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Sale of Current TV helps make Al Gore richer than Mitt Romney, Forbes estimates

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 10:20 a.m. MST

Gore's Current TV was sold to Qatar-based news organization Al Jazeera on Jan. 2 for a reported $500 million. Of that, Gore's 20 percent ownership of the media company he co-founded would give him $100 million, according to Forbes.

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With Al Gore's sale of his cable television channel, Forbes estimates that the former vice president's net worth now stands at $300 million — around $70 million more than Forbes' estimate of the net worth of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Gore's Current TV was sold to Qatar-based news organization Al Jazeera on Jan. 2 for a reported $500 million. Of that, Gore's 20 percent ownership of the media company he co-founded would give him $100 million, according to Forbes.

An Oct. 2012 article by The Washington Post, written before the Current TV sale, indicated that Gore already had an estimated net worth of $100 million.

Since leaving elected office with assets worth around $2 million, Gore has joined the board of directors at Apple, become a senior adviser to Google, co-founded the U.K.-based Generation Investment Management, become a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, invested $35 million in hedge funds and private partnerships and co-founded Current Media, CBS News reported Tuesday.

The Post indicated that Gore had gained much of his wealth by "returning to his longtime passion — clean energy." He benefits from his resume, friends in the investment world and Washington and a portfolio that aligns with the Obama administration's ongoing push to spend billions of stimulus dollars on alternative energy, the article said.

"Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President (Barack) Obama's historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money," Carol Leonning reported.

Romney faced criticism in the election for his wealth, with pundits like Darrell Delamalde suggesting in a Sept. 2012 MarketWatch column that Romney may be too rich to be president, and that his wealth exacerbated his inability to connect with voters.

"Whether it's his remarks about also being unemployed or knowing a lot of NASCAR team owners or suggesting that the best way to get financing for a new business is to borrow from your parents, Romney has repeatedly shown that he is insulated from the normal stresses of earning a living and making ends meet," Delamalde wrote.

The damaging perception for Romney was that he is part of the elite — the "'1 percent' that lives by different rules from ordinary Americans and therefore cannot understand the pains of the ordinary working man or woman," The Telegraph's Peter Foster wrote in Jan. 2012.

"The bottom of the heap has always resented the top of the heap, even in America, but such rising inequalities means that previously prosperous middle classes are starting to question whether the elite (like) Mr. Romney offers a chance for them to share in the same 'American Dream' as they do," Foster said.

A Wealth-X study from Jan. 2012 showed that Romney was the richest presidential candidate since Steve Forbes in 2000, and the only two candidates over the past 20 years richer than Romney were Forbes and Ross Perot.

Al Jazeera America, the network's new name, will be headquartered in New York and will reach 40 million homes. The network's success in America remains to be seen, the Columbia Journalism Review's Vivian Salama wrote, with some Current TV personalities like Eliot Spitzer, Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Granholm opting out, and Time Warner dropping Current TV only to later say it would reconsider airing Al Jazeera America.

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