Former Vice President Al Gore, addressing the Democratic national convention in Boston, has lashed out at President Bush and called for new leadership. Mr. Gore was among key Democrats appearing on the first day of the convention. Mr. Gore was one of the most anticipated speakers on the first day of the convention.
Increasingly harsh in recent weeks, in his criticism of President Bush over his administration's handling of Iraq, Mr. Gore used his speech to take aim again at the president on that issue.
"Isn't it now abundantly obvious that the way this war has been managed by the administration has gotten us into very serious trouble? Wouldn't we be better off with a new president, who hasn't burned his bridges to his allies, and who can re-build respect for America in the world?," he said.
Mr. Gore said Americans should understand they face a deadly, real and imminent threat from terrorists, but said the country would be safer with a president who, in his words, didn't "confuse al-Qaida with Iraq."
The former vice president began his address by saying he had hoped to be addressing the convention as a sitting president, to seek his party's approval for re-nomination, a reference to his unsuccessful run for the White House in 2000.
Referring to other issues on the Democratic agenda, the economy and environment, Mr. Gore said.
"I sincerely ask those watching at home tonight who supported President Bush four years ago, did you really get what you expected from the candidate you voted for? Is our country more united today or more divided?," he said.
Mr. Gore recalled that he won the popular vote in 2000, but lost the election to President Bush after a legal battle that went to the Supreme Court. He urged Democrats to make sure their votes go toward defeating President Bush in November.
"In our democracy, every vote has power, and never forget, that power is yours. Don't let anyone take it away from you, or talk you into throwing it away," he said. "And let's make sure that this time, every vote is counted. Let's make sure that the Supreme Court does not pick the next president, and that this president is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court."
Mr. Gore was among major speakers on the first night of the Democratic convention, including former President Bill Clinton, his wife and Senator Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter.