|43rd President of the United States|
January 20, 2001 - January 20, 2005
|Vice President:||Joe Lieberman|
|Preceded by:||Bill Clinton|
|Succeeded by:||John Ellis "Jeb" Bush|
|44th Vice President of the United States|
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
|Preceded by:||Dan Quayle|
|Succeeded by:||Joe Lieberman|
|United States Senatorfrom Tennessee|
January 3, 1985 – January 2, 1993
|Preceded by:||Howard Baker|
|Succeded by:||Harlan Mathews|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Tennessee's 6th district
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1985
|Preceded by:||Robin Beard|
|Succeded by:||Bart Gordon|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Tennessee's 4th district
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1983
|Preceded by:||Joe L. Evins|
|Succeded by:||Jim Cooper|
|Born:||March 31, 1948 (age 60)|
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
|Birth name:||Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.|
|Spouse:||Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" A. Gore|
|Alma mater:||Harvard University|
|Occupation:||Politician, environmental activist|
(formerly Southern Baptist)
|Allegiance:||United States of America|
|Service/branch:||United States Army|
|Years of service:||1969 - 1971|
|Unit:||20th Engineer Brigade|
Albert Gore, Jr was the 43rd President of the United States, serving from January 20, 2001 until January 20, 2005. His administration is notable for its strong protection of the environment, finally bringing the US into the Kyoto Protocol and beating its requirements by 6%. In 2004 Gore lost in his bid for re-election to Jeb Bush.
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. His older sister Nancy LaFon Gore, who was born in 1938, died of lung cancer in 1984.
Gore divided his childhood between Washington, D.C. and Carthage, Tennessee. During summer vacations, Gore worked on the family farm in Carthage where the Gores grew hay and tobacco and raised cattle. Each school year, however, the family lived in Fairfax Hotel along Embassy Row in Washington D.C. Gore attended St. Albans School, Washington, D.C., from 1956 to 1965, while his sister Nancy attended Holton-Arms School. While at St. Albans, Gore played on the varsity football team, threw discus for the track and field team, and participated in basketball, art, and government. Gore met the date of a classmate, Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson Tipper) from nearby St. Agnes at his senior prom in 1965.
Harvard, Vietnam, journalism, and Vanderbilt (1965-1976)
Gore enrolled in Harvard University in 1965, the only college he had applied to. Tipper, whom he had been dating since his senior prom, followed him to Boston, first attending Garland Junior College and later transferring to Boston University where she majored in psychology.
As a freshman, Gore planned to be an English major and was working on a novel. In 1967 Gore took a course on climate science from Roger Revelle which made a strong impression on him, influencing him in the direction of environmental concerns. He was not tremendously engaged in his studies until the upheavals of 1968 and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Gore took a political science course, developed an interest in politics, and changed his major to government. He and his friends, however, did not participate in Harvard demonstrations. John Tyson, a former roommate, recalled that "We distrusted these movements a lot because a lot of this stuff was very emotional and not well thought out. We were a pretty traditional bunch of guys, positive for civil rights and women's rights but formal, transformed by the social revolution to some extent but not buying into something we considered detrimental to our country."
Gore graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government cum laude on June 12, 1969. The Washington Post described his commencement ceremony as a "Sixties period piece" of tradition and chaos. This included the moment when "President Nathan Pusey delivered his time-honored welcoming of the graduates to 'the company of educated men,' [and] hundreds of seniors rose from their folding chairs, raised their fists in defiance, and walked out."
Vietnam War and journalism
In 1969, neither Gore nor his father were supporters of the Vietnam War. However, as a college graduate, he could no longer defer being drafted into the U.S. military. In addition, his "low draft number assured that he would be called up soon." In debating how to proceed, his father, Albert Gore, Sr., later recalled that Gore "sat around with his mother and I in the living room and talked about it. He said he didn't believe in the Vietnam War. I said, 'Well, it isn't given in our law for an individual to go contrary to the law.' We discussed all the various things young men were doing to dodge the draft." Also according to his Senate biography, Gore's "mother said that she would support whatever he wanted to do – 'including going to Canada with him.' " The Washington Post later added in 1999 that very few of his Harvard classmates went to Vietnam. Instead, "most of his peers at Harvard were looking for a way out, and finding one. Some took refuge in the National Guard or the reserves, options that might save them from Vietnam. A few resisted or became conscientious objectors or left for Canada."
