NEW YORK, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- In what Barbara Walters calls his first interview since his devastating defeat, former Vice President Al Gore said on ABC's "20/20" Friday that he has not decided whether to run again for president.
"I haven't ruled it out, I won't make a decision until the end of year; after the holidays I'll make an announcement," Gore said. "I would like to be president, but is it the right thing for me to do?"
Gore said that at the moment he is neutral on running on a presidential ticket for a fifth time but that in the end, the decision will ultimately depend on "a gut feeling."
He said he hasn't ruled anyone out as a presidential running mate including Sen. Joe Lieberman, who ran for vice president in 2000, or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Gore, with his wife Tipper, spoke to Walters at their Belle Meade home near Nashville, Tenn. on Nov. 6, the day after the midterm elections, which he termed "a sweeping loss and a massive defeat for the Democratic Party."
He said election night in 2000 was a roller coaster for him. He was thinking he had won, he said, and called George W. Bush, only to be told the votes in Florida weren't holding up, and finally having to call Bush back.
"When I called Bush the second time Bush said, 'My little brother says Florida is over,'" said Gore. "I told him, 'With all due respect, I don't think your little brother has the final word on this.'"
Gore's daughters, Karenna and Kristin, told Walters that after they thought their father had lost Florida and thus the election they were crying and upset but that their parents were strong and "became parents and comforted us."
During the 36-day period that the election result was undetermined, Gore said he thought he had won it all when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the ballots in Florida would have to be recounted.
However, Gore said that after the Bush campaign appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court and the court decided to rule on the case he knew that there wouldn't be time for the ballots to be recounted in Florida. "Truthfully, I was shocked," he said. "I know I shouldn't have been because many predicted it, but I didn't think that decision would come."
"I didn't think they should have taken the case," Tipper Gore said.
Gore described his loss as similar to a sporting event. "It's kinda like a sporting event, when the referee makes a crucial call, and the instant replay doesn't govern, and you disagree with the call, but you have agreed to play by the rules of the game," he said. "You win some, you lose some and then there's this third category. You flip a coin and it lands on the edge."
Once the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Gore he said it wasn't easy for him emotionally. "I prayed about it" and although it was not the best thing for him, he felt strongly that it was the best thing for the country.
Gore said he took "some responsibility" for his campaign. "I could have been clearer, I could have communicated better and more forcefully."
The former vice president said he didn't use former President Bill Clinton more in his campaign, not because of the sexual scandal of Monica Lewinsky but because he wanted to be his own man and, "I had to sell myself."
Tipper Gore said that, contrary to repeated reports, she was not behind the decision to keep Clinton's role in her husband's campaign a minor one and was not troubled by the Lewinsky scandal.
"I am really glad that you brought that up because I want to say once and for all that's just not true," she said. "And I've seen that reported over and over in the press. I never said that, and I never thought that."
Gore said he and Clinton sat down after the election and hashed out their feelings and since then have remained great friends.
Walters said Gore was criticized after the campaign for taking too much counsel from his wife and children.
"I'm extremely close to my wife and children and I absolutely trust their judgment, but could I broaden my inner circle? Yes."
Gore explained that during the campaign he attempted to be less formal by changing from his signature blue suits and red tie and donning casual clothing in "Earth tones" but that it was misunderstood and overanalyzed by the media.
He also said the debates hurt him and he regrets sighing so much in the first debate and being too conciliatory in the second, but he felt he nailed the third. "The first one was too hot, the second was too cold but the third was just right," he said.
Gore said he kept a low profile for two years because he thought the new president deserved an opportunity "to come into office without a lot of clatter and I wanted some time off."
Although he gives Bush high marks during the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, since then he thinks the war on terror is being diluted with a war with Iraq and that the economy "is in big trouble."
Meanwhile, we'll be seeing a lot of the Gores. He and Tipper have written two books on the redefinition of the family and they'll be promoting them as holiday gifts on a 25-day, 12-city book tour.
For "Joined at the Heart" the Gores profiled 12 families, including an immigrant family and a family of gay parents. The also chose the photographs for a companion book, "The Spirit of the Family."