STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Former Vice President Al Gore (search) said Wednesday he had no intention of ever running for president again, but he said the United States would be "a different country" if he had won the 2000 election, launching into a scathing attack of the Bush administration.
"I have absolutely no plans and no expectations of ever being a candidate again," Gore told reporters after giving a speech at an economic forum in Sweden.
When asked how the United States would have been different if he had become president, though, he had harsh criticism for Bush's policies.
"We would not have invaded a country that didn't attack us," he said, referring to Iraq. "We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families."
"We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media. We would not be routinely torturing people," Gore said. "We would be a different country."
Gore did not elaborate. But last year, he blamed Bush administration policies for the inmate abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib (search) prison in Iraq.
Mike Feldman (search), Gore's spokesman, did not immediately comment on Gore's remark when reached by phone in Washington.
Tracey Schmitt (search), spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, called Gore's comments "fictitious rants that border on dangerous."
"To accuse Americans of participating in 'routine torture' is absurd and reveals that while Al Gore may no longer be a leader in his party, he still embodies the maniacal anger that guides Democrat leaders in Washington today," Schmitt wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Gore also reiterated his criticism that the Bush administration was too slow in responding to the crisis in New Orleans after the city's levees failed during Hurricane Katrina. He said that should have been predicted.
"There were specific warnings that the levees might break," he said. "But for whatever reason those warnings were not acted upon in a timely way."
He said the United States and other countries are similarly ignoring the threats that global warning pose to the environment.
"My country is extremely attentive to the slightest increase in a risk from terror, and that's appropriate," he said. "But why should we be so tolerant of risk where the future habitability of our planet is concerned?"
Gore, who now runs a cable TV channel and is the chairman of an investment company, did not completely shut the door to future political endeavors.
"I don't completely rule out some future interest, but I don't expect to have that," Gore said.
He declined to comment on New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's possible run for the White House in 2008, but he said he believes the country is ready for a female president.
"Of course a woman could get elected president," he said. "I am not going to make any comment on individual candidates. It's quite premature."