Al Gore

Al Gore Biography

(1948–)
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Al Gore served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He is also known for his work regarding environmental issues.

Who Is Al Gore?

Al Gore served in both the House and Senate. He lost his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to Michael Dukakis in 1988, before becoming President Bill Clinton's successful running mate in 1992 and again in 1996. Gore won the popular vote in his 2000 presidential campaign but eventually conceded defeat to Republican George W. Bush. Gore later devoted himself to environmental causes, winning a Nobel Prize for his efforts in 2007.

Early Life

Albert Arnold Gore Jr. was born on March 31, 1948, in Washington, D.C., where his father, Albert Gore Sr., was serving as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee. His father later became a U.S. senator (1953-71) and was considered a possible vice presidential nominee in 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 capital 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 reelection 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.

Reporter and Politician

When he returned to the States in 1971, Gore 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 at 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. Later, he pushed the High Performance Computing 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 Dukakis. Gore remained in the Senate until presidential candidate Clinton chose him as his running mate in 1992. They were elected into office that year and reelected in 1996. During his tenure, Gore worked to cut back on government bureaucracy. However, his image suffered when he was investigated by the Justice Department for his fundraising 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 arguments over the voting procedure in the presidential election.

'An Inconvenient Truth' and Nobel Prize

Long interested in issues of environmentalism and climate change, Gore devoted his energy and influence to advancing research in those areas after leaving office in 2001. His lecture tour on the dangers of global warming led to the 2006 publication of An Inconvenient Truth and a companion documentary, which won a pair of Academy Awards.

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 went 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.

Investor and Current TV

In 2004, Gore and former Goldman Sachs Asset Management CEO David Blood co-founded the sustainability-focused Generation Investment Management firm. Gore has backed numerous ventures and invested in such companies as Amazon and eBay through the 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. Upon announcing in January 2013 that Current TV was being sold to Al-Jazeera, Gore described the two entities as sharing 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." In 2014, Gore sued Al-Jazeera for allegedly trying to 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 with the launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, nicknamed DSCOVR, in 2015. According to a statement on Gore's official website, DSCOVR was equipped with a special camera to "monitor specific wavelengths that alert scientists to the presence of certain materials like ozone, aerosols, and volcanic ash."

Environmentalism and the Trump Administration

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.

Late that year, Gore met with President-elect Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka to discuss climate issues. Although he described it as a "lengthy and very productive session," Gore later was critical of Trump when the president took steps to roll back environmental regulations and announced he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement.

In early 2020, Gore launched a voter registration campaign designed to increase turnout among young people who harbored concerns about climate change. 

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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