About Vice President Al Gore
Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American Democratic politician
who served as the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001.
He ran for President in 2000 following Bill Clinton's two four-year terms, and won
the national popular vote but was denied the Presidency when the United States
Supreme Court halted all legal recounts in the state of Florida. Studies since
the 2000 election have shown clearly that if all votes where cast properly and
counted fairly, Al Gore would have won decisively.
Early and personal life
Al Gore Jr. was born in 1948 in Washington, D.C. He grew up on the family farm in
Carthage, Tennessee, and in Washington, where his parents worked most of the
year. As Senator, Gore Sr. no longer had the time to work on his farm and therefore
hired a steward, William Thompson. The Thompsons became something like a
second family to Al Gore Jr. His sister Nancy, ten years older than him, studied law
at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville and became one of the co-founders of the Peace Corps, initiated by John F. Kennedy. She worked for several international organizations in Europe and then returned to Tennessee, married a lawyer from Mississippi, and together they worked as calf breeders. Nancy died in 1984 from lung cancer - she had been a chain smoker.
Al Gore Jr. went to St. Alban's, an elite convent-school. He played basketball and football, in the last year as captain of the school's team. In May 1965, at St. Alban's Senior Prom he met Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson, called Tipper. She is six months younger than him. Gore ended a three year relationship with another girl and began to date Tipper, whose parents had divorced when she was three. She had grown up with her mother and become a self-confident young woman - quite like Gore's sister Nancy. Tipper played in a girls band called The Wildcats. After she graduated, she followed Al to Boston where she studied at Garland College and at Boston University, receiving a B.A. in Psychology. In 1975, she earned a Master's Degree in Psychology at George Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. She worked as a photo-journalist at The Tennessean until her husband was elected to Congress in 1976. In 1985, she co-founded the Parents' Music Resource Center (PMRC), along with Susan Baker. It aims to give parents a greater ability to protect their children from inappropriate material in popular culture. The "Parental Advisory- Explicit Lyrics" warnings on CDs - a somewhat counterproductive measure since it attracts certain children to these "forbidden" CDs - is a result of the PMRC's fight for consumer labels on music with violent or explicit lyrics. Tipper Gore wrote her first book in 1987: Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society. Gore's partner on the Democratic presidential ticket, Senator Joseph Lieberman, shares the same concerns and has repeatedly attacked Hollywood for showing to much sex and violence in its movies. Tipper Gore is also an advocate for the homeless, co-founded and chaired Families for the Homeless in 1986, a non-partisan partnership of families that tries to raise public awareness of homeless. The Gores have four children, born between 1973 and 1982.
At the age of seventeen, Al Gore Jr. went to Boston's Harvard University where he majored in Government. Among his friends where later actor Tommy Lee Jones, comedian Bob Somerby and today's respected artist Michael Kapitan. Gore's roommate was John Tyson, an African-American football player from New Jersey who works at present as a businessman and development aid worker in Africa. In the mid 1960s, it was still unusual for a white student - especially from the South - to share a room with a black kid. At Harvard, Gore also met Roger Revelle, a professor for geophysics and oceanography. Revelle was one of the first to prove that CO2 was increasing in the atmosphere. Years before the Club of Rome published its famous report, Gore was interested in ecology. In his semester holidays, he worked as a messenger boy at the New York Times. He also went to the University of Mexico City where he improved his Spanish - which helps him still today in his contact with Spanish speaking voters (by the way, George W. Bush junior is also fluent in Spanish, so this gives Gore no advantage in the presidential race).
Vietnam and college
Al Gore Jr. was opposed to the Vietnam war. In a letter to his father he called America's anti-communism "a paranoia", "national obsession" and "psychological illness". He even compared the US Army to a fascist regime. At Harvard in the 1960s, this was not uncommon. But Gore was never a radical student and not part of the major demonstrations taking place in those years. He smoked joints for ten years until 1976 - and in contrast to Clinton, he admits he also inhaled. Gore says he stopped that habit when first running for the House of Representatives.
In 1969, after Gore had made his B.A. in Government from Harvard, he decided to serve in Vietnam. If he had not done it, somebody else in Carthage would have been sent to war. The draft list was no secret in such a small place. It would have been impossible for him to walk down the village's main street with a clear conscience. Furthermore, his father was soon to be re-elected. Since he was openly opposed to the war, it would have been a huge handicap, had his son refused to serve in Vietnam. In the South, patriotism was important. In May 1970, while he was in the Army, Al Gore junior married Tipper at the pompous Washington Cathedral in the American capital. Tommy Lee Jones, Bob Somerby, Michael Kapitan and other friends from Harvard attended the ceremony. Gore Sr. posed in his uniform from the Second World War - which he had never used. In September of that year, shortly before the election, Gore Jr. got his call for Vietnam. Despite the clever timing, Al Gore Sr. lost his 1970 Senate race. According to veteran Newsweek journalist Bill Turque, Gore served only five months rather than the standard year because the Nixon White House, backing Senator Gore's Republican opponent, delayed Gore Jr.'s ship-over date until after the election so that Gore Sr. could not use his son's military service as an argument in the campaign.
