the world, people are beginning to come to grips with it. We're seeing...

KING: But are you -- are you surprised at what's happened to you, though?

I mean, did you -- Academy Award...

GORE: Well, of course, I'm...

KING: ...Nobel laureate...

GORE: Yes, I never would have thought either one of those things would have happened. For -- for me personally, the experience has simply been feeling very passionately about something that I'm called to do something about. It just feels like I've got to do it. And, you know, I -- I never intended this to be such a cause in my life. I walked into a classroom more than 41 years ago and learned from one of the great scientists of this whole field, Roger Revelle, the first person to measure CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere. And I just assumed that this would have been addressed and solved long since.

But as time wore on, it wasn't being, so I decided to get involved. And it has just led to a greater and greater involvement.

KING: For want of a better term, have you become obsessed with it?

GORE: Well, no, I wouldn't use that word.

KING: Well, what word would you use?

GORE: Well, dedicated to it. Dedicated to it. I'm committed to doing everything I can to trying to -- to get a solution to this. And that's why I wrote the book. You know, three-and-a-half years ago, "An Inconvenient Truth," both the book and the movie, focused mainly on the nature of the crisis, the causes of it, the impacts and about 10 percent on the solutions. And public opinion around the world has moved dramatically. And this book is 90 percent on the solutions.

There are solutions. That's the good news. We have more than enough solutions for three or four climate crises.

KING: And...

GORE: And the good news is, we only have to solve one.

KING: And solutions that are being listened to?

GORE: Yes, more and more. But political leaders around the world have still not crossed the -- the tipping point. Some countries are come to grips with addressing it effectively. Others are still kind of circling the problem. And the big conference aimed at getting a -- a treaty or a -- a binding political agreement in Copenhagen next month will be a real turning point.

KING: Are you going?

GORE: Oh, yes, I'll be there.

KING: Would you name -- tell me a country that's really way ahead in this.

GORE: Most people would say in response to that probably Sweden is the country doing the best job of this. And they're prospering economically, by the way. They have a CO2 tax and a cap and trade program both. And it's helping their economy and it's doing the right thing for our kids.

KING: The book is "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis." The author is Al Gore.

And we'll be coming back to that and a lot of other topics tonight.

It's always great to see you.

GORE: Well, thank you for not being inappropriate.

KING: Ah, they won't let go of it.

Now, you met with Barack Obama last December to talk about climate change.

Here's some of what the then president-elect said about the issue.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now, that this is a matter of urgency and national security and it has to be dealt with in a serious way. That's what I intend my administration to do.


KING: Has he lived up to that commitment?

GORE: Well, he's done an awful lot, Larry. Within a month of taking office, he passed this large stimulus, a large percentage of which was committed to a green stimulus. We are now starting to build this super grid around the country that will make it possible to bring solar energy from the Southwestern deserts and wind energy from the Mountain Corridor.

His EPA has now enacted a regulation that requires reductions of CO2. All large emitters are going to have to give public notice and accounting of their global warming pollution emissions. And he's made lots of changes to policy that move us in the right direction.

Now, the bad news is, the health care debate has consumed so much time this year that the schedule has been pushed back. But we -- but we really have seen a sea change under President Obama. More needs to be done, but he is definitely moving in the right direction.

KING: We'll come back to that in a while.

Afghanistan -- you're not surprised I'm going to ask about that?

GORE: Big challenge. Big challenge.

KING: Should the president deploy 40,000 more troops, as General McChrystal wants?

There are other experts saying don't. Others say pull out. Where -- where -- where does Al Gore stand?

GORE: Well, I think he's doing the right thing.

KING: By thinking about it?

GORE: And taking the time not just to think about it, but to get the best information available, to have his war cabinet involved with him in deep deliberations and to focus on what the exit strategy will be.

In some ways, this is more about Pakistan than it is about Afghanistan. And that border region between the two countries is where the -- the real source of the trouble from the Taliban is originating. And because Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal and is experiencing troubles of its own, it is one of the most complex foreign policy/national security challenges any president has ever faced.

And taking the time to get it right, including with an appropriate focus on what the exit strategy is, would that President Johnson, so many years ago, would have taken this care and time before getting us into the Vietnam War.

KING: Do you see an end game?

