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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Who is Tipper Gore?

June 16, 1999
Web posted at: 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 16) -- Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore, is the highly influential 'other half' of one of Washington's best-known political couples.

Tipper Gore

Born Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson on August 19, 1948 in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Gore grew up in Arlington, Virginia. She was nicknamed Tipper by her mother from one of her favorite childhood lullabies, "Tippy Tippy Tin."

In the past months, Mrs. Gore has been taking a higher-profile role in her husband's campaign, working both inside and outside of the Gore operation to help the image of a campaign that has already run out of steam. She was reported to be instrumental in the surprise choice of Tony Coelho to lead her husband's shaky campaign.

After admitting this spring that she has suffered from depression herself, Mrs. Gore hosted the White House conference on mental health earlier this month. It's an issue that has long been a personal crusade for the vice president's wife. While in Washington she has anonymously worked on the streets of the capital to help people with mental illnesses.

And on the stump, she has worked to change her husband's wooden image. At a recent event, an effusive Mrs. Gore proclaimed: "I have here, as you all probably know, the best-kept secret in America. He is funny, he is good looking, he is handsome, and he is sexy."

Mrs. Gore met Al Gore at his high school senior prom at St. Albans School, Washington, D.C. in 1964. One year after Al Gore went to study government at Harvard University, Mrs. Gore enrolled in Boston University to study psychology. At the end of her junior year Gore officially proposed and she accepted. They married in May of 1970 after Mrs. Gore graduated when she was just 21 and Gore was 22. Their first home was in a trailer park in Daleville, Alabama, near where Al Gore was stationed after he had enrolled in the Army the year before. On Christmas Day 1971, Al Gore left for Vietnam where he served as Army journalist for six months.

Al and Tipper Gore

Shortly after his return from Vietnam, the Gores moved to the small town of Carthage, Tennessee where Al Gore took a job as a reporter for The Tennessean newspaper while studying at Vanderbilt University. Mrs. Gore also started work at the newspaper as a part-time photographer while raising their first child, Karenna, and pursuing a master's degree in psychology at George Peabody College.

Since Al Gore's successful bid for Congress in 1976, Mrs. Gore became his close partner who supported him throughout his political career. She gave up the career she could have pursued either as a photographer or a psychologist to devote herself to the expanding Gore family. Their oldest child, Karenna Gore Schiff, now 25, is a law school student and is expecting her first child this month. Kristin, 21, and Sarah, 20, are both college students. Albert,16, is a sophomore in High School.

Mrs. Gore's work to promote awareness of children's health, women's issues, homelessness, and AIDS has turned her into one of the leading health advocates in the nation. She has served as a Mental Health Advisor to the president and as a Special Advisor to the Interagency Council on the Homeless. She was recently named Chair of the National Youth Fitness Campaign of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports with the goal to promote youth physical fitness among Americans.


White House conference targets attitudes toward mental illness (6-7-99)

Longtime mental health advocate Tipper Gore takes centerstage (6-7-99)

The Tipper effect: The Vice President's wife has lent his campaign a human touch and fiddled a bit under the hood (TIME, 5-17-99)

Gores to visit Littleton community (4-22-99)

If first lady, Tipper Gore would bring different style to the job (3-29-99)


Tipper Gore profile (1996)

Office of Tipper Gore


Wednesday, June 16, 1999

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