Al Gore Jr. served as army journalist from Christmas 1970 until May 1971. The 21-year-old Gore did not have a dangerous job. In Bien Hoa, he was not in direct contact with the front. He once wrote an article about an attack by twelve Vietcong rebels, but as Peter Neumann asserts in his biography, in reality, Gore was not even at the place where the attack took place. He just questioned soldiers involved. Later, Gore spiced up his description of his years in the army. He told Vanity Fair that he had regularly served as a guard and that they first shot at people moving at night and only asked questions afterwards. But a friend in Vietnam admitted that neither he nor Gore were ever guards - exclusively South Vietnamese soldiers were assigned to this task at their camp.
When Gore came back to Carthage in May 1971, he was deeply affected by what he had experienced in Vietnam. Together with his father and a friend of the family, he founded the Tanglewood Home Builders enterprise, specializing in building family homes near Carthage. This experience did not help him to fill his inner vacuum and he decided to study theology and philosophy at the Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1971 to 1972. In retrospect, Gore asserts that this period was extremely valuable since it gave him the possibility to ask the right questions. At Divinity School, he made an important step in the direction of environmental politics. The seminary of Eugene TeSelles on "religion and natural sciences" proved to be particularly precious. On its reading list was the then newly published (first) report of the Club of Rome. On his first day at university, Gore also started working - as an investigative journalist - for the Nashville Tennessean. The editor, John Siegenthalter, was a good friend of the Gores. Al Gore Jr. had already written the above-mentioned article from Vietnam for the Nashville newspaper. In the summer of 1973, at the expenses of the Tennessean, Gore took a two-week seminary on investigative journalism at Columbia University in New York. At the Nashville Metro Council, he discovered irregularities and corruption. The highlight of his career should have been the trial of a corrupt black politician. Although the evidence seemed to be clear, the jury decided not to condemn the politician (In 1988 Gore claimed in an interview that he had sent a lot of politicians to prison - one of his famous "embellishments"). Gore was shocked and disappointed and decided to stop theology, switching to the Vanderbilt Law School (1974-76). He complemented his studies in Harvard.
Early political career
In 1976, Gore run for the House of Representative in Tennessee. His father's name was a great advantage, but Gore Jr. run the campaign on his own, without the help of the former senator. Only his mother - as campaign manager - was active in his race for Congress. Gore won the Democratic nomination with only 30% of the votes, but at the election he made 96%: the Republicans had no candidate, and only an independent took some votes away from Gore. He stayed in the House from 1977 to 1985. In his early years in Congress, Gore managed to pass a law which set minimal standards for baby food and allowed a government agency to test new products and give them access to the markets only after successful tests. Gore also managed to win over Congress with his call for a national network for organ transplantation. In short, the Senator distinguished himself with scientific and technical solutions for human problems.
In his first period in the House, Gore fought the then still legal practices of scandalous "disposals" of toxic waste. In the end, Congress agreed to spend 1.6 billion dollars to remove the disposals within five years. Gore also managed to find a majority to make the companies responsible to pay for its removal, but it could not take effect since a law cannot be applied retroactively (nulla poena sine lege). Therefore, in the end, taxpayers had to pay for it. Still, this was a significant improvement. Gore's voting record on environmental issues was not as good as expected, at least in the eyes of the League of Conversation, an environmental organization. In the House, he voted against the bills favored by the League 40% of the time. As a Senator, this value dropped to 27%.
Gore's themes with their human touch where interesting for the media. It is no accident that he was in favor of broadcasted parliamentary debates and, in March 1979, the first Congressman to speak in front of the cameras. But soon he realized he needed a theme to win over not only the media, but also his colleagues. In order to prevent being portrayed as a "tax-and-spend" Democrat and a "Harvard-liberal", Gore had to re-center himself and Jimmy Carter, a representative of the left wing of the Democratic Party, was President, which made it easy for him to do so. Gore rejected new taxes, demanded a smaller administration and a strong security policy. In the early 1980s, the "Holy Grail of American politics" (Peter Neumann) were security and arms policies, which, consequently, became Gore's fields of expertise. In a TV interview, Gore explained his new interests with the experience he made in a rally with citizens in Tennessee where almost all school girls of a group he had asked replied that they expected to count with a nuclear war during their lifetime. He says he was so shocked that he started to study the issue the next day.
Gore demanded the development of nuclear missiles with only one warhead in order to reduce the possibility of a nuclear first strike by of one of the superpowers. His reasoning: Instead of one missile with ten warheads which could destroy ten enemy-missiles with 100 warheads, one would need 100 missiles to destroy 100 warheads - something unlikely to achieve. The Republicans and the arms lobby were against it, and also the Democrats opposed it because it maintained the strategy of nuclear deterrence. According to Neumann, this was no failure for Gore because that way he positioned himself as a centrist. He had suddenly become an expert who could mediate between the President and the leadership of the Democratic party. Although in 1983, with Reagan's SDI, Gore's proposals became obsolete, they had helped to establish him as a leading figure in American politics. In 1984, the respected Washington Monthly counted Gore among the six most influential men in Congress.