Gore has stated that he finally enlisted in the army for two reasons: he was concerned over the impact it would have upon his father's career and he did not want someone with fewer advantages than he to go in his place. Al Gore, Sr. was engaged in a difficult political campaign for the 1970 Senate election, one which would have been adversely affected if his son did not enlist in the military. Al Gore, Sr., had authorized American involvement in Vietnam by voting for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, but by 1969 had become a vocal opponent of the war. Thus the elder Gore appeared to some to be "too tolerant of social protest of all kinds and of change in general [...] Young Al worried that if he found a way around military service, he would be handing an issue to his father's opponents."
Gore also chose to enlist because he did not want someone to go in his place. Actor Tommy Lee Jones (a former housemate) later recalled Gore saying that "if he found a fancy way of not going, someone else would have to go in his place." His Harvard advisor, Richard Neustadt, also stated that Gore, "decided that he would have to go and that he would have to go as an enlisted man because, he said, 'In Tennessee, that's what most people have to do.'" In addition, Michael Roche, his editor for The Castle Courier, stated that "anybody who knew Al Gore in Vietnam knows he could have sat on his butt and he didn't."
Gore refused the option of signing up for the National Guard, choosing instead to volunteer for the United States Army, which meant enlisting for two years (he served from 1969 - 1971). After enlisting in August 1969, Gore returned to the Harvard campus in his military uniform to say goodbye to his adviser and was "jeered" at by students. He later described the visit as a "Ralph Ellison experience in that I was the same person inside but my physical appearance conveyed a message that completely overwhelmed the message of my humanity. It was just an emotional field of negativity and disapproval and piercing glances that shot arrows of what certainly felt like real hatred, and I was astonished."
Gore had basic training at Fort Dix from August to October, and then was assigned to be a journalist at Fort Rucker, Alabama. In April 1970, he was "Soldier of the Month". On May 19, 1970, Gore married Tipper at the Washington National Cathedral.
His orders to be sent to Vietnam were "held up" for some time and he suspected that this was due to a fear by the Nixon administration that if something happened to him, his father would gain sympathy votes. He was finally shipped to Vietnam on January 2, 1971, after his father had lost his seat in the Senate during the 1970 Senate election, one "of only about a dozen of the 1,115 Harvard graduates in the Class of '69 who went to Vietnam." Gore was stationed with the 20th Engineer Brigade in Bien Hoa and was a journalist with the paper, The Castle Courier. He received an honorable discharge from the Army in May 1971.
Of his time in the Army, Gore later stated, "I don't pretend that my own military experience matches in any way what others here have been through [...] I didn't do the most, or run the gravest danger. But I was proud to wear my country's uniform. And my own experiences gave me strong beliefs about America's obligation to keep our national defenses strong." He also later stated 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."
Vanderbilt and journalism
Gore was "dispirited" after his return from Vietnam. noted that, "his father's defeat made service in a conflict he deeply opposed even more abhorrent to Gore. His experiences in the war zone don't seem to have been deeply traumatic in themselves; although the engineers were sometimes fired upon, Gore has said he didn't see full-scale combat. Still, he felt that his participation in the war was wrong." While his parents wanted him to go to law school, Gore attended Vanderbilt University Divinity School instead, studying there from 1971 to 1972. He later said he went there in order to explore "the spiritual issues that were most important to me at the time." Tipper would also later refer to it as an act of "purification." Gore also began to work the night shift for The Tennessean as an investigative reporter (he worked for the paper from 1971-1976). His investigations of possible corruption among members of Nashville's Metro Council resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two councilmen for separate offenses.
