Al Gore

Al Gore Biography

U.S. Vice President, Environmental Activist (1948–)
Al Gore was the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He is also known for his work regarding environmental issues.


Al Gore, born on March 31, 1948, in Washington, D.C., served in both the House and Senate. He lost his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to Michael Dukakis in 1988, but was President Bill Clinton's successful running mate in 1992 and again in 1996. In his 2000 presidential campaign, Gore won the popular vote, but eventually conceded defeat to Republican George W. Bush.

Early Life

Former vice president Al Gore was born Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., on March 31, 1948, in Washington, D.C., where his father, Albert Gore, Sr., was serving as a Democrat in the U.S. House from Tennessee. His father also served in the U.S. Senate (1953-'71) and was considered a possible vice presidential nominee (1956 and 1960). Gore's mother, Pauline LaFon Gore, was one of the first women to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School.

Gore's childhood was divided between a hotel room the nation's capitol during the school year and his family's farm in Carthage, Tennessee, in the summer. Gore attended Harvard, where he roomed with future actor Tommy Lee Jones. He earned a degree with high honors in government in June 1969 after writing a senior thesis titled "The Impact of Television on the Conduct of the Presidency, 1947-1969."

Military Service

Gore opposed the Vietnam War, but said that his sense of civic duty compelled him to enlist in the U.S. Army in August 1969. After basic training, Gore was assigned as a military journalist writing for The Army Flier, the base newspaper at Fort Rucker.

Gore's father was defeated for re-election to the U.S. Senate in November 1970, largely due to his liberal positions on many issues such as the Vietnam War and Civil Rights.

With seven months left in his enlistment, Gore was shipped to Vietnam, arriving in January 1971. He served with the 20th engineer Brigade in Bien Hoa and at the Army Engineer Command in Long Binh.

Entry into Politics

When he returned to the States in 1971, he worked as a reporter at the Tennessean. When he was later moved to the city politics beat, Gore uncovered political and bribery cases that led to convictions. While at the Tennessean, Gore, a Baptist, also studied philosophy and phenomenology at Vanderbilt University. In 1974, he enrolled in Vanderbilt's law school.

Gore quit law school in March 1976 to run for the U.S. House from Tennessee. He was elected four times. He also became the first person to appear on C-SPAN. In 1984, Gore successfully ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate, which had been vacated by Republican Majority Leader Howard Baker. Gore pushed the High Performance Computer and Communication Act of 1991, which greatly expanded the Internet.

Vice Presidency

In 1988, Gore made a bid for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. He won five southern states on Super Tuesday, but eventually lost to Michael Dukakis. Gore remained in the Senate until presidential candidate Bill Clinton chose him as his running mate in 1992. They were elected into office that year and re-elected in 1996. During his tenure, he worked to cut back on government bureaucracy. But his image suffered when he was investigated by the Justice Department for his fund-raising activities.

Bush v. Gore

In his 2000 presidential campaign, Gore won the Democratic presidential nomination after facing down an early challenge from former Senator Bill Bradley. Gore chose Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut as his running mate, the first Orthodox Jew ever to be named on the ticket for a major national party. Gore won the popular vote, but conceded defeat to Republican George W. Bush after five weeks of complex legal argument over the voting procedure in the presidential election.

Environmental Activism

On December 10, 2007, Gore accepted a Nobel Prize for work on global warming. In accepting the prize, he urged the world's biggest carbon emitters, China and the U.S., to "make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act." Gore shared the prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for sounding the alarm over global warming and spreading awareness on how to counteract it.

"We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency - a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here," Gore said at the gala ceremony in Oslo. He donated his share of the $1.6 million award that goes with the prize to a new non-profit organization, now known as the Climate Reality Project, devoted to taking action on the climate change problem.

Recent Projects

Since departing politics, Gore has become a successful businessman, author and public speaker. In 2004, he co-founded Generation Investment Management with David Blood. Gore has backed numerous ventures and invested in such companies as and eBay through this firm.

In 2005, Gore founded a liberal news channel called Current TV with Joel Hyatt. The cable network eventually grew to reach more than 60 million households across the United States. Gore announced in January 2013 that Current TV was to going to be sold to Al-Jazeera, an Arab news network. According to the Associated Press, Gore said Current TV and Al-Jazeera shared a common mission "to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling."

Gore was expected to receive about $70 million for his 20 percent share of Current TV. Not everyone is thrilled with his decision to sell the channel, however. Time Warner Cable dropped the channel from its line-up soon after hearing about the deal. Some Current TV personnel, such as former governor Eliot Spitzer, quit rather than work for the channel's new owners. In 2014, Gore sued Al-Jazeera for allegedly trying to illegal take $65 million in escrow funds connected to the deal, according to a Wall Street Journal report. 

Around this time, Gore published his latest books, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change (2013) and Earth in the Balance: Forging a New Common Purpose (2013). He saw years of work come to fruition in 2015 with the launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, nicknamed DSCOVR, in 2015. DSCOVR has a special camera that "will monitor specific wavelengths that alert scientists to the presence of certain materials like ozone, aerosols, and volcanic ash," according to a statement on Gore's official website.

In 2016, Gore appeared at a TED conference in Vancouver, Canada. His talk was called "The Case of Optimism on Climate Change." He pointed to the decreasing cost associated with renewable energy and the recent agreement reached at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference as reasons for a more positive outlook for the future.

Personal Life

Gore has been linked to fellow environmentalist and Democratic Party supporter Mary Elizabeth Keadle. He divides his time between homes in Nashville, Tennessee, and San Francisco, California. Gore has four adult children with his first wife Tipper. The couple separated in 2010 after 40 years of marriage.

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