In 1985, the Americans gave Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party 59% of their votes, but in Tennessee, Gore managed to get 61% of the votes in the race for a place in the US Senate, a better score than any other candidate in the history of the state. In 1990, Gore became the first statewide candidate in modern history to carry all 95 Tennessee counties. A candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 1988, he won Democratic primaries and caucuses in seven states, but finally was unsuccessful within the Democratic Party. Because of his and his wife's fight against sex and violence in movies and music, Gore did not have the support Democrats normally get from Hollywood. More important was the fact that he was and - despite some notable efforts - still is a stiff person who cannot please a television audience. His official campaign debut was a disaster because he talked about the ozone hole and his achievements in security policy. Important issues, of course, but (unfortunately) no themes to catch the attention of a broad public. His lack of emotion, wooden personality and incapacity to tell the American public what his "mission" was all about gave him no chance. Moreover, in North Carolina he sold out his principals by intervening in a debate about a carton fabric (Champion) which was polluting the area. Instead of holding up to his image as a defender of nature and champion of ecological standards, he promised the workers to find a solution for them in Washington. The mediator Gore reached a pseudo-compromise with the fabric's output of harmful substances still way above the legal limits and the pollution level measured at a point some 50 km down the river. In 1988, Gore was endorsed by New York Mayor Ted Koch. But it was a time when the city's police was in discredit for bad treatment of African-Americans and Koch's support was actually a political burden. David Garth, Gore's press speaker, brought his boss to speak out for the conservative Israeli President Shamir - which made him lose most of the liberal Jewish community's support in the Big Apple. In the final Democratic debate, Gore attacked his opponent, Governor Michael Dukakis, on his soft position about crime in the case of Willie Horton, a criminal in Dukakis' state of Massachusetts. According to Peter Neumann, this became the main weapon in the hands of the Republican's and their candidate George Bush. Their televised campaign ad showed that instead of being sent to prison for life, Horton was released on weekends. Horton fled, kidnapped a young couple, stabbed the man to death, and raped his girlfriend several times. "That's Dukakis on crime", was the ad's conclusion - and Bush became president.
The 1988 defeat was Gore's first setback since 1976. A year afterwards, another event struck him: his son, Albert III, born in 1982, was hit by a car and, for weeks, his life was in danger. In reaction, Al Gore had the need to write something substantial and durable, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. The book is about the global environmental crisis which he says endangers our civilization in its present form. At its core is the human-caused change of the global climate. He identifies the greenhouse effect and the ozone hole as the two most important "strategic dangers". In the first part of the book, he describes the severity of today's environmental crisis and states that there had been crucial crop failures before the French revolution. Gore predicts that the anthropogene (manmade) climatic changes will be much more important than all other effects of the climate on humanity. He also explores the dangers of overpopulation, the felling of rain forests, the effects of pesticides or the production of chemical and atomic waste. He always connects climatic and social change. Waste has always been dumped where it is cheapest and where poorer people live. In the second part of Earth in the Balance, Gore tries to understand why nature's warning signals have been ignored and no decisive action has been taken. In the media-democracy, he argues, people forget about the future. Only democracy and self-responsibility can make a difference. This also applies to the economy and he stresses the failures of capital donators such as the World Bank. The problem lies in the separation between man and nature, which Gore dates back to Greek antiquity which has been continued into today's world through the Judeo-Christian tradition. In the third part of Earth in the Balance, he is looking for solutions, ways to re-establish the balance between the two. The salvation of nature should become the central organizing principle of our civilization. The world needs a global Marshall Plan for nature. Gore identifies five strategic goals: the stabilization of the increase in population in the Third World, the development and the diffusion of nature-compatible technologies, product pricing should also include the costs inflicted on nature (in German: Verursacherprinzip), binding international agreements to enforce these policies and, finally, the joint collection and international exchange of information. It took Gore three years to write the book. It was published in January 1992, ended up at the top of America's bestseller list, and has been translated into 33 languages.
But Gore did not only receive positive feedback on his back. His former mentor in Harvard, Roger Revelle, the climate specialist Fred Singer and another scientist wrote in a magazine in 1990 that there is no evidence yet that today's climatic catastrophes can be attributed to the greenhouse effect. The article was re-published two years later in The New Republic. By then, Revelle was dead. Gore was angry about it because, in his book, he cites several times his former mentor. A legal battle between Gore and Singer about the intentions of Revelle ensued, ending in 1994 with Gore's defeat in court. Gore was also compared to Theodore J. Kaczynski, the so-called Unabomber, who made 16 bomb attacks between 1978 and 1995 against the "industrial-technological system". Kaczynsiki's manifest resembled a lot Earth in the Balance and, in 1996, the FBI found in his hideaway in Montana an annotated exemplary of Gore's book. Even the serious Conservative press began to attack Gore as a spiritual arsonist - which is of course nonsense.
In June 1992, Gore lead the Senate delegation to the international environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, but the U.S. decisions were taken by the head of the American governmental delegation, a man who carried out President Bush's decisions. The United States were the main obstacle to progress at the summit and signed neither the climatic convention nor a resolution on the preservation of species. By this time, the optimism of the Reagan years had cooled down and unemployment almost reached 8% in 1991. In this situation, the Democrats had good chances to win the next elections. Gore though was not interested to run, although he wanted to be president and knew his chances had never been better before. He did not take position for a candidate within the Democratic Party. But when Warren Christopher, later Secretary of State, asked him whether he could put him on candidate Bill Clinton's list of possible candidates for Vice President, he did not say no. On July 8, 1992, Bill Clinton, the Democrats candidate, told Gore he was his choice as running mate - and the Senator from Tennessee accepted. At the Democratic Convention of the same month, Clinton had a 10% advantage over Bush in the polls. In May, there had been serious riots in Los Angeles and President Bush the image as a failure on domestic issues.
