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The Democratic Party Candidates:

President: Vice President Al Gore
Vice President: Senator Joseph Lieberman



Al Gore
Al Gore
Copyright © 2000
Reuters Limited

Al Gore
Al Gore’s life has not been a straight line to the presidency. But it takes a close look to spot the curves in the road.

The only son of a U.S. Senator and a female law school pioneer, Gore grew up as the so-called “Prince of Tennessee.” He was raised with high expectations in the power circles of Washington, D.C. Yet summers spent doing farm chores back home in Carthage were a consistent reminder that his father, Albert Gore Sr., had risen from stark poverty to make his way in the world.

Gore was an excellent student at St. Albans prep school in Washington and lettered in three different sports. Lofty Harvard was his lone college choice, and he quickly won election as president of the freshman council. But after a year spent arguing for better meat loaf and other pedestrian causes, he abandoned school politics. They seemed trivial in the face of the issues gripping the rest of the country in the late 1960s.

The future politician focused first on a literary career and dabbled with a novel about life in small-town Tennessee. But a pair of political science professors rekindled his interest in public service. In one seminar, he played the role of President John F. Kennedy, dealing with the Cuban missile crisis.

Gore began dating Tipper Aitcheson during their high school days in Washington, and their relationship flowered after her summer visit to the Carthage farm. He proposed to her while still at Harvard, and today they are the parents of four children. Karenna, the eldest, has played a prominent role in Gore’s presidential campaign.

After graduating from Harvard in 1969, Gore made the wrenching decision to enlist in the Army and serve in Vietnam, even though he objected to the U.S. mission. His decision was complicated by his father’s prominent and vulnerable role as one of the Senate’s anti-war figures. Gore also realized that while he had a variety of options that would have allowed him to avoid combat, many of his Carthage friends were bound for the battlefield.

Gore served physically unscathed as an information officer in Vietnam. The experience did give him a fresh disinclination toward politics. He took graduate courses at Vanderbilt Divinity School -- though he says he never seriously considered the ministry as a career -- and also began work as a newspaper reporter at the Nashville Tennessean. His investigative work was praised and gave him a look at public corruption that helped renew his commitment to public service.

When his father’s old congressional seat opened up in 1976, Gore jumped into the race. He ran an awkward but relentless campaign. The day after he was elected he began a series of town meetings around the district that continued nearly every weekend he was in the House and allowed him to dive into the details of his constituents’ lives.

Gore moved from the House to the Senate in 1984, taking Republican Howard Baker’s seat. Sen. Gore immersed himself in arms control issues and wrote a well-regarded book on the environment, “Earth in the Balance.” He captured national attention with a failed run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988. His early and aggressive support for the Gulf War helped establish him as a centrist at a time when Democrats with national aspirations were moving toward the middle of the political spectrum.

During 1988 debates among the so-called “Seven Dwarves” running for the Democratic nomination, Gore showed himself to be a tenacious competitor. His efforts weren’t enough to wrest the nomination from Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, but they drew the attention of Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.

In 1992, the Clinton-Gore ticket slipped into the White House, aided by upstart candidate Ross Perot, who stripped key votes from incumbent President George Bush. As vice president, Gore took a lead role in evaluating the size of government. His “Re-Inventing Government” campaign drew supporters and detractors, but it gave Gore a rare opportunity to study the mechanics of the federal bureaucracy.

The Clinton-Gore partnership promised in the campaigns of 1992 and 1996 was strained by President Clinton’s sexual misadventures and the political expediencies of the impeachment proceedings that followed. Gore also has been forced to answer allegations of questionable fundraising practices while serving as vice president. But he easily overpowered former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley on his way to winning the Democratic nomination this past summer.


audio button Gore Profile -- NPR's Madeleine Brand profiles the career of Al Gore. The Vice President began his life in public service nearly 25 years ago when he won a Congressional seat in his home state of Tennessee. A few years later, he followed his father's footsteps into the U.S. Senate. From the on-set, Gore was determined to be a different kind of democrat. He initially opposed abortion and maintained strong support for the military. But he also fought big corporations and championed environmental causes.

  • Listen to the interview.

  • Read the transcript of the interview with Al Gore on Morning Edition July 19, 2000.

  •  Resume:
    Full Name: Albert Gore Jr.
    Born: March 31, 1948, in Washington, D.C.
    Age: 52

    Political Experience:
    Vice president of the United States, 1993-present
    U.S. senator from Tennessee, 1985-1993
    Candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, 1987-1988
    U.S. representative from Tennessee, 1977-1985

    Work Experience:
    Investigative reporter and editorial writer for The Tennessean, 1971-1976

    Military Experience:
    Army, 1969-1971

    Education:
    Graduate work at Vanderbilt University Law School, 1974-1976
    Graduate work at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, 1971-1972
    B.A. from Harvard University, 1969

    Family:
    Married Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" in 1970. Has four children -- Karenna, Kristin, Sarah and Albert III. Lives in Washington, D.C.

    Contact campaign office:
    Gore 2000, Inc.
    P.O. Box 18237
    Washington, DC 20036-8237
    Phone: (202) 263-6000


    Related Links:

    Democratic National Committee www.democrats.org
    Gore Campaign Web sitewww.algore2000.com

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    NPR's Melissa Block reports from Clinton, Iowa, on the campaign trail with the Democratic ticket of Vice President Al Gore and Sentator Joseph Lieberman. The two are taking a bus trip along the Mississippi River. Last night, Gore helped his wife Tipper celebrate her birthday.

    A Man of Visions and Values (14.4 | 28.8)
    NPR's Melissa Block reports on day three of the Democratic National Convention. Last night Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman urged Americans to elect Al Gore to the White House, calling him a man of vision and values. In his address Lieberman promised that Gore would bring economic prosperity to everyone.

    Joe Lieberman's Centrist Message (14.4 | 28.8)
    NPR's Andy Bowers reports that Senator Joe Lieberman's speech last night was a centrist message, carefully crafted not to alienate liberal voters. Many political commentators have said the Democratic Party must court both ideologies to win the election in November.

    Hear biographers of the presidential candidates tell their stories on Talk of the Nation.

    NPR's Mara Liasson offers an early profile of the Al Gore in 1997.

    Morning Edition's Bob Edwards spoke with Al Gore before he declared for the Presidency, and shortly after the death of his father.


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