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Vice Pres. and Mrs. Gore Vote in Elmwood, Tennessee

Aired November 7, 2000 - 12:15 p.m. ET


FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: Now we switch pictures and stories for you, take you back to politics. Al Gore and his wife Tipper not far from their home in Carthage, Tennessee, and they are going to be casting their ballots. We wonder for whom.

As we watch them come into a crowded room, where voters are showing up to vote there in at the Forks River School in Elmwood, Tennessee.

We will see if he has to show his ID to get to the ballot box.

Tipper Gore, with her husband there, as you see the camera slung over her shoulder. She is something of an amateur photographer, has made a real avocation of it, and taken an awful lot of pictures from behind the scenes, and behind the vice president's shoulder, over his shoulder over these last several months.

As you know, Al Gore himself has gone truly flat out over these last several days, in fact a marathon 24 hour stint here, bringing him back to Tennessee, where he votes today and will await the results.

This has to be something of is a bittersweet moment for him, casting his ballot as he is in a state that propelled first his father and then Al Gore here to the political center stage, in a very tight race in Tennessee. In fact, a lot of polls indicating that he may well lose his home state to George W. Bush.

Did not take very long, thumbs-up from Tipper Gore. And a brief kiss, this time.

Our John King, who has been traveling and studying Gore very closely these last several day, is with us on the phone.

John, again, a kind of ironic twist here, as the vice president votes in his home state. One he can't take for granted.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: One he can't take for granted at all. he seemed reasonably certain, as did Tipper Gore, by the speed with which they voted here. We are going to see a tradition here. The vice president, whenever he comes home to vote, after he casts his ballot, he speaks to a small group of students here. Why don't we listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where families, and women, and children and is actively involved in issues relating to mental hospitals, education and homelessness. Mrs. Gore grew up in Arlington, Virginia. She was nicknamed Tipper by her mother.

In 1970, she met Al Gore from Carthage, Tennessee. They have four children and recently became first-time grandparents with the birth of their grandson, Wyatt. A strong supporter of regular exercise, Mrs. Gore jogs, bikes, hikes, skis, and roller blades in her spare time.

Now, I am honored to introduce Ms. Tipper Gore.

TIPPER GORE, WIFE OF AL GORE: Thank you, great job.

Thank you. I want to thank Lauren for doing such a good job. And I know you all have been waiting, and it's very exciting.

I just voted and I voted for the president and the vice president of the United States, and I voted for my husband, Al Gore. How's that?


And it was a thrill. It was wonderful. It was very exciting. Yes.


And so I want everybody to know how important it is when you group up to vote, and I want to thank you for being so patient and waiting here to hear from Al Gore.

And by the end of today or early sometime in the night, we're going to know who the next president is, and it's going to be very, very exciting. And I want you all to listen and watch the news and see if Tennessee gets to elect a president.

And it would be this man right here from Carthage, Al Gore.


He's the vice president right now.



Well, it sure is exciting to come back to Forks River School and hear Lauren's beautiful introduction of Tipper. I read Lauren's prize-winning essay, and it was very well-done.

And I have been looking forward to talking with all of you, and I appreciate you wearing these beautiful ribbons that say vote. It's very important to vote.

Who can tell me why it's so important to vote?


STUDENT: It's so important to vote because people want to vote for people who (inaudible). It really matters a lot.

A. GORE: It really matters a lot. Yes, that's basically it. Yes.

Anybody else? Why is it really important to vote? Yes?


A. GORE: Because when you vote, you pick people to represent you and to make decisions that affect our country and affect our lives. And so it's really important to choose carefully. So that means everybody should participate, because the more people that participate, the better choice it is.

Anybody else? Yes?

QUESTION: You start to walk in.

A. GORE: You start to walk in? So you're talking about the way you vote, right? Yes, you walk in and you vote. Yes.


Well, that's another way of looking at it. And that's a good way of looking at it.


Yes, why do you think it's important to vote?

QUESTION: Because you want to pick people.

A. GORE: And what kind of people do you want to pick?

QUESTION: Like anybody you want to.


A. GORE: Well, that's really important, because that's part of what freedom is all about. You can pick anybody you want to.

What kind of person do you want to pick?

QUESTION: My friend.



A. GORE: Well, that's probably why most of the candidates run advertisements that try to make you think that they're like your friend. Well, it is a great honor for me to be able to come here to Fork's River School and to participate in this election. Smith County has been so good to me.

A. GORE: When I came back from service in the Army, in Vietnam, Tipper and I made our home in middle Tennessee, and in 1973 moved out to greater Elmwood, on this side of the Caney Fork River.

My mother votes in Carthage and we vote here at Forks River, because Caney Fork River is the dividing line. And we have called our farm there home for 27 years now. And we started our family there. And I remember when each of our children was just your age, the age of these youngest.

Now we have a grandson even younger then you guys, 15-months-old.

Now, have all your parents voted?


A. GORE: OK. Your's have for sure? OK, all right.

Now, what kinds of issues are most important to you? What do you think is the most important thing that the next president of the United States ought to do? If you were president of the United States, what's the first thing you would do?



A. GORE: You'd make a law? What kind of law?


A. GORE: You'd worry about that later? OK.



A. GORE: Improve the schools. That's a great idea. That's a great -- yes?


Wait just a minute. Wait just a minute.


A. GORE: Say that again, I'm sorry.


A. GORE: Wait a minute.

(LAUGHTER) Tell us your name, first.

AUDIENCE: Brittany Massey (ph).

A. GORE: OK, go ahead.

STUDENT: I would make it where...


STUDENT: ... that people who have a criminal record can't get a gun.

A. GORE: Oh, you would make it so that people who have a criminal record can't get a gun. Now, why?

QUESTION: They might hurt someone again.

A. GORE: Because they might hurt someone. Yes, OK.

Anybody else?

What's the first thing you would do if you were president?

Improve the schools, make it so people with criminal records can't get guns.

Anybody else? OK.

Well -- yes -- what's that?

QUESTION: Improve Congress.

A. GORE: Improve Congress.



Well, that is presidential thinking. That's classic. That's classic.

OK, how many branches of government are there in the United States?


A. GORE: Three. What are they? What's that?

QUESTION: Legislative, executive, judicial.

A. GORE: Legislative, executive, judicial. Very good, very good.

(APPLAUSE) Well, I know that you're learning a lot about our government and our Constitution and the election process. And is it pretty exciting to have all of the national press corps here at Forks River School?

A. GORE: Yes.

Is there anything you would like to say to the national press corps?



A. GORE: Wait a minute. What?

Is there anything you would like to say to the national press corps? Yes? No? Would you all like to wave to them?

All right. Now, wait a second. Let's do it on -- let's do it on three: 1, 2, 3.

Thank you very much for having us here today. Thank you.

SESNO: Well, Al Gore, part candidate, part civics teacher, part 5th grade teacher, wrapping up where he has cast his ballot not far from his home in Carthage, Tennessee. Some strain in his voice.



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