Former Vice President Al Gore Speaks Out on His Loss

And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:

Miss the Grapevine? Watch it!

Can't Get Over It
Former Vice President Al Gore is calling the outcome of the 2000 election "a crushing disappointment" and criticizes the Supreme Court decision that put George W Bush in the White House as "completely inconsistent" with the court's conservative philosophy. In his first interviews since conceding almost two years ago to President Bush, Gore tells The Washington Post, "I believe that if everyone in Florida who tried to vote had had his or her vote counted properly, that I would have won." He goes on to say, "I strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court decision and the way in which they interpreted and applied the law. But I respect the rule of law, so it is what it is." His wife, Tipper, said, "I still believe we won."

Clients Stripped of Certain Outings
Dallas Mayor Laura Miller announced this week that the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, a tax-supported organization that promotes the city to conventioneers and tourists, no longer will woo clients by underwriting trips to topless bars. Miller, who criticized a bureau official who spent more than $600 at a gentleman's club with a hotel industry executive, said, "This is one aspect of entertaining that we should not be involved with. All of that is the opposite of the message we want to be sending to the world."

Setting Her Sights High?
And finally, actress Susan Sarandon, who announced last summer her opposition to U.S. military action in Iraq, says winning an Oscar was great, so was being honored at a film festival. But now she has her sites set on loftier goals: "I'm going for a rest stop. I have all my other awards, but I want a rest stop named for me." The 56-year-old Sarandon made the comments Thursday at the Cape May New Jersey State Film Festival, where she got an award for her contribution to the arts in the Garden State. But New Jersey officials say the roadside honor is unlikely to happen. The rest stops are all named for deceased people.