GORE: Well, that's what he's searching for now. And there's -- I'm sure there's one out there. But he has to proceed very carefully in order to get it right. And I support him taking the time to do that.

KING: But he ran a campaign about Iraq and somewhat Afghanistan of pretty much saying, "Let's go. Let's leave, a timetable and we're gone."

GORE: Well, I'm not sure that -- first of all, he had a different stance on Afghanistan than he did...

KING: That's true -- in Iraq.

GORE: Iraq. And he's keeping his pledge on both. He has set a timetable on -- on Iraq. And he always said we have to leave in a responsible way. And, of course, one of the reasons why Afghanistan is so difficult now is that our troops and intelligence assets and resources were diverted from the chase for Osama bin Laden and sent to Iraq. That's -- that's really one of the principal reasons why it's such a difficult challenge today.

KING: Al Gore's our guest. His new book is "Our Choice."

How concerned are you about global warming?

Go to and take our Quick Vote.

Health care reform -- how would Al Gore deal with it, next.


KING: We're back with Al Gore.

By the way, I've learned through a secret source that this book, "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis," will debut at number two on the New York Times best-seller list, one week from Sunday.

Al Gore is our special guest.

We'll get back to more on the book.

First, on Afghanistan, John McCain said an advocate -- John McCain said an advocate of deploying more troops -- he is -- he said half measures would be the worst thing.

Do you agree with that statement?

GORE: Well, I don't think that's what the president is considering in any way. If it were just a debate about numbers alone and splitting the difference, then that critique might have some application. But I think they're focused very much on what the exit strategy is, what the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan really is and how we can protect our national security objectives here.

And, again, this is a time when the president's got all of the military and civilian advisers who specialize in this feeding information in order to -- to get the decision right.

KING: Are these the kind of advisers you would have called upon?

GORE: Sure. Well, I -- I have a lot of respect for the people he has brought into the cabinet room to advise him on this.

KING: Your thoughts on Fort Hood?

A lot of fingerprinting going on, a lot of questions, warning signs, should have known.

What's your read?

GORE: The investigations will -- will take some time. And from all the evidence thus far available, it does look as if this was the act of a single person. But the evidence showing that he had been in contact with this radical cleric who was urging violence against America is very -- very troubling. And I'm sure they'll get to the bottom of it.

KING: Are these things, in your opinion, preventable?

GORE: Again, I'd -- I'd like to await the results of the investigation. But it -- the preliminary evidence has convinced a lot of people that there were some warning signs that should have been heeded where this individual was concerned within the military. Many factors involved and hindsight is always 20/20. So I'd prefer to wait until they get it all in perspective.

KING: Are you concerned, though, about backlash against Muslims?

GORE: Oh, sure. We're a pluralistic, diverse country. And, yes, I think that, by and large, the -- the reaction in the country has been pretty balanced -- balanced with an appropriate focus on what we can learn from this in order to prevent anything like it from happening again.

KING: What do you make of the rise of -- of the right wing, these rallies and dealing with health care -- we'll move to health care in a minute.

GORE: Yes.

KING: Right-wing talk radio...

GORE: Yes. Yes.

KING: They take you on pretty good.

GORE: Yes. Well, it's not entirely new in American politics. We have had a strain like this in our politics for a long time. And there are extreme voices all along the ideological spectrum. And we just have to -- to focus on building the -- the health and strength of our democracy and hope that the voices of reason and deliberation will prevail.

KING: Do you think they have impact?

GORE: I think sometimes it's overstated. At the very time when they were having what they claimed was one of their biggest rallies, the House of Representatives was voting to -- to pass health care reform and I think that was a -- a pretty good statement.

KING: Why have we never had -- most of the civilized world, Al, takes care of its population.

GORE: Yes and...

KING: So what -- what -- what happened here or didn't happen here?

GORE: Way back during the New Deal days, Franklin Roosevelt, according to the histories, at first intended to include some form of national health insurance in the New Deal package and at the last minute, he pulled it out. And in all the years since then, we have seen the -- the growth and development of an employer-based plan that leaves a lot of people out and puts a burden on business.

And the fact that we have so many tens of millions of American families that do not have health insurance is terrible. The fact that we spend so much more than any other country and do not get better health outcomes should lead us to make the kind of commonsense reforms that President Obama has called for.

