Al Gore is the son of Albert Gore, Sr.
Armand Hammer recognized the utility of buying politicians: how the impecunious Senator Albert Gore, Sr. got the wealth to enable him to live in splendor in Washington's Fairfax Hotel and to send son, Al Jr., now the vice president, to the pricey St. Albans school.
In 1950, Hammer made Mr. Gore "a partner in a cattle-breeding business, from which the Senator made a substantial profit." Thereafter, Gore was Hammer's designated door-opener in official Washington. When Mr. Gore retired, Hammer made him president of Occidental's coal division, where he "earned more than $500,000 a year."
Son Al next put the family's Senate seat at Hammer's service. At the 1981 inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Junior managed for Hammer to be seated in a section reserved for senators. Hammer lurked in the doorway, hoping to glad-hand the president, but Mr. Reagan brushed by him without a glance, and with reason. Years earlier, Alexandre de Marenches, the head of French intelligence, had warned him that Hammer was a Soviet "agent of influence."
Harvard University liberated Gore from the strictures of family and expectations that weighed on him in Washington. At his high school graduation dance, he met and fell for Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson, a bubbly platinum blonde who played drums in an all-girl garage band and went by the nickname Tipper.
In Boston, where Tipper went first to community college, then Boston University, the couple went to smoky European films and sped through the streets on Al's motorcycle. He dabbled in writing and literature, earning mostly C's his first two years, then studied government, becoming fascinated with nuclear war and national security. In the course of that intellectual odyssey, he stumbled on nascent theories of global warming, an ecological conundrum that would become his signature issue two decades later.
But by his senior year, Washington reclaimed him. His father was entering the political battle of his life with a hard-charging Republican congressman, Bill Brock. The feeling was growing in Tennessee that Albert Sr. had become a limousine liberal, out of touch with his constituents, especially in his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War.
Like most young men at the time, Gore was obsessed with the war and his possible role in it. But he had an additional complication: his father's political predicament. Roy Neel, an old Gore friend and adviser, said he knows "for a fact that his father didn't encourage him to go to Vietnam. In fact, he discouraged him."
But overt encouragement may have been beside the point. Neel concedes that Gore went to Vietnam at least in part to inoculate his father from the political charges of East Coast elitism. Gore has said since then that he went because if he hadn't some less privileged kid from Carthage would have gone in his place, a concern that roommate Somerby is sure was high in Gore's thinking.
But, added Somerby: "I would assume that if he came from a different family situation, he wouldn't go."
On Aug. 8, 1969, he enlisted at the Armed Forces Entrance and Examination Station in Newark, N.J.
The sight of a uniformed Al Gore on the hustings was not enough to fend off a bruising campaign that portrayed his father as leaving college campuses to drug peddlers, opening mail boxes to pornography, and standing by as the nation's courts were disrupted, its law officers beaten and its buildings bombed.
The senior Gore's defeat in 1970 would teach the son lessons about caution and pragmatism that he has never forgotten.
"After his daddy lost that election, he wasn't going to lose elections," said Eugene TeSelle, a professor emeritus of church and theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School, one of Gore's instructors there. "He was going to make his views fit his constituents."
He arrived for duty in South Vietnam in January 1971, a uniformed military journalist covering the Army Engineering Command. Though he saw no combat, he covered much of the country, choppering here and there to record the reopening of the Marine base at Khe Sanh, to write in eye-glazing detail about road-building techniques and to reconstruct a Viet Cong attack that overran a battalion near the Cambodian border.
Gore was there only five months, but the experience had a profound impact on his career, political and otherwise. He parlayed his journalistic experience into a job at the Tennessean, first as a night police reporter, then as a city hall muckraker, unearthing city council junkets, a rezoning scandal and a bribery case that led to the indictment of an up-and-coming Nashville politician.
A Vietnam-induced malaise also inspired him to enroll in Vanderbilt's famously liberal divinity school. He was what TeSelle called "a seeker," thoughtful, reflective, spiritual.
Lance Laurence, a University of Tennessee clinical psychologist, remembered a 1989 visit with Gore that lasted for two hours, as the men talked about psychology, philosophy, nuclear arms and the environment.
"Connection, belongingness, pathological narcissism," Laurence marveled, using terminology that would leave most people baffled. "To be able to sit and talk to a senator who understood these matters - that was not our common experience with public officials."
