Jan. 22 (Wednesday)

The 45th U.S. Vice President
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 Albert Arnold Gore Jr.
Full Name: Albert Arnold Gore Jr.
Born: March 31, 1948 in Washington, D.C.

Al Gore is best known as Bill Clinton’s Vice President (1993-2001) and the Democratic Party’s failed candidate in the controversial 2000 presidential election, which was narrowly won by George W. Bush amidst charges of rampant corruption. Gore has also been portrayed, probably falsely, as an environmentalist. In addition, Wikipedia calls him a philanthropist, similar to Bill Gates and other corporate crooks.

The son of a Democratic congressman and senator from Tennessee, Gore graduated from Harvard University (1969) and served as a military reporter in Vietnam (1969-71), later studying philosophy and law at Vanderbilt University while working as a reporter for The Tennessean. Gore served in the U.S. House of Representatives in (1977-1985) and in the U.S. Senate (1985-93). In 1991, he was one of only ten Democratic senators who voted to authorize the use of military force against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War.

Presidential candidate Bill Clinton chose Gore as his running mate in 1992, leading to two terms as vice president. In 1993, Gore helped the Clinton administration secure congressional passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Gore announced his candidacy for the presidency in June 1999. His running mate was Joe Lieberman, who became the first Jewish American on a national presidential ticket and later gained a reputation as one of the Democratic Party’s biggest turncoats.

When the votes were counted on election night, it became clear that the election results hinged on Florida, whose 25 electoral votes would give the winner of that state a narrow majority in the electoral college. The Florida Supreme Court ordered a manual recount of approximately 45,000 “undervotes,” but the U.S. Supreme Court nixed the effort, effectively awarding the presidency to Bush. Many observers were shocked by Gore’s apparent willingness to concede the election without a fight, as documented in the movie Fahrenheit 9/11.

Gore allegedly conducted illegal fund-raising activities during Clinton’s 1996 reelection bid, though he denied knowing at the time that he was committing any wrongdoing, Republicans repeatedly called for an independent counsel to investigate the matter. On November 2, 1998 — the day before that year’s election — Gore traveled to Seattle to visit Seattle Schools Superintendent John Stanford, who was dying of leukemia (photo). Stanford had been recruited by corporate interests to spearhead the privatization of Seattle’s schools and became notorious for his arrogance and corruption. Though he claimed to be apolitical, Stanford spoke at the Democratic Convention and was apparently being groomed for a position as U.S. Secretary of Education, a post he likely would have filled under either Gore or Bush. In 2007, Gore chaired a committee that cleared several Apple executives, including Steve Jobs of any wrong doing in a scandal over Apple’s stock-options practices. Many articles failed to mention the fact that Jobs sits on Apple’s board of directors.

Gore might be commended for his work on behalf of the environment...or is he just a corporate operative? He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to raise awareness about global warming, but the Nobel Peace Prize has also been awarded to some of America’s biggest war criminals, notably Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama. Taken in context, Gore’s various awards and honors aren’t so impressive.