KING: You're confident of that?

GORE: Well, I think that, at the end of the day, we will get a reform package, yes. I think the Senate will probably have the votes to pass it early next year.

KING: Are you disappointed in your former running mate?

GORE: Well, he's a friend and we remain friends. I strongly disagree with a lot of his positions. Others I agree with his position...

KING: Are you surprised...

GORE: ... On other issues that I agree with him.

KING: ... That he's against the public option?

GORE: I don't know his history on that particular issue. I -- I think that it's consistent with what he's said in -- in recent years, as far as I know, so...

KING: But you're still friends?

GORE: Yes, we're still friends. Absolutely.

KING: We're talking about Joe Lieberman, by the way.

GORE: Yes, and I -- I have a lot of respect for Joe, even though I strongly disagree with him on a lot of things.

KING: Still to come, we'll talk about Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin and how Laura Ling and Euna Lee are doing since their release. They work for him.

Back in 60 seconds with the author of "Our Choice," Al Gore.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Al Gore.

The book is "Our Choice."

What about your two young ladies who work for you?

How are they doing? GORE: Well, they're doing -- they're doing well. And they're taking time with their families and to restore their health and regain their strength. They're two remarkable young women, very courageous. I'm so happy that they're back safe and sound.

KING: They're still working for you?

GORE: Absolutely. We're still giving them time to -- to recover. And we -- we value them both very highly. They're remarkable young women.

KING: Your company had layoffs, though, right?

GORE: Yes, but it's a record-breaking profitable year. This is a change in format, not driven by budget factors at all, but a shift in the format, with more announcements forthcoming.

KING: Do you expect to send them back into semi-dangerous areas?

GORE: Well, we have guidelines to protect our reporters. We have and will continue to have a big emphasis on investigative journalism, telling stories that aren't being told anywhere else. But we have guidelines to make sure that our -- our reporters are safe. And we -- we're going to keep those and learn from the experience and continue to tell those stories.

And we're very proud of our vanguard unit and having -- they won a Peabody Award. We're very proud of them -- and an Emmy award. The network that my partner, Joel Hyatt and I, founded -- the CEO is now Mark Rosenthal -- is doing a terrific job, almost 60 million subscribers around the world in a number of...

KING: Not bad.

GORE: ... Countries. And it's doing very, very well. It's a tribute to the mainly young people that run it.

KING: In that area, one other thing.

Were you in touch with Bill Clinton when he went over there?

GORE: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. And I -- I was very grateful to him for being willing to -- to make that trip when it became clear that the North Koreans were willing to receive him.

KING: The book is "Our Choice." The guest is Al Gore. Sarah Palin -- what about her political future?

We'll talk about her and other things ahead.


KING: The book is "Our Choice," brilliantly put together. Whoever worked on this, Rodale Publishing.

Were other people involved, too? GORE: Rodale is the publisher of the book. Meltzer Media helped produce the book. Charlie Meltzer was the producer. Karen Rinaldi, my editor, did a terrific job of editing. And it -- it took me three years to research and write this book. I had more than...

KING: It shows.

GORE: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate it.

KING: Now, back to the health care issue, Bill Clinton went to Capitol Hill, spoke to Democrats and said, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good on this issue."

Do you agree with that line?

GORE: Well, sure. And Winston Churchill has the classic line that democracy is the worst political system ever tried of all, except for every other system that's ever been tried. And in order to get things passed in a democracy, our senators and congressmen have to find ways to get a majority. So that can be frustrating, but over the long haul, it's the best way to go.

KING: All right. A year into his presidency, you supported him. That was a dramatic time in that campaign, when you came out for Barack Obama.

How's he doing?

The experts are calling it mixed.

GORE: Well, he hasn't even completed his first year and most of his...

KING: Yes, we're short of it, yes.

GORE: Most of his major proposals are still being processed by the Congress.

But by my lights, I think he's doing an extraordinarily good job. What he inherited -- and I know people don't necessarily like to hear continued references to the deep hole that we were in when he took over -- but it's a fact. We had the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression; really, our whole economic system was teetering on the brink.

