|Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.|
45th Vice President of the United States
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
|Preceded by||Dan Quayle|
|Succeeded by||Dick Cheney|
November 7, 2000
January 3, 1985 – January 2, 1993
|Preceded by||Howard Baker|
|Succeeded by||Harlan Mathews|
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1985
|Preceded by||Robin Beard|
|Succeeded by||Bart Gordon|
|Born||March 31 1948
|Spouse||Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" A. Gore|
|Religion||Baptist (formerly Southern Baptist)|
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. (born March 31, 1948) was the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. Gore also served in the House of Representatives (1977–1985) and the U. S. Senate (1985–1993), representing Tennessee. Gore was the Democratic nominee for president in the 2000 election, ultimately losing to the Republican candidate George W. Bush in spite of winning the popular vote. A legal controversy over the Florida election recount was eventually settled in favor of Bush by the Supreme Court. A prominent environmental activist, Gore was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) for the "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change." He also starred in the Academy Award - winning documentary on the topic of global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. In 2007, Gore helped to organize the July 7 benefit concert for global warming, Live Earth.
Gore subsequently became chairman of the Emmy Award-winning American television channel Current TV, chairman of Generation Investment Management, a director on the board of Apple Inc., an unofficial advisor to Google's senior management, chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection, and a partner in the venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, heading that firm's climate change solutions group. Despite Gore's major contributions to American political life and the private world of business, he most likely will be remembered as a prominent environmental activist raising global consciousness about the dangers of global warming. It has been said that in his post-Vice-Presidential career, having apparently embraced a career outside politics with no intention of contesting high office again, Gore is more comfortable in his own skin. The wooden, somewhat dull Gore familiar during the presidential campaign has been replaced by a more relaxed, even charismatic Gore.
Albert Gore, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C., to Albert Gore, Sr., a U.S. Representative (1939–1944, 1945–1953) and Senator (1953–1971) from Tennessee and Pauline LaFon Gore, one of the first women to graduate from Vanderbilt University Law School. He divided his childhood between Washington and Carthage, Tennessee as a boy. During the school year, the family lived in a hotel in Washington, but during summer vacations Gore worked on the family farm in Carthage, where the Gores grew hay and tobacco and raised cattle. He had an elder sister, Nancy Gore Hunger, who died of lung cancer in 1984.
Gore was an honors student at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. He attended Harvard University and graduated with a B.A. in government (cum laude) in June 1969. Gore's senior thesis at Harvard was regarding the impact of television on the conduct of the presidency. This thesis essentially stated that television had an inherent bias towards individuals over institutions which would bring more attention to the president than the other branches of governments. The thesis furthermore argued that the ability to communicate well visually was becoming crucial to governing.
In 1970, Gore married Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson (known as Tipper), whom he had first met at a party the night of his [high school] graduation. They have four [[children]: Karenna, Kristin, Sarah, and Albert III; and three grandchildren: Wyatt Gore Schiff, Anna Hunger Schiff, and Oscar Aitcheson Schiff. The Gores reside in Nashville, Tennessee.
Gore opposed the Vietnam War and could have avoided serving overseas by accepting a spot in the National Guard that a friend of his family had reserved for him, or by other means of avoiding the draft. Gore has stated that his sense of civic duty compelled him to serve in some capacity. He enlisted in the United States Army on August 7, 1969. After basic training at Fort Dix, Gore was assigned as a military journalist writing for The Army Flier, the base newspaper at Fort Rucker. With seven months remaining in his enlistment, Gore was shipped to Vietnam, arriving on January 2, 1971.
Gore said in 1988 that his experience in Vietnam:
"...didn't change my conclusions about the war being a terrible mistake, but it struck me that opponents to the war, including myself, really did not take into account the fact that there were an awful lot of South Vietnamese who desperately wanted to hang on to what they called freedom. Coming face to face with those sentiments expressed by people who did the laundry and ran the restaurants and worked in the fields was something I was naively unprepared for."
