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Al Gore (President Gary)

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Vice President Albert Gore
Order: 45th Vice President of the United States
Vice President from: January 20, 1993-
March 26, 1997
Preceded by: J. Danforth Quayle
Succeeded by: Gary Condit
Born: March 31, 1948
Washington, D.C.
Political Party: Democratic
Spouse: Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore

Albert Arnold Gore Jr. was an American politician and businessman, who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from January 20, 1993 to March 26, 1997, when he was killed when Air Force Two crashed as Gore returned from a summit meeting in China.

Early life

Al Gore was born in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 1948, to United States Senator Albert A. Gore Sr. and Pauline LaFon Gore, one of the first female lawyers to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School. Since his father was a veteran Democratic senator from Tennessee, Al Gore Jr. divided his childhood between Washington, D.C., and Carthage, Tennessee.

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

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

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

Soldier and journalist

Although opposed to the Vietnam War, on August 7, 1969, Gore enlisted in the army to participate in the Vietnam War effort. After completing training as a military journalist, Gore shipped to Vietnam in early 1971, serving for five months before being given an honorable discharge. Gore stated many times that he opposed the Vietnam War, but chose to enlist anyway.

Because Gore served as a journalist, he was never exposed to front-line combat.

Gore's father, Al Gore Sr., lost the 1970 election, and was no longer a Senator by the time Gore arrived in Vietnam. Even so, some critics charge that his father's stature led Gore's superiors to give him less dangerous assignments than they might otherwise have given him.

After returning from Vietnam, Gore spent five years as a reporter for the Tennessean, a newspaper headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. During this time, Gore also attended Vanderbilt Divinity School and Law School, although he did not complete a degree at either.

Congressman and Senator

In 1976, Gore quit law school to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Tennessee's fourth district. Gore defeated Stanley Rogers in the Democratic primary, then ran unopposed and was elected to his first Congressional post. He was re-elected three times, in 1978, 1980, and 1982. In 1984 Gore did not run for the House; instead he successfully ran for a seat in the Senate, which had been vacated by Republican Majority Leader Howard Baker. Gore served as a Senator from Tennessee until 1993, when he became Vice President.

On March 19, 1979, Gore became the first person to appear on C-SPAN, making a speech in the House chambers.

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

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

While in Congress, Gore was a member of the following committees: Armed Services (Defense Industry and Technology Projection Forces and Regional Defense; Strategic Forces and Nuclear Deterrence); Commerce, Science and Transportation (Communications; Consumer; Science, Technology and Space- chairman 1992; Surface Transportation; National Ocean Policy Study); Joint Committee on Printing; Joint Economic Committee; Rules and Administration.

Vice Presidency

Bill Clinton chose Gore to be his running mate on July 9, 1992, to the surprise of many as the two were both young and were from the same region of the nation. After winning the 1992 election, Al Gore was inaugurated as the 45th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993. Clinton and Gore were re-elected to a second term in the 1996 election.

During his time as Vice President, Al Gore was mostly a behind the scenes player. However, many experts consider him to be one of the most influential Vice Presidents in U.S. history. This was evident as Gore had weekly lunches with Clinton to keep each other abreast of current developments, although he later said that it was he who insisted on having those weekly lunches in the first place.

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

As Vice President, Gore instituted a federal program calling for all schools and libraries to be wired to the Internet. This was a culmination of work that he had started several years before.

As Vice President, he was a strong proponent for environmental protection. While a senator working on his book Earth in the Balance, Gore had traveled around the world on numerous fact-finding missions. On Earth Day 1994, Gore launched the worldwide GLOBE program, an innovative hands-on, school-based education and science activity that made extensive use of the Internet to increase student awareness of their environment and contribute research data for scientists.

The opinions he developed on issues such as global warming, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the destruction of rain forests is said to have played a major role in policy making for the Clinton administration. In the late nineties, Gore strongly pushed for the passage of the Kyoto Treaty, which called for reduction in green house emissions.

Tragedy in the air

Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper were killed March 26, 1997, when Air Force Two developed engine problems and crashed into the Mojave Desert, just north of Los Angeles. Of the 300 aboard, only four survived the impact.

Gore had just wrapped up his visit to the People's Republic of China, his second stop on a three-nation Asia trip. There, He called on Chinese leaders to allow more U.S. access to the huge Chinese market.

The Gore visit had been planned long before the controversy over allegations that the Chinese government was trying to influence the 1996 American election. According to the FBI there’s evidence the Chinese had plans to contribute to the Clinton re-election campaign, as well as to members of Congress.

Gore's visit to Beijing was designed to symbolize the administration's policy of engagement with China and to serve as a prelude to a likely exchange of visits by President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin later that year. The Vice President and his wife, Tipper, had time for sightseeing. But most of the trip was been devoted to meetings with high-level Chinese government officials and other official business, including the signing of two major contracts between U.S. corporations and the Chinese government.

An independent commission set up by President Clinton to investigate the crash reported on September 20, 1997, that a faulty wiring system was at fault. Air Force One was decommissioned for seven months after the crash, and no problems were found.

Following the crash, President Clinton led the nation in ten days of mourning for Gore, who was hailed as an "Environmental visionary" by Clinton in his eulogy at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Gore was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery April 3, 1997 with full military honors, after lying in state under the Capitol rotunda for three days.

Also see

Preceded by
J. Danforth Quayle
Vice President of the United States of America
January 20, 1993 - March 26, 1997
Succeeded by
Gary Condit

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