Former Vice President Al Gore, during a speech Friday at the Brookings Institution, accused House Republicans and other conservatives of practicing "political terrorism" for threatening to shut down the federal government in an effort to defund President Barack Obama's health care law.
Sharing his experience of the last government shutdown, which happened in the mid-90s during the Clinton administration while he was vice president, Gore said it's more than just a political game.
"Nice global economy you got there. Be a shame if we had to destroy it. We have a list of demands. If you don't meet them all by our deadline, we'll blow up the global economy," Gore said, mocking the Republican position.
"Really? Umm where are the American people in this? Why does partisanship have anything to do with such a despicable and dishonorable threat to the integrity of the United States of America?" he said. "It cannot be allowed."
But Gore said Obama is in the position to become a political winner if the shutdown happens.
"When the minority can't even get its act together to pass its own substitute version of what ought to happen, that just further illustrates the fact that the president's speaking for the whole country, [and] is going to win this confrontation," he said. "But it's not a game, it's not something that's a political contest. But they don't understand that. And don't put our economy through this."
It can only be avoided, he added, if the public makes enough noise that Congress is forced to listen.
Gore was speaking at the kickoff event for Brookings' new "Center for Effective Public Management," which is aimed at coming up with ideas to make government more efficient.
He also commented on a new United Nations report blaming global warming on human activity, a cause he has long sought to publicize.
"We're still putting 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every 24 hours, as if the atmosphere is an open sewer," Gore said. "So we have to address this. We have to put a price on carbon in the economy, and we have to put a price on denial in the political system."