Gore's father would later recall that, "the war, combined with his own campaign defeat and the Watergate scandals, turned his son temporarily against a political career." Thus, after returning from Vietnam (receiving a non-essential personnel honorable discharge two months early), Gore turned to journalism and divinity school at Vanderbilt University. He attended the program from 1971–1972 and his goal was to explore "the spiritual issues that were most important to me at the time." He also worked part time as a reporter for The Tennessean, a newspaper in Nashville, Tennessee on the night shift. He would eventually spend five years as a reporter for The Tennessean. His investigations of possible corruption among members of Nashville's Metro Council resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two councilmen for separate offenses. After completing the one year on a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship, he left the divinity school to focus on journalism full time. A few years later, he studied law at Vanderbilt. He attended law school from 1974–1976 but did not graduate, instead deciding in 1976 to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
At the end of February 1976, 4th District congressman Joe L. Evins unexpectedly announced his retirement from the seat in which he had succeeded Albert Gore, Sr. in 1953. Within hours after Tennessean Publisher John Seigenthaler called him to tell him the announcement was forthcoming, Gore decided to quit law school and run for the United States House of Representatives:
Gore narrowly won the Democratic primary, then ran unopposed in the general election and was elected to his first Congressional post at the age of 28.
He was re-elected to the House three times, in 1978, 1980, and 1982. In 1984, Gore successfully ran for a seat in the United States Senate, which had been vacated by Republican Majority Leader Howard Baker. Gore served as a Senator from Tennessee until 1993, when he became Vice President. While in Congress, Gore was a member a number of committees including : Senate Armed Services, House Intelligence, Commerce, Science and Transportation, Rules and Administration, and Governmental Affairs.
On March 19 1979, Gore became the first person to appear on C-SPAN, making a speech in the House chambers. In the late 1980s, Gore introduced the Gore Bill, which was later passed as the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991. Leonard Kleinrock, a key player in the development of the ARPANET, considers the act to be a critical moment in Internet history.
Gore clarified his positions as a senator with regard to the Gulf War (particularly the events before and after it) during a speech he gave on September 29, 1992. In it, he stated that while a senator, he twice attempted to get the U.S. government to pull the plug on support to Saddam Hussein, citing Hussein's use of poison gas, support of terrorism, and his burgeoning nuclear program, but was opposed both times by the Reagan and Bush administrations. In the wake of the Al-Anfal Campaign, during which Hussein staged deadly mustard and nerve gas attacks on Kurdish Iraqis, Gore cosponsored the Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988, which would have cut all assistance to Iraq. The bill was defeated in part due to intense lobbying of Congress by the Reagan-Bush White House and a veto threat from President Reagan.
Gore ran for President in the 1988 United States presidential election. He campaigned as a "Southern Centrist" whose main opposition was Jesse Jackson. On Super Tuesday he won Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Nevada, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Gore eventually dropped out of the democratic race which went to Michael Dukakis.
Bill Clinton chose Gore to be his running mate for the 1992 United States presidential election on July 9, 1992. Gore accepted the position after previously choosing not to run for President. On April 3, 1989, his six-year-old son Albert was nearly killed in an automobile accident while leaving the Baltimore Orioles' opening day game. Because of the resulting lengthy healing process, Gore chose to stay near him during the recovery instead of laying the foundation for a 1992 presidential primary campaign (it was during this time period that he wrote Earth in the Balance). Gore was inaugurated as the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993. Clinton and Gore were re-elected to a second term in the 1996 election.
As Vice President, Gore promoted the development of what he referred to as the Information Superhighway. In addition, during the Clinton-Gore administration, the U.S. economy expanded according to David Greenberg (professor of history and media studies at Rutgers University) who argued that "by the end of the Clinton presidency, the numbers were uniformly impressive. Besides the record-high surpluses and the record-low poverty rates, the economy could boast the longest economic expansion in history; the lowest unemployment since the early 1970s; and the lowest poverty rates for single mothers, black Americans, and the aged."
