Al Gore Biography, revision 422a
Good afternoon. I'm AI Gore, and I'd like to tell
you about myself.
I know a lot about hardship, because I came into
this world as a poor black child in a tiny town in the backwoods of
Tennessee. I was born in a log cabin that I built with my own hands.
I taught myself to read by candlelight and helped support my 16 brothers
and sisters by working summers as a deck hand on a Mississippi River
steamboat. My mother taught me the value of education, so every day,
I would walk 5 miles to a one-room schoolhouse.
I was a mischievous, fun loving scamp, though I never
dreamed that one day, my youthful escapades would serve as the inspiration
for "Huckleberry Finn."
Back then, black folks in the south were second-class
citizens. One day, a traveling minister came through town, and I asked
him if anyone was ever going to do something to guarantee civil rights
for all Americans. Well, I guess I made an impression. You see, the
minister's name was Martin Luther King, Jr.
My father was a United States Senator. He once perched
me on his knee and said, "Son, if you work hard and listen to your
mama, someday you can live in a hotel in Washington, D.C., and go
to an exclusive prep school." But life of privilege was not for me.
After getting my high school diploma, I took a job in a hot, dirty
textile mill. I was so appalled at the treatment of the workers there
that I organized a union. Later, that experience inspired a movie
-which is why, to this day, my close friends at the AFL-CIO call me
When word got out what an 18 year old factory worker
had done, Harvard called and offered me a scholarship. I captained
the hockey team to four consecutive national championships, but I
also played football and was good enough to win the Heisman Trophy.
During my college years, I lived in a housing project
and moonlighted playing lead guitar for a little rock band. You may
have heard of it --the Rolling Stones.
But there was a war going on, and I felt I had to
serve my country. So I enlisted in the U. S. Army and went to Vietnam.
I was deeply opposed to the war, but I did my duty as a soldier and
came back home with the Medal of Honor and the Croix de Guerre.
When I got back, I took a long journey across this
great land of ours. I've crossed the deserts bare, man, I've breathed
the mountain air, man, I've traveled, I've done my share, man, I've
been everywhere. And the people I met at truckstops and campgrounds
and homeless shelters on that journey all said the same thing: "AI,
we need you in Washington."
I knew they were right, but first I had to take care
of some other business-- building the World Trade Center, founding
the Audubon Society, doing the clinical research that proved smoking
caused cancer, and coming up with the recipe for Mrs. Field's chocolate
Finally, I deferred to the demands of the people
of Tennessee and allowed them to elect me to the House of Representatives
and the Senate. And then one winter day nearly nine years ago, for
no particular reason, I answered the call of the people once again
and took the oath of office as Vice President of the United States.
Since then, I've been part of the most successful administration in
American history. Many times Bill Clinton has been pondering some
grave decision and has asked me what to do. And when I would give
him my thoughts, he would invariably say, "Of course. That's brilliant.
Why didn't I think of that?"
During the darkest days of the impeachment battle,
the president told me he only wished he had listened when I told him
to stay away form that dark-haired intern. So after I decided to run
for president, I sat down with him and asked if he had any suggestions
about how to conduct my campaign. And Bill Clinton gave me a few simple
words of advice --words I'll never forget. He looked me in the eye
and he said, "Al, just tell the truth, it's always worked for me."