The Gore Report: Keeping Tabs on Our Favorite Environmentalist

Debatable Behavior

The Washington Post reports that Al Gore’s campaign has been sending a man dressed up as an ear of corn to stalk Bill Bradley and give him an "earful" at all of his Iowa appearances. It also "sent a human chicken to a Bradley fund-raiser in New York." This is being done to demonstrate what they claim is Bradley’s fear of debating Gore. Aside from being tacky, it is just plain untruthful. Bradley has debated Gore repeatedly throughout the primary season.

In fact, one of the most telling points of the campaign season came during a live debate between Vice President Gore and Bill Bradley on NBC’s Meet the Press on December 17, 1999. The following exchange between Gore and host Tim Russert illuminates the Veep’s flawed understanding of American history, and President Clinton’s place in it. Gore’s rhetorical duplicity leaves no doubt he has been learning his lines as understudy to Bill Clinton.

RUSSERT: On impeachment day, Mr. Vice President, you said that Bill Clinton will be regarded in the history books as one of our greatest presidents. Who else do you believe should be considered our greatest presidents?

GORE: Oh well, we all know who our greatest presidents are, from Washington and Jefferson, to Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and John Kennedy and all of the others.

RUSSERT: So, you put Bill Clinton in the same company as Washington and Lincoln?

GORE: Listen, I can …

RUSSERT: It’s a very serious question.

GORE: No, of course not. Of course not, but I think that his accomplishments are going to be regarded by the history books as far more significant than his personal mistakes. And let me just review some of them for you. We’ve gone from the largest deficits to the largest surpluses. Instead of quadrupling the debt, we’ve paid down the debt and tripled the stock market. Instead of high unemployment, there’s low unemployment. And within a month, Tim, or within six weeks, we’re going to have the longest and strongest economic expansion in the entire history of the United States of America. The crime rate has gone down seven years in a row, the welfare rolls have gone down by more than ever in history. Wages and real incomes are up. The wage gap has narrowed. You know, there’s some people…Let me just conclude.

RUSSERT: So this makes Bill Clinton one of the — you used the word greatest. You stand by that?

GORE: I do. And I know that you and some others may believe that when the historians, many years from now look back on this period, that all of that will be eclipsed by the president’s personal mistake. Maybe you’re right. None of us has a crystal ball, but I doubt it.