WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Al Gore does not plan to run as a presidential candidate for the 2004 election, he said in an interview broadcast Sunday with the CBS show "60 Minutes."
"I've found that I've come to closure on this. I don't think it's the right thing for me to be a candidate in 2004," the two-time presidential hopeful told Lesley Stahl.
"I make this decision in -- in the full awareness that it probably means that I will never have another opportunity to run for president," Gore said.
Although Gore said he believed he could beat President George W. Bush -- to whom he lost the bitterly contested 2000 election -- he said he was stepping aside because of the sentiment of other Democrats.
"The last campaign was an extremely difficult one. And while I have the energy and drive to go out there and do it again, I think that there are a lot of people within the Democratic Party who felt exhausted by that. Who felt like, OK, I don't wanna go through that again. And I'm frankly sensitive to that -- to that feeling," Gore said.
"I've run for president twice, and there are many other exciting ways to serve. I intend to remain actively involved in politics. I want to help whoever the Democratic Party's nominee is in 2004 to -- to win the election."
Gore's disclosure capped a frenzied publicity drive for two books written on family themes. On Saturday, Gore appeared on "Saturday Night Live," and in recent days had appeared on the Comedy Central cable channel's "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, on NBC's "Late Night, with Conan O'Brien" and "Today Show," ABC's Sunday public affairs program, on CBS's David Letterman late night show, on CNN's "Larry King Live," and on ABC with Barbara Walters.
Many analysts had seen Gore's publicity tour as a run-up to an announcement of candidacy.