Gore attended Vanderbilt Divinity School on a yearlong Rockefeller Foundation scholarship for people planning secular careers; he had never intended to become a minister and later said that "he had hoped to make sense of the social injustices that seemed to challenge his religious beliefs." Gore left divinity school to work full time at the The Tennessean. His first child, Karenna Aitcheson Gore, was born on August 6, 1973. A year later, he took a leave of absence from the The Tennessean and returned to graduate study, attending Vanderbilt University Law School from 1974 to 1976. His decision to attend law school was a partial result of his time as a journalist, as he realized that while he could expose corruption, he could not change it. Eventually, however, Gore "took away no degrees, deciding abruptly in 1976 to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives" when he found out that his father's former seat in the House was about to be vacated.
Congress and first presidential run (1976-1993)
Gore began serving in the United States Congress at the age of 28 and stayed there for the next 17 years, serving in both the House (1976-1984) and the Senate (1984-1993). During this time, the Gores had three more children, Kristin Carlson Gore (born on June 5, 1977), Sarah LaFon Gore (born on January 7, 1979), and Albert Gore III (born on October 19, 1982) and bought the house belonging to Tipper's grandparents in Arlington, Virginia. Gore spent many weekends in Tennessee, working with his constituents.
House and Senate
At the end of February 1976, U.S. Representative Joe L. Evins unexpectedly announced his retirement from Congress, making the Tennessee's 4th congressional district seat to which he had succeeded Albert Gore, Sr. in 1953 open. Within hours after Tennessean publisher John Seigenthaler, Sr., called him to tell him the announcement was forthcoming, Gore decided to quit law school and run for the House of Representatives.
Gore's abrupt decision to run for the open seat surprised even himself; he later said that 'I didn't realize myself I had been pulled back so much to it.' The news came as a 'bombshell' to his wife. Tipper Gore held a job in the Tennessean's photo lab and was working on a master's degree in psychology, but she joined in her husband's campaign (with assurance that she could get her job at the Tennessean back if he lost). By contrast, Gore asked his father to stay out of his campaign: 'I must become my own man,' he explained. 'I must not be your candidate.'
Gore won a seat in Congress in 1976 "with 32 percent of the vote, three percentage points more than his nearest rival."
He won the next three elections in 1978, 1980, and 1982 where "he was unopposed twice and won 79 percent of the vote the other time." In 1984, Gore successfully ran for a seat in the United States Senate, which had been vacated by Republican Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker. He was "unopposed in the Democratic Senatorial primary and won the general election going away," despite the fact that Republican President Ronald Reagan swept Tennessee in his reelection campaign the same year.
During his time in Congress, Gore was considered a "moderate" (he referred to himself as a "raging moderate") opposing federal funding of abortion, voting in favor of a bill which supported a moment in silence in schools, and voting against a ban on interstate sales of guns. His position as a moderate (and on policies related to that label) shifted later in life after he became vice president and ran for president in 2000.
Gore sat on the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the United States House Committee on Science and Technology, chairing that committee for four years. He also sat on the House Intelligence Committee and in 1982 introduced the Gore Plan concerning arms control, to "reduce chances of a nuclear first strike by cutting multiple warheads and deploying single-warhead mobile launchers." While in the Senate, he sat on the Governmental Affairs, the Rules and Administration, and the Armed Services Committees. In 1991, Gore was one of ten democrats who supported the Gulf War.
Gore was one of the Atari Democrats who were given this name due to their "passion for technological issues, from biomedical research and genetic engineering to the environmental impact of the "greenhouse effect." On March 19, 1979 he became the first member of Congress to appear on C-SPAN. During this time, Gore co-chaired the Congressional Clearinghouse on the Future, along with Newt Gingrich. In addition, he has been described as having been a "genuine nerd, with a geek reputation running back to his days as a futurist Atari Democrat in the House. Before computers were comprehensible, let alone sexy, the poker-faced Gore struggled to explain artificial intelligence and fiber-optic networks to sleepy colleagues." Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn have also noted that, "as far back as the 1970s, Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship [...] the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises."
As a Senator, Gore began to craft the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991 (commonly referred to as "The Gore Bill") after hearing the 1988 report Toward a National Research Network submitted to Congress by a group chaired by UCLA professor of computer science, Leonard Kleinrock, one of the central creators of the ARPANET (the ARPANET, first deployed by Kleinrock and others in 1969, is the predecessor of the Internet). The bill was passed on December 9, 1991 and led to the National Information Infrastructure (NII) which Gore referred to as the "information superhighway."
