Al Gore on Principles & Values

2000 Democratic Nominee for President; Former Vice President


OpEd: Elian Gonzalez lost Florida for Gore & hence election

Returning a child to Cuba against his dead mother's wishes was too much to bear for Cuban-Americans. To most other Americans, however, reuniting a motherless child with his father was obviously the right decision.

The Elian Gonzalez incident was a watershed moment in Miami politics and in the history of the Cuban exile community. Its most immediate impact was felt in the 2000 elections. Arguably, it cost Al Gore the election. Gore lost Florida and the presidency to George Bush by a little more than 500 votes. Cuban American anger over the Clinton administration's seizure of Elian and dissatisfaction with Gore's ambiguous position on the controversy motivated most of them to vote to punish the administration. As for Elian, he returned to his father and Cuba, where he became an active member of the Communist Party and loyal supporter of El Commandante, the ridiculous title given to Fidel Castro.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.113-115 , Jun 19, 2012

OpEd: Media reinforced that Gore was prone to exaggeration

A couple of overarching themes and key archetypes dominated the 2000 presidential election. Clearly, there was a lot of interest in the horse race, but reporters also helped reinforce certain stereotypes of the candidates. Al Gore was often portrayed as dour, stiff, and prone to exaggeration, and George W. Bush developed the reputation for being affable and unintelligent. When the candidates played according to their characterization, the media reinforced the stereotype, and when the candidates played against type, the media often ignored them. So when Bush overestimated the extent to which he was being outspent by the Gore campaign, no one noticed. But when Gore misstated the cost of his dog's arthritis medication relative to his mother's, it reinforced the frame that Gore was dishonest. Similarly, when Gore made verbal gaffes, it got very little media attention, but when Bush mangled words, it received considerable press.
Source: The New Black Politician, by Andra Gillespie, p. 60 , May 7, 2012

OpEd: Stiff and aloof candidate, but formidable and tough

Al Gore was a talented man and an accomplished politician. Like me, he had graduated from an Ivy League school and had a father in politics. But our personalities seemed pretty different. He appeared stiff, serious, and aloof. It looked like he had been running for president his entire life. He brought together a formidable coalition of cultural elites & labor unions. He was plenty capable of engaging in class-warfare populism. He was also V.P. during an economic boom. He would be tough to beat.
Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p. 73-74 , Nov 9, 2010

A different kind of campaign: make climate change #1 issue

[When an interviewer] tried to ignore the critical content of Gore’s book, peppering him instead with wearying attempts to get him to say something about the 2008 race. “Listen to your questions!” Gore pleaded. “The horserace, and cosmetic parts of this...” [A few days later Gore], laid out his current platform most succinctly on NPR: “I’m involved in a different kind of campaign myself--to make sure that the climate crisis is the number one issue on the agenda of candidates in both parties. And I know that sounds like an unrealistic goal right now, but I will wager that by the time the elections of November 2008 come around, it will be the number one issue in both parties.“

And yes, maybe the only way to make sure that happens is to run for president, and Gore was very careful to leave the door open a crack.

He was already in the White House for eight years, remember, and failed utterly to make anyone in Washington care about global warming even for a minute.

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 86-88 , Nov 11, 2007

Son’s serious accident spurred interest in environment

My son had suffered a concussion, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a compound fracture of the thigh bone, and massive internal injuries as well as a bruised lung & pancreas & a fractured kidney.

I tell this story because it was a turning point that changed me in ways I could not have imagined. I asked myself how did I really want to spend my time on Earth? The environment had for years been at the forefront of my policy concerns, but it had been competing for attention with a lot of issues. Now, in this comprehensive and soul-searching rethinking of how I would spend my time, the global environment trumped other concerns. I realized that this was the crisis that should occupy the bulk of my efforts.

I believe I was handed not just a 2nd chance, but an obligation to do whatever I can at this moment of danger to try and make sure that what is most precious about God’s beautiful Earth--its livability for us, our children, future generations--does not slip out of our hands.

Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p. 69-71 , May 26, 2006

Every vote counts, and every election matters

I love this country deeply, and even I always look to the future with optimism and hope, it’s worth pausing for a moment, to take note of two very important lessons from four years ago. The first lesson is this: Take it from me-every vote counts. In our democracy, every vote has power. And never forget: that power is yours. Don’t let anyone take it away or talk you into throwing it away. Let’s make sure that this time every vote is counted. Let’s make sure not only that the Supreme Court does not pick the next president, but also that this president is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court. The second lesson is this: What happens in a presidential election matters. A lot. The outcome profoundly affects the lives of all 293 million Americans - and people in the rest of the world too. The choice of who is president affects your life and your family’s future. These challenges we now confront are not Democratic or Republican challenges; they’re American challenges that we must overcome together.
Source: Primetime speech to the Democratic National Convention , Jul 28, 2004

Religious persecution of the Iraqis is a terrible irony

[One Abu Ghraib prisoner of the US] was tortured and ordered to denounce Islam and after his leg was broken one torturer started hitting it while ordering him “to thank Jesus that I’m alive.” Others were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. What a terrible irony that our country, which was founded by refugees seeking religious freedom - coming to America to escape domineering leaders who tried to get them to renounce their religion - would now be responsible for this kind of abuse.
Source: Speech on Iraq, with MoveOn PAC at NYU , May 26, 2004

OpEd: Campaign better if Bill Clinton were more involved

We were left hanging around for ages waiting for Bill Clinton. He finally arrived 45 minutes late and did the rounds of Assembly members and we then met some of the leaders.

I spoke to several of the Clinton people about the Gore situation. They obviously felt the campaign could have gone better if Bill had been more involved. The Supreme Court judgment had basically been that a recount was unconstitutional so that was basically that. Gore was planning to concede 2am our time, then Bush would speak an hour later. Clinton was reasonably discreet but he clearly felt his legacy was at risk, that they lost by allowing the Republicans to neutralize the issue of the economy, by allowing their basic message to move leftwards, and by not using him properly. He was right on all 3 counts.

Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.483-484 , Dec 13, 2000

Take your souls to the polls

I feel it coming. I feel a message from this gathering that on Tuesday we’re going to carry Tennessee, and Memphis is going to lead the way. I feel it coming. I believe that on Tuesday morning, very early, before the sun rises, in congregations all across Memphis, you’re going to be saying, ‘Wake up, it’s time to take your souls to the polls!’
Source: Speech in Tennessee , Nov 4, 2000

His experience in Vietnam & Congress qualifies him to lead

Q: How would you lead during the mid-east crisis?

BUSH: It requires a clear vision, willingness to stand by our friends, and the credibility for people, both friend and foe, to understand when America says something, we mean it.

GORE: I see a future when the world is at peace, with the United States of America promoting the values of democracy and human rights and freedom around the world. What can I bring to that challenge? I volunteered and went to Vietnam. In the House of Representatives, I served on the House Intelligence Committee. When I went to the United States Senate, I asked for an assignment to the Armed Services Committee. I was one of only 10 Democrats, along with Senator Joe Lieberman, to support Governor Bush’s dad in the Persian Gulf War resolution. And for the last eight years, I’ve served on the National Security Council.

Source: (X-ref Bush) St. Louis debate , Oct 17, 2000

Campaign finance reform will help end cynicism in politics

Q: How will you engage youth in politics?

GORE: Sometimes people who have great dreams, as young people do, are apt to stay at arm’s length from the political process because they think if they invest their hopes, they’re going to be disappointed. But thank goodness we’ve always had enough people who have been willing to push past the fear of a broken heart and become deeply involved in forming a more perfect union. We’ve got to address one of the biggest threats to our democracy: the current campaign financing system. I will make the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill the very first measure that I send to the Congress as president.

