Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.
Two members of Mr Gore's staff from his unsuccessful attempt in 2000 say they have been approached to see if they would be available to work with him again.
One of his former campaign team said: "I was asked whether I would be available towards the end of the year if I am needed. They know he has not ruled out running and if he decides to jump in, he will have to move very fast.
The second aide approached by Vice-President Gore's allies said: "There is no love lost between Gore and Hillary. They don't think she can win and they're probably right. If Gore runs, he's got a really good chance of getting the nomination. And he has a good chance of pulling off the election, too."
Gore-watchers believe that a new book he is publishing next month on the state of US politics will keep his name in the public eye.
The most recent opinion polls show Mr Gore as third favourite to take the Democratic nomination, on about 17 per cent support, only a whisker behind Barack Obama, 45, who is aiming to become the first black US president, and ahead of John Edwards, 53, the senator whose wife was recently diagnosed with cancer.
You can debate the pros and cons of Gore entering the presidential race, but I don't think there is any question that Gore would be a formidable force. It's not just the environment, Gore would attract the anti-Iraq vote, given his clear opposition throughout the years. Gore as anti-Hillary is obvious, but his entry would also detract from Obama, because Gore has what Barrack lacks, experience.
The media currently loves Al Gore, although you know this affair won't last. The smart strategy for Gore, wait until the end of the summer, let the draft movement reach crescendo, avoid real scrutiny, and then jump in around Labor Day. The race doesn't really become pointed until the fall, and although Gore may be at a disadvantage in Iowa, where organization is king, the momentum he would enjoy elsewhere might just carry to the new year. Gore's entry would represent a seismic shift, and a late bid might keep everyone off balance long enough before the media turns on him.
This might be a trivial point, but as James Carville points out, if Gore starts to shed some weight in the next couple months, take that as a clear signal that he expects to jump in. The waistline might be the best barometer :)