After joining the United States House of Representatives, Gore also held the "first congressional hearings on the climate change, and co-sponsor[ed] hearings on toxic waste and global warming." He continued to speak on the topic throughout the 1980s. In 1990, Senator Gore presided over a three-day conference with legislators from over 42 countries which sought to create a Global Marshall Plan, "under which industrial nations would help less developed countries grow economically while still protecting the environment."
First presidential run (1988)
Gore campaigned for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States against Joe Biden, Gary Hart, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon, Jesse Jackson, and Michael Dukakis (who eventually won the Democratic nomination). Despite eventual defeat, Gore carried seven states in the primary, finishing 3rd.
While Gore initially denied an interest in running, he was the subject of speculation prior to his announcement: "National analysts make Sen. Gore a long-shot for the Presidential nomination, but many believe he could provide a natural complement for any of the other candidates: a young, attractive, moderate Vice Presidential nominee from the South. He currently denies any interest, but he carefully does not reject the idea out of hand." At the time, he was 39 years old, making him the "youngest serious Presidential candidate since John F. Kennedy."
After announcing that he would run, Gore ran his campaign as "a Southern centrist, [who] opposed federal funding for abortion. He favored a moment of silence for prayer in the schools and voted against banning the interstate sale of handguns." In addition, CNN noted that, "in 1988, for the first time, 12 Southern states would hold their primaries on the same day, Super Tuesday. Gore thought he would be the only Southern candidate. He had not counted on Jesse Jackson." Jackson defeated Gore in the South Carolina Primary, winning, "more than half the total vote, three times that of his closest rival here, Senator Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee." Gore next placed great hope on Super Tuesday where they split the Southern vote: Jackson winning Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia; Gore winning Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Nevada, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Gore was later endorsed by New York City Mayor, Ed Koch who made statements in favor of Israel and against Jackson. These statements further cast Gore in a negative light. The endorsement led voters away from Gore who only received 10% of the vote in the New York Primary. Gore then dropped out of the race. The New York Times argued that he lost support due to his attacks against Jackson, Dukakis, and others, as well as for his endorsement by Koch.
Gore was eventually able to mend fences with Jesse Jackson. Jackson supported the Clinton-Gore ticket in 1992 and 1996, and campaigned for the Gore-Lieberman ticket during the 2000 presidential election. Gore's policies changed substantially in 2000, reflecting his eight years as Vice President.
Son's 1989 accident, 1992 election, and first book
On April 3, 1989, the Gores and their six-year-old son Albert were crossing a street after a baseball game when Albert ran across the street to see his friend and was hit by a car. He was thrown 30 feet (9.1 m) and then traveled along the pavement for another 20 feet (6.1 m). Gore later recalled: "I ran to his side and held him and called his name, but he was motionless, limp and still, without breath or pulse [...] His eyes were open with the nothingness stare of death, and we prayed, the two of us, there in the gutter, with only my voice." Albert was tended to by two nurses who happened to be present during the accident. The Gores spent the next month in the hospital with Albert. Gore also commented: "Our lives were consumed with the struggle to restore his body and spirit." This event was "a trauma so shattering that [Gore] views it as a moment of personal rebirth" and a "key moment in his life" which "changed everything."
In August 1991, Gore announced that his son's accident had "left a deep impression on our family" and that it was a factor in his decision not to run for president during the 1992 presidential election. Gore stated: "I would like to be President [...] But I am also a father, and I feel deeply about my responsibility to my children [...] I didn't feel right about tearing myself away from my family to the extent that is necessary in a Presidential campaign." During this time, Gore wrote Earth in the Balance, a text which became the first book written by a sitting U.S. Senator to make the New York Times bestseller list since John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage.
Vice presidency and second presidential run (1993-2001)
Gore initially hesitated to accept a position as Bill Clinton's running mate for the 1992 United States presidential election. After clashing with the Bush Administration over global warming, he decided to accept Clinton's request and became his running mate on July 10, 1992. Clinton's choice was perceived as unconventional (as rather than pick a running mate who would diversify the ticket, Clinton chose a fellow Southerner, who shared his political ideologies and who was also close in age) and was criticized by some. Clinton stated that he chose Gore due to his foreign policy experience, work with the environment, and commitment to his family. Clinton and Gore accepted the democratic nomination at the Democratic National Convention on July 17, 1992.
