Al Gore

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For the Senior Al Gore, see Albert Gore, Sr.
Albert Arnold Gore Jr.
Al Gore
Order: 45th Vice President
Term of Office: January 20, 1993
January 20, 2001
Preceded by: Dan Quayle
Succeeded by: Dick Cheney
Date of Birth March 31, 1948
Place of Birth: Washington, DC
Wife: Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore
Profession: Journalist, Businessman
Political Party: Democrat
President: Bill Clinton

Albert Arnold Gore Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is a former American politician and current businessman, who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He ran for President in 2000 following Bill Clinton's two four-year terms, but was narrowly defeated by the Republican candidate George W. Bush in a bitterly contested election that included multiple recounts and a Supreme Court decision that effectively decided the election in favor of Bush. While Gore received the most popular votes, the states Bush won gave him a majority in the U.S. Electoral College and Bush was elected President. The election remains one of the most divisive and controversial topics in recent American politics.

Gore currently serves as President of the American televison channel Current and Chairman of Generation Investment Management, sits on the board of directors of Apple Computer, and serves as an unofficial advisor to Google's senior management. Although speculation about a possible presidential run in 2008 still continues, he has repeatedly stated that he does not plan to return to politics.


Early and personal life


Al Gore was born in Washington, DC to Albert A. Gore Sr. and Pauline LaFon Gore. Since his father was a veteran Democratic senator from Tennessee, Al Gore Jr. divided his childhood between Washington, DC and Carthage, Tennessee.

During the school year, the younger Gore lived in a hotel in Washington, where he attended the Sheridan School, and later the elite St. Albans School; during summer vacations, he lived in Carthage, where he worked on the Gore family farm.

For more information on Gore's academic records, see [1]

In 1965, Gore enrolled at Harvard College, where he majored in government. His roommate (in Dunster House) was actor Tommy Lee Jones. Gore graduated from Harvard in June of 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In 1970, Gore married Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson (Tipper Gore), whom he had first met many years before at his high school senior prom (St. Albans School in Washington, DC). They have four children: Karenna (born August 6, 1973), married to Drew Schiff; Kristin (born June 5, 1977); Sarah (born January 7, 1979); and Al III (born October 19, 1982). The Gores also have two grandchildren: Wyatt (born July 4, 1999) and Anna Schiff.

The Gores now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, and own a small farm near Carthage, Tennessee. The family attends New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Carthage.

Vietnam War service

Vietnam and journalism

Although opposed to the Vietnam war, on August 7, 1969, Gore enrolled in the army to participate in the Vietnam War effort. After completing training as a military journalist, Gore shipped to Vietnam in early 1971. He served as an Army war correspondent until May 24 of that year, slightly less than two years after he enlisted.

For more information on Gore's Vietnam service, see: [2], [3], [4], as well as further information below.

After returning from Vietnam, Gore spent five years as a reporter for the Tennessean, a newspaper headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. During this time, Gore also attended Vanderbilt Divinity School and Law School, although he did not complete a degree at either, choosing instead to run for an open seat in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District. Gore's mother was a member of Vanderbilt Law School's first class to accept women.

Military service

Gore served as a field reporter in Vietnam for five months.
Gore served as a field reporter in Vietnam for five months.

Gore served in the Army from August 1969 to May 1971. The chronology of his military service is as follows:

  • August 1969: Enlisted at the Newark, New Jersey recruiting office.
  • August to October 1969: 8 weeks of basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey
  • Late October 1969 to December 1970: Fort Rucker, Alabama, on-the-job occupational training at the Army Flier newspaper.
  • January 1971 to May 1971: field reporter in Vietnam, part of the 20th Engineer Brigade, stationed primarily at Bien Hoa Air Base near Saigon.
  • May 24, 1971: Discharged, after granting of routine early discharge request, as part of general troop reductions.

