Al Gore is known for many things. Humor is not one of them.
But when Gore joined New Jersey’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy on the campaign trail Sunday, the former Vice President did get in a dig at the state’s current governor, Chris Christie as Murphy went after him for canceling the ARC tunnel project.
“Well, at least the bridge was open, right?” Gore said to raucous laughter.
Bridgegate joke: check.
Gore has known Murphy since his time in the Clinton White House and was among a number of prominent Democratic leaders called in by the campaign, adding some star power to the homestretch of an otherwise lackluster race between Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno, Christie’s current Lieutenant Governor. The list also includes Obama-era U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who had a war of words with Donald Trump after his appearance at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last summer.
Gore spoke with the Murphy — seen as the front-runner in the race for the blue state — before an intimate crowd at Tigerlabs, a Princeton tech incubator complete with a replica “Dr. Who” phone booth, or TARDIS.
Gore said incubators like this one are just what’s needed, especially when it comes to tackling climate change — his pet cause.
“The new ideas are coming from places like these incubation centers, coming from states that have leadership committed to bringing this new sustainability economy to life,” he said.
Murphy pointed out there are just 15 high-tech incubators like Tigerlabs in New Jersey, compared to more than 170 in New York.
“The whole notion of a start-up culture has been abandoned just at the moment we could least afford it,” he said.
Gore has funded several projects as a venture capitalist and said Christie and Guadagno let high-tech opportunities slip by the state, although it was not clear exactly what they did or failed to do.
“During the last seven years of the Christie/Guadagno administration, venture capital funding in New Jersey has gone down almost by half,” Gore said. “In those same years, venture capital funding nationally has more than doubled.”
As governor, Murphy promised to create incentives to train workers for solar and wind energy jobs. He says he’ll do that in part by making all of the state’s community colleges free.