On the national level, Gore was better known than Clinton and, therefore, his choice served to better explain to voters what Clinton stood for. Both were moderate, young and intellectually brilliant Democrats from the South. But they were also complementary. Clinton, as Governor of Arkansas, had executive experience and Gore had served in Congress, in Vietnam and his integrity was above any doubt. Clinton was the man of communication, Gore the man of serious thoughts. Differences on issues had to be overcome. Before, Gore stood on the anti-abortion side. Asked about his sudden change, the Senator claimed he had never stood for anything else.
In the television debate between Dan Quayle and Gore, the GOP candidate for Vice President mainly attacked Clinton and his moral failures. Gore responded that Bush was not able to resolve the crisis in Los Angeles and that the country needed "jobs, jobs, jobs". As always, Gore was very well prepared but wooden. The press gave him the nickname "Al Bore". Still, he "won" the debate. 60% preferred him for Vice President, over 32% for Quayle. Ross Perot's man, James Stockdale, had nothing to say but "we will fix the problem" - 7%. On November 3, Clinton and Gore won 43%, Bush and Quayle 38%, Perot and Stockdale 19%. Polls suggested that Gore had decided the race in at least six states for the Democrats. The same evening, Clinton said that Gore would be an important part of his government.
At 44, Gore was treated as a "partner" by Clinton. According to Neumann, Gore was the President's first advisor, before Clinton's wife Hillary and the young election campaign manager George Stephanopoulos. Clinton and Gore had promised more state expenditures and at the same time a reduction of the huge deficit, more than 300 billion dollars in 1992. The only way out of the dilemma were higher taxes. To meet his 1994 budget, Clinton put forth the highest rise in taxes since Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, which especially affected companies and the rich. For the rest of the deficit, Gore presented a CO2 tax plan to the President. Clinton decided to implement it. The uproar was great. The Republicans claimed coal prizes would rise 20% and gasoline prices increase 20% (in the U.S., gasoline costs less than a third of what it does in Europe). The big oil companies teamed up with the automobile and the coal industry. The proposition passed the House of Representatives but was rejected by the Senate. In the end, the White House had to abandon its plan for a CO2 tax. A setback not only for the government, but also for the ecology.
In 1993, Clinton did what Bush had refused to do by signing the Climate Convention of Rio. But is was a symbolic gesture with no effect as the administration limited its initiatives to voluntary appeals to consumers and companies. In the following years, instead of starting to reduce CO2 output by 50% as foreseen by an ambitious 50-points-plan, the output if carbon dioxide even increased. Clinton and Hillary soon last their high ratings in opinion polls. In March 1993, the President gave Gore another mission: to evaluate the administration's efficiency, thrift and its relationship with the people. In order to avoid new problems, Gore did it in collaboration with the unions, creating the National Partnership Council (NPC). In September, the Vice President submitted his report: in the next five years, $108 billion should be saved and 252,000 jobs eliminated. In March 1998, Gore announced that 351,000 governmental jobs had been cut and 640,000 pages of regulations deleted. More than 30,000 pages had been translated into more understandable language. But there was not only praise. More than half of the jobs stemmed from closed military bases and other reductions of personal in the defense sector. Several governmental duties had been privatized. The GOP was angry that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was the only federal department not to have been cut back. No union member had lost his job.
In November 1993, Al Gore had his most important appearance during his first mandate as Vice President. In a debate with Ross Perot on CNN's "Larry King Live" he discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Signed by President Bush, it still had to be ratified in Congress. Although Clinton, Gore, and the majority of the GOP were in favor of the agreement and against protectionist reflexes, there were opponents in both parties who feared negative effects from the integration of Mexico into a free trade zone. They feared social, ecological and salary dumping. Perot was extremely aggressive and interrupted Gore even when he tried to answer the billionaires questions. With his attitude and his comments, Perot destroyed himself whereas Gore calmly explained NAFTA's advantages without denying that Mexico was no ideal partner and needed some time to reach the level of development of the U.S. At the end of the discussion, Gore gave Perot a photograph showing the two members of Congress who, in 1930, had initiated the devastating custom duties and laws which disconnected the U.S. from the world market and enhanced the Great Depression. Conservative columnist William Safire commented the next day that Gore had razed Perot to the ground. Mexico's democratic developments of recent years probably would not have been possible without NAFTA, which was accepted by the Congress about a week after the televised debate.
In early 1994, Gore again played a key role, this time in his disarmament and denuclearization talks with Ukraine. A series of security guaranties, especially the so-called Partnership for Freedom, brought a break-through and, by the end of 1994, was accepted by the Ukrainian parliament. Gore had led the decisive negotiations with President Kravtchuk (Clinton's mother had died two dies before). The Vice President rendered this sign of confidence by downplaying his role and leaving all the merits to Clinton (whose ratings were down to unprecedented 40%, the lowest level since the introduction of these polls). At the mid-term elections in November 1994, almost no Democrat wanted to be seen with Clinton. The GOP introduced its conservative "Contract for America": greater deregulation, a radical reduction of social welfare, a widening of the death penalty, lower taxes and a constitutional amendment forbidding future debts. The GOP won majorities in the House and the Senate, something unseen since 1954.