Gore stated many times that he opposed the Vietnam War, but chose to enlist anyway. Some observers have noted that Gore could have avoided Vietnam in a number of ways. Gore considered all these options, but said that his sense of civic duty compelled him to serve. Some have suggested that Gore already foresaw that military service might be advantageous in his future career in politics.

Gore was not shipped immediately to Vietnam after completing basic training, spending most of his term in Fort Rucker. During the 2000 presidential election, some conservatives accused Al Gore of insufficient military service, because he was "only" a journalist and spent only five months in Vietnam, which some sources have characterized as "less than half the standard 12 month Vietnam tour." Although it is true that he was a journalist, Gore served in the Army only 75 fewer days than the standard two-year term (the entire 20th Engineers was to be deactivated and shipped home that fall).

Because Gore served as a journalist, he was never exposed to front-line combat. Although some allege that his famous father's influence helped him to obtain this position, most military analysts agree that any man who enlisted with a Harvard degree had a good chance of being assigned a support specialty rather than an infantry position (even at the war's height, 88% of all servicemen were assigned to noncombat specialties). However Gore's decision to enlist for a two year term did mean that he would not be able to select his assignment, a choice which was available to three year enlistees, and that he was technically at risk of a combat assignment even though in actuality the chances of such were infinitesimal. According to Newsweek journalist Bill Turque's biography Inventing Al Gore (which does not shy away from criticism and scandals, such as charging Gore with smoking marijuana far more frequently than he admits),

Dess Stokes, staff sergeant at the Newark Armed Forces Entrance and Examination Station on the day he walked in, doesn't remember any communication from superiors about Gore. A kid with Gore's background (a 134 IQ and a Harvard degree), he said, didn't need to be a senator's son with high-level contacts to get the military job he wanted.

Once in Vietnam, some also allege that Gore received special treatment as a former Senator's son (Gore Sr. lost the 1970 election, and was no longer a Senator by the time Gore arrived in Vietnam). According to combat photographer H. Alan Leo, Gore was protected from dangerous situations at the request of Brigadier General Kenneth B. Cooper, the 20th Engineer Brigades Commander. Leo stated that Gore's trips into the field were safe, and that Gore "could have worn a tuxedo." These remarks seem to contradict Gore's many public statements;

"I carried an M-16. I pulled my turn on the perimeter at night and walked through the elephant grass and I was fired upon."(Baltimore Sun)
"I took my turn regularly on the perimeter in these little firebases out in the boonies. Something would move, we'd fire first and ask questions later." (Vanity Fair)
"I was shot at. I spent most of my time in the field." (Washington Post)
"I used to fly these things (combat helicopters) with the doors open, sitting on the ledge with our feet hanging down. If you flew low and fast, they wouldn't have as much time to shoot you."(Weekly Standard)

For his part, Gore has stated that he knew Leo but rarely traveled with him in Vietnam, and that he never felt that he was being given special protection. On the other hand, Leo's testimony is that Cooper gave the orders before Gore arrived, so Gore would not know about them. The question of whether Leo frequently traveled with Gore or not still has not been conclusively answered.

Turque's book, however, states that

[Cooper] said that he has no recollection of even meeting Leo, much less discussing Gore's safety with him. ...
The evidence indicates that if there was an official effort to guarantee Gore's safety, it was uneven at best. His clippings from the Castle Courier, the newspaper of the U.S. Army Engineering Command, and other publications suggest that he pulled his weight, which in his case meant choppering around to report features about the good works of the 20th Engineers... When Smith said he was scheduled to leave for R&R in Hawaii, the sergeant called for volunteers. Gore stepped up and spent a cold night in a foxhole. "Al did what everybody else did," said Mike O'Hara, the photographer who shot the Khe Sanh assignment...
Regulations allowed for early release of personnel to teach or attend school if their services were deemed "not essential to the mission," and Gore certainly qualified.

Gore stated 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.

Early political career

Al Gore speaks during a congressional hearing in the 1980s.
Al Gore speaks during a congressional hearing in the 1980s.