In 1996, Gore was criticized for attending an event at the Buddhist Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California. In an interview on NBC's Today the following year, he stated that, "I did not know that it was a fund-raiser. I knew it was a political event, and I knew there were finance people that were going to be present, and so that alone should have told me, 'This is inappropriate and this is a mistake; don't do this.' And I take responsibility for that. It was a mistake." In March 1997, Vice President Gore also had to explain certain fund-raising calls he made to solicit funds for the Democratic Party for the 1996 election. In a news conference, Gore responded that, "all calls that I made were charged to the Democratic National Committee. I was advised there was nothing wrong with that. My counsel tells me there is no controlling legal authority that says that is any violation of any law."
After two terms as Vice President, Gore ran for President in the 2000 United States Presidential election, selecting Senator Joe Lieberman to be his vice-presidential running mate. Gore's policies had changed substantially from his 1988 Presidential campaign when he ran as a Southern Centrist, reflecting his eight years as Vice President.
On election night, news networks first called Florida for Gore, later retracted the projection, and then called Florida for Bush, before finally retracting that projection as well. This led to the Florida election recount, a move to further examine the Florida results. The Florida recount was stopped a few weeks later by the Supreme Court of the United States. In the ruling, Bush v. Gore, the Florida recount was called unconstitutional and that no constitutionally valid recount could be completed by the December 12 deadline, effectively ending the recounts. This 7-2 vote ruled that the standards the Florida Supreme Court provided for a recount as unconstitutional due to violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and further ruled 5-4 that no constitutionally valid recount could be completed by the December 12 deadline.
This case ordered an end to recounting underway in selected Florida counties, effectively giving George W. Bush a 534-vote victory in Florida and consequently Florida's 27 electoral votes and the presidency. The results of the decision led to Gore winning the popular vote by approximately 500,000 votes nationwide, but receiving 266 electoral votes to Bush's 271 (one DC Elector abstained). Gore strongly disagreed with the Court's decision, but decided "for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession."
The election was one of the most controversial in recent American history.
Initially, Al Gore was a potential candidate for the 2004 Presidential Election leading to the creation of the bumper sticker "Re-elect Gore in 2004!" On December 16, 2002, however, Gore announced that he would not run in 2004, stating, "I personally have the energy and drive and ambition to make another campaign, but I don't think it's the right thing for me to do [...] I think that a campaign that would be a rematch between myself and President Bush would inevitably involve a focus on the past that would in some measure distract from the focus on the future that I think all campaigns have to be about." Despite Gore taking himself out of the race, a handful of his supporters formed a national campaign to "draft" him into running.
The draft effort came to an end in December 2003 when Gore publicly endorsed Governor of Vermont Howard Dean (over his former running mate Lieberman) weeks before the first primary of the election cycle. Dean's candidacy eventually failed and he left the race in February, 2004. On February 9, 2004, the eve of the Tennessee primary, Gore gave what some 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. 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 John Kerry as the presumptive Democratic nominee.
On April 28, 2004, Gore announced that he would be donating $6 million to support Kerry and Democratic Party groups. Drawing from his funds left over from his 2000 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.
In July 2004, Gore opened the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He stated, "Let's make sure that this time every vote is counted. 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." In reference to third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Gore also stated, "I also ask tonight for the help of those who supported a third- party candidate in 2000. I urge you to ask yourselves this question: do you still believe that there was no difference between the candidates?"
Gore was not a declared candidate in the 2008 presidential election. However, as he did not reject the possibility of future involvement in politics, the prospect of a Gore candidacy became the topic of public discussion and speculation throughout 2007. There were also grassroots draft campaigns including one group which considered a write-in campaign for the New Hampshire primary on January 8, 2008, as well as a number of web-based organizations encouraging him to run.
