I was lucky enough to get a ticket through work to a taping of the Letterman show, which was last night. Funny enough, I thought that we would be seeing the Monday June 19 show being taped, just earlier in the day. And I was pretty psyched to see Adam Sandler as a guest.
On the way over to the studio, someone mentioned that we were seeing the Friday June 23 show being taped, which had Al Gore as the guest. Needless to say, I was happy with the step up from the childish humor that I love oh-so-much and being the dork that I am I got some paper and a pen so I could take down some notes on the discussion that Gore and Letterman had.
And man, am I glad that I did. Being the sole guest, Gore spoke to Letterman for 15-20 minutes on a wide range of topics and issues, and while I was very impressed with Gore, I was even more impressed with Letterman, who barely hid his disdain for the current policies in Iraq, the environment, North Korea and a number of other administration policies.
Sadly, before Gore even came on, Letterman asked the audience "how many of you believe in global warming?" to which there was a good amount of applause. Then he asked "how many of you do not believe in global warming?" and there was way more applause then there should have been. Lastly, he asked "how many of you are like me and just don't care?" to which there was lots of applause. Now, he was of course kidding, but it was a sad state of affairs when more people either didn't believe or didn't care about global warming.....
Anyway, Gore was pretty loose - he cracked a few jokes, including one right at the outset when Letterman asked about whether he still has a Secret Service detail. Gore's reply?
No. I'm not worth killing anymore.
Well, I took a bunch of notes and hopefully will be able to make some sense of them below. Either way, this is a MUST SEE (or a must-record) and it will be on this Friday night.
On Gore's experience making and promoting the movie
Gore described it as a very interesting experience, and it has been "crazy promoting the movie" in recent weeks. Looking back, he indicated that it was a "no-brainer" to make the movie. There was a funny exchange when Letterman talked about the serious nature of the movie:
Gore: Well, after a long, hard week, what other movie do you want to see to wind down? And who do you want to see? This guy (pointing to himself).
Here, Letterman was barely holding back his contempt for what is going on there, and I totally applaud him for that. The exchange went something like the following:
DL: We have over 2,500 of our soldiers dead. Anywhere between 60,000 - 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead. Are we knee deep in a mess of our own making?
DL: What happened?
AG: There was flawed decision making. Now, there are no good options and we have to find the "least bad option" to get the troops home quickly (this got major applause). Even those of us who opposed the war initially share in the obligation to help think through a process to not make it worse ot to increase the odds of anarchy or civil war.
DL: And now we are asked to be patient with the trouble that we caused.
AG: There are now factions fighting each other, and we are both in the middle of it and a magnet for it. However, there are also areas that could descend into a total bloodbath if we pull out without thinking.
DL: What about the WMD that we were told was there?
AG: Well, we know that Saddam was a bad guy - I supported the first Gulf War, but he had nothing to do with terrorism and nothing to do with 9/11.
DL: Well, prolonging this war is not a road to stability.
AG: I agree, but we can't make the moral mistake of pulling out without thinking and making things worse. We need a fresh team in there, not the ones who got us in there. (he mentioned Rumsfeld here, and got lots of applause)
All in all, I was very impressed with the way this discussion went. It was very serious, especially by Letterman standards, and you could tell that Letterman was raring to go off on the administration and its decisions, policies and lack of a plan. Letterman got an A+ for his performance in this discussion.
On North Korea
This was a brief discussion about the recent news of North Korea's upcoming missile test and what has gone on there, why the situation has gotten to the point that it is at, and the future.
AG: Well, the last time they tested a rocket like this, we sent forces to the region to monitor the situation. It could be very serious, but we don't know yet how serious. It is troubling though. This is why it is important to deal with countries like them.
DL: Why would they want to be a nuclear threat?
AG: It is a dictatorship over there - they only know how to make weapons and they have/can sell them to "the bad guys".
DL: Will it resolve itself?
AG: Tough to say. There were 6 nation talks that haven't gone so well. It would be much better if we had one of those "easy buttons" though.
There, of course, was talk about the movie - which if you haven't seen it yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???? There was some information which was in the movie that he discussed - the professor he had in college who got him interested in this to begin with, the hearings he had when he first came to Congress and the lack of traction this issue got, the fact that there is a complete consensus on global warming but nobody listened for years.
Here are some of the quotes that I was able to jot down:
AG: It is human nature to be naturally resistant to change. This is because the status quo is so easy. But now that Toyota is making the Prius and they are all sold out, Ford and GM are in trouble.
AG: You can't specifically attribute a "hot day in January" to global warming or any one specific reason. However, due to global warming, the odds of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane or a hot day in January are way up.
AG: I made this movie because the issue was not getting traction and this was the only way for me to convince the American public of its importance.
Sorry folks, but once again, he has ruled out running for office again. His two quotes on the matter were as follows:
AG: I don't have plans to do it again.
AG: My campaign now is to move this country past a tipping point on this issue.
All in all, I was very impressed and glad that it was Gore and not Adam Sandler (although I would have been laughing a lot more if it was Sandler). The fact that Letterman devoted so much time to Gore and this issue speaks volumes for Letterman. Hell, even during the commercial breaks, they were very engaged in conversation and Letterman looked very interested.
So, again, it is on THIS FRIDAY NIGHT. Don't miss it. You'll be glad you watched it.