And now the recession is technically over. The new jobs numbers released today offer further encouragement that, even though the recovery is going to take quite a long time, we're definitely heading in the right direction. I think he was right to have a large stimulus. I think that most of the proposals he's followed have been absolutely the right ones.

I'm focused on the climate and energy legislation, which I think is, by far, the most important challenge that we face. And that has now passed the House of Representatives and a couple of committees in the Senate. Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, with Harry Reid and Senator Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, are putting together a -- a draft that I think is likely to get 60 votes. It'll probably be announced before Copenhagen -- I hope it will be -- and then voted on sometime in the first part of next year.

KING: Has anything he's done put him on the negative side to you?

Has anything surprised you?

GORE: Well, I'd have to think about that. You know, from the outside, it's always easy to -- to say, I wish you'd moved faster and bolder on this, that or the other. But looking at the situation he faces with -- with the Congress, particularly with the Senate, where there are only 58 Democrats and two Independents and not all the Democrats always agree with what he is proposing. So it's a difficult set of challenges that he faces.

And I think he has a commitment to bipartisanship and a style that's aimed at bringing people together. I think a lot of his initiatives have already changed the tone, already changed for the better the relationship between the U.S. and the rest of the world. I think he's getting a grip on these problems.

But, you know, naturally, the jury is still out, because as I say, he hasn't even completed 10 months.

KING: There were a couple of firsts about Clinton and Gore and other things about -- that hooked together people. But I think you'll be, maybe, the first vice president who then has a president that follows and both win the Nobel Peace Prize. I don't think that's ever happened.

GORE: Not that I know of.

KING: That's probably right.

Yes, OK.

GORE: Not that I know of.

KING: Were you surprised that President Obama got one?

GORE: Well, I think it was well deserved. I don't think anybody was expecting it simply because it hadn't been speculated on prior to that, but I think it was well deserved.

KING: Were you surprised?

GORE: Yes, I was.

KING: How did -- when -- how did you react when you got it?

GORE: Oh, I was thrilled.

KING: Surprised, too? GORE: Yes, I was. There had been some speculation prior to the -- when they awarded it to me and so it wasn't a complete and total surprise. But I -- I really didn't think it was going to happen. And maybe I had convinced myself of that to protect against disappointment. But I really didn't think it was going to happen, so it was a -- a surprise and just a very pleasant surprise, obviously.

KING: What's it like to go to Oslo?

GORE: It was a wonderful ceremony, Larry. They -- they do a terrific job of that. And, of course, the tradition is what it is. It was -- it was a wonderful experience. And we were there for several days and it was come to grips with it highlight.

KING: We'll be right back.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a few -- more than a few things to say about this current administration.

We'll ask what Mr. Gore thinks about that after this.


KING: We're back with the Nobel laureate and former vice president of the United States, Al Gore. He's also an Academy Award winner. God, what's left? His new book is "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis."

The former vice president, unlike the former president, George Bush, who's been rather quiet on things, Dick Cheney is publicly slamming this administration. I'm sure you've heard it -- the criticism. What do you make of it?

GORE: Well, I -- he has a right to speak out. It's his -- it's his decision. I -- I have heard more than a few Republicans who say they wish that he wouldn't do that, but he has a right to -- to speak his mind.

KING: Are you surprised that he is?

GORE: A little bit, yes.

KING: You lost -- the Democrats lost two gubernatorial races, but won a big one in the congressional race in upstate New York. What's your analysis of the recent election?

GORE: You know, I think the off-year elections in Virginia and New Jersey are always a sign of great significance for about a week after they take place, and then people largely forget about them, not that they're not important.

I don't mean to imply that. But they fill a vacuum in an off- year, and I -- I think usually too much significance is assigned to them.

KING: How about the congressional race? GORE: Well, I think that's -- and I'm not just saying that has more significance because my party won those and not the others, but I think it has significance for this -- for this reason. That result was driven in part by a deep division within the Republican Party, and now there are right-wing primary challenges to lots of candidates for the House and Senate and for governorships.

And it remains to be seen whether this schism inside the Republican Party will produce more results like the one in the 23rd District of New York.

KING: Historically, the Democrats have had to deal with schisms.

GORE: Both parties have had this from time to time. But this appears to be a part of the cycle where the Republican Party is facing a challenge from within by purists who do not want moderates in the Republican Party. And if I was a Republican, I would argue that that's a mistake...

