Al Gore now 'Romney-rich': Enough to make him happy?

Al Gore being 'Romney rich' has opened him up to jabs from the political left and right. It's not clear, though, whether his new wealth compensates for the loss of the presidency.

David McNew/Reuters
Former US Vice President Al Gore gives a television interview during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., April 30. Mr. Gore is almost as rich as Mitt Romney, according to a new in-depth Bloomberg analysis of his wealth.

Al Gore is almost as rich as Mitt Romney, according to a new in-depth Bloomberg analysis of his wealth. He’s got a fortune just short of $200 million, as opposed to the $250 million net worth of the Republican the 2012 Obama campaign framed as an out-of-touch plutocrat.

Much of Mr. Gore’s wealth stems from the January sale of Current TV, which he co-founded, to the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera media empire. Gore netted about $70 million from his Current stake, estimates Bloomberg. That same month the ex-VP and almost-president of the United States also raked in about $30 million from sales of Apple stock. He’s on Apple’s board of directors.

“That’s a pretty good January for a guy who couldn’t yet call himself a multimillionaire when he briefly slipped from public life after his bitterly contested presidential election loss to George W. Bush in late 2000,” write Bloomberg’s Ken Wells and Ari Levy.

Gore still has $45 million worth of Apple stock he has not sold. He’s a co-founder of an investment firm, Generation Investment Management, that’s done quite well. He’s a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Then there are those best-selling books about environmental threats as well as speeches that earn him around $175,000 a pop.

Is this unseemly? After all, Gore railed against climate change, and now has a Tennessee mansion so big it uses 20 times more electricity than the average US household. He’s promoted green energy, yet made his biggest payday from selling his under-performing cable firm to petro-dollar interests.

It’s a turnabout that commentators on both the left and the right have not let pass. Jon Stewart lampooned the sale of Current on the “Daily Show;” right-leaning blogs skewered Gore as a hypocrite.

“Mr. Green is sure rolling in the green now,” wrote one commentator on RedState.

But losing presidential candidates don’t take a vow of poverty. Gore had to do something, and throwing himself into making money appears to be his method of coping with the shock of winning the popular vote yet losing the presidency.

“Ideological consistency has never been one of Al Gore’s hobgoblins, for better or worse. And one benefit of having endured what Gore has endured is that he has a very thick skin,” writes Steve Fishman in a lengthy profile of Clinton’s Veep in New York Magazine.

The better question to ask might be if all this money has truly made Gore happy. That’s the impression one gets from reading Fishman’s piece, which includes an interview with Gore at his (virtually empty) Nashville mansion.

Fishman portrays Gore as the “ultimate Davos man,” meaning the avatar of someone who is well-compensated for traveling the world to exchange ideas for saving it at posh resorts.

Gore’s books such as “An Inconvenient Truth” are apocalyptic. The word “cheery” does not come to hand when describing the man himself.

“Wherever Al Gore is, it’s hard not to get the sense that there are dark clouds lurking,” writes Fishman.

Still, Gore’s flood of cash may cushion the blow of being the Almost President, writes Dashiell Bennett at the Atlantic Wire.

Gore did not invent the Internet, but it turns out he’s made a lot of money off it, writes Bennett – “money that he almost certainly would have missed out on had a few more hanging chads gone his way.”

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