BUSH: A lot of people are tired of the bitterness in Washington. There are a lot of young folks saying, you know, “Why do I want to be involved with this mess?” And what I think needs to happen is to set aside the partisan differences and set an agenda that will make sense. I don’t think it’s the issues that turn kids off. I think it’s the tone.

Source: St. Louis debate , Oct 17, 2000

Promises to get the big things right; sorry for exaggerating

Q: Do you think the voters should question the Vice President’s credibility?

BUSH: It’s important for the president to be credible with Congress and foreign nations. It’s something people need to consider. I’m going to defend my record against exaggerations. Exaggerations like only 5% of seniors receive benefits under my Medicare package. That’s what he said the other day. That’s simply not the case.

GORE: I got some of the details wrong last week. I’m sorry about that. One of the reasons I regret it is that getting a detail wrong interfered with my point. However many days that young girl in Florida stood in her classroom doesn’t change the fact that there are a lot of overcrowded classrooms in America and we need to do something about that. I can’t promise that I will never get another detail wrong. But I will promise you that I will work my heart out to get the big things right for the American people.

Q: Does that resolve the issue?

BUSH: That’s going to be up to the people.

Source: (X-ref Bush) Presidential Debate at Wake Forest , Oct 11, 2000

Judge me on my experience and platform

Q: Is character important in this race?

GORE: [Bush] may want to focus on scandals; I want to focus on results. I stand here as my own man, and I want you to see me for who I really am. I may not be the most exciting politician, but I will work hard for you every day, I will fight for middle class families and working men and women, and I will never let you down. I think the American people should take into account who we are as individuals, what our experience is, and what our proposals are.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA , Oct 3, 2000

Gore’s favorite things: Wheaties, Beatles, & kissing Tipper

On the Oprah Winfrey show, viewers learned that Gore’s favorite book is “The Red and the Black” by 19th century French novelist Robert Stendahl; that his favorite movie is the quirky 1983 Scottish film “Local Hero,” and that his favorite cereal is Wheaties. His favorite indulgence, he said, is water-skiing with his family on a Tennessee lake.

Winfrey asked Gore about the sloppy kiss he planted on his wife at the Democratic Convention. Gore explained that “this is a partnership and she is my soulmate.“

Winfrey had fun playing a game of ”favorite things“ with Gore. Favorite subject in school? ”Science,“ he responded. Favorite teacher: ”Dean Stambaugh, who was my art teacher.“ Favorite quote: ”Bob Dylan: those who are not busy being born are busy dying.“ Favorite time of year: ”Springtime.“ Favorite thing to sleep in: ”A bed.“ All-time favorite musical group: ”Beatles.“ Favorite meal: ”Chinese.“ Favorite childhood memory: ”Playing baseball with my dad.“

Source: Kevin Sack, NY Times on 2000 election , Sep 12, 2000

Make history with fewer than 1 in 10 living in poverty

Source: 191-page economic plan, “Prosperity for American Families” , Sep 6, 2000

Populist tone to commitment to fight for the people

In a fiery speech he delivered here on the banks of the Mississippi River, Mr. Gore placed Mr. Bush squarely on the side of pharmaceutical companies that he said gouge the elderly with high drug prices, insurance company “bean counters” who overrule doctors and major polluters who cut corners on environmental protection measures for the sake of profits. “They’re for the powerful, we’re for the people,” Mr. Gore said.
Source: David Barstow, NY Times on 2000 election , Aug 20, 2000

Running on his agenda of last quarter century

Al Gore said “I’m running on my own agenda, on my own voice and through my own experiences. The reason I’m going to take the risk of going into specifics is that I think people ought to know the issues that are at stake. Pres. Clinton gave us a foundation upon which I will build, upon which I will make a new start to include those who have not yet fully enjoyed the benefits of the progress we have made. I want them to know that the proposals I’m making for the future are rooted in my 24-year fight for working families. I want them to know that my proposal for regular open meetings as president is rooted in my experience in learning from the working families for whom I fought for 16 years in the House and Senate. I want them to know that my passion for protecting the environment is rooted in the battle that I’ve waged for almost a quarter century.“
Source: Richard L. Berke, NY Times, on 2000 election , Aug 13, 2000

Policies, not labels, define me

Q: Who are you, Mr. Gore?
A: I support the elimination of this don’t ask-don’t tell policy. I helped to pass the toughest new gun control measures in a generation. I believe that we ought to have total license ID’s for the purchase of new handguns. I think we ought to ban assault weapons and Saturday night specials and junk guns. I also am committed to the principle of high quality affordable health care for all. And I don’t really care what kind of label people apply to those positions and views.
Source: Democratic Debate in Durham, NH , Jan 5, 2000

Working to improve things overcomes disillusionment

Q: My students feel cynicism towards public service, the idea that politics is a dirty word. A: I know how they feel. When I came back from Vietnam, I was as disillusioned as anybody you’ve ever met. I thought politics would be the absolute last thing I ever did with my life. But as a journalist covering city hall, I saw how people rolled up their sleeves and tried to make things better. And I would like to work hard as president to communicate that spirit to young people.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 28, 1999

Practical Idealism: centrist on most issues

Gore’s motto is “practical idealism,” and he is, broadly speaking, a centrist. Some important distinctions are that Gore is a meddler [in dealing with government reform]; Gore hedges his enthusiasm for free trade with conditions; and Gore has kept his powder dry on pledges against raising taxes. Gore is inclined to keep Medicare and Social Security solvent by spending budget surpluses on them.
Source: The Economist, p. 13 , Jul 3, 1999

America’s mission: prove that freedom & diversity work

Our mission has always been to prove that religious, political, and economic liberty are the natural birthright of all men and women, and that freedom unlocks a higher fraction of the human potential than any other way of organizing human society. America has a [second] mission to prove to the world that people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, of all faiths and creeds, can not only work and live together, but can enrich and ennoble both themselves and our common purpose.
Source: Speech on 50th Anniversary of NATO, Ellis Island, NY , Apr 21, 1999

Reputation for uncommon earnestness and studiousness

Gore had served 8 years in the House and 8 more in the Senate, acquiring a reputation for uncommon earnestness and studiousness. No one was going to trump him when it came to seriousness. Stiff and plodding in his speech, he exuded a sense of diligence. A Harvard graduate, he boasted a whiz-kid mastery of the technical details of opaque policy issues such as arms control and, his current obsession, the environment. His book, "Earth in Balance," a diagnosis and prescription for the world's long-term ecological problems, had just been released and was on its way to becoming a best-seller.
Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p. 52 , Jun 6, 1994

Al Gore on 2008 Comeback

On 2008: “Been there, done that; not pursuing it”

“I wanted it, and it was not to be,” said Al Gore, the former vice president and two-time presidential candidate. “I am not pursuing it. I have been there, and I have done that.” Gore dismissed - with a combination of weariness and wariness, but with something approaching finality - speculation that his rising profile should be interpreted as the first stirrings of another bid for the White House.

“Why should I run for office?” Gore asked, the impatience evident in his voice. “I have no interest in running for office. I have run for office. I have run four national campaigns. I have found other ways to serve my country, and I am enjoying them.“

After a period in which he had worn out his welcome in some quarters, these have been days of some vindication for Gore, who likes to introduce himself as ”the man who used to be the next president of the United States,“ a melancholy reference to his defeat - a characterization he might be inclined to dispute - by Pres. Bush in 2000.