But the comeback-kid Clinton did not follow the blockade-policy advocated by Stephanopoulos and Harold Ickes, both democratic traditionalists. He called Dick Morris, the manager of his Arkansas electoral campaigns. Morris secretly proposed to accept the GOP's agenda, notably to balance the budget, but without hurting the elderly (Medicare). On the foreign policy front, America had to show its strength. In early 1995, Stephanopoulos and Ickes realized what was going on. Al Gore was again a key figure because he backed Morris' strategy and helped break the presidential advisor's influence on Clinton. A journalist in US News & World Report came to the (somewhat reductive) conclusion that it was Gore and not Morris who was responsible for Clinton's reorientation towards the political center. The president managed to neutralize the Republicans. As the federal administration closed down twice at the end of 1995, the GOP's uncompromising attitude was blamed for it, whereas Clinton appeared as a moderate reformer. For the first time in 30 months, Clinton was ahead of his Republican opponent in the polls.
Gore fought for his famous V-chip in 1996, a device to give parents the chance to ban sex and violence from television screens. He also managed to get the TV companies to send additional three hours of quality children television per week. Gore also initiated a new fight against tobacco advertising - as a Senator, he had proudly stated being a grandson of a Tennessee tobacco farmer and accepted money from the tobacco industry until seven years after his sister's death from lung cancer in 1984. In 1989, Gore had already helped to introduce legislation that put money into fiber-optic research which helped build the internet and led to Gore's famous claim he had invented the Internet. In 1996, the Vice President launched an initiative to connect all American schools to the Internet. Microsoft's Bill Gates donated the software, AOL, Compuserve and others created a special access fee for schools. Despite Clinton's disastrous beginning, the mood had changed and about ten million new jobs had been created (only 20% of them were poorly paid "McJobs"). The unemployment rate had fallen under 5% and inflation was low. The GOP's candidate, Bob Dole, was an old man who could not inspire the American public. In the public debate with the GOP vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, Gore left a self-confident, calm impression whereas Kemp's attacks contrasted with the general publics impression of Clinton's record. 60% of TV viewers saw Gore as the winner. A setback came one week later when the Los Angeles Times revealed illegal campaign money donations to Clinton and Gore. Money came from foreign sources and Gore's aggressive fundraising methods, and calls he illegally made from the White House tarnished his image as Mister Clean. Gore's answers to crucial question were evasive and reminded journalists of Clinton's statement that he smoked pot, but did not inhale. Still, Clinton managed to win the elections with 49.9% (Dole garnered 41.5%. Ross Perot, who had stepped into the race in the last minute, made only 8.6%.
In 1997, Gore presented a new plan to deal with the ecological problems, the commerce with emission rights in order to reduce CO2 output. In November 1997 came the Kyoto conference, which was designated to deal with the global problem. Gore traveled to the conference and made a great show, placing American flags besides the speaker's platform imported directly from the White House. The first two rows in the hall were reserved for the White House press corps, with nameplates on the chairs. Despite this "imperialist" gestures, Gore was credited to have contributed with a last minute breakthrough. 38 industrial nations agreed to reduce the carbon dioxide output by an average of 5.2% until 2010. But in August 1998, the White House declared the Kyoto treaty to be incomplete and faulty. The nearest date for the Senate to discuss it would be 2001. Clinton made it clear that this was not his baby and that the next president, possibly Gore, should resolve the problems related to its implementation.
In 1998, Gore claimed he and his wife Tipper had been the models for Erich Segal's Love Story. Another one of Gore's famous "embellishments". Jokes by David Letterman and Jay Leno were inevitable. The Lewinsky scandal was more serious and it was a dilemma for Gore. He had been successful as Vice President because he had always been loyal Clinton and, therefore, had more liberties and influence than any other man in his position before. Gore feared Clinton's removal from office. He remembered that the virtuous Gerald Ford, who had led the country for two years, had had no chance to get elected after Nixon's removal. Therefore, on the day of the House of Representatives' vote on Clinton's Impeachment, Gore said Clinton would enter history as one of the great American presidents. The Vice President survived the Lewinsky crisis undamaged because Clinton's ratings rose again and the Republicans overused the theme.
After two terms as Vice President, Gore formally announced his candidacy for president on June 15, 1999. He faced an early challenge by former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley. Bradley and his supporters argued that it was time for fresh face for the White House and said that Gore had been damaged by the ethical problems from the Clinton Administration and that Gore would have a hard time winning over the so called "Moral Majority", in the general election. By the fall of 1999, a number of polls showed Bradley running even with the Vice President in key primary states.
With his campaign in a spiral, Gore shook things up. He first switched his campaign headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Nashville, Tennessee, in an effort to convince voters that he was no longer under the control of Bill Clinton and that he was a beltway outsider. Gore also reverted to a style of "town hall" meetings, which he had used when he was in the Congress, where he would meet with a small group of people and answer their questions. At about the same time, Gore began an offensive that questioned Bradley's commitment and service, citing his recent retirement from the U.S. Senate. Another area in which Gore attacked Bradley was in health care. Bradley had proposed a "universal" plan, which Gore argued was too much like the failed health care system instituted a few years by Hillary Clinton. Gore pointed out that in order to have a "universal" system, coverage had to be extended gradually. In his own defense, Gore proposed a healthcare plan that included all low income children. In a last ditch effort to stay afloat, Bradley accused Gore of distorting and exaggerating his record. However, in the end, Bradley could not stop the Gore campaign. Gore won every primary and caucus, and in March of 2000, Gore secured democratic nomination by having the suffice amount of delegates.
