Which Vice President is the King of Gaffes?
On ABC's This Week March 14, Bill Kristol noted Al Gore's gotten a free pass on gaffes. George Stephanopoulos protested: "It's hard to say he's gotten a pass. Every time he opens his mouth he gets popped." Not true on TV morning and evening newscasts:
January 17, 1993: In a tour of Monticello, Gore asked about a row of busts: "Who are these people?" The New York Times explained the curator "helpfully identified the unfamiliar faces: 'This is George Washington on the extreme right,' with Benjamin Franklin close behind." TV coverage? Zero.
January 6, 1994: In a speech in Milwaukee praising the city's ethnic diversity, Gore said America "can be e pluribus unum. Out of one, many." TV coverage? Zero.
October 28, 1994: In Virginia, Gore attacked Oliver North's Senate bid supporters as "the extreme right wing, the extra chromosome right wing." Advocates for those with Down's Syndrome, caused by an extra chromosome, were outraged. TV coverage? Zero.
November 1994: The November 28 New Yorker quoted from letters Gore sent his father in the '60s saying anti-communism was a "form of psychological ailment - in this case a national madness," leading the U.S. into "supporting fascist totalitarian regimes in the name of fighting totalitarianism...For me the best example of all is the U.S. Army." TV coverage? Only CNN aired a brief on World News November 20.
June 20, 1996: Gore attacked a GOP plan to bar new immigrants from Social Security as "un-American, simply un-American." TV coverage? Only CNN's Inside Politics carried it four days later, as an example of "tart political talk this month from members of both parties."
July 3, 1996: The New York Times reported that in 1988, Gore told an audience of tobacco farmers, "I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I've hoed it. I've dug in it. I've sprayed it, I've chopped it, I've shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it." TV coverage? Zero, even after Gore claimed in his maudlin August 28 Chicago convention speech that his sister's death in 1984 spurred him to wage war on the tobacco industry. Only CBS noted it before the election.
December 1997: Gore told Time's Karen Tumulty he and Tipper were the inspiration for Erich Segal's novel Love Story. TV coverage? CNN aired it, as did NBC's Today. On the 22nd, The Washington Times noted Gore claimed "2,000 years ago a homeless woman gave birth to a homeless child in a manger," even though Joseph and Mary were traveling, not homeless. TV coverage? Zero.
June 15, 1998: Gore told Chicago Bull fans: "That Michael Jackson is unbelievable, isn't he?" (That's Michael Jordan.) TV coverage? CBS Saturday Morning paired it with Dan Quayle saying Republicans will beat Bill Clinton in 2000.
October 1, 1998: The Times of London reported Gore told rock star Courtney Love at a Hollywood party "I'm a really big fan," but when she snapped "Yeah right, name a song, Al," he said, "I can't name a song." TV coverage? Zero.
October 12, 1998: Gore stumped for Democrats in Minnesota, saying, "They will be the education team that Missouri needs." TV coverage? Zero.
March 9, 1999: On CNN's Late Edition, Gore claimed: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." TV coverage? Nothing until CNN's Bruce Morton reviewed several Gore gaffes on March 19, and ABC's Aaron Brown let Gore joke about it on March 20's World News Tonight. Only Morton has noted Gore's March 16 claim in Iowa that he was a farm boy who plowed steep hillsides with mules. - Tim Graham