Vanderbilt University's divinity school was known as a draft dodger's haven in the 1960s. By the time Al Gore arrived in 1971, the antiwar mood had muted, and it was a good place for an ex-soldier to figure out what to do with his life.
His professors called him one of the searchers, who thought studying theologians and philosophers could help them make sense of Vietnam.
He stayed for a year, taking courses on the Hebrew prophets and social justice, religion and the natural sciences, and the like - a far cry from the fundamentals he learned growing up in the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church near Carthage, Tenn.
Both the conservative church and the progressive divinity school left their mark. Gore and his wife, Tipper Gore, say they are both born-again, and they attend a small church that's part of the increasingly conservative Southern Baptist Convention. But Gore's writings about the spiritual roots of the world's environmental problems in his book, Earth in the Balance, have brought charges of New Age pantheism from Christian conservatives.
Gore maintains that exploring diverse teachings about religion and the environment has been key to finding his own spiritual balance.
The search for truths about this ungodly (environmental) crisis and the search for truths about myself have been the same search all along, he writes in the book.
Spiritual influences competed from Gore's earliest days. He grew up with what we in the South call a mixed marriage, says Eugene TeSelle, a Vanderbilt professor who taught Gore. His father went to a Baptist church, his mother, the Church of Christ, and they brought their son on alternate Sundays. During the summers in Carthage, he joined his grandparents at what one biographer called hellfire and damnation revival meetings that could last for days.
He spent most of the year in Washington, where his father served in the House and then the Senate. There, young Al attended morning chapel at St. Albans, an Episcopal school favored by the Roosevelts and Bushes, which preached to young men about heaven and Harvard.
During his junior year at Harvard, Gore had his first born-again experience.
It's very personal and I don't want to be advertising all of the particulars and details, he told ABC News. When I was a young man, I had an experience (of) a very intense awareness of the presence and the meaning of Jesus and the message of God through Jesus.
But Gore says his experience in the Vietnam War - he spent a five-month tour as an army journalist - would challenge teachings he had taken on faith.
It's wrong, we're wrong, he wrote of the war in a 1966 letter to his future wife. In the end, he called the war one of the most painful and costly experiences in American history and said it left him ruminating on the ease with which people inflict suffering and such evils as massive starvation and nuclear war.
He wanted to know, How can human beings do these things to each other? said Jack Forstman, a Vanderbilt professor. He thought a few courses in religious studies, particularly in ethics and philosophy of religion, would be helpful in ordering his own mind.
Gore never intended to become a minister. He attended Vanderbilt on a yearlong Rockefeller Foundation scholarship for people planning secular careers, and later said that he had hoped to make sense of the social injustices that seemed to challenge his religious beliefs.
The university in Nashville was a center of social activism. In the 1960s, when James Lawson, a black divinity student, was expelled from the school because of his anti-segregation work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the faculty protested until he was readmitted. Feminism was already a key issue in the 1970s, and ecological concerns were emerging.
Our strength was interfaith understanding, grappling with critical philosophical issues that seemed to undermine theology, said David Ogletree, Gore's Christian ethics professor who now teaches at Yale.
When Al Gore became a divinity student at Vanderbilt in 1971 he also became a protege of global warming advocate and Vanderbilt theology professor Eugene TeSelle. TeSelle was a disciple of the Earth goddess Gaia whose disciples believe Gaia is the planetary brain of this world. Her followers have about the same type of spiritual relation with her that Christian believers have with God through His Son, Christ Jesus.
TeSelle, a hard left pro-Sandinista communist whose chair at the Vanderbilt School of Divinity was funded by David Rockefeller, remained Gore's environmentalist mentor until then Sen. Al Gore sided with President Ronald Reagan to provide humanitarian aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. TeSelle, like Rockefeller knew world government could not be achieved until the American people were forced to go to sleep every night with the same fears that gnawed at the stomachs of the nations of Europe who feared they would awaken in the morning to find their nation had been invaded while they slept.
On Feb. 27, 1976, Washington came crashing back into Gore's life. Rep. Joe Evins, the Democrat who occupied the House seat that Albert Gore Sr. once held, was announcing his retirement. Tennessean editor John Siegenthaler, who always knew Gore would follow his father into politics, called his reporter at home with the news.
