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Al Gore

Congressman, Senator, Vice-President, presidential candidate

Al Gore

Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. was born on March 31, 1948, in Washington, D.C., where his father, Albert Gore, Sr., was serving as a Democratic Representative from Tennessee. His father also served in the U.S. Senate (1953-1971) and was considered a possible vice presidential nominee (1956 and 1960). His mother, Pauline LaFon Gore, was one of the first women to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School. He attended the all-boys St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., where he was active in sports, art, and government, and spent his summers on the family farm in Carthage, Tennessee. After graduating in 1965, he attended Harvard University, from which he received a degree in government in 1969.

Despite being opposed to the Vietnam War, Gore enlisted in the U.S. Army in August 1969. After completing basic training, he was assigned as a military journalist to The Army Flier, the base newspaper at Fort Rucker. His stateside assignment ended in January 1971 when he was sent to Vietnam, where he served first with the 20th Engineer Brigade and then at the Army Command Center, primarily as a journalist. His enlistment ended in May of 1971.

Gore met Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Aitcheson at his St. Albans senior prom in 1965. She subsequently followed Gore to Boston to attend college, and on May 19, 1970, shortly after she graduated from Boston University, they married at the Washington National Cathedral. The couple eventually had four children -- Karenna, Kristin, Sarah, and Albert. (They separated in 2010.)

After returning to the United States, Gore became an investigative reporter for The Tennessean, in which capacity he uncovered wrongdoings on the part of some Nashville City Council members that eventually resulted in criminal convictions for bribery and other offenses. He also attended Vanderbilt University School of Religion, but dropped out of that institution in 1972. He entered Vanderbilt Law School in 1974, but dropped out in 1976 to enter politics.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, Gore was subsequently re-elected three times. In the House, Gore opposed federal funding of abortion, voted in favor of a bill supporting a moment of silence in schools, and voted against a ban on interstate sales of guns. He also held the first congressional hearings on climate change and co-sponsored hearings on toxic waste and global warming. In 1984 Gore left the House for a seat in the U.S. Senate, where he served until 1993. As a Senator, Gore authored and lobbied for passage of the High Performance Computer and Communication Act of 1991, which made expansion of the internet into a "worldwide web" possible. He also continued his efforts on behalf of the environment, and was one of only 10 Democrats to vote for the Gulf War.

In 1988, Gore campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination against Joe Biden, Gary Hart, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon, Jesse Jackson, and Michael Dukakis. He carried five states and finished third overall (Dukakis ended up as the nominee). He chose not to run for President in 1992, but did agree to be Bill Clinton's running mate. One of the most visible Vice-Presidents in American history, Gore was a key supporter of improvements in information technology, and for research into ways to improve the environment.

Gore made another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000, and this time won every primary. He and Republican opponent George W. Bush were virtually equal in the polls throughout most of the campaign, and election day saw the news networks constantly unable to predict a clear winner. Although Gore ultimately won a majority of the popular votes, which candidate would have the majority of Electoral College votes ended up coming down to a disputed vote count in Florida, whose Electoral delegation was large enough to swing the final tally either way. That vote count showed Bush as the winner by a very slim margin, leading many to demand that the votes be recounted. A recount was begun, but was subsequently stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court. The controversy ended on December 13, when Gore publicly conceded the election to Bush.

Since leaving public office Gore has become a successful businessman, author, and public speaker. He co-founded Generation Investment Management with David Blood in 2004, and liberal news channel Current TV with Joel Hyatt in 2005. In 2007, he and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on global warming.


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See Also

Nobel Peace Prize

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The Robinson Library >> United States >> Late 20th Century >> Biography, A-Z

This page was last updated on January 06, 2019.