In August 2000 Gore surprised many when he selected United States senator Joe Lieberman to be his vice-presidential running mate. Lieberman, who was a more conservative Democrat than Gore, had publicly blasted President Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair. Lieberman became the first Jew to be named to a major party's national ticket. Many pundits saw Gore's choice of Lieberman as another way of trying to distance himself from the scandalous Clinton White House.
At the Democratic National Convention, which was held in Los Angeles, Gore accepted his party's nomination and spoke about the major themes of his campaign. Trying to move from President Clinton's shadow, Gore declared that he was his "own man", and he had his own vision for a better America. Gore portrayed himself as the fighter on behalf of the people against large corporations, special interests, and the powerful. He pledged to extend Medicare to pay for prescription drugs, to work for a sensible universal health-care system, to lower crime, and to keep the military strong by making it smaller and more efficient.
Soon after the convention, with running mate Joe Lieberman, Gore hit the campaign trail. While campaigning, Gore blasted Bush's tax cut plan, saying it only benefited the ultra wealthy, while he claimed that his own tax cuts targeted more lower and middle-class citizens. Gore also pledged to protect Social Security by using a "lock box" and to improve the public education in America. In the run up to the election, Gore and Bush participated in three televised debates. The effect of the debates will never be known, but many, including Gore himself, say the three meetings hurt him. Many TV viewers saw Gore as stiff and awkward, and found his continual sighing at Governor Bush's replies annoying. However, people who listened to the debates on radio and did not see Gore's body language, thought he had won the debates based upon pure knowledge of the issues and his answers to important questions. Just prior to the election, Gore changed his strategy towards trying to sway swing voters in states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and New Mexico, which were states in which Bush and Gore were in a virtual dead heat.
On election day, the results were so close that the outcome of the race took over a month to resolve, highlighted by premature declaration of a winner on election night, and an extremely close result in the state of Florida. Gore had won 19 states, mostly populous states such as California, Pennsylvania, and New York. However, he lost his home state of Tennessee other traditional Democratic states such as West Virginia. As election night wore on, it became clear that the race was just too close to call. Eventually Florida's 25 electoral votes became the deciding factor.
When Florida's votes were all finally counted, Gore had slightly fewer votes than Bush, less than one-half of one percent separated the two, which triggers an automatic recount of the votes in Florida.
The next day, Florida began the process of recounting the votes. After the first recount, Gore still was trailing Bush, but only by about 300 votes. With still such a slim gap in the vote totals, Democrats pushed hard for votes in heavily Democratic counties to be counted manually. Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris, then set a deadline of November 14 for submitting the final record of the recounted votes for certification. However, a number of counties involved in the recount, could not complete their manual recount by the deadline that was set. It was then when Gore's legal team went to court to ask that all the manual recounted vote be included in the final tally. Soon thereafter, the Florida Supreme Court ordered Katherine Harris to postpone the certification of votes until the case was heard by the court, which in effect gave the Gore team a boost by extending their time to count votes.
On November 21 the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the manual recounted votes would have to be included in the final tally, but they would have to be submitted by the initial deadline of November 26. After the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court, Bush's legal team appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court. On November 26 Florida certified its results, unofficially resulting in Gore losing the state to Bush by just over 500 votes. However, Gore passionately contested that some votes had been excluded from the final results. It was then when he formally challenged the results in court.
On December 4, after hearing arguments from both sides, the U.S. Supreme Court requested that the Florida Supreme Court clarify its prior ruling. Later the same day, a Florida circuit court judge declined Gore's request for additional recounts, which Gore also appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.
On December 8, the Florida Supreme Court basically switched views when they ruled that additional recounts in certain counties shall continue. However, Governor Bush and his legal team quickly appealed the case to the highest court in the land. In court, Bush asked that the recounts be halted until the Court had a chance to hear his appeal case. On December 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Bush his wish, which stopped all recounts until the case was heard. On December 12, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down what would be gauntlet to the Gore team, when they ruled that the recounts were unconstitutional because they violated the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution. The Court pointed out that all votes were not being treated equally because there was no clear standard or precedent for how to do manual recounts. This in effect ended the series of legal proceedings and gave the state of Florida to George W. Bush, which also meant the Presidency.
On December 13, Al Gore publicly conceded the election after the Supreme Court, in the case Bush v. Gore, voted 7-2 to declare the recount procedure in process unconstitutional because it was not being carried out statewide and 5-4 to ban further recounts using other procedures. Gore strongly disagreed with the Court's decision, but decided that "for the sake of our unity of the people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession." He had previously made a concession phone call to Bush the night of the election, but quickly retracted it after learning just how close the election was. Following the election, a subsequent recount conducted by various U.S. news media organizations indicated that Bush would still have won the popular vote in Florida had the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the recounts to proceed using the process requested by Gore, although some different methods of counting votes would have resulted in victory for Gore.
The Florida election has been closely scrutinized since the election, and several irregularities are thought to have favored Bush. These included the notorious Palm Beach "butterfly ballot", which produced an unexpectedly large number of votes for third-party candidate Patrick Buchanan, and a purge of some 50,000 alleged felons from the Florida voting rolls that included many voters who were eligible to vote under Florida law. Some commentators still consider such irregularities and the legal maneuvering around the recounts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the vote, but as a matter of law the issue was settled when the United States Congress accepted Florida's electoral delegation. Nonetheless, embarrassment about the Florida vote uncertainties led to widespread calls for electoral reform in the United States, and ultimately to the passage of the Help America Vote Act, which authorized the United States federal government to provide funds to the states to replace their mechanical voting equipment with electronic voting equipment. However, this has led to new controversies, because of the security weaknesses of the computer systems, the lack of paper-based methods of secure verification, and the necessity to rely on the trustworthiness of the manufacturers.