The release of An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 and its subsequent acclaim increased Gore's popularity among progressives. After An Inconvenient Truth was nominated for an Academy Award, Donna Brazile (Gore's campaign chairwoman from the 2000 campaign) speculated on the possibility that Gore might announce a possible presidential candidacy for the 2008 election. During the award ceremony, Gore and actor Leonardo DiCaprio shared the stage to speak about the "greening" of the ceremony itself. Gore began to give a speech that appeared to be leading up to an announcement that he would run for president. However, background music drowned him out and he was escorted offstage, implying that it was a rehearsed gag, which he later acknowledged. Later that evening, his film won the Academy Award and speculation increased about his possible run.
A nationwide Gallup poll of 485 Democrats and Democratic leaners in mid-November 2007 showed Gore receiving 17 percent of the votes in a hypothetical Democratic primary, second to Hillary Clinton, tied with Barack Obama, and ahead of John Edwards. A previous June 29, 2007 article in the The Guardian cited a poll conducted "in New Hampshire by 7News and Suffolk University" that found that if Gore "were to seek the Democratic nomination, 29 percent of Mrs. Clinton's backers would switch their support to him [...] when defections from other candidates are factored in, the man who controversially lost to Mr. Bush in the 2000 election takes command of the field, with 32-percent support." An even earlier April 2007 Quinnipiac University poll of 504 registered Democrats in New Jersey showed Gore receiving 12 percent of the votes in a hypothetical Democratic primary, in third place behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
During the primary season in 2008, Gore's communications' director, Kalee Kreider, stated that "former Vice President Gore has no present plans to endorse a candidate." She also stated that, "he has not ruled out that possibility prior to the convention." Gore and "a number of other senior Democrats plan to remain neutral for now in the presidential race in part to keep open the option to broker a peaceful resolution to what they fear could be a bitterly divided convention." Gore has also expressed hope that one candidate will eventually be named through the primary process. On March 18, 2008, when Gore met with New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, he responded to questions from reporters concerning the election by stating, "Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. I have no comment. Thanks anyway. I am focused on trying to solve the climate crisis. ... Thank you. Great talking to you guys. Bye-bye."
Despite Gore's comments, on March 27, 2008, some speculated that Gore may have come out of a brokered 2008 Democratic National Convention as a "compromise candidate" (perhaps with Obama or Clinton as VP) if the party decided it cannot nominate either of the current candidates. Gore responded to this speculation in a March 30, 2008 interview with 60 Minutes in which he stated that he continued to maintain a neutral position on the subject of the election and is "not applying for the job of broker."
According to The Concord Monitor, "Gore was one of the first politicians to grasp the seriousness of climate change and to call for a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases. He held the first congressional hearings on the subject in the late 1970s." He also starred in the Academy Award-winning 2006 documentary film An Inconvenient Truth. The film documents the evidence for anthropogenic global warming and warns of dire environmental consequences if people and industries do not make immediate changes to their behavior. It is the fourth-highest-grossing documentary in U.S. history.
In February 2007, critics stated that "a report by the Nashville Electric Service revealed that Mr. Gore's mansion in Nashville consumed between 12 and 20 times more electricity than the average family home and that his electricity consumption had risen since the film's release in 2005." WKRN-TV reported that the Gore family obtains their power from the Nashville Electric Service's "renewable energy initiative," The Green Power Switch program. The Detroit Free Press also noted that "Gore purchased 108 blocks of 'green power' for each of the past three months, according to a summary of the bills. That’s a total of $432.00 a month Gore paid extra for solar or other renewable energy sources. The green power Gore purchased is equivalent to recycling 2.48 million aluminum cans or 286,092 pounds of newspaper, according to comparison figures on NES’s Web site." The Associated Press reported on December 13, 2007 that Gore "has completed a host of improvements to make the home more energy efficient, and a building-industry group has praised the house as one of the nation's most environmentally friendly [...] 'Short of tearing it down and staring anew, I don't know how it could have been rated any higher,' said Kim Shinn of the U.S. Green Building Council, which gave the house its second-highest rating for sustainable design."