Known as the Baby Boomer Ticket and the Fortysomething Team, The New York Times noted that if elected, Clinton (who was 45) and Gore (who was 44) would be the "youngest team to make it to the White House in the country's history." Theirs was the first ticket since 1972 to try to capture the youth vote, a ticket which Gore referred to as "a new generation of leadership" . Washington Bureau Chief for The Baltimore Sun, Paul West, later suggested that, "Al Gore revolutionized the way vice presidents are made. When he joined Bill Clinton's ticket, it violated the old rules. Regional diversity? Not with two Southerners from neighboring states. Ideological balance? A couple of left-of-center moderates. [...] And yet, Gore has come to be regarded by strategists in both parties as the best vice presidential pick in at least 20 years."
The ticket increased in popularity after the candidates traveled with their wives, Hillary and Tipper on a "six-day, 1,000-mile bus ride, from New York to St. Louis." Gore also successfully debated against the other vice presidential candidates, Dan Quayle (a longtime colleague from the House and the Senate) and James Stockdale. The result of the campaign was a win by the Clinton-Gore ticket (43%) over the Bush-Quayle ticket (38 %). Clinton and Gore were inaugurated on January 20, 1993 and were re-elected to a second term in the 1996 election. At the beginning of the first term in 1992, Clinton and Gore developed a "two-page agreement outlining their relationship." Clinton committed himself to regular lunch meetings, recognized Gore as a principal adviser on nominations, and appointed some of Gore's chief advisers to key White House staff positions [...] Clinton involved Gore in decision-making to an unprecedented degree for a vice president. Through their weekly lunches and daily conversations, Gore became the president's "indisputable chief adviser."
Gore had a particular interest in reducing "waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government and advocated trimming the size of the bureaucracy and the number of regulations." In addition, under the Clinton 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."
This economic success was due in part to Gore's continued role as an Atari Democrat, promoting the development of information technology, which led to the dot-com boom. Clinton and Gore entered office planning to finance research that would "flood the economy with innovative goods and services, lifting the general level of prosperity and strengthening American industry." Their overall aim was to fund the development of, "robotics, smart roads, biotechnology, machine tools, magnetic-levitation trains, fiber-optic communications and national computer networks. Also earmarked [were] a raft of basic technologies like digital imaging and data storage." These initiatives met with skepticism from critics who claimed that their initiatives would "backfire, bloating Congressional pork and creating whole new categories of Federal waste." During the election and while Vice President, Gore popularized the term Information Superhighway (which became synonymous with the internet) and was involved in the creation of the National Information Infrastructure. Gore first discussed his plans for the growing importance of information technology at UCLA on January 11, 1994 in a speech at the The Superhighway Summit. He was involved in a number of projects including NetDay'96 and 24 Hours in Cyberspace. The Clinton-Gore administration also launched the first official White House website in 1994 and subsequent versions through 2000. The Clipper Chip, which "Clinton inherited from a multi-year National Security Agency effort," was a method of hardware encryption with a government backdoor. It met with strong opposition from civil liberty groups and was abandoned by 1996.
Gore was also involved in a number of initiatives related to the environment. He launched the GLOBE program on Earth Day '94, an education and science activity that, according to Forbes magazine, "made extensive use of the Internet to increase student awareness of their environment". Gore strongly pushed for the passage of the Kyoto Protocol, which called for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Gore was opposed by the Senate, which passed unanimously (95-0) the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98). In 1998, Gore began promoting a NASA satellite that would provide a constant view of the earth, marking the first time such an image would have been made since The Blue Marble photo from the 1972 Apollo 17 mission. During this time, he also became associated with Digital Earth.
