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A Comic In The Family

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The first time her father ran for President, in 1988, fourth-grader Kristin Gore methodically listed the pros and cons on a legal pad. She wrote in the second column: "You'll have Social Security following you around all the time."

After seven years as the daughter of the Vice President, Kristin, 23, is well aware of the difference between the retirement program and the security agents who carry radios up their sleeves. But she still has trouble with the intrusion that comes with having a famous political name.

It is hard to imagine a life more removed from the family business than the one Kristin has staked out for herself in Los Angeles. Since May, she has been a comedy writer on the hip, edgy Fox-network show Futurama. "I didn't want to be 'the daughter of,'" said Al Gore's second eldest in a recent interview. So after graduating from Harvard last year, she explains, "I just moved out here and got an apartment and started submitting scripts." In the early months, it was lonely; her father would call her daily and rearrange his schedule when he was on the West Coast so he could take long walks with her on the beach.

Kristin's writing skills, honed on the Harvard Lampoon, have come in handy for her father. When he appeared on the Tonight Show last February, she coached him on how to answer Jay Leno's inevitable question about the regular pounding the Vice President gets from late-night comedians. "Actually, we have kind of a family ritual," he deadpanned. "We just sit around the dinner table every night around 11:30 and make jokes about you." But Kristin--a favorite with the campaign staff--prefers to stay in the background, running the photocopy machine with the volunteers as her older sister Karenna communes with the Gore campaign's high command.

Kristin's relative obscurity will end Thursday night, when she will make her own political debut. She is scheduled to introduce her mother at the Democratic Convention--a prospect she finds "a little bit nerve-racking." After that, she expects to devote much of the fall to helping turn out the youth vote. "I'm a really private person, and this doesn't come naturally at all," she says. "But I feel so compelled to do whatever I can to help, because I really believe so strongly in my father and what he wants to do with this country." The other two Gore children, meanwhile, have remained largely out of the spotlight and under the fierce protection of their parents. Sarah, 21, a Harvard senior, spent the summer studying art history in Russia. Albert III, the only one still living at home, is 17 and entering senior year at Washington's Sidwell Friends School.

When Al announced his running mate last week, Kristin was the only Gore missing from the stage in Nashville. It would have been nice to be there, she says, "but I was working. They totally understood." For one Gore, there are still times when the cons outweigh the pros. --By Karen Tumulty


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Cover Date: August 21, 2000

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