Al Gore biography

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Al Gore biography

U.S. Vice President. Born Albert Arnold Gore Jr., on March 31, 1948, in Washington, D.C. His father, Albert Gore Sr., a congressman from Tennessee, served in the House of Representatives. His mother, Pauline (La Fon) Gore, was one of the first women to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School.
At once a Washington thoroughbred and a hometown Tennessean, Gore grew up accustomed to both environments. In the nation’s capital, Gore attended the exclusive St. Alban’s Episcopal School for Boys. In Tennessee, he worked on his family’s farm. Gore then attended Harvard, where he roomed with future actor Tommy Lee Jones. He earned a degree with high honors in government in 1969 after writing a senior thesis titled "The Impact of Television on the Conduct of the Presidency, 1947-1969."

After struggling with his conscience about his opposition to the Vietnam War, Gore, who was drafted for service that year, decided to enter the military. Though his father lost his next bid for the Senate, Al Gore Jr.’s decision to join the military helped allay the concerns of his father’s constituency about Al Gore Sr.’s opposition to the war. Gore served his time in Vietnam as an army reporter. When he returned to the States in 1971, he worked as a reporter at the Tennessean. When he was later moved to the city politics beat, Gore uncovered political and bribery cases that led to convictions. While at the Tennessean, Gore, a Baptist, also studied philosophy and phenomenology at Vanderbilt University. In 1974, he enrolled in Vanderbilt’s law school. Just two years later, he began to campaign for the Democratic nomination for Tennessee’s Fourth District congressional seat. When he won the nomination over Stanley Rogers, it was a big enough success to predict his win in the 1976 general election. After serving four terms, Gore jumped at the chance to fill the open Tennessee senatorial seat. He won the election in 1984. Among other things, Gore was particularly active in environmental issues. He played an integral role in the creation and passage of the 1980 Superfund bill to clean up chemical spills and dangerous land dumps. He has also worked for nuclear disarmament. In 1988, Gore made a bid for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. He won five southern states on Super Tuesday, but eventually lost to Michael Dukakis. Gore remained in the Senate until presidential candidate Bill Clinton chose him as his running mate in 1992.

They were elected into office that year and re-elected in 1996. While in office, Gore continued to display concern for the environment. In 1992, he wrote Earth in the Balance: Healing the Global Environment (1992). He also worked to cut back on government bureaucracy.

Though it was Clinton who came under fire so often during their terms, Gore’s political image suffered when he was investigated by the Justice Department in 1997 and 1998 for his fund-raising activities during the 1996 re-election campaign. Gore came under fire for, among other things, making a number of fund-raising telephone calls from his office in the White House—a possible violation of a civil service law that bars elected officials from using federal property to solicit campaign contributions. In both 1997 and 1998, Attorney General Janet Reno refused to assign an independent counsel to investigate Gore’s truthfulness when questioned under oath about his fund-raising practices. A renewed inquiry into Gore’s fund-raising activities began in the spring and summer of 2000, and the head of the Justice Department’s campaign finance unit again recommended that Reno appoint an special prosecutor. In August, after publicly defending her previous decisions in a June Senate hearing, Reno rejected his recommendation. In his 2000 presidential campaign, Gore faced down an early challenge from former Senator Bill Bradley, emerging victorious in every primary election. Bradley withdrew from the race in early March 2000, stating that he supports Gore and calling for unity within the Democratic Party. Gore emerged from the primaries unscathed, but is facing a tough race with the Republican presidential nominee, George W. Bush, and his running mate, former Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney. On August 8, 2000, Gore made his long-awaited announcement of a running mate, choosing Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut. Lieberman is the first Orthodox Jew ever to be named on the ticket for a major national party. His strong support of campaign finance reform is expected to help Gore deflect Republican criticism of his past fund-raising activities. Lieberman was also the first prominent Democrat to publicly chastise President Clinton for his admitted affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and his presence on the ticket will give Gore some much-needed distance from the less savory aspects of the Clinton legacy. Gore and Lieberman received their party's formal nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in mid-August.

Gore has been married to Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson, who he met at a school dance during his senior year of high school, since 1969. Known as “Tipper,” Mrs. Gore has been involved in the campaign for labeling of music that contains sexually explicit content. In 1999, Mrs. Gore also made news when she publicly spoke about suffering from depression. The Gores have four children: Karenna Gore Schiff (who has assumed an increasingly important role as an advisor to her father), Kristin, Sarah, and Albert III.

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