In the spring of 1976, Gore quit law school to run for the U.S. House, in Tennessee's Fourth District. Gore defeated Stanley Rogers in the Democratic primary, then ran unopposed and was elected to his first Congressional post. He was re-elected three times, in 1978, 1980, and 1982. In 1984 Gore did not run for the House; instead he successfully ran for a seat in the Senate, which had been vacated by Republican Majority Leader Howard Baker. Gore served as a Senator from Tennessee until 1992, when he was elected Vice President.

In 1988, Gore ran for President but failed to obtain the Democratic nomination, which went instead to Michael Dukakis.

On April 3, 1989, Gore's six-year-old son Albert was nearly killed in an automobile accident while leaving the Baltimore Orioles opening game. Because of this and the resulting lengthy healing process, his father chose to stay near him during the recovery instead of laying the foundation for a presidential primary campaign against eventual nominee Bill Clinton. Gore started writing Earth in the Balance, his book on environmental conservation, during his son's recovery. Earth in the Balance became the first book written by a sitting senator to make The New York Times best-seller list since John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage.

While in Congress, Gore was a member of the following committees: 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.

Vice Presidency

Vice President talking with President Clinton as the two pass through the Colonnade at the White House.
Vice President talking with President Clinton as the two pass through the Colonnade at the White House.

Bill Clinton chose then-U.S. Senator Al Gore to be his running mate on July 9, 1992. After winning the U.S. presidential election, 1992, Al Gore was inaugurated as the 45th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993. Clinton and Gore were re-elected to a second term in the U.S. presidential election, 1996.

During his time as Vice President, Al Gore was mostly a behind the scenes player. However, many experts consider him to be one of the most active and influential Vice Presidents in U.S. history. One of Gore's major accomplishments as Vice President was the National Performance Review, which pointed out waste, fraud, and other abuse in the federal government and stressed the need for cutting the size of the bureaucracy and the number of regulations. His book later helped guide President Clinton when he down sized the federal government. [5]

In 1993 Gore debated Ross Perot on CNN's Larry King Live on the issue of free trade. He is widely believed to have won the debate hands down, and public opinion polls taken after the debate showed that a majority of Americans agreed with his point of view and supported NAFTA. Some claim that this performance may have been responsible for the passing of NAFTA in the House of Representatives, where it passed 234-200. [6]

As Vice President, Gore instituted a federal program calling for all schools and libraries to be wired to the Internet. This was a culmination of work that he had started several years before. While serving in the Senate, Gore had introduced legislation which called for the creation of a new federal research center for educational computing to support an "information systems highway". [7] This later served as the tenuous basis for mocking from his opponents that he'd claimed to have "invented the Internet".

During Gore's tenure as Vice President, he was a strong proponent for environmental protection. While a senator working on his book Earth in the Balance, Gore had traveled around the world on numerous fact finding missions. On Earth Day 1994, Gore launched the worldwide GLOBE program, an innovative hands-on, school-based education and science activity that made extensive use of the Internet to increase student awareness of their environment and contribute research data for scientists. The insight he gained on issues such as global warming, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the destruction of rain forests is said to have played a major role in policy making for the Clinton administration. In the late nineties, Gore strongly pushed for the passage of the Kyoto Treaty, which called for reduction in green house emissions. [8], [9]

Because of President Clinton's inexperience and Gore's service in Vietnam and in the Senate, Clinton would often look to Gore for advice in the area of foreign policy. Gore was one of the first to call for action to remove Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević from power in 1998. Gore also supported Operation Desert Fox, the bombing campaign against Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein's unwillingness to cooperate with UN inspectors. [10]

During the Clinton/Gore administration, Americans enjoyed eight years of relative peace along with the longest economic expansion in history. It is likely that the prosperity which occurred in the Clinton/Gore years is due to Alan Greenspan-endorsed Clinton and Gore's economic plan which limped through Congress without one Republican vote, and Vice President Gore casting the tie breaking vote in the Senate. Gore attributes the following economic achievements to his administration's economic plan: [11]:

