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Gore Will Announce Endorsement Of Dean for President, Aides Say

By Adam Nagourney and Jodi Wilgoren

The New York Times -- WASHINGTON

Al Gore has decided to endorse Howard Dean for president, aides to the men said Monday, a move that rocked the Democratic presidential field and hastened Dean’s evolution from a long-shot maverick to a leading candidate of the Democratic establishment.

Gore will announce his endorsement of Dean on Tuesday morning at events in Harlem, New York, and in Iowa, Democrats close to both men said. The decision by Gore, the former vice president who opened the floodgates to this crowded Democratic nomination contest by declaring last December that he would not run again, stunned Democrats and emboldened the Dean campaign, which chartered three jets to carry Dean, Gore and dozens of reporters to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“This is huge,” said Donna Brazile, who was Gore’s campaign manager in 2000. “It gives Dean what Dean has been missing most: stature. Gore is a major-league insider, somebody with enormous credibility that Democrats respect, who can rally the grass roots and who’s been speaking very strongly in the last few months about the direction he wants to take the country.”

Gerald McEntee, the president of the municipal workers union, which endorsed Dean last month, said: “I think this may be the beginning of the end for the other candidates. I don’t know how they stop him.”

Gore’s decision put him in the odd position of supporting an insurgent candidate who has built his campaign attacking the centrist Democratic positions that the former vice president has espoused for two decades.

It also came as a devastating surprise to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., who was Gore’s running mate in the disputed 2000 election. Lieberman delayed entering the 2004 race until he was sure Gore would not run, a show of courtesy to Gore that Democrats later blamed for Lieberman’s slow start in the race.