Source: 2008 speculation, Adam Nagourney in the NY Times , May 28, 2006

On 2008: can bide his time & raise Internet money later

Gore’s statement that he had no interest in running in 2008 approached finality but was not ironclad. It is not that Gore does not want to be president. When asked whether he thought he would have more influence fighting global warming in the White House or making movies, he responded instantly. “There’s no position anywhere equal to the president of the US in terms of one’s ability to influence policy.”

Yet as much as Gore wants to be president, his image and legacy-think the defining first clause in his eventual biography-could not absorb another race in which he lost again, or really lost. What that means is that Gore would only run if he was absolutely confident that he could win.

If Gore wanted to run, he would have no trouble enlisting the resources. Gore could bide his time before entering the race, confident that the power of the Internet would permit him to raise money almost instantly. Current praise from the netroots and left suggests there is a ready-made base just waiting for him.

Source: 2008 speculation, Adam Nagourney in the NY Times , May 28, 2006

Parallels to Nixon’s comeback from 1960 vs. 1968

There is a parallel for Gore in another president who lost narrowly, retreated to private life and then returned to win the presidency. His name was Richard Nixon. He lost to John F. Kennedy in 1960 in what was then the closest race in American history. Written off by the political establishment, Nixon went to New York and practiced law. Then in 1964, the Republicans took a drubbing with Barry Goldwater, and suddenly the uptight and sober Nixon looked pretty good. John Kerry came much closer to winning than Goldwater, but Kerry turned out to be a wind-surfing dilettante who in retrospect reminded Democrats they had a better candidate in Gore.

Gore is not anything like Nixon, but there is an underlying psychological subtext they have in common. Once you’re bitten by the presidential bug, you stay bitten. This is his Richard Nixon remake. The question is-is he willing to challenge Hillary Clinton? That’s a question not even Gore seems to be able to answer.

Source: 2008 speculation: Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, “Gore Redux” , Apr 28, 2006

Documentary reintroduces more likable Gore to public

Hillary just isn’t liked enough to be president. The presidential election is in large part a popularity contest-go back at least 30 years and you’ll find the winner was always the more personally engaging of the two parties’ nominees. Hillary may be smart and highly capable but she’s not liked.

That, I suspect, as much as anything, is the reason behind the sudden re-emergence of Al Gore in the last few weeks. The rehabilitation of the former vice-president is proceeding apace. Tanned, fitter, six years on from the nightmare of the 2000 election, he has a had a fresh start. Messianic now about global warming, with a well-received documentary on the subject, Gore now looks less like the man who lost in 2000 and more like man who won most votes in 2000.

But there is something else that could really propel Gore to make a run. There is nothing Al Gore would like more than to beat Hillary for the Democratic nomination. There’s history here: deep, bitter, personal feuding history.

Source: 2008 speculation by Gerard Baker in The Peninsula (Qatar) , Apr 8, 2006

Endorses Dean for President

Al Gore plans to endorse Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination, a dramatic move that could tighten Dean’s grip on the front-runner position. Gore, who won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in the disputed 2000 election, has agreed to endorse Dean in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood on Tuesday and then travel with the former Vermont governor to Iowa, site of the Jan. 19 caucuses that kick off the nominating process. The Gore endorsement comes just weeks after two key unions backed Dean’s candidacy. The approval of Bill Clinton’s No. 2 bolsters Dean’s case that he can carry the party’s mantle next November and represents more than an Internet-driven outsider relying on the support of largely white, upscale voters. It also helps Dean, who leads in state polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, as he tries to persuade Democrats wary of his lack of foreign policy experience and missteps on the campaign trail that his nomination is all but certain.
Source: Ron Fournier, Associated Press on AOL News , Dec 8, 2003

I intend to rejoin the national debate; 2004 options open

Declaring that “I intend to rejoin the national debate,” after more than a year of virtual political seclusion, Gore sounded tonight as if he were back in the heat of a campaign against Bush. The speech left no doubt that the former vice president wants to keep his options open. If he runs in 2004, his candidacy could not be dismissed. After all, he won the popular vote in 2000, and he is far better known than the other Democrats with designs on the White House.

Although Gore’s intentions are unclear, one certainty is that he is not devoting himself full time to politics. He is a vice chairman for Metropolitan West Financial Inc., a financial services company in Los Angeles. He teaches at several universities, and he is writing a book about family with his wife, Tipper.

The first crucial step if Gore were to run again would be to improve his political position in Tennessee. Gore was the first presidential contender to lose his home state since George McGovern lost in South Dakota in 1972.

Source: Richard Berke, New York Times on 2002 election , Feb 3, 2002

Laying groundwork for possible comeback

People close to Gore say he is not likely to reenter the public arena in earnest until this fall, and, in his deliberate manner, is still pondering “how he wants to emerge.” But as Democrats debate his political future, the candidate appears to be at least laying the groundwork for a comeback. He has been talking to supporters about establishing a policy institute in Tennessee, perhaps connected to Vanderbilt University, as well as a political action committee.

Gore believes he would have won the presidency if the US Supreme Court had allowed the Florida recount to be completed. But they say his victory in the popular vote has softened the blow, making his feelings of rejection less painful than they otherwise might be. Gore’s associates say there is plenty of time for him to decide whether to make another go at the White House. Many of Gore’s friends and advisers say that if they had to bet, they would put their money on another Gore presidential run.

Source: Susan Baer, Baltimore Sun , Jun 24, 2001

Al Gore on Bill Clinton

Friendly with Hillary in 1992; until healthcare taskforce

During the 1992 campaign, Bill and Hillary Clinton took several successful bus trips with vice-presidential candidate Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, where they bonded to such an extent that Tipper called Hillary her “long-lost sister.” “If there is a subject under the sun that we haven’t discussed, I don’t know what it might be,” said Al. So it seemed fitting that the four of them again boarded a bus three days before Bill Clinton’s inauguration, this time for a 120-mile ride from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Washington, re-enacting the trip that Thomas Jefferson had made in 1801.

Eight days later, Bill appointed Hillary head of the health-care task force, which was charged with developing a plan to re-structure the health-insurance system. The move took nearly all his top officials by surprise, including Al Gore. Bill had invested Gore with considerable responsibility, but his failure to confide in his vice president was a telling sign of the real pecking order.

Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith, p. X , Oct 23, 2007

Gore’s influence inevitably diminished due to co-presidency

It was a given in the White House, that Hillary, along with Bill and Gore, had to “sign off on big decisions.” But having what one adviser called “three forces to be reckoned with” added yet another layer of rivalry to the West Wing, where advisers knew they could lobby either the First Lady or the vice president to reverse decisions by the president.

The early conventional wisdom about the relationship between the president and vice president shifted from adoring descriptions of generational bonding to the prevailing media view that Gore’s influence would “inevitably diminish” as part of the “co-presidency.”

Hillary had an obvious advantage over Gore, because she and Bill had been on the same wavelength for so long that they communicated almost by telepathy. But Gore operated under the assumption that Bill took Hillary’s advice only when she claimed an issue as her own, and only when Bill would suffer emotional consequences if he ignored her.

Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith, p. X , Oct 23, 2007

2000: no Bill Clinton campaigning to dissociate from scandal

To avoid associating themselves with the president’s excesses, both Gore and Hillary made strategic decisions not to campaign with Bill publicly, even as he campaigned for both of them--considerably more for Hillary than for Gore--at private fund-raising events around the country. Hillary continued to vie with Gore for attention and money and to benefit enormously from Bill’s advice as well as from her First Lady perch, while Gore essentially left the White House and played down his relationship with the president. Gore’s attentiveness to Bill--especially through their weekly lunches--had kept their governing partnership stable. But during the 2000 campaign they stopped having lunch. In the absence of personal contact their misunderstandings multiplied, and they became, if not estranged from each other, at least disaffected.
Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith, p. X , Oct 23, 2007

Written agreement with Bill Clinton assigning V.P. duties

While Hillary held unique sway with Bill, he nevertheless had a close and effective professional relationship with his V.P. Before taking office, the two men signed a written agreement setting out Gore’s responsibilities for environmental, foreign-affairs, national-security, science, and communications policies, as well as a general advisory role. Bill also committed to a private lunch with Gore every Thursday. Gore was particularly insistent on the lunches, where he would arrive each week with a stack of material to cover. Gore knew “if the relationship was not nurtured, it would become vulnerable.”p>Bill’s panoramic but haphazard intelligence often benefited from Gore’s more rigorous and linear thinking. In some respects, Gore’s cast of mind was similar to Hillary’s in his quest for synthesis, his empirical thought processes, and his effectiveness in meetings, prompting one staff member to liken him to a “piece of artillery.”
Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith, chapter 1 , Oct 23, 2007

Shared power with Hillary but had bad relationship

Unbeknownst to the public, the new First Lady stood near the top of the administration’s hierarchy. The White House organizational chart had “3 people in that top box: the President, the V.P., and the First Lady. All 3 sign off on big decisions.”

Hillary had never had to compete for her husband’s attention on policy matters. Gore shared her passion for policy, though his interests were different from her. But, a Clinton official recalled, they were “both alike in some ways” in public, “too rigid & they don’t like to be challenged.“

The two ”never had a good relationship“ and vied over access to Bill. Hillary was upset that Gore had too much influence over her husband. Gore saw Hillary as too much involved in presidential decision-making. The bad chemistry was obvious to White House insiders. Before long, Gore would present an additional rivalry: he had been aiming for the presidency as long as Bill. He had his own plans, and they certainly did not include waiting for Hillary to run.

Source: Her Way, by Jeff Gerth & Don Van Natta, p.123-124 , Jun 8, 2007

1990s: Weekly private lunch, inviolate, with Pres. Clinton

Clinton insisted that one item on his weekly schedule remain inviolate. His private lunch with Al Gore could not be dropped unless there was a crisis or one of them was out of town. Though there was no doubt about who was the senior partner in the relationship, Clinton had come to rely on Gore as his indispensable chief adviser. Just as Clinton had mastered campaigning, Gore had mastered government, bureaucracy and even Washington.

At their lunches, discussion inevitably focused on the Clinton presidency. There were no two people who had more to lose if it failed, and by 1996 Clinton and Gore were heavily involved overseeing their reelection campaign.

Each week Gore had had a format agenda, but no subject was more sensitive or more important than the discussion of Clinton himself and his development and experiences as president. Clinton and Gore talked about it at length. Understanding the immediate past was central to figuring out a way to win in 1996.

Source: The Choice, by Bob Woodward, p. 13 , Nov 1, 2005

OpEd: Declining Clinton association in 2000 was disloyal

When Bill Clinton got in trouble, I did my best to defend him. I did it because I thought the Republicans were going way too far, but mostly I did it because in Boston that's what's known as loyalty. When a friend is in the right, it isn't a matter of loyalty to support him. That's easy. It's when somebody screws up that they need their friends. That's when loyalty kicks in.

That's what I could never understand about Al Gore: why he couldn't just go out on the campaign trail and say: "The man picked me; I've served with him; I'm proud of what we accomplished together." Why he couldn't show simple loyalty to the man.

A week before the 2000 convention, Bill Clinton suggested that his speech should make the case for what he and Al Gore had done for the economy over the last 8 years, and for staying the course. Clinton's idea was to have Al Gore walk toward the podium 3/4 of the way through that speech.

Gore's campaign declined, saying, "Gore won't do it. Gore's afraid Clinton will upstage him."

Source: The Case for Hillary Clinton, by Susan Estrich, p. 7&220-2 , Oct 11, 2005

Impeachment was a great disservice to a great president

[In the impeachment scandal], Al and Tipper Gore were as shocked and hurt as everybody else when Bill admitted his wrongdoing, but both were supportive throughout the ordeal, personally and politically.

On Dec. 11 and 12, the Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to refer 4 articles of impeachment to the full House for a vote. Two articles were defeated, two were adopted. Bill was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice. He would now be put on trial in the Senate.

After the impeachmen vote, a delegation of Democrats rode buses from the Capitol to the White House in a show of solidarity with the President. I inked arms with Bill as we walked out of the Oval Office to meet them in the Rose Garden. Al Gore gave a moving statement of support, calling the House vote on impeachment "a great disservice to a man I believe will be regarded in the history books as one of our greatest Presidents." Al's approval rating, like mine, soared. The American people had figured out what was going on

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.487 & 490 , Nov 1, 2003

Discomfort with Lewinsky because his daughter was same age

Gore's personal discomfort with Clinton had increased dramatically during the second term. There was the impact of the Lewinsky mess on his presidential campaign. Of course (the fact that Gore had daughters Lewinsky's age made his outrage over the situation all the more vivid). But far more important was Gore's almost pathological need to prove that he could stand on his own, outside the shadow of the political master--and perhaps outside his father's shadow, as well; his pride and discomfort paralyzed his campaign, compounding his natural awkwardness. Clinton grew frustrated with Gore over time--frustrated that Gore seemed intent on pushing him aside, frustrated by Gore's mortal clunkiness as a campaigner. Indeed, Gore ran one of the most inept presidential campaigns of the TV era. "I never understood," said a member of the Bush family, "why he didn't just turn to George in those debates and ask, 'Could you remind me, governor, just what is it about peace and prosperity you don't like?'"
Source: The Natural, by Joe Klein, p.201 , Feb 11, 2003

Criticism with defense of Clinton served the public interest

Q: Comment on your defense of President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
A: I was critical of the President. I also defended the office of the presidency against. a thoroughly disproportionate penalty for a serious and reprehensible personal mistake. He should not have been removed from office for that offense. In fighting against [Congressional] efforts to remove him from office and undo the act of the American people in twice electing him, I think I was serving the public interest well.
Source: Democratic Debate in Durham, NH , Jan 5, 2000

Al Gore on Campaign Themes

Thanks for allowing Clinton and me to bring change

Al Gore resurrected the name of Bill Clinton today as he declared to blacks and union members here that Tuesday’s election was about not only material prosperity, but also “prosperity of the spirit.” Gore said, “Thank you for allowing Bill Clinton and me to bring change.” Gore credited the “change” wrought during the Clinton administration to the strong economy, adding that “progressive policies are more easily pursued when we have a sound economy.”

Gore recalled the debt and high unemployment of earlier years and said: “Now, because you gave Bill Clinton and me a chance to change our economic policy, instead of the biggest deficits, we’ve got the biggest surpluses. Instead of repeat recessions, we’ve tripled the market.” From the pulpits, Gore said material prosperity was not enough. “The most important form of prosperity we need to focus on is the prosperity of the spirit,” Gore said at a church in Philadelphia.

