the choice 2000
hometools for choiceare you sure?bushgore

who are they (really)?
STEVE ARMISTEAD, Tennessee Childhood Friend: Everybody wants to get to know Al Gore, like, "Well I hear all about Al Gore and how he really is. But how is he? I don't see that," coming from all the reporters I've talked to. There's definitely a funny side of Al Gore, and it's always been there.

MIKE KOPP, Deputy Press Secretary, '88 Campaign: What the country needs to understand is Al Gore loves his family, he loves his wife, and he honors the institution of marriage, absolutely believes in it... The passionate kiss at the convention. I can't tell you how many times those of us who have been around him have seen him do that. I mean, he's embraced Tipper that way before he walks out and makes a major announcement in Carthage. For him to be overcome with emotion and to embrace her and kiss her the way he did, I mean I just smile, because that was the real Al Gore.

ARLIE SCHARDT, Press Secretary, '88 Campaign: His weakness would be that darn curse of being, so often being stiff, which is such a contrast with--I'm sure you've heard this 100 times, that, in private, he could be loose and funny and pull jokes and pranks. I think it is definitely an obstacle to his connecting with mass audiences that he doesn't show that side of himself more often, than you see it if you're with him a lot, because it's there, but it's not there enough.

DICK MORRIS, Political Consultant, Clinton Administration: When you look at Al Gore and you see a lack of spontaneity, the unspoken text is, we're not looking at the real Al Gore, we're looking at a rehearsed, pre-packaged, carefully weighed, considered Al Gore. Well, I can tell you, that is Al Gore. There's nothing underneath you're not getting--that is Al Gore. He's not spontaneous, he is pre-packaged, he does think long before he speaks, he is very carefully prepared. It's not like this is an act, this is him.

JUDGE GILBERT MERRITT, Gore Family Friend: You can't be something other than what you are at the core. And at the core, he is a serious-minded person who at least in public does not give this loose, friendly, uncontrived, "I'm yours" impression that at least some politicians-- and particularly a politician like Clinton, and to some extent his father-- gave. He is as he is. And he's a hard-working, dedicated fellow. But he is not always smiling. And I think he's kind of maybe more like his mother, always thinking.

STEVE ARMISTEAD: I see a lot of his father in him, from the standpoint of getting on a subject and staying with it, and becoming well-informed and educated about it. I mean, if you want to look back and see a trait that he's picked up on issues and whatever, he's a very focused person. He was not trained to be like that. That's just the way his-- I mean, that's part of who he is. It was born in him.

Insecurity?

DICK MORRIS: I think that in his formality, his bureaucratization, his stiffness, his choice of vocabulary, his lack of spontaneity, those are all reflections of a transitory insecurity that I think he's increasingly overcoming by his successes.

MIKE KOPP: If you look at Al Gore, as a Congressman, and to a degree as a Senator, he wore this blue suit...he felt like he needed to put on that conservative blue suit, regardless of where he went, regardless of what he was doing, because he needed to prove to people that he was a mature member of Congress. He was not, you know, a 28 year old or 29 year old, 30 year old Congressman. He wanted to be taken seriously...

ARLIE SCHARDT: There was a big parade up Peach Tree Street in all, at that point, I think seven democratic candidates were to be lined up in this parade up the Avenue, along with a lot of prominent Civil Rights leaders, and so on. And as they were lining up I went up behind Al and just literally reached up and pulled at his jacket until I was pulling it out over his sleeves. And he looked around because he didn't know who the hell was doing that, and he looked annoyed, which anybody would. But I said "Al, I'm not going to let you wear that jacket in this parade." It was a beautiful, sunny day. So finally he agreed and we stripped it off, so there was this phalanx of people marching up the street. The next day on the front page of The New York Times was a big photo of this scene of all of the candidates, and Al just looked like Superman. He just stood out so much because he's got broad shoulders --And everybody else was kind of faded into the dark business suits that they were all wearing, and then here was this one guy with just a shirt and a tie down there. And so we try to use that as an example of why he should do that more often, but it never really worked. There were other times where he did finally toss the jacket aside and pull down his tie, and he always gave much better speeches that way too. He can do it very easily, and it was always a mystery as to why he didn't, what it was that held him back from doing it more often. I don't know the answer.

DICK MORRIS: One of the ironies of Al Gore is, the best thing that could happen, to make him a good president, would be for him to get elected, because then he would get rid of a lot of insecurity.

Click here for longer interviews and more resources on the life of Al Gore.

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