(CNN) - It's an endorsement that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would love to score, but Al Gore has remained firmly neutral - even as the Democratic presidential race drags on months longer than expected.
Many have speculated why Gore, one of the party's most popular figures, has decided to stay on the fence, but the former vice president said Tuesday the reason is really quite simple - and he still may yet come out for a candidate.
"My purpose in not endorsing a candidate is nothing elaborate," he told National Public Radio. “I’m simply watching and listening to the campaign. As a delegate to the convention I will cast my vote at the proper time. I haven’t ruled out making an endorsement prior to that time, but I haven’t been moved to do so.”
Gore added, "I have respect for both candidates, they both have strengths, and I’m simply listening and watching like a lot of people."
The party's 2000 presidential candidate is easily the most sought after remaining undecided superdelegate and his is perhaps one of the few remaining endorsements that could significantly alter the state of the race. But several political observers have suggested Gore is remaining neutral should he be called in to play the role of "party elder" and forge a compromise between the two candidates.
"I don't like that phrase party elder," Gore said of that suggestion. "I am not anxious to be playing that role. I just turned 60, which is the new 59. I am just a voter, and a recovering politician, and watching it carefully. (TIME.com: Is Al Gore the Answer?)
"I don't know if that role really exists," Gore added. “I think the odds are overwhelming that it will tip rather decisively in one direction or another before the convention even meets.”
But Gore acknowledged the party may have to review its nominating system after the presidential primary race has finally ended.
“Probably it should be re-examined, but I prefer to wait until this is over to get a full picture on this has worked," he said. "I guess there’s widespread dissatisfaction with the idea of having so many so-called superdelgates, and maybe that will be the prevailing view when this is all over.”