Source: Katharine Seelye and Kevin Sack, NY Times on 2000 election , Nov 6, 2000

Top Ten rejected campaign slogans

    The “Top 10” rejected Gore-Lieberman campaign slogans, as presented by Al Gore on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Thursday:
  1. Vote for me or I’ll come to your home and explain my 191-page economic plan to you in excruciating detail.
  2. Remember America, I gave you the Internet and I can take it away. Think about it.
  3. Your vote automatically enters you in a drawing for the $123 billion surplus.
  4. With Lieberman on the ticket, you get all kinds of fun new days off. Vote for us, we’re going to work 24/6.
  5. We know when the microphone is on.
  6. Vote for me and I will take whatever steps are necessary to outlaw the term, “Whazzzup.”
  7. Gore-Lieberman: You don’t have to worry about pork-barrel politics.
  8. You’ll thank us in four years when the escalator to the moon is finished.
  9. If I can handle Letterman, I can handle Saddam Hussein.
  10. I’ll be twice as cool as that president guy in the “West Wing.”
Source: David Letterman Show , Sep 14, 2000

Stand for the people and against special interests

Will we stand up for the people? Or will we allow entrenched interests to take over the Presidency as well as the Congress? I’ve stood up to the big drug companies, the big oil companies, the insurance companies and the HMO’s. We’ve shown that we can put progress ahead of partisanship, to make gains that were once unimaginable: the first budget surpluses in a generation. Twenty-two million new jobs. Targeted tax cuts to pay for college and job training. The welfare rolls cut in half. Now, we can set our sights even higher. Imagine an America where no parent or grandparent ever has to choose between medicine and food and rent; where we honor the bonds between the generations, and keep Social Security and Medicare strong. Imagine an America that transforms education -- so that there is a qualified teacher in every classroom. Imagine an America where we cure cancer, ease the pain of disease, and let all our children breathe air free of pollution.
Source: Speech in Connecticut on special interests , Jul 10, 2000

Whose side are you on? The people’s or the powerful?

Gore used a version of an old union organizing slogan about choosing sides: “The fundamental choice has to do with whose side are you on. I want to fight for the people; the other side fights for the powerful,” Gore said. “That’s why the big pharmaceutical companies are supporting Governor Bush. That’s why the big oil companies are supporting Governor Bush. That’s why the big polluters are supporting Governor Bush. That’s why the HMO’s and insurance companies are supporting Governor Bush.”
Source: Alison Mitchell, New York Times, p. A12 on 2000 election , Jul 7, 2000

Earth in the Balance is a call to action and hope

This book is a call to action and hope. Whether our purpose is to preserve the simple pleasure of fishing in a mountain stream on an autumn morning, or the simple security of knowing that our children’s drinking water is safe, we have it in our power to restore the earth’s balance before the growing imbalance inflicts its greatest potential damage on our children and grandchildren. Today the human species is the only one with the self-knowledge and the capacity to protect its own future.
Source: New foreword to Earth in the Balance, p. xii , Apr 23, 2000

Domestic priorities: schools, health, enviro, & Reinvention

On his top domestic priorities: Bring revolutionary improvements in public schools; extend health care to every child and expand it to as many of their families as possible; protect the environment in a way that creates new jobs, and complete the Reinventing Government process and adopt campaign-finance reform.
Source: Interview in Business Week, p. 42-43 , Dec 20, 1999

“Stay and fight!” invokes passion, loyalty, and purpose

Gore unleashed a call to arms: “Stay and fight!” he cried repeatedly. The slogan pulled together the threads that Gore has been struggling to meld into an overarching theme: It suggested a passion that his critics say he has lacked. It enlivened audiences. It suggested focus & purpose-a rationale to his candidacy. It helps Gore underscore his loyalty to Clinton during his impeachment. And in a reference to Bradley’s quitting the Senate, Gore said, “I didn’t walk away-I decided to stay and fight.
Source: New York Times, p. A12, col. 1-4, on 2000 election , Oct 11, 1999

Four core principles of Reinventing Government

During his first few months as Vice President. Gore [brought] the best new management techniques from private industry, to make government smaller, smarter, and more responsive. - as well as setting an example of fiscal responsibility and emphasizing results instead of bureaucracy. The core principles of Reinvention are: -- Putting customers (the American taxpayers) first; -- Cutting red tape; -- Empowering employees to get results; -- Cutting government back to basics.
Source: (Cross-ref from Government Reform) www.AlGore2000.com/issues , Jun 14, 1999

Al Gore on Florida Recount

FL 2000: electronic voting machines subtracted 16,022 votes

On election night 2000, a computer "error" made it look like Gore had lost Florida--and prompted the media to announce prematurely that Bush was the winner. This happened in Volusia County, where an electronic voting machine company called Global Electio Systems (GES) was tabulating things. GES turns out to have been run by Republicans who were only too eager to see Bush take over. All of the sudden that night 16,022 votes for Gore got subtracted from his total in Volusia County. It wasn't until 2003, when a bunch of internal GES memos got leaked, that it became clear company officials knew all about this at the time.

I cry out to stop the electronic ballots, because any computer can be hacked into, as evidence shows. I say, stick with handwritten ballots. If you can't fill in the blank circle with a pencil, then you shouldn't be voting because we've been doing that since the first grade! Maybe the ballots still need to be hand-counted, but at least you'd have a paper trail.

Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p.180 , Apr 4, 2011

2000 recount strategy: count undervotes in just 4 counties

Following Election Day in 2000, we insisted that Florida law as it stood on the day of the election be followed to the letter, while the Gore camp tried to overturn Bush's lead by arguing that the law should be ignored.

The US Constitution and federal law required that Florida's election laws in effect on Election Day be followed. If they were, Bush would narrowly win the election. The only way Gore could overturn our victory was to get state and local officials to change the rules after the election had ended & recount votes in precincts where Gore was strong. Their aim was to find enough votes to put Gore into the lead, but not open up a statewide recount that would likely turn up more votes for Bush.

The actual Gore strategy was to get a manual recount of the "undervotes" in just four counties, all of which happened to be Democratic. The question was if that law would be followed or if election boards would throw it out and use different standards at different times to determine voter intent.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.201-204 , Nov 2, 2010

2000: Urged to recount all FL; focused on just 4 counties

Since working on his first recount, in Indiana's 8th District, Chris Sautter has been called in by the Democrats on virtually every nail-biter since. In 1989, he helped Douglas Wilder win a recount in Virginia and become the first African-American governor of that state. He met [recount lawyer Marc] Elias for the first time when helping Harry Reid win his Senate seat in Nevada in 1998. Election Night 2000, Sautter watched returns of the Bush-Gore battle at the DNC headquarters in Washington with Elias's mentor. As the night wore on, most of the calls started coming from Florida The next day, Sautter flew to Florida to help oversee the likely recount. At strategy sessions in Tallahassee attended by top Gore aides, Sautter urged them to seek a statewide hand count of all six million votes cast. The Gore strategy team rejected Sautter's advice, deciding instead to seek hand counts in only four counties. You know the rest.
Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 51 , Sep 16, 2010

Disagrees with Supreme Court, but accepts its finality

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. While I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. For the sake of our unity and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. In one of God’s unforeseen paths, this belatedly broken impasse can point us all to a new common ground, for its very closeness can serve to remind us that we are one people with a shared destiny.
Source: Concession speech in Washington DC , Dec 13, 2000

Concedes to Bush; now it’s time for reconciliation

Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States, and I promised him that I wouldn’t call him back this time.

I offered to meet with him as soon as possible so that we can start to heal the divisions of the campaign and the contest through which we just passed.

I say to President-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this country.

Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road. Certainly neither of us wanted it to happen. Yet it came, and now it has ended, resolved, as it must be resolved, through the honored institutions of our democracy.

Other disputes have dragged on for weeks before reaching resolution. And each time, both the victor and the vanquished have accepted the result peacefully and in the spirit of reconciliation.

So let it be with us.

Source: Concession speech in Washington DC , Dec 13, 2000

Gore will never stop fighting for the people

As for what I’ll do next, I don’t know the answer to that one yet. Like many of you, I’m looking forward to spending the holidays with family and old friends. I know I’ll spend time in Tennessee and mend some fences, literally and figuratively.

Some have asked whether I have any regrets and I do have one regret: that I didn’t get the chance to stay and fight for the American people over the next four years, especially for those who need burdens lifted and barriers removed, especially for those who feel their voices have not been heard. I heard you and I will not forget.

I’ve seen America in this campaign and I like what I see. It’s worth fighting for and that’s a fight I’ll never stop.

As for the battle that ends tonight, I do believe as my father once said, that no matter how hard the loss, defeat might serve as well as victory to shape the soul and let the glory out.

And now, my friends, in a phrase I once addressed to others, it’s time for me to go.

Source: Concession speech in Washington DC , Dec 13, 2000

Counting all votes removes cloud from presidency

Q: Why not just come out and turn the tables on them and say, “I believe I won the election. And I believe they are trying to steal the election”?

A: Well, I’ve never used the phrase “steal the election.” I think that’s an intemperate phrase. And I think that both Governor Bush and I have an obligation during this period when the votes are yet to be counted to try to pave the way for whichever one of us wins to be able to unify the country.

You know, the only way to avoid having a cloud over the next president is to count all the votes. Because our country is based on the consent of the governed, and the consent of the governed can only come through a vote by the people. And all the people who vote legally have to have their votes counted; that’s the basic principle. If all of the votes are counted, that’s the best way to confer legitimacy on the outcome of the election.

Source: Gore interview with CNN’s John King , Nov 29, 2000

Again offers statewide recount; Bush again rejects it

Two weeks ago, I proposed to forego any legal challenge if Gov. Bush would let a complete and accurate count go forward, either in the counties where it was proposed or in the full state of Florida. He rejected that proposal and instead became the first to file lawsuits and now, thousands of votes still have not been counted.

This morning we have proposed to the court in Tallahassee a plan to have all the ballots counted in seven days starting tomorrow morning. And to have the court proceedings fully completed one or two days after that.

Once we have that full and accurate count of the ballots cast, then we will know who our next president is and our country can move forward. Unfortunately, just about an hour ago Gov. Bush’s lawyers rejected this proposal. Instead, they have proposed two weeks of additional court proceedings and additional hearings right up to the Dec. 12 deadline for seating electors, and under their plan, none of the thousands of votes that remain would be counted at all.

Source: Gore Statement in Washington DC , Nov 28, 2000

Still have not had a full & accurate count

That is all we have asked since Election Day: a complete count of all the votes cast in Florida. Not recount after recount as some have charged, but a single, full and accurate count. We haven’t had that yet. Great efforts have been made to prevent the counting of these votes. Lawsuit after lawsuit has been filed to delay the count and to stop the counting for many precious days between Election Day and the deadline for having the count finished.

And this would be over long since, except for those efforts to block the process at every turn. Many thousands of votes that were cast on Election Day have not yet been counted at all, not once.

There are some who would have us bring this election to the fastest conclusion possible. I have a different view. I believe our Constitution matters more than convenience. So, as provided under Florida law, I have decided to contest this inaccurate and incomplete count, in order to ensure the greatest possible credibility for the outcome.

Source: Speech on primetime national television , Nov 27, 2000

Don’t set aside votes just because it’s hard to count

I agree with something Governor Bush said last night. We need to come together as a country to make progress. But how can we best achieve that? Our country will be stronger, not weaker, if our next president assumes office following a process that most Americans believe is fair. In all our hands now rest the future of America’s faith in our self-government. The American people have shown dignity, restraint and respect as the process has moved forward.

This is America. When votes are cast, we count them. We don’t arbitrarily set them aside because it’s too difficult to count them.

Two hundred years from now, when future Americans study this presidential election, let them learn that Americans did everything they could to ensure that all citizens who voted had their votes counted. Let them learn that democracy was ultimately placed ahead of partisan politics in resolving a contested election. Let them learn that we were indeed a country of laws.

Source: Speech on primetime national television , Nov 27, 2000

Offer to Bush: Hand count, then meet to show unity

Source: Statement by Al Gore on Florida recount , Nov 15, 2000

The presidency should not be decided by technical details

It is premature to declare this election over. First, votes have yet to be recounted by hand in Palm Beach or Volusia counties. A request for a vote count by hand in Broward and Dade counties is still pending. Second, the overseas ballots have not been counted. Third, Florida’s Secretary of State has said that this election would not be completed for some time. Fourth, serious questions have been raised about Palm Beach County. The Presidency should not be determined by technicalities.
Source: Statement by Gore Campaign Chairman William Daley , Nov 10, 2000

Resolve election according to Constitution, not in haste

I realize that this is an extraordinary moment. We now need to resolve this in a way that is fully consistent with our Constitution and our laws. This matter must be resolved expeditiously, but deliberately, and without any rush to judgment. Despite the fact that I won the popular vote, under our Constitution, it is the winner of the Electoral College who will be the next President. Our Constitution is the whole foundation of our freedom - and it must be followed faithfully. When our founders pledged their sacred honor to bring forth this republic, they affirmed the bedrock principle that the consent of the governed, given freely in an election process whose integrity is beyond question, is the living heart of our democracy. No matter the outcome, America will make the transition to a new administration with dignity, with full respect for the freely expressed will of the people, and with pride in the democracy we are privileged to share.
Source: Speech in Nashville , Nov 8, 2000

Gore retracts concession because Florida too close to call

Al Gore placed a call to George W. Bush between 1:30 and1:45 a.m. CST to concede the election when the media reported that he was losing Florida by 50,000, and all three networks had called the race for Bush. He then proceeded to the War Memorial Plaza to make a statement. By the time they reached the War Memorial, the count was down to fewer than 1,000 votes. Between 2:30 and 2:45 a.m. CST, Gore called Bush again. The conversation lasted a few minutes. Its contents are private.
Source: Press Release: Official Chronology of Events , Nov 8, 2000

Challenged Florida results based on Equal Protection Clause

The [Supreme Court] petition questions whether the use of standardless manual recounts violates the Equal Protection Clause. We find a violation: having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person's vote over that of another.

The question before us, however, is whether the recount procedures [may include that] the intent of the voter be discerned from ballots. The recount mechanisms implemented in response to the decisions of the Florida Supreme Court do not satisfy the minimum requirement for nonarbitrary treatment of voters necessary to secure the fundamental right. The want of those rules here has led to unequal evaluation of ballots in various respects. As seems to have been acknowledged at oral argument, the standards for accepting or rejecting contested ballots might vary not only from county to county but indeed within a single county from one recount team to another.

