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Environmental activist and former Vice-President Al Gore today announced his support for Democratic candidate Barack Obama in the United States presidential election.

In an email sent to Obama supporters, Al Gore voices his support for the presumptive nominee. “From now through Election Day,” he writes, “I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected President of the United States.” He believes that Obama is the candidate who will “bring change to America” in issues such as the Iraq War, the American economy, and climate change.

“Over the past 18 months, Barack Obama has united a movement,” Gore writes. “He knows change does not come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill. It begins when people stand up and take action.”

Gore also stated his intention to attend a rally with Obama in Detroit, Michigan later that night. Obama was in Flint earlier today, where he addressed a crowd of workers at a General Motors plant. Obama said Gore was “a visionary, not just for the party, but for the country.”

At the rally in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, Gore called Obama “the next President of the United States of America” and said he could lead the nation past “eight years in which our Constitution has been dishonored and disrespected”. He addressed the issue of climate change, which he said many Republicans had “refused to discuss at all”.

“The outcome of this election will affect the future of our entire planet,” Gore said, adding that “the future is ours, not to predict, but to create.” He compared the criticisms of Obama’s young age and foreign policy experience to those faced by John F. Kennedy in the 1960 Presidential election.

Obama spoke next, thanking Al Gore and calling him “a global leader in the fight for a clean energy future”. He discussed many issues, including healthcare, education, the national debt, and the war in Iraq. He criticized the way the Bush administration has handled these issues, and repeated the oft-heard criticism that McCain is running for Bush’s “third term”.

“We can’t afford 8 more years of George W. Bush policies,” Obama said. He said that if there was one thing that could unite the Democrats, it is that “when we go into the polling places in November, the name ‘George W. Bush’ will not be on the ballot.” Obama commended McCain for his service to the country, but said that he “seems to have lost his way” from his reputation as a political maverick. “The Straight Talk Express lost a couple of wheels,” he said.

Many of the problems in America “go back for decades,” Obama said. “The American people feel that American dream slipping away. So we cannot wait… and that is why I am running for President of the United States of America.” Between cynicism and faith, Obama says, “I choose hope. I choose faith.”

Obama thanked his supporters for helping his campaign, saying that “change in America doesn’t happen from the top down; it comes from the bottom up.” He also thanked former candidate Hillary Clinton, although many booed at the mention of her name. “She’s a fighter,” Obama said. “And we need fighters in the Democratic Party because we’ve got a lot to fight for.” Obama and Gore were introduced by Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, who supported Clinton in the primaries but now says she is supporting Obama.

Al Gore served as Vice-President under President Bill Clinton in the ’90s, and after losing the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush, he focused his efforts on environmental activism, winning an Academy Award for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. He has also won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in teaching the public about climate change.

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