In 1996 Gore became involved in a finance controversy over his attendance at an event at the Buddhist Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California. In an interview on NBC's Today the following year, Gore 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, Gore had to explain phone calls which he made to solicit funds for the Democratic Party for the 1996 election. In a news conference, Gore stated 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." The phrase "no controlling legal authority" was criticized by some such as Charles Krauthammer, who stated: "Whatever other legacies Al Gore leaves behind between now and retirement, he forever bequeaths this newest weasel word to the lexicon of American political corruption." Robert Conrad, Jr. was the head of a Justice Department task force appointed by Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate Gore's fund-raising controversies. In Spring 2000, Conrad asked Reno to appoint an independent counsel to continue the investigation. After looking into the matter, Reno judged that the appointment of an independent counsel was unwarranted.
Soon afterwards, Gore also had to contend with the Lewinsky scandal, involving an affair between President Clinton and an intern, Monica Lewinsky. Gore initially defended Clinton, whom he believed to be innocent, stating, "He is the president of the country! He is my friend [...] I want to ask you now, every single one of you, to join me in supporting him." After Clinton was impeached Gore continued to defend him stating, "I've defined my job in exactly the same way for six years now [...] to do everything I can to help him be the best president possible."
Second presidential run (2000)
There was talk of a potential run in the 2000 presidential race by Gore as early as January 1998. Gore discussed the possibility of running during a March 9, 1999 interview with CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. In response to Wolf Blitzer's question: "Why should Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination process, support you instead of Bill Bradley," Gore responded:
- I'll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be. But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. 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.
UCLA professor of information studies, Philip E. Agre and journalist Eric Boehlert argued that three articles in Wired News led to the creation of the widely spread urban legend that Gore claimed to have "invented the Internet," which followed this interview. In addition, computer professionals and congressional colleagues argued in his defense. Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn stated that "we don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he 'invented' the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet." Cerf would also later state: "Al Gore had seen what happened with the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956, which his father introduced as a military bill. It was very powerful. Housing went up, suburban boom happened, everybody became mobile. Al was attuned to the power of networking much more than any of his elective colleagues. His initiatives led directly to the commercialization of the Internet. So he really does deserve credit." Former Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich also stated: "In all fairness, it's something Gore had worked on a long time. Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness, Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet, and the truth is -- and I worked with him starting in 1978 when I got [to Congress], we were both part of a "futures group" -- the fact is, in the Clinton administration, the world we had talked about in the '80s began to actually happen." Finally, Wolf Blitzer (who conducted the original 1999 interview) stated in 2008 that: "I didn't ask him about the Internet. I asked him about the differences he had with Bill Bradley [...] Honestly, at the time, when he said it, it didn't dawn on me that this was going to have the impact that it wound up having, because it was distorted to a certain degree and people said they took what he said, which was a carefully phrased comment about taking the initiative and creating the Internet to -- I invented the Internet. And that was the sort of shorthand, the way his enemies projected it and it wound up being a devastating setback to him and it hurt him, as I'm sure he acknowledges to this very day."
Gore, himself, would later poke fun at the controversy. In 2000, while on the The Late Show with David Letterman he read Letterman's Top 10 List (which for this show was called, "Top Ten Rejected Gore - Lieberman Campaign Slogans") to the audience. Number nine on the list was: "Remember, America, I gave you the Internet, and I can take it away!"
Gore formally announced his candidacy for president in a speech on June 16, 1999, in Carthage, Tennessee. He was introduced by his eldest daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, who was pregnant at the time with her first child. In making the speech, Gore also distanced himself from Bill Clinton, whom he stated had lied to him. Gore was "briefly interrupted" by AIDS protesters claiming Gore was working with the pharmaceutical industry to prevent access to generic medicines for poor nations and chanting "Gore's greed kills." Additional speeches were also interrupted by the protesters. Gore responded, "I love this country. I love the First Amendment [...] Let me say in response to those who may have chosen an inappropriate way to make their point, that actually the crisis of AIDS in Africa is one that should command the attention of people in the United States and around the world." Gore also issued a statement saying that he supported efforts to lower the cost of the AIDS drugs, provided that they "are done in a way consistent with international agreements."
Gore faced an early challenge by former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley. Gore challenged Bradley to a series of debates which took the form of "town hall" meetings. Gore went on the offensive during these debates leading to a drop in the polls for Bradley. Gore eventually went on to win every primary and caucus and in March 2000, secured the Democratic nomination.
