With the 2000 presidential election approaching, it appears probable that Al Gore will attempt to become the third sitting vice president to be elected president. How does Gore’s experiences fit into this study? Does he share the background and political experience of Van Buren and Bush? Do the political science models described in this study support his election in 2000? Will Gore achieve success or suffer the same fate as Breckinridge, Nixon, and Humphrey?
Albert A. Gore, Jr., was born on March 31, 1948, in Carthage, Tennessee. He shares with George Bush the distinction of being born into a family of wealth and politics. Gore’s father Albert, Sr., was a longtime congressman and senator from Tennessee. Gore’s father was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for vice president in 1956, finishing third behind John Kennedy and the eventual nominee Estes Kefauver.
The younger Gore attended the best schools and grew up in the world of Washington politics. A political career seemed likely, if not expected. Geoff Kuhn, a friend of Gore’s from St. Albans, an elite prep school, stated: “We all knew he was going to run for President one day, Oh certainly. He has always had a charmed life—or maybe it’s karma. His wife, his public life, it’s all been perfect. No one who ever knew this guy could even be a bit surprised by this. It would have been outstanding to us if he hadn’t run for President sooner or later.” 1
The first big political issue that affected Gore also affected the man for whom he would serve as vice president—Vietnam. Gore opposed the Vietman War as did Bill Clinton, but before Gore could protest, he had to