Vice President Al Gore works along side President Clinton in trying to negotiate a Middle East peace plan with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Vice President Al Gore works along side President Clinton in trying to negotiate a Middle East peace plan with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
  • More than 22 million new jobs
  • Highest homeownership in American history
  • Lowest unemployment in 30 years
  • Paid off $360 billion of the national debt
  • Lowest poverty rate in 20 years
  • Higher incomes at all levels
  • Converted the largest budget deficit, up to that time, in American history to the largest surplus
  • Lowest government spending in three decades
  • Lowest federal income tax burden in 35 years
  • More families own stock than ever before

Upon the end of his tenure as Vice President, Gore was considered by some one of the most active, powerful, and popular Vice Presidents in US history.

2000 presidential election

Al Gore and running-mate Joe Lieberman at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
Al Gore and running-mate Joe Lieberman at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

After two terms as Vice President, Gore ran for President. In the Democratic primaries, Gore faced an early challenge from Bill Bradley. Bradley withdrew from the race in early March 2000 after Gore won every primary election. In August 2000, Gore surprised many when he selected United States Senator Joe Lieberman to be his vice-presidential running mate. Lieberman, who is claimed to be a more conservative Democrat than Gore, had publicly blasted President Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair. Many pundits saw Gore's choice of Lieberman as another way of trying to distance himself from the scandal-prone Clinton White House. Lieberman was also the first Jewish nominee on a major party's national ticket. During the entire U.S. presidential election, 2000, Gore was neck and neck in the polls with Republican Governor of Texas George W. Bush. On election day, the results were so close that the outcome of the race took over a month to resolve, highlighted by the premature declaration of a winner on election night, and an extremely close result in the state of Florida.

The race was ultimately decided by a razor thin margin of only 537 popular votes in Florida -- an astonishingly close margin out of some 105 million votes cast nationwide. Florida's 25 electoral votes were awarded to George W. Bush only after numerous court challenges. Al Gore publicly conceded the election after the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore voted 7 to 2 to declare the ongoing recount procedure unconstitutional, on the grounds that it was not being carried out statewide, and 5 to 4 to ban further recounts using other procedures.

Al Gore makes a point during a presidential debate during the 2000 election as George W. Bush looks on.
Al Gore makes a point during a presidential debate during the 2000 election as George W. Bush looks on.

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 Mr. Bush would have won using the partial recount method of 4 strongly Democratic areas advocated by Mr. Gore, but that Mr. Gore would have won given a full recount of the state. [12][13].

The Florida election has been closely scrutinized since the election. Several irregularities are thought to have favored Bush; others may have given Gore an edge. Irregularities on the Bush side included the notorious Palm Beach "butterfly ballots", 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. Many Bush supporters, however, believed that an unfair advantage was given to Gore when all major news networks, early on, prematurely projected Gore as the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes at 7:52 PM Eastern Time. This happened before the polls closed in 10 small Florida counties in the heavily Republican western panhandle which are in the Central Time Zone, and thus closed at 7 PM Central Time (8 PM Eastern). Some have thought that this depressed the pro-Bush vote in that area -- although none have shown any proof that voters who were at home and saw the networks call the election failed to go vote in the last 8 minutes. [14] During the numerous recounts (which made the phrase "hanging chads" infamous in the American vocabulary), there were also allegations of both pro-Bush and pro-Gore tampering by low-level operatives in the controversial counties. [15] It is unclear what effect, if any, this may have had. And while the Gore camp, fought (with some success) to keep overseas absentee votes out in counties thought to be pro-Bush, Bush operatives similarly (albeit while drawing less attention to their efforts) prevented the counting of overseas absentee votes in strong Democratic counties. Both sides contended that the votes were cast after election day, and since many of the envelopes did not have cancelled stamps, it was not clear when the votes were cast. Reports later surfaced that many overseas voters attempted to vote only after learning of the closeness of the Florida vote.