Gore has also been criticized by those who argue that he maintains carbon neutrality by purchasing carbon credits from Generation Investment Management, a company for which he serves as Chairman. In response, a spokesman for Generation stated that "Gore is not profiting from his crusade against global warming" and that Gore does not purchase carbon credits from Generation. Instead, Generation purchases carbon credits from third party providers such as the Carbon Neutral Company to offset the personal emissions of all employees and their families, including Gore's. He also argued that Generation does not sell carbon credits, nor does it develop them—rather, they voluntarily purchase credits from others on behalf of employees. Other critics accuse him of attempting to make a huge profit from his global warming activism. However, Gore denies money motivates him to fight global warming.
Gore was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which was shared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, headed by Rajendra K. Pachauri (Delhi, India). The award was given "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change" on October 12, 2007. Gore and Pachauri accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2007.
Gore has been involved with the development of the Internet since the 1970s, first as a Congressman and later as Senator and Vice-President. Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn stated in the 2000 article "Al Gore and the Internet," that Gore was "the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development." His High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991 (often referred to as the Gore Bill) was passed on December 9, 1991 and led to the National Information Infrastructure (NII) which Gore referred to as the "information superhighway."
In a March 9, 1999 interview on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, Gore stated, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system." This statement was often misquoted by media outlets and led to the creation of a widely spread urban legend that Gore claimed to have "invented the Internet."
Gore has been a member of the board of directors of Apple Inc. since 2003 and serves as a Senior Advisor to Google Inc.
Gore's 2007 book, The Assault on Reason is an analysis of what he calls the "emptying out of the marketplace of ideas" in civic discourse, which, according to Gore, is due to the influence of electronic media, especially television, and which endangers American democracy; but he also expresses the belief that the Internet can revitalize and ultimately "redeem the integrity of representative democracy."
In the summer of 1999 Gore and his son summited Mount Rainier in Washington State.
Gore has been involved in education on a number of levels. He taught at four universities in 2001 as a visiting professor (Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Fisk University, Middle Tennessee State University, and UCLA. He was also elected an honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April 2007 and was inducted in a ceremony in October 2007 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Finally, Concordia University awarded Gore an honorary doctorate on March 22, 2007 during the Youth Action Montreal's Youth Summit on Climate Change in Quebec, Canada.
On September 23, 2002, in a speech before the Commonwealth Club, Gore criticized President George W. Bush and Congress for what he claimed was their rush to war prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Iraq. In it, Gore alleged that the war was a risk to America's reputation in the world, and questioned the legality of the Bush Doctrine.
In September 2005, Gore chartered two aircrafts in order to evacuate 270 evacuees from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was highly critical of the government and federal response in the days after the hurricane. On January 16, 2006, Gore delivered a speech criticizing President Bush's use of domestic wiretaps without a warrant. On February 12, 2006 at the Jeddah Economic Forum, Gore argued that the U.S. government had committed abuses against Arabs living in America after the 9/11 attacks "and that most Americans did not support such treatment." In January 2008, Gore posted a video on the Current TV website, in support of same-sex marriage. He stated that gay men and women should have the same rights.
Al Gore left a permanent imprint in the world of politics, serving in both houses of the U.S. Congress, becoming the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States, and running for president in the 2000 election, winning the popular vote yet losing by a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Yet, history may best remember Gore for his raising global awareness about the dangers of climatic change, in particular, global warming. In his post-political role of environmental activist, Gore won accolades in both the scientific world (a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for the "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change") and popular culture (starring in an Academy Award-winning documentary on the topic of global warming, An Inconvenient Truth.) In 2007, Gore helped to organize the July 7 benefit concert for global warming, Live Earth. Indeed, if Gore's warnings about the danger of global warming prove true, then his stature as an environmentalist will surely rise. It has been said that in his post-Vice-Presidential career, having apparently embraced a career outside politics with no intention of contesting high office again, Gore is more comfortable in his own skin. The wooden, somewhat dull Gore familiar during the presidential campaign has been replaced by a more relaxed, even charismatic Gore.
Gore won a Primetime Emmy Award for Current TV in 2007, a Webby Award in 2005, and the Prince of Asturias Award in 2007 for International Cooperation.
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