You might know Al Gore as Bill Clinton’s right-hand man, who served as the 45th vice president of the U.S. for 8 years.
What you may not know is that he served in Vietnam, and he was an elected official for over two decades.
There is a lot more to Al Gore than what we’ve seen in the political press, so we’ve rounded up 10 interesting facts about Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.
Al Gore: 10 Interesting Facts about the former VP, politician, and environmentalist.
1. His father was a politician.
Al Gore, Jr., was born in Washington, D.C., in 1948 to Al, Sr., and Pauline. The senior Gore was a Tennessee Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. He went on to serve—in the House of Representatives and the Senate—for almost 30 years.
Al Gore’s mother, Pauline (nee LaFon) was one of the first women ever to graduate from law school at the prestigious Vanderbilt University.
Al Junior grew up in the capital city, attending St. Alban’s Episcopal School and then Harvard. He graduated from Harvard in 1969, with a Bachelor of Arts (honors) in government studies.
In an early interview, he shared that he wanted to become a writer, not a politician, an interesting fact about Al Gore.
2. He was opposed to the Vietnam War.
Despite his beliefs, he enlisted in 1969 and served as a reporter at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He spent half a year in Vietnam, and had some of his stories published in a Tennessee newspaper. The Tennessean went on to hire him as an investigative reporter when he left the military and returned home to attend Vanderbilt University.
He appears in uniform in his father’s campaign ad during the war.
3. He had many careers.
When Gore returned home from the Vietnam War, he began his writing career with the Tennessean newspaper—first as an investigative reporter, and later as an editorial writer. He has also worked as a livestock farmer, tobacco farmer, builder, and land developer, before moving into the world of politics.
4. He studied religion.
Gore expressed an interest in religion and philosophy from an early age. While working for the Tennessean in 1971, he enrolled at the Graduate School of Religion at Vanderbilt University, an interesting fact about Al Gore. He moved into studying law in 1974, but entered office before graduation a couple of years later.
5. He’s been in office since 1976.
In 1976, Al Gore beat out eight other candidates to win the general election, and earn a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He successfully ran in the three elections that followed.
In 1980, he was assigned to the House Intelligence Committee. His research into arms restructuring was published by the Congressional Quarterly in 1982, and 2 years later he campaigned for a seat in the United States Senate. He won.
6. He wanted to be president.
When he was 39 years old, Al Gore ran in the presidential election on a platform of traditional Democratic values and a hard stance on foreign policy. He gained a strong following in the primaries and was particularly popular in the southern states. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as popular in the other states, and gained only a small percentage of votes, an interesting Al Gore fact. He withdrew from the nomination race.
Prior to the following presidential nomination campaign—in 1989—his son was injured in a car accident as he ran across the street to greet a friend. As Gore and his wife, Tipper, were consumed in caring for their small child, who was 6 years old at the time, he chose not to campaign in the 1992 presidential race.
7. He wrote his first book on conservation.
In the time between the 1988 and 1992 elections, Gore wrote his first book. Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, was a platform Gore used to share his ideas and suggestions on the global environment and the conservation movement.
“We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.”
8. His selection as vice-presidential nominee was controversial.
When Bill Clinton chose Gore as his nominee in 1992, the political community were shocked. Unlike in previous elections, where a vice president was nominated to balance the ticket, Clinton had chosen someone who shared his political outlook, ideals, and attributes. The two were of similar age, region, reputation, and beliefs.
Clinton’s goal, as a 46 year old, was to bring a new generation of leadership to the country.
Gore’s strengths on the ticket were his experience in foreign and defense policy, knowledge of technology and environmental issues, and his ongoing reputation as a committed family man.
9. He really is a devoted family man.
Al met his wife, Tipper, in high school. She went to senior prom with another man, who was the son of a federal judge, but Gore eventually succeeded in winning her over, an interesting fact about Al Gore. They married in Washington, D.C., in 1970.
Tipper—officially Mary Elizabeth—had a B.A. from Boston University and a M.A. in Psychology from George Peabody College. She worked tirelessly to promote her own causes, and was instrumental in implementing the warning labels we now see on music with obscene or violent lyrics.
The couple have four children—3 daughters and 1 son—and they spend time on the family farm in Carthage, Tennessee.
10. He was one of the youngest ever vice presidents.
When Clinton and Gore won the presidential election in 1992, Gore was 44 years old. He was inaugurated as the 45th vice president, a position he would go on to hold for 2 terms. During his service as vice president of the United States, Gore initiated an environmental think tank to hold the government accountable for the health of its country’s ecosystems.
In addition to these 10 fascinating facts, here’s one more: in 2002, a group of Gore’s supporters started a draft campaign to convince him to run for president in 2004. He refused, but his popularity continued to grow. In 2006, following the release of the global hit documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, speculation was swirling again. Gore continued to express his stance—he would not be running for president, but he didn’t rule out a return to politics.
I hope that this article on Al Gore facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page.