KING: Because?

GORE: Because both of our two major political parties have been more successful when they have a -- a broad tent and debates within the party rather than a determined effort to exile those who don't follow some ideological line.

KING: You think next year's elections, all the House running, is going to be based on the economy, stupid?

GORE: I think probably the economy will be the biggest issue, just because it almost always is. And I think that much will depend upon the outcome of these pending struggles in the Congress. I think that if the Congress succeeds in passing historic health care reform that brings down costs and gives coverage to more families and reins in some of the horrible abuses by the health insurance companies -- you know, we pay so much more, as I said earlier, so much of it for unnecessary paperwork. It really does need to be changed.

If it is changed, I think the historic nature of that victory will certainly help President Obama and the Democratic Party. But I'm really not comfortable focusing on that, so much as the fact that our country needs it. We really do need it in order to become more competitive in the global economy.

And for the same reason, we need to pass this climate and energy legislation, to get the millions of good, new jobs that will be created here in the United States if we take the lead in transitioning away from these carbon-based fuels and such a heavy dependence on foreign oil. It's ridiculous, and it's hurting our economy.

The economic crisis, the national security crisis linked to our dependence on the Middle Eastern oil, and the climate crisis are all linked by a common thread, which is our absurd over-dependence on carbon-based fuels.

You pull that thread; all three of these crises unravel. And we have the answer in our hands. Shift to renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and forestry, and much higher levels of efficiency, and get those jobs here.

KING: Do you expect to campaign for candidates?

GORE: I probably will. After a lifetime in politics, I have so many friends who ask me to help them. I -- I probably will.

KING: Sarah Palin is back in the spotlight. She's got a big book, too, and she's done a big interview with Oprah, and it airs on Monday, and we're going to show you an excerpt.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Let's talk about the interview with Katie Couric.




WINFREY: You talk about it in the book, so I -- I assume everything in the book is fair game.

PALIN: Yes. It is.

WINFREY: You do say that it wasn't your best interview. Do you think that was a seminal defining moment for you, that interview?

PALIN: I did not, and -- and neither did the campaign. In fact, that is why segment two, and three, and four, and maybe five were scheduled. The campaign said, "Right on. Good. You're showing your independence. This is what America needs to see. And it was a good interview."

And, of course, I'm thinking, "If you thought that was a good interview, I don't know what a bad interview was," because I knew it wasn't a good interview.


KING: We'll get the former vice president's reaction after the break.


KING: The book is "Our Choice." As I said, our spies have learned it'll be number-two on the "New York Times" best-seller list a week from Sunday. It's a plan to solve the climate crisis with its number one proponent, Al Gore, the author.

All right, Sarah Palin. I don't have to ask a question. Sarah Palin. GORE: Well, she's got a following on the right part of the spectrum. And I don't know what her future is in politics or whether she intends to be a candidate again. She certainly has appeal to some who agree with her views. How many, I -- I'm not an expert on Republican Party politics, but she has become a real personality out there and has a following.

KING: What did you make of her campaign?

GORE: When she was first announced, I thought that her debut on the national stage -- I guess some people knew about her in Alaska beforehand, and I knew she was governor, but like most people, didn't think of her as a national political figure.

But I think she came out of the box very impressively and then got into a little trouble during the campaign. But you live and learn, and her -- the rest of her story is yet to be written.

KING: Do you regard her, as a Democrat looking at the -- the other side, do you regard her as a force?

GORE: Well, as I said, she has a passionate following among those who agree with her views. I do not agree with her views. How many others do, I don't know. The polls would indicate certainly not a majority, but who knows? And she has -- she's new in national politics, and she has an opportunity to -- write her own story from here on out, so we'll see.

KING: As a man who knows how to sell books, will it be a good way to look at her future, depending on how this book does?

GORE: Not necessarily, because there is a -- there is a big audience for -- for books of this sort. It doesn't always translate into votes. And, again, I don't even know if she's going to be a candidate again.

KING: Is the right wing bigger than its bite? You seem to be hinting at that.

GORE: I think it's -- well, my Republican friends certainly say that the role of the right wing in the national debates of the Republican Party is -- is overemphasized in the media. I don't know if that's the case or not. They've succeeded in driving out of that congressional race we were talking about earlier a qualified moderate Republican.

