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Gore Endorses Obama In Detroit

Al Gore is making his debut on the 2008 presidential campaign trail in support of Barack Obama.

Gore appeared with the Democratic presidential candidate Monday night at a raucous rally at Detroit's Joe Lewis Arena. His speech was part endorsement, part blistering attack on President Bush.

Gore said Obama can lead the country past "eight years of incompetence, neglect and failure." He said Mr. Bush, who defeated him in the 2000 election, dishonored and disrespected the Constitution and made the worst foreign policy mistakes in the nation's history.

Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 race, but lost the presidency after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. Bush in the disputed Florida election. Gore said, "Take it from me, elections matter."

The former vice president first told his supporters that he would endorse Obama in a letter sent out earlier Monday.

"From now through Election Day, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected President of the United States," Gore said in the letter, which was posted Monday on the blog.

The arena pulsed with excitement as Obama supporters filed in to hear from the man they expect to be the next president of the United States.

An hour before the 8:30 p.m. start of the rally in downtown Detroit, thousands of people already had found their seats in the home of the NHL Stanley Cup champion Red Wings.

Portions of past Obama speeches played on the four big scoreboard screens to thunderous applause, reminiscent of crowds that screamed the Red Wings to victory throughout the playoffs.

As the "wave" rolled once from one end of Joe Louis Arena to the other, yells of excitement bounced off the walls and roof, drowning out the rock music blaring from speakers above the stage.

Aaron Mestel, 36, of Ann Arbor said he arrived about 5:30 p.m. and that the chance to hear Obama speak is worth the three hour wait. He's looking forward to a change.

"The other candidates all have said the same thing for so long," Mestel said. "It's good to see that someone can actually make a difference. He's an exciting candidate and it's nice."

Obama identifies with the people, said Cynthia Kelly.

The 39-year-old mother weaved through the rows of seats with her 9-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son in tow.

"This is a blessing," she said of Obama's rise and his first visit to Detroit since last July when he and other Democratic candidates participated in a debate at the NAACP convention in nearby Cobo Center. "I'm honored to bring my kids to see him so they can experience our new president."

The rally follows Obama's campaign appearance in Flint, where he told more than 1,000 people he wants to move America to a place where workers can compete in a global economy.

Outside the arena, street merchants were busy selling Obama T-shirts, including one for $10 that has the candidate's face on the front and the words, "Change we can believe in." The back says, "Yes we can."