"You know what I think," Siegenthaler said, before Gore could even ask.
Gore was barely 28 when he headed back to Carthage for his first campaign, determined not to repeat his father's mistakes. The left-leaning reporter would tack to starboard fast, describing homosexuality as "abnormal" and telling a Lincoln County audience, "I don't believe a woman's freedom to live her own life, in all cases, outweighs the fetus's right to life."
Gore won the seat by 3,500 votes.
In 1983 after Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker announced that he would retire the next year. Tragedy was hovering over the family as Gore's older sister, Nancy, struggled with lung cancer, but his political career would barely miss a beat. He was campaigning for the Senate in east Tennessee on July 11, 1984, when he was notified that Nancy was failing fast. He rushed back to Nashville, where she died that night.
Her death would become grist for more political controversy. As he ran for the Senate in tobacco country and personally received tobacco-growing subsidies, he played down the role Nancy's smoking had in her lung cancer. Twelve years later, at the Democratic convention in Chicago, he moved her death front and center in an emotional speech that excoriated the tobacco industry.
But such attention to his constituents' sensitivities - along with a family name - paid rich dividends in 1984. In a year when Ronald Reagan routed Democrat Walter Mondale, Gore crushed his Republican opponent, state Sen. Victor Ashe, 61 percent to 34 percent.
His time in the Senate chamber his father revered produced far fewer headlines than his House investigations. Perhaps his most high-profile action came in 1991 when he bucked his party's leadership and voted in favor of the gulf war resolution, authorizing the use of military force to expel Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces from occupied Kuwait.
"Earth in the Balance"
In 1992, Gore completed "Earth in the Balance," a confessional call to arms with the now famous line, "I have become impatient with my own tendency to put a finger to the political winds and proceed cautiously." The book was an uncompromising document that calls for, among other things, a coordinated global campaign to eliminate the internal combustion engine within 25 years.
Yet in the same year "Earth in the Balance" was published, Gore was tapped by the ultimate political pragmatist, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, to be his running mate. In Gore, a family man with a solid, Dudley Do-Right image, Clinton was looking to compensate for his character deficiencies while amplifying the picture of youth and new ideas that the Arkansas governor hoped to project.
Paul Schimek, is a Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design, Harvard University. He teaches urban transportation planning.
Previously, he was a transportation planner for the City of Boston where his duties included neighborhood transportation planning, traffic and parking impact analysis, and bicycle planning. At the U.S. DOT Volpe Center he contributed to Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Change Action Plan (1993), studied the relationship between transportation mode choices and population density, and created a model to analyze the impact of fuel price on automobile ownership and use. 
Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi connection
Empowerment '92: A Call to Action Conference, was held June 6 to 9, 1992. African American community activists, joined with trade unionists, politicians, peace activists, environmentalists and others to discuss how to change the nation's priorities as the economic crisis deepens.
Of the upcoming conference DC Statehood Senator Jesse Jackson said..."We issue this Call to Action to reaffirm and reassert our vision of a true world order, one based on peace, justice and human priorities. our message, translated into action can, and must srt a new direction for our nation".
- Rep. Maxine Waters, (D - Calif.)
- Dorothy Height, President of the National Council of Negro Women
- Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn.)
- David Dinkins (NYC mayor)
- Richard Trumka (President, United Mine Workers
- Dennis Rivera, Local 1199
- Ron Brown, chair of Democratic Party
- Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.)
- Karen Nussbaum,executive director of 9 to 5 National Association of Working Women
- Toney Anaya, former Governor of New Mexico.
- DOSSIER: THE SECRET HISTORY OF ARMAND HAMMER by Edward Jay Epstein
- [http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2000-08-17/news/0008170018_1_al-gore-albert-gore-kuhn/2 Baltimore Sun Precisely at the place he was groomed to be Profile: August 17, 2000|By Jonathan Weisman | Jonathan Weisman]
- [http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/e98/e2247.htm USA Today, 07/10/00- Updated 12:04 AM ET Gore: Baptist mixed with spirituality]
- Christian John Ryter, 2010
- Harvard Grad School bio, accessed MMary 22, 2016
- Peoples Weekly World, May 25, 1991, page 8
- The Washington Times, Who is Barbara Lee? Herbert Romerstein, September 18, 2001]