And if moderate Republicans are driven out of the party, that could temporarily enhance the position of the right wing within the Republican Party, but at the disadvantage of the party in its chances to -- to win national elections.

KING: We'll return now to the environment. We've got a number of variations on this question Tweeted to Kingsthings. Do you Twitter?

GORE: Yes, I do. KING: Oh, my gosh. OK.


Ask Mr. Gore why, if he cares about the environment, he isn't a vegetarian? PETA, we know, has been pushing you about this.

GORE: Yes.

KING: Saying eating meat is bad for the planet.

GORE: Yes. Well, first of all, the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is bad for the planet. They have a good point there. And the factory farming the way so much of our livestock is raised now is very bad for the planet, no question about it.

I've cut back on the amount of meat that I eat, largely for health reasons, but also because of the fact that it is -- it does have an impact on the environment, but I don't plan to become a vegetarian.

KING: Because you like meat.

GORE: Well, yes, and although I will say that the more meals I've substituted with more fruits and vegetables, the better I feel about it.

KING: Good, good.

GORE: But I do like to have meat from time to time. And I think having a good source of protein -- and you can get it other ways. I don't want to start an argument. But that's just my personal choice, and I think that everybody will make that choice.

But those who raise this issue do have a legitimate point to make. And as other countries around the world begin to emulate the U.S. diet, the impact of meat-intensive diet is a significant factor.

KING: When we come back, I'm going to ask Al Gore, in a little shorter segment, how does it affect me if it gets warmer in the planet?

I want to remind you about our show tomorrow night. The cast of "Dancing with the Stars" will be here: Kelly Osborne, Donny Osmond, Tom Bergeron, and the rest, all tomorrow night in the finale preview. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba joins us, too, and she's written a Web- exclusive for us. Check it out at

Back in 60 seconds.


KING: Our CNN Hero of the Year that you voted for is going to be revealed in two weeks. Surely, Al Gore has a hero. Who is it? Who is your hero?

GORE: Well, one of them was Roger Revelle, the teacher that started me focusing on the climate crisis so long ago.

KING: He's got to be a hero to you.

GORE: Yes, and my father and mother were heroes to me.

KING: We'll never forget your dad.

Here's Dana Delany with a look at one of our very worthy finalists.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Heroes.

DANA DELANY, ACTRESS: Hello, I'm Dana Delany. Last year, I was honored to participate in the "CNN Heroes" campaign. As an ambassador for Stand Up to cancer, I joined the entertainment community in lighting a fire behind accelerated, groundbreaking research. I understand clearly just how much the world needs heroes.

Now I am thrilled to help CNN introduce one of this year's top 10 honorees.

ANDREA IVORY, CNN HERO: In 2004, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It made me think about all the women who didn't have health insurance. I wanted to make a difference in their lives.

I'm Andrea Ivory, and I'm fighting breast cancer in south Florida, one household at a time.

The Florida Breast Health Initiative is an outreach organization. We're going to make a difference and we're going to save some lives. We have a take-it-to-the-streets approach.

Can I ask you a few questions?

We target women that are 35 years or older and make appointments on the spot for a free mammogram.

Let's go.

We provide a service that is so needed. I know I'm saving lives.

Is the lady of the house at home? We're giving free mammograms on the 25th. That's easy. She's like, "OK, that's all." Thank you so much. Take care.

I was saved from breast cancer to serve other women. Every time I knock on the door is another opportunity to save a life.



KING: The book is "Our Choice." The guest is Al Gore. How succinctly would you put it to someone who says, "How does this affect me?"

GORE: Global warming?

KING: Yes.

GORE: Well, we're beginning to see the impacts of global warming all over the world, with the deeper droughts, bigger floods, the beginnings of sea level rise, which could become catastrophic if the large masses of ice in Greenland and...


KING: What about me or the bus driver in Miami or the housekeeper in Moline, Illinois?

GORE: Well, we're paying the extra cost of this heavy dependence on foreign oil, and the solutions to the climate crisis allow us to use domestic, renewable energy sources as a substitute.

And you have two kids, Larry. What are they, 10 and 9 now? I remember a few years ago I was here with them. And if those of us alive today just took the benefits of all the work and sacrifices of previous generations and fully exploited them in our lifetime and gave the back of our hands to those who come after us, it would be the most immoral act of any generation that has ever lived.

We're beginning to see the disaster costs in every country, including our own. We are also missing presently the opportunity to stimulate our economy even more with the millions of good, new jobs that will come from investing in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, the super grid, much more efficiency.

And most importantly of all, this is a moral issue, not a political issue. The scientific community is saying to everybody in the world alive today: We can't continue putting 90 million tons of this global warming pollution into the atmosphere every day without risking an unprecedented catastrophe that could threaten the future of human civilization.

KING: Do you get all the proceeds of this book?

GORE: I'm donating all of the profits from this book to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a nonprofit. Tipper and I did the same thing with "An Inconvenient Truth." And, by the way, the Web site for that organization, if I may...

KING: Sure.

GORE: ... is

KING: One word?

GORE: Repoweramerica, one word, .org. And you'll see on that site a video wall, and many -- tens of thousands of people are putting their videos up there, just with their little Web cams on the computers, saying why they want to solve the climate crisis. And I would urge your viewers to go to


GORE: Thank you.

KING: Are you optimistic about all this?

GORE: I am optimistic. I choose to be optimistic, and I am optimistic, because all over the world, I see a growing determination to solve this, perhaps especially among young people. The opinion breakdown among young people is just overwhelming in favor of solving this.

I remember when I was 13 years old, Larry, hearing President John F. Kennedy issue the challenge to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I remember how many people said that was impossible. But eight years and two months later, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

And on that day, at Mission Control in Houston, Texas, there was a great cheer that went up, and the average age of the systems engineers was 26, which means their average age when they heard that challenge was 18.

KING: We have our remaining moments coming, and Stephen Colbert is challenging Al Gore. Find out why, next.



GORE: I'm involved in a different kind of campaign, to persuade people to feel the urgency of this climate crisis. I am going to speak an inconvenient truth.


KING: The book is "Our Choice." Our remaining moments coming up with Al Gore.

You're using pop culture to get the point across. Let's take a look at you and Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report." Watch.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Al, tell them how fighting global warming comes with a price tag.

GORE: Not nearly the price tag we'll pay for doing nothing. In my new book, "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis," available now from Rodale Press, $26.95.


That's a great price. It is. I lay out the dire economic consequences of not acting now. COLBERT: Huh. Shut up. What dire economic consequences?

GORE: Rising sea levels could flood Mumbai, Manila, Washington, D.C., even New York. Remember, this studio is only two blocks from the water.

COLBERT: And only four blocks from the Hustler club.


Oh, my god. Well, we'll do what humans always do: We'll just adapt to the new situation.

GORE: OK. Let's give that a try.

COLBERT: What's this for? Is he adapting?

GORE: Doesn't seem to be growing any gills.

COLBERT: Well, I'm convinced. You, sir, are a formidable opponent.


KING: Our friend, Stephen Colbert, it was a lot of fun. Not many people -- and we often say this, maybe you should have shown it more -- you have a great sense of humor. Why don't you use that humor more? Really, politically. But on the other side, Bob Dole also made...

GORE: Yes, he's a very funny guy.

KING: Very funny guy.

GORE: Very funny guy. Stephen Colbert is a brilliant comedy writer. Were you there for his White House Correspondents Dinner speech?

KING: Oh, it was hysterical.

GORE: One of the best things I've ever seen in either humor or politics.

KING: And it's great to do his show. Did you have fun?

GORE: I did have fun. And -- yes, I did.

KING: You also did "Saturday Night Live." Did you like that?

GORE: I've done it several times in the past, and I enjoyed it a lot. I've had -- yes, I really had fun there.

KING: How's Tipper?

GORE: Doing great, thank you.

KING: Kids, grandchildren?

GORE: Everybody's fine. And I was happy to catch up with the fact that Shawn and your family are doing well.

KING: Everybody's good. You stay well, my friend.

GORE: Thank you very much, Larry, for having me on.

KING: The book is "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis." The guest, Al Gore.

Tomorrow, we're "Dancing with the Stars" in a finale preview. Right now, we're dancing over to New York and "AC 360" with Anderson Cooper.