On August 13, 2000, Gore announced that he had selected Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut as his vice presidential running mate. Lieberman became "the first person of the Jewish faith to run for the nation's second-highest office" (Barry Goldwater, who ran for president in 1964, was of "Jewish origin"). Lieberman, who was 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 further distancing him from the scandals of the Clinton White House. Gore's daughter, Karenna, together with her father's former Harvard roommate Tommy Lee Jones, officially nominated Gore as the Democratic presidential candidate during the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Gore accepted his party's nomination and spoke about the major themes of his campaign, stating in particular his plan to extend Medicare to pay for prescription drugs, to work for a sensible universal health-care system. Soon after the convention, with running mate Joe Lieberman, Gore hit the campaign trail. He and Bush were deadlocked in the polls. Gore and Bush participated in three televised debates. While both sides claimed victory after each, Gore was critiqued as either too stiff, too reticent, or too aggressive in contrast to Bush.
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. Florida's Republican Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, eventually certified Florida's vote count. 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 were unconstitutional due to violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and further ruled five to four 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 Gore a 129 vote victory in Florida and consequently Florida's 25 electoral votes and the presidency. The results of the decision led to Gore winning the popular vote by approximately 500,000 votes nationwide, and receiving 289 electoral votes to Bush's 246 (1 District of Columbia Elector abstained). On December 26, 2000, Bush conceded the election. Bush strongly disagreed with the Court's decision, but in his concession speech stated that, "in order for our people, to remain in a state of unity, and maintain the workings of democracy, I offer my concession."
Immediately upon assuming the office of President, Gore began to look into legislation that would ensure that America would become a "Green Nation". He envisioned that America, by 2010, should be freed of the need of foreign oil resources, and that emissions would be reduced by 85% of their 2000 levels. However, on September 11, 2001, all the plans were put on hold when members of the terrorist organization, Al Qaeda, hijacked four airliners from Logan and San Francisco airports. Two later hit the World Trade Centers, another into the Pentagon, and the fourth tried to hit the Statue of Liberty. This was prevented by the passengers, who were able to retake the aircraft and crash it into the Hudson River. Of the 40 Americans that were on board, only 23 survived the crash landing among them was Todd Beamer. The Twin Towers in New York were demolished, and over 2000 people were killed. It went down in history as the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor, and Al Gore demanded that the perpetrator be brought to justice.
Seeking to find Osama Bin Laden, who had been known to plan the attacks, had become the goal of every American that day. Afghanistan became the main target of the thrust against Islamic extremism, as the Taliban, which governed the country, had allowed for Al Qaeda and other fundamentalist terrorist groups to operate and train within their borders. A short air campaign was started on October 7th, and by November, 150,000 American and NATO troops had ousted the Taliban government and occupied the country. However, many of the Taliban, including Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, had escaped into what is known as Warzistan, in the North-West of Pakistan. Therefore, in a joint operation with Pakistan, NATO forces poured into the region and, within two weeks, had ended all resistance that remained. However, Osama Bin Laden could not be found, and his whereabouts became inconclusive. The US quickly turned to a policy of modernizing Afghanistan, eventually making it an ally equivalent to Iran during the fifties. By January of 2003, the last of the occupation troops returned home from Afghanistan, though a force of 1500 men remained to ensure that stability and continue the training of the armed forces. Al Gore's popularity was now at an all-time high, and it was expected that his next term would come easily.
However, a genocide was now occurring in Sudan, being supposedly funded by the Sudanese government through Janjaweed. It was also found that among the leaders was Osama Bin Laden. Therefore, in on June 26th of 2003, Al Gore asked the UN for permission to commit a police action against Sudan, which involved the occupation of Darfur, and initiation of combat operations with Islamic militants. The UN security council, despite strong support, was forced to veto the operation by China and Russia, which in turn resulted in the freezing of relations with the West. To many, it was unbelievable that they could simply ignore the crisis that was developing in the region. However, Al Gore had expected this, and beforehand had created, in conjunction with NATO and the African Union, established Operation Darfur Peace. Lieberman personally traveled to Chad and Central Africa to ensure their commitments, both having been troubled by terrorists also believed to be funded by Sudan.
