By George Bennett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 9:27 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009
Confused Palm Beach County voters helped thwart Al Gore's 2000 bid to become president of the United States, but he was introduced as "president of the planet" when he returned here Saturday night to deliver an environmental lecture.
The former vice president spoke on climate change at the Mizner Park Amphitheater to a crowd of about 800
. More than 200 protesters gathered across the street from the event, and their boos and chants
could be heard inside the amphitheater as Gore began his presentation.
Gore lost Florida, and the White House, by 537 votes to George W. Bush in a 2000 as many Palm Beach County Democrats said they mistakenly voted for conservative Pat Buchanan because they were confused by the county's "butterfly ballot" design.
After losing the presidential race, Gore became arguably the world's most famous advocate for curbing carbon emissions, gaining eco-celebrity status with the film An Inconvenient Truth and winning a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
"It's an interesting twist of fate here in our own backyard that former Vice President Al Gore has taken on a new platform and is now a catalyst for world change," said Marci Zaroff, an "eco-entrepeneur" who introduced Gore.
"So, in essence, he's president of the people. He's president of the planet. And the work that he's doing is more important than any other work that could possibly be done."