Former Vice President Al Gore condemned President Bush’s handling of the country and accused him of misleading the American people in order to serve special interests in a speech before a capacity crowd in Gaston Hall yesterday afternoon.

Gore charged that Bush’s inability to consider alternate opinions, often mistaken for decisiveness or religious faith, poses the greatest danger to the country.

“I’m convinced that most of the president’s departure from fact-based analysis has much more to do with right-wing ideology than the Bible,” he said. “It is love of power for its own sake that is the original sin of this presidency.”

Bush’s coalition of supporters, according to Gore, is composed of “economic royalists” who want tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and “social conservatives” who are trying to reverse the progressive reforms of the 20th century.

“The essential cruelty of Bush’s game is that he takes a [bundle] of economic and political proposals and cloaks them with a phony moral authority,” he said.

Instead of receiving his information from objective analysts, Gore said that Bush relied upon questionable sources to make his decisions. Gore called this an “outsourcing of the truth.”

“George Bush has been led to the hubristic and dangerously deceptive illusion that truth is a commodity,” he said.

Consequently, Gore said the country now has the largest deficits in the history of the nation, a net loss of jobs for the first time since Herbert Hoover’s presidency and potentially catastrophic environmental policies.

The former vice president also criticized the president’s views on foreign policy, saying that Bush’s disdain for international treaties and the Geneva Accords led to the prisoner abuse in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

He argued that this in turn has destroyed the reputation of the U.S. among its peers and put its allies in danger.

“His entire agenda is collapsing around his ankles,” Gore said. “America’s moral authority in the world has been severely challenged, and our ability to lead others is disappearing.”

Gore slammed the president’s management of pre-Sept. 11 intelligence in the summer of 2001. He said that the reports published by the 9/11 Commission prove that Bush did not have the direction or the plans to protect the country against a terrorist threat.

“Most Americans have tended naturally to give the Bush Administration the benefit of the doubt in their failure to protect our nation against 9/11,” Gore said. “But with the benefit of new studies and reports released in the past year, it is no longer clear that this administration deserves this act of political grace from the American people.”

The Iraq war is a disaster, he said, and the potential of anarchy and a bloody civil war in the country remains very real. He charged Bush with having reckless disregard for the safety of the American people and giving Osama bin Laden a propaganda victory “beyond his wildest dreams.”

Gore described the Kerry-Edwards ticket as a “proud member of the reality-based coalition” in a time when the Bush administration was out of touch. He stressed that as long as Bush is president of the U.S., the American people would be doomed as he repeated his mistakes.

“There is now only one center of power left in our Constitution capable of holding President Bush accountable, and that is you,” he said. “Help John Kerry and John Edwards take our country back.”

Gore received a standing ovation as he approached the podium hand in hand with his wife, Tipper Gore. After quieting the enthusiastic crowd, he thanked them for their support.

“I’ve come here as a recovering politician,” he joked. “I’m on about Step Nine, but an enthusiastic response like that makes me want to relapse.”

Gore served two terms as vice president under President Bill Clinton (SFS ’68). He narrowly lost the 2000 election despite winning the popular vote.

“The speech was absolutely wonderful,” Solomiya Pyatkovska (COL ’08) said. “He highlighted the basic flaws of the Bush administration and made it clear why America should choose John Kerry.”

Molly Keogh (SFS ’08) also thought that Gore gave a very good speech.

“It was harsher than I expected, but maybe if he talked like that when running for president, he would have won,” she said.

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