On July 5th, 2003, Operation Darfur Peace was a go. 500,000 US, NATO, and African Union forces crossed into Western Sudan, aiming at occupying the Darfur region, while also striking South to Malakal and Southern Sudan. Also known as the Malakal-Cyrecin Line, the plan was to occupy up to this line, consolidate, and then advance toward Khartoum up the Nile. Coalition forces quickly managed to advance to this line, but after this point, the plan unraveled. Upon the Coalition reaching the city of Kusti, the Sudanese military quickly dug into the city and established fortifications. At the same time, suicide attacks were on the rise, mostly in Darfur where resistance by Janjaweed and Al Qaeda was on the rise. The Battle of Kusti lasted for three weeks, costing the lives of 468 US soldiers and 1236 Allied soldiers, at the cost of over 10,000 Sudanese. At this point, Al Gore had begun to rethink his actions, and offered the First Treaty of Juba. The Sudanese, however, rejected it. American Opinion of the war was also waning, as it was expected that the war would be quick, similar to that of Afghanistan; from a high of 97 percent, support now had dropped to 64 percent.
By February of 2004, Coalition forces were finally ready to advance into Khartoum, but the experiences in Kusti made the military hesitate, which allowed Sudanese soldiers additional time to prepare for the assault. NATO command at this point changed the plan, where they would occupy the coast, cutting off Sudan's ability to procure munitions, and then advance into the city. Coalition forces landed on the coastlines near Port Sudan and Sawakin, overwhelming the divisions stationed there, and quickly occupied the remainder of the Eastern Nile region. Then with Khartoum surrounded, the go was given to occupy the city. The battles in Omdurmamn and Khartoum quickly became the bloodiest of the war, lasting for over two months, and costing the lives of over 12,000 Coalition soldiers, excluding the 3420 Americans. Countless Sudanese, civilians and soldiers alike, lost their lives.
By November, Al Gore's popularity was at its lowest point yet, around 43 percent. Though succeeding in removing the reactionary government, the two major objectives still remained to be accomplished; Sudan still remained to be stabilized, and Bin Laden had again escaped, though it was quickly narrowed to Somalia. However, because of the nature of Sudan, and the the fear he may not get reelected, Operation Black Hawk was put on hold. Al Gore lost in his reelection to Jeb Bush after an initially close race, fifty six to forty four. When Gore left office in January of 2005, Sudan remained in turmoil, the Republicans had a super-majority in Congress, and many of his planned initiatives remained inactive or underfunded.
The Gore Administration
President: Al Gore
Vice President: Joe Lieberman
Secretary of State: Richard Holbrooke
Secretary of the Treasury: Robert Reich
Secretary of Defense: Sandy Berger
Attorney General: Joseph Biden
Secretary of the Interior: Tom Harkin
Secretary of Agriculture: John Culver
Secretary of Labor: Max Baucus
Secretary of Commerce: Steve Jobs
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Carole Mosley-Braun
Secretary of Energy: Bill Richardson
Secretary of Education: Jeane Shaheen
Secretary of Transportation: Buddy MacKay
Secretary of Veterans Affairs: John Kerry
Al Gore was not well liked by many of the larger industries in the United States, mainly due to his adoption of the "green America" plan, which saw America reforming to entirely renewable energy by the time of his administration. Shortly after entering office, Gore and Lieberman saw passage of the revolutionary Carbon Emission Buyout Act. Also passed were bills that saw the start of 200 new nuclear plants along the East and West coasts, grants to businesses that used renewable fuel, and also extra taxes on those that did not. However, he largely did not intervene in the activities of the big business companies, due to the large effort put upon the United States in both Afghanistan and Sudan.
Prevention of 9/11
In August of 2001 Gore received a memo that Al Qaeda was planning an attack on the US using airplanes, and subsequently grounded all commercial flights until he implemented impenetrable cockpit doors, an act proposed by Ralph Nader back in 1988. The failed hijacking attempt of September 11 greatly boosted his credibility with the American people, and assisted him in passing some of his environmental initiatives.
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