Senator Hillary Clinton and President Clinton along with Vice President Gore and Tipper Gore at the White House on their last day in office.
Senator Hillary Clinton and President Clinton along with Vice President Gore and Tipper Gore at the White House on their last day in office.

Some commentators still see such irregularities, and the legal maneuvering around the recounts as casting doubt on the legitimacy of the vote; as a matter of law, however, the issue was settled when the U.S. Congress accepted Florida's electoral delegation, only after a challenge to the Florida electors was presented in the congressional chambers on January 6, 2001 by members of the Congressional Black Caucus who could not secure the signature of one Senator to bring the challenge to a debate.

Concern about the possible disenfranchisement of voters in the Florida vote 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 whose employees also count those votes. Although Gore won the nationwide popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, he lost the election by five electoral votes (with one DC Elector, pledged to Gore, casting a blank ballot to protest the District's lack of representation in Congress).

Gore lost his home state of Tennessee, making him the first presidential candidate since South Dakota Democratic Senator George McGovern in 1972 to lose his home state in a presidential election.

Joe Lieberman later criticized Al Gore for adopting a populist theme during their 2000 campaign. Lieberman said he objected to Gore's "people vs. the powerful" message, believing is that was not the best strategy for Democrats to use to recapture the White House.[16]

While running for president in 2000, Al Gore was used as a voice actor for the television show Futurama. He played himself again in another episode after the campaign was over.

For more information on Al Gore's 2000 campaign, see: Al Gore presidential campaign, 2000

For more information on the 2000 election, see: U.S. presidential election, 2000

For other information, see: Al Gore controversies

Post vice-presidency

Private citizen

Al Gore re-emerges in 2001 as a visiting professor with a beard.
Al Gore re-emerges in 2001 as a visiting professor with a beard.

Following his election loss, a bearded Gore accepted visiting professorships at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, Middle Tennessee State University, University of California Los Angeles, and Fisk University. In late 2001, Al Gore became a Senior Advisor to Google and Vice Chairman of Los Angeles-based financial firm Metropolitan West Financial LLC.

On September 23, 2002 Gore spoke in San Francisco to The Commonwealth Club saying: "We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power"[17]

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 Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live, appearing much more relaxed and funnier as a private citizen than he did while holding public office.

Al Gore hosting Saturday Night Live along side West Wing stars Martin Sheen and John Spencer.
Al Gore hosting Saturday Night Live along side West Wing stars Martin Sheen and John Spencer.

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. Gore also continued to visit campuses across the nation lecturing on issues such as race, media, and democracy.

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." [18]

In the summer of 2004, Gore teamed up with, 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 public debate on the issue.

On April 27, 2005, Gore gave an hour long speech lambasting the GOP's effort to do away with the legislative filibuster. In response to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who for weeks has repeated threats to impose the "nuclear option" if Senate Democrats did not stop blocking judicial nominees via the filibuster, Gore said, "Their grand design is an all-powerful executive using a weakened legislature to fashion a compliant judiciary in its own image. The Senate has confirmed 205 or over 95 percent of President Bush's nominees. Democrats have held up only 10 nominees, less than 5 percent. Compare that with the 60 Clinton nominees who were blocked by Republican obstruction between 1995 and 2000. What is involved here is a power grab," Gore said. Gore also took aim at what he called "religious zealots" who claim special knowledge of God’s will in American politics. He went on to say, "They even claim that those of us who disagree with their point of view are waging war against ‘people of faith.’ How dare they!" This was Gore's first major policy speech of 2005 and also the first one since the defeat of Democratic hopeful John Kerry in late 2004.

In May 2005, Gore was awarded a lifetime achievement award for three decades of contributions to the Internet. The Webby Awards, which are widely hailed as the Oscars of the web, "wanted to set the record straight" about Al Gore and the Internet once and for all. Tiffany Shlain, the awards' founder and chairwoman said, "It's just one of those instances someone did amazing work for three decades as congressman, senator and vice president and it got spun around into this political mess," Shlain said. [19]

In September 2005, Gore chartered two aircraft to evacuate 270 evacuees from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. [20] He was highly critical of the government and federal response in the days after the hurricane.