Source: A Patriot's Handbook, by Caroline Kennedy, p.183-185 , Nov 8, 2000

The small margin in Florida triggers an automatic recount

According to information supplied by the Secretary of State of Florida, with 99.9 percent of the vote counted, there is a margin of only 1,200 votes out of millions cast - with about 5,000 votes left to be counted. This triggers an automatic recount. Without being certain of the results in Florida, we cannot be certain of the results of this election. Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman are fully prepared to concede and support Governor George W. Bush if he is officially elected President.
Source: Statement by Gore Campaign Chairman William Daley , Nov 7, 2000

Al Gore on George W. Bush

OpEd: students saw Gore & Bush same as on domestic policy

[In 2000 as Harvard student], I volunteered for Al Gore's campaign that fall, chauffeuring guests around Boston during the run-up to the presidential debate there, but the sense among many students was that Bush and Gore were barely distinguishable on domestic policy: center-left versus center-right. The biggest campaign-related excitement was the arrival of riot police on the outskirts of the debate site to contend with Green Party protesters who were marching and chanting, "Let Ralph [Nader] debate." When Bush ultimately prevailed in the Supreme Court and claimed the presidency, it still felt like little would change from the Clinton era.
Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 39-40 , Feb 12, 2019

We face great challenge in restoring moral authority

Our greatest export has always been hope: hope that through the rule of law people can be free to pursue their dreams, that democracy can supplant repression, and that justice, not power, will be the guiding force in society. With this failure of the rule of law from our government, we face a great challenge in restoring our moral authority that derived from the hope anchored in the rule of law in the world and demonstrating our commitment to bringing a better life to our global neighbors.
Source: Speech on Iraq, with MoveOn PAC at NYU , May 26, 2004

Abuse of power must be avoided

There is good and evil in every person. And what makes the US special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have lead us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations more than the people any other nation. Our founders were insightful students of human nature. They feared the abuse of power because they understood that every human being has not only “better angels” in his nature, but also an innate vulnerability to temptation - especially the temptation to abuse power over others. Our founders understood full well that a system of checks and balances is needed in our Constitution because every human being lives with an internal system of checks and balances that cannot be relied upon to produce virtue if they are allowed to attain an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens.
Source: Speech on Iraq, with MoveOn PAC at NYU , May 26, 2004

Bush owes the American people an apology

Bush offered a brief and half-hearted apology to the Arab world - but he should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions. He also owes an apology to the US Army for cavalierly sending them into harm’s way while ignoring the best advice of their commanders. He should apologize to all those men and women throughout our world who have held the ideal of the United States of America as a shining goal, to inspire their hopeful efforts to bring about justice under a rule of law in their own lands. A sincere apology requires an admission of error, a willingness to accept responsibility and to hold people accountable. Bush is not only unwilling to acknowledge error, but also unwilling to hold anyone in his administration accountable for the worst strategic and military miscalculations and mistakes in US history. He is willing only to apologize for the alleged erratic behavior of a few low-ranking enlisted people, who he is scapegoating for his policy fiasco.
Source: Speech on Iraq, with MoveOn PAC at NYU , May 26, 2004

OpEd: voters preferred moral compass to immoral brilliance

Why did Bush win? He was not the candidate with the widest appeal, nor did he have the broadest experience. How did he defeat the two-term vice president of a relatively popular president?

Exit polls showed that Bush beat Gore by 15 points among married people with children and 17 points among people who attend church weekly. Gore finished 29 points higher among people who never attend church at all. Clearly, faith and family were factors.

Yet character was a primary issue, too. When asked, "What is the most important thing to consider when you decide who to vote for? 1/4 of all voters answered, "Honesty." Of this 1/4, 80% voted for Bush.

What they most wanted from [Gore] was simple: They wanted him not to be Clinton. They had endured rule by "the best & the brightest." Now they wanted rule by the good, and they believed that Bush was the man who could make it happen. In a choice between immoral brilliance & the C-student with a moral compass, they would take the moral compass

Source: The Faith of George W. Bush, by Stephen Mansfield, p.114-115 , Apr 12, 2004

OpEd: In, UK Bush win portrayed as disaster

Tues., November 7: The TV was saying neck and neck but though Gore had closed strongly, it was not looking brilliant. They had been daft not to use Clinton properly. We had been right to stay out of it but now it was going to be important to be on the right side of the result, and there would be a real desire to present a Bush win as a disaster for us [since British Prime Minister Tony Blair was politically close to Clinton and Gore].

Wed., November 8: The US elections scene was unbelievable. I went to bed thinking Bush had won, then woke up to 'too close to call,' then on the way in Gore seemed to be conceding defeat, only to retract as the day wore on amid suggestions of real jiggery-poking going on. There was nothing we could do but wait before we could begin to put in place a strategy for either outcome, but it was going to be the only show in town for a while.

Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.477-478 , Nov 7, 2000

Bush’s record indicates he’s not ready to lead America

As governor, George W. Bush gave big oil a tax break while opposing health care for 220,000 kids. Texas now ranks 50th in family health care. He’s left the minimum wage at $3.35 an hour, let polluters police themselves. Today, Texas ranks last in air quality. Now Bush promises the same $1 trillion from Social Security to two different groups. He squanders the surplus on a tax cut for those making over $300,000. Is he ready to lead America?
Source: TV advertisement by Gore campaign , Nov 2, 2000

Presidency not about popularity nor getting along

Gov. Bush often says you should support him because he’d get along with people in Washington, and that’s all well and good and we certainly need less partisanship. But the real question is, Who does he want to get along with? The special interests who want to see more massive tax giveaways to the wealthiest? The powerful interests who always come out ahead and block our greatest chance to make this prosperity work for you? Getting along is one thing. But sometimes a president has to be willing to
Source: Link , Nov 2, 2000

Agrees to further debates if Bush agrees to 3 main debates

Gore’s condition for attending any [non-network or third-party] debates is that Bush first agree to attend the three commission debates. Gore said, “What’s needed is to respect the right of the American people to see these debates on all networks in prime time, the way it’s been done since 1988. It’s not fair to the American people to try to sharply reduce the number of people who can see the debates and reduce the amount of time for the debates.”
Source: Michael Finnegan, Ronald Brownstein, LA Times , Sep 4, 2000

Focus on “specifics” questions Bush & favors wonkishness

“If you don’t want specifics,” Gore told the crowd, “now is the time to leave.” Gore critiqued Bush’s Social Security proposal, asking, “Where are the specifics? Where does the money come from? I’ll give you the specifics before the election because I’m not afraid for you to know the facts of what Joe Lieberman and I are proposing,” he said. Doing so is “a way to respect and honor our democracy.”

Gore’s obsession with specifics, and his nonstop promotion of his obsession, serves a dual purpose. At one level, he is trying to draw substantive distinctions between his policy proposals and Bush’s. But at a somewhat more subliminal level, Gore’s focus is intended to reinforce questions about Bush’s intellectual heft, while technically sticking to his pledge not to wage personal attacks against Bush. It is terrain where Gore clearly feels he holds an advantage, and it reflects his campaign’s effort to turn a perceived liability-the candidate’s wonkishness-into an asset.

Source: Kevin Sack, NY Times, p. A18 on 2000 election , Aug 22, 2000

Challenges Bush to debate issues instead of personal attacks

Gore pledged to avoid negative attacks against Bush for the duration of the campaign. Gore said he would rather debate Bush and Cheney “on the issues” instead of engaging in personal attacks. “I will not say a single unkind word about Gov. Bush or Dick Cheney. We want to elevate this campaign. We want to invite [Bush and Cheney] to debate the issues. We want to invite them to town hall meetings kind of like this one to talk to the people.”
Source: Ian Christopher McCaleb for cnn.com , Aug 9, 2000

Al Gore on Previous Campaigns

1997: Refused to meet with Ralph Nader to discuss issues

In 1997, we made the first of numerous attempts to discuss with Al Gore a number of significant policy initiatives. After months, we finally received the reply, "The vice president has no time to meet with Mr. Nader." I called him directly to see what was amiss, and I recounted our frustration with his staff giving us the runaround.