Although Gore won the nationwide popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, receiving the most votes of any Democrat in U.S. history, he lost the election by 5 electoral votes. A swing of only a few hundred popular votes in Florida would have caused the election to go the other way. It was for that reason that the outcome remained unknown until the Supreme Court's decision concerning the counting of the Florida votes.
Following his election loss, a bearded Gore accepted visiting professorships at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Middle Tennessee State University. In 2002, Al Gore accepted a consulting job with a Los Angeles law firm and became an adviser to Google. Following the November 5, 2002 midterm elections Gore re-emerged into the public eye with a 14-city book tour and a well-orchestrated "full Gore" media blitz which included a pair of policy speeches. On September 23, Gore delivered a speech on the impending War with Iraq and the War on Terrorism that generated a fair amount of commentary. Less than two weeks later, on October 2, he made a speech on Bush's handling of the economy to the Brookings Institution. Also, during this time period Gore guest starred on several programs such as the David Letterman Show and Saturday Night Live appearing much more relaxed and funnier as a private citizen than he did while holding public office.
In 2003 Gore joined the board of directors of Apple Computer. On the political front, Gore kept his promise of staying involved in public debate when he offered his criticism and advice to the Bush Administration on key topics such as the Occupation of Iraq, USA Patriot Act, and environmental issues, most notably global warming.
On April 10, 2004, Gore met with the 9-11 Commission in private to give his testimony on what his administration did to prevent terror attacks. In a statement after the three-hour session, the commission said he was candid and forthcoming, and it thanked him for his "continued cooperation."
In the summer of 2004, Gore teamed up with MoveOn.org, to promote the new scientific fiction film, The Day After Tomorrow. Although Gore said the movie was a far fetched example of global warming, he said the movie would escalate the public debate on global warming.
2004 presidential election
Initially, Al Gore was touted as the most logical opponent of George W. Bush in the 2004 United States Presidential Election. "Re-elect Gore!" was a common slogan among many Democrats who felt the former Vice President had been unfairly cheated out of the presidency, on the grounds that he had won the popular vote and (in the opinion of some) should have won the Electoral College vote. On December 16, 2002 however, Gore announced that he would not run in 2004, saying that it was time for "fresh faces" and "new ideas" to emerge from the Democrats. When he appeared on a 60 Minutes interview, Gore said that he felt if he had run, the focus of the election would be the rematch rather than the issues. Gore's former running mate, Joe Lieberman quickly announced his own candidacy for the presidency, which he had vowed he would not do if Gore ran.
Despite Gore taking himself out of the race, a handful of his supporters formed a national campaign to "draft" him into running. However, that effort largely came to an end when Gore publicly endorsed Vermont Governor Howard Dean (over his former running mate Joe Lieberman) weeks before the first primary of the election cycle. There was still some effort to encourage write-in votes for Gore in the primaries by a different group of Gore supporters who were separate from the draft movement. Although Gore did receive a small number of votes in New Hampshire and New Mexico, that effort was halted when John Kerry pulled into the lead for the nomination. Gore's endorsement of Dean was helpful to the latter in legitimizing him in the eyes of the establishment faction of the Democratic Party, but it also led the media to dub Dean as the clear front-runner, with the result that his opponents devoted more of their emphasis to opposing him.
On January 15, 2004, Al Gore gave a major policy address in New York City on climate change and the Bush administration's approach to the environment. Accompanied by slides and projector, Gore slammed the Bush administration's attitude towards global warming saying, "There are many who still do not believe that global warming is a problem at all. And it's no wonder: because they are the targets of a massive and well-organized campaign of disinformation lavishly funded by polluters who are determined to prevent any action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, out of a fear that their profits might be affected if they had to stop dumping so much pollution into the atmosphere."
On February 9, 2004, on the eve of the Tennessee primary, Gore gave what many consider his harshest criticism of the president yet when he accused George W. Bush of betraying the country by using the 9/11 attacks as a justification for the invasion of Iraq. "He betrayed this country!" Mr. Gore shouted into the microphone. "He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place." Gore also urged all Democrats to unite behind their eventual nominee proclaiming, "any one of these candidates is far better than George W. Bush." In March 2004 Gore, along with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, united behind Kerry as the presumptive Democratic nominee.
On April 28, 2004, Gore announced that he would be donating $6 million to various Democratic Party groups. Drawing from his funds left over from his 2000 presidential campaign, Gore pledged to donate $4 million to the Democratic National Committee. The party's Senate and House committees would each get $1 million, and the party from Gore's home state of Tennessee would receive $250,000. In addition, Gore announced that all of the surplus funds in his "Recount Fund" from the 2000 election controversy that resulted in the Supreme Court halting the counting of the ballots, a total of $240,000, will be donated to the Florida Democratic Party.
On May 26, 2004, Gore gave a highly critical speech on the Iraq crisis and the Bush Administration. In the speech, Gore demanded Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone all resign for encouraging policies that led to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners and fanned hatred of Americans abroad. During the fiery speech, which lasted more than an hour, Gore called the Bush administration's Iraq war plan "incompetent" and called George W. Bush the most dishonest president since Richard Nixon, who resigned the office of the presidency in 1974 following the Watergate scandal.