Speaking at an economic forum in Stockholm, Sweden in October 2005, Gore again stated that he has no intention of ever running for president again in response to questions from reporters. However, Gore said he could not rule the possiblity out completely saying, "I do not completely rule out some future interest, but I do not expect to have that." When asked how the U.S. would have been different if he had become president, Gore stated, "We would not have invaded a country that didn't attack us," he said, referring to Iraq. "We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families." "We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media. We would not be routinely torturing people," Gore said. [21]

In the past few years, Gore has remained busy traveling the world speaking and participating in events mainly aimed towards global warming awareness and prevention.

Television network

Main article: Current TV
Al Gore's Current official logo.
Al Gore's Current official logo.

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." The network was relaunched under the name Current on August 1, 2005.

Investment firm

In late 2004, it was announced that Al Gore had launched and will chair an investment firm to seek out companies taking a responsible view on big global issues like climate change.

Gore's group, Generation Investment Management, was created to assist the growing demand for an investment style which can bring returns by blending traditional equity research with a focus on more intangible non-financial factors such as social and environmental responsibility and corporate governance.

2004 presidential election

Al Gore shocked many when he did not endorse his 2000 running mate Joe Lieberman, but the outsider candidate, Howard Dean, in 2003.
Al Gore shocked many when he did not endorse his 2000 running mate Joe Lieberman, but the outsider candidate, Howard Dean, in 2003.

Initially, Al Gore was touted as a 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 many) 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." (However, that day happened to be the coldest day in New York City history. The cold weather in New York helped make this speech especially controversial.)

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.

Al Gore, who just four years prior accepted his party's nomination, speaks as a party elder at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Al Gore, who just four years prior accepted his party's nomination, speaks as a party elder at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

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.

In his speech, Gore stressed the importance of voting and having every vote counted, a point that foreshadowed the 2004 U.S. election voting controversies.

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."

Views and controversies

Main article: Al Gore controversies

Al Gore's views are categorized as being those of a liberal. Gore is a strong supporter of abortion rights, free trade, and strong environmental policy. He was a vocal opponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, although he did voice support to the invasion as late as 2002 [22]. Though Gore has gradually moved politically further left; he was once a moderate-to-conservative lawmaker. Early in his career, he was pro-life; his Congressional voting record was rated by the National Right to Life Committee as 84% anti-abortion. Through the late 1980s, Gore maintained that abortion destroyed innocent human life. He had adopted a pro-choice position by 1988, when he sought the Democratic presidential nomination. Critics have called his change as stemming from political expedience rather than conviction.

Gore has also been involved in a number of controversies. His views on environmental policy have sometimes been cast as politically radical, especially during his 2000 presidential campaign. His statement that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" to describe his sponsorship of legislation to fund the commercialization of the internet has been ridiculed significantly by media, although the statement was defended by Internet pioneers such as Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf [23]. Additionally, conservatives charged Gore with illegal fundraising at a Buddhist temple and illegal use of his government office and telephone for political fundraising in violation of the Hatch Act, although he was never indicted on such a charge.

External links

"The SNS Project" and *Al Gore

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Preceded by:
Howard H. Baker, Jr.
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Tennessee
Succeeded by:
Harlan Mathews
Preceded by:
Joe L. Evins
U.S. Representative, Tennessee's 4th District
Succeeded by:
Jim Cooper
Preceded by:
Lloyd Bentsen
Democratic Party vice presidential candidate
1992 (won), 1996 (won)
Succeeded by:
Joe Lieberman
Preceded by:
Dan Quayle
Vice President of the United States
January 20, 1993January 20, 2001
Succeeded by:
Dick Cheney
Preceded by:
Bill Clinton
Democratic Party presidential candidate
2000 (lost)
Succeeded by:
John Kerry
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Democratic Presidential nominees who lost at least one election

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