"They have?" he asked, as if surprised.

I reminded him of a constructive meeting we had in 1993 at his office. "Then can you give me a time when we can get together?"

"Well," he replied, "let's talk now."

"There are several major topics," I said, briefly listing them, "and I doubt whether it is best to discuss these on the telephone. Can't we find a time to meet?" I fully expected him to agree and refer me to his scheduler.

"Well, I'll see," he said and politely ended the conversation.

That was the last I heard from Al Gore, until he began telling crowds in the closing days of his 2000 presidential campaign that a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush.

Source: Crashing the Party, by Ralph Nader, p. 51-52 , Oct 14, 2002

In Congress, called himself a “raging moderate”

Gore worked assiduously to avoid the left-wing labeling that had hastened the end of his father’s career. He dubbed himself a “raging moderate,” a term he thought captured his carefully confined activism. Although widely viewed by voters as a moderate, his overall record leaned to the liberal side sometimes-especially in domestic affairs. He was a reliable liberal vote on economics, taxation, and labor matters, and some of his legislative impulses resonate today as classic “big government.”
Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.132 , Mar 3, 2000

1987: Only southern moderates can unite Democratic Party

In 1987, when Gore was running for president, he had visited Clinton in Little Rock ostensibly to solicit the governor's endorsement, though his real purpose had been simply to keep Clinton from endorsing his fellow governor and friend Michael Dukakis. Gore had presented to Clinton what he considered a theory of the mutuality of their interests. When the histories of late 20th-century American politics were written, Gore believed, they would show that the only politicians capable of uniting the Democratic coalition were Southern moderates such as Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and, Gore argued, himself and Clinton. If Gore succeeded in his bid, Democrats would build on this pattern of success and turn to those like Clinton. Gore said that the two of them should regard themselves not as rivals or antagonists but as allies, working toward the same goals, able to succeed together. Gore sensed that Clinton shared his outlook. In the 1988 primaries, Clinton remained neutral.
Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p. 52-53 , Jun 6, 1994

Al Gore on Religion

The purpose of life is to glorify God

Gore preached that America must match its economic success with a “prosperity of the spirit”. While he proposed few specific remedies, Gore spoke of a “cultural pollution” that has despoiled the country’s moral life and of “toxic entertainment that too often passes on the wrong values.” “I believe that the purpose of life is to glorify God,” Gore said in discussing environmental protection, “and we cannot fulfill that purpose if we are heaping contempt upon God’s creation.”
Source: Kevin Sack, NY Times on 2000 election , Oct 23, 2000

I have kept the faith, with family & in office

Q: Will you keep all these promises when you’re in office?

GORE: I believe that a lot of people are skeptical about people in politics today because we have seen a time of great challenge for our country. I’d like to tell you something about me. I keep my word. I have kept the faith.

I’ve kept the faith with my country. I volunteered for the Army. I served in Vietnam. I kept the faith with my family. Tipper and I have been married for 30 years. We have devoted ourselves to our children. I have kept the faith with our country. Nine times I have raised my hand to take an oath to the Constitution, and I have never violated that oath.

I have not spent the last quarter century in pursuit of personal wealth. I have spent the last quarter century fighting for middle-class, working men and women. I am asking for your support and your vote, and, yes, your confidence, and your willingness to believe that we can do the right thing in America and be the better for it.

Source: St. Louis debate , Oct 17, 2000

Abstinence Ed in the context of comprehensive Sex Ed

Q: Do you support the initiative to encourage young people to abstain from sex but not allow discussion of birth control?

A: I support a comprehensive strategy to prevent teen pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases that includes abstinence education and other measures. I believe that community leaders are in the best position to identify those family-planning strategies that will be most effective within their respective communities.

Source: (X-ref Families) Associated Press on 2000 race , Sep 22, 2000

Voluntary school prayer is ok, if teachers aren’t involved

Gore was asked what he could do as president to bring prayer back to the classroom. After joking that there would always be prayer in schools as long as there are arithmetic tests, Gore said that “in some school settings the impression is given that it’s wrong if a student wants to exercise or display his or her faith or engage in a truly voluntary prayer that the school employees have nothing to do with.” Supreme Court prohibitions against organized school prayer, he said, have sometimes been “taken to an extreme that actually discriminates against some people of faith who wish to bring faith into their school life.”
Source: (X-ref Education) Kevin Sack, NY Times on 2000 election , Sep 12, 2000

Lieberman’s morality & Jewishness makes him a bold pick

By picking Lieberman, one of the earliest Democrats to rebuke Clinton during the impeachment proceedings, Gore’s objective is to replace his political partner of eight years with a fresh face that is widely regarded as one of the most upstanding politicians in the nation. In picking the first Jewish running mate -- and an Orthodox at that -- Gore hopes to underscore his willingness to break the political rules and display a dash of daring that has largely been absent from his campaign. But while the choice could energize Jewish voters, it could alienate others who might not be comfortable with a Jew in the White House. In turning to a politician with a decidedly moderate voting record who prides himself on not being particularly partisan, Gore also may have an easier time challenging Bush for the loyalties of the independent voters he desperately needs to win. But that could also unsettle some faithful Democrats who cringe at Lieberman’s breaks with the Democratic Party.
Source: Richard L. Berke, NY Times, on 2000 election , Aug 8, 2000

Born-again Baptist; serves God & obeys God’s will

His teachers at Vanderbilt Divinity school say that while Gore never intended to get a degree or to enter the ministry, he didn’t come across as a dabbler. A professor said, “He came to get what he wanted. The question of credentials was not important. He learned what he felt he needed to know.”

When he returned to Washington to join the House of Representative, he and Tipper began attending Mount Vernon Baptist Church where they were “born again” in the late 1970s. He was also, at least through his first vice presidential term, part of a small weekly prayer group, and friends say that religious faith is a cornerstone of his life. “I believe in serving God and trying to understand and obey God’s will for our lives,” Gore told Harvard students at his 1994 commencement speech. “Cynics may wave the idea away, saying God is a myth, useful in providing comfort to the ignorant and in keeping them obedient. I know in my heart--beyond all arguing and beyond any doubt--the cynics are wrong.”

Source: Inventing Al Gore, p. 93-4 , Mar 3, 2000

Respect Constitution and others when affirming faith

Q: Should your religious beliefs be a private matter?
A: I strongly support the separation of church and state. I strongly support the First Amendment. I oppose, for example, the teaching of creationism in the public schools. I think that any public official who discusses his or her deepest beliefs and principles and faiths has an obligation to couple that expression with an affirmation of tolerance and respect and protection for those who have some other faith.
Source: Democratic Debate in Durham, NH , Jan 5, 2000

Faith-based organizations replace gov't programs

People who work in faith- and values-based organizations are driven by their spiritual commitment. They have done what government can never do, [based on] compassionate care. Some political leaders have relied on well-intentioned volunteerism to feed the hungry & house the homeless. [But to spiritual volunteers, the] client is not a number, but a child of God. And their solutions & programs are more likely to work because they are crafted by people actually living in the neighborhood they are serving.
Source: (X-ref Welfare) Speech on Faith-Based Organizations, Atlanta , May 24, 1999

Supports Hyde Park Declaration of "Third Way" centrism.

Gore adopted the manifesto, "A New Politics for a New America":

As New Democrats, we believe in a Third Way that rejects the old left-right debate and affirms America’s basic bargain: opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and community of all.