Gore also decried the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, saying, "what happened at that prison, it is now clear, is not the result of random acts of a few bad apples. It was the natural consequence of the Bush Administration policy."
As the first major speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Gore held himself out as a living reminder that every vote counts. "Let's make sure not only that the Supreme Court does not pick the next president, but also that this president is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court," said Gore. Gore directed remarks to supporters of third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who abandoned the Democratic Party four years ago, asking them, "Do you still believe that there was no difference between the candidates?"
On October 18, 2004, Al Gore delivered his final major policy speech of the 2004 political season. In an hour long presentation, Gore concluded that, "I'm convinced that most of the president's frequent departures from fact-based analysis have much more to do with right-wing political and economic ideology than with the Bible."
2008 presidential election
Although Vice President Gore has maintained that he has no intention to ever run for political office again, he has also said that he cannot rule it out completely. Therefore, on November 3, 2004, several groups launched an effort to try to influence the former vice president to seek the presidency in 2008. In January of 2005, several sources reported that Gore was considering running in 2008. As of April 5, 2005, Gore has not yet made any comments on any of the group's efforts.
On May 4, 2004, INdTV Holdings, a company co-founded by Gore and Joel Hyatt, purchased cable news channel NewsWorld International from Vivendi Universal. The new network will not have political leanings, Gore said, but will serve as an "independent voice" for a target audience of people between 18 and 34 "who want to learn about the world in a voice they recognize and a view they recognize as their own."
"This is not going to be a liberal network or a Democrat network or a political network in any way, shape or form," Gore said. Other reports say that Gore hopes that the channel will help change the tide of "consolidation and conglomeratization" of the media by leading the change to "democratization."
The news network is said to be a combination between CNN and MTV and would try to reach young viewers in the 18-24 age group.
NewsWorld International is currently seen in 19 million homes across the country and features 24-hour international news programming provided by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which will continue to produce news content for Gore's new network.
On April 4, 2005, the former Vice President and business partner Hyatt announced that they have changed the name of the network from INdTV to Current. The new television network will launch worldwide on August 1, 2005, and will feature various "pod" segments. These "pod" segments are videos between 5 seconds and 15 minutes, and are designed by the network's viewers. Viewers will also be able to pick their favorite videos and get instructions on the Internet on how to construct and their own segments
It was also announced that Current will team up with Google to provide twice-hourly updates on popular web searches.
Environmental management firm
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and a previous chief executive at Goldman Sachs Asset Management have launched an investment firm to seek out companies taking a responsible stance on big global issues like climate change.
London-based Generation Investment Management has been set up to tap growing demand for an investment style which can generate returns by blending traditional equity research with a focus on more intangible non-financial factors such as social and environmental responsibility and corporate governance.
"This new approach is designed to serve people who want to integrate sustainable returns with traditional equity analysis," Gore said in a telephone interview with Reuters.
Gore will be chairman of Generation, with David Blood -- previously chief executive at Goldman's fund arm -- as managing partner.
The founders intend to contribute an unspecified amount to the fund's start-up capital and have pledged to contribute five percent of its profits to a charitable foundation focused on exploring issues of sustainable economic growth.
Climate change is rising rapidly up investors' agendas, underscored by last week's decision by Russia to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to curb global warming, Gore said.
He added it is impossible to analyze auto company stocks properly, for example, without taking the issue of vehicle emission standards into account, particularly for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
"The carbon intensity of profits is an approach that needs to be adopted," he said, referring to the practice of measuring how much carbon is used in producing energy.
Gore, the former Democrat Party challenger for the U.S. Presidency in 2000, has been a long-standing campaigner on environmental issues such as vehicle emissions.
He intends to get involved in helping drive Generation's investment process, although he added he would not directly choose investments. "I'm not a stock picker," he said.
Vanderbilt University School of Law, 1974-76
Vanderbilt University School of Religion, 1971-72
B.A. with Honors (Government), Harvard University, 1969
2000 Ran for President of the United States, won the popular vote
1996 Re-elected Vice President of the United States
1992 Elected Vice President of the United States
1990 Re-elected U.S. Senator (70%)
1988 Unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for President
1984 Elected U.S. Senator (61%)
1982 Re-elected U.S. Congressman (unopposed)
1980 Re-elected U.S. Congressman (79%)
1978 Re-elected U.S. Congressman (unopposed)
1976 Elected U.S. Congressman (94%)
Congressional committees served
Armed Services (Defense Industry and Technology Projection Forces and Regional Defense; Strategic Forces and Nuclear Deterrence); Commerce, Science and Transportation (Communications; Consumer; Science, Technology and Space- chairman 1992; Surface Transportation; National Ocean Policy Study); Joint Committee on Printing; Joint Economic Committee; Rules and Administration.
2004 Chairman of an investment firm
2004 President Current TV
2003 Apple Board Of Directors
2002 Consultant to Google.com
2001 Investment strategist
2001 University professor (research & teaching)
1973-76 Newspaper reporter, Nashville Tennessee
1969-71 U.S. Army (Vietnam)
* Adapted from Wikipedia and Cosmopolis 1, 2 Wikipedia's article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, which means that you can copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license.