Magazine article Insight on the News

The Whole Truth Is Difficult Concept for Gore

Magazine article Insight on the News

The Whole Truth Is Difficult Concept for Gore

Article excerpt

The Associated Press, or AP, recently reported that Al Gore had stated that "his family's involvement with Armand Hammer's Occidental Petroleum began after his father was defeated for reelection to the Senate in 1970. He said his father opened a law firm and Occidental became a client."

The truth is that the relationship of Al Gore Sr. with Hammer started long before that. New York Times reporter Douglas Frantz said in a March 19 article that Gore Sr. and Hammer met back in the 1940s, and that the two were partners in the cattle business. Frantz said Hammer "helped make the elder Mr. Gore a wealthy man, and the politician became one of the oilman's most valued allies in Washington." This was mainly during the 1960s -- many years before the vice president claims his father developed a relationship with Hammer.

Frantz did not shy away from discussing Hammer's notorious love affair with the Soviet Union. He pointed out that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover wanted to have Hammer prosecuted on suspicion of being a Soviet agent. Gore Sr. defended Hammer on the Senate floor, and Hammer was not prosecuted. Hammer boasted that he had Gore Sr. in his back pocket. When Tennesseans voted Gore out of office, Hammer rewarded him with a cushy $500,000-a-year job as head of Occidental's coal division.

Bob Somerby, a friend of the junior Gore's who roomed with him at Harvard, recently appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to defend his old friend against charges that he has a veracity problem. Somerby has a Website called "The Daily Howler," which he uses to expose what he believes are misrepresentations of statements made by the vice president. He cited as an example the claim that Gore had given himself credit for uncovering the pollution at Love Canal. He made what seemed to me to be a persuasive case that the vice president had been misquoted. This was important to me, because I had included it on a list of 17 Gore lies that I had published.

Thinking that I was going to have to make a retraction, I went to Somerby's Website to get his refutation in print. It accuses me Washington Times of "lying" about what Gore said, citing an editorial that quoted an AP story of Dec. 2, 1999. The AP had reported that Gore said, "A girl wrote [to me] that her father and grandfather suffered mysterious ailments she blamed on well water that `tasted funny. …

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