Tipper Gore, Democratic presidential nominee Vice President Al Gore's wife, celebrates after she was introduced by her daughter Kristin. (AP Photo)

Tipper Gore celebrates the personal in husband's life

By Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press, 08/17/00

LOS ANGELES -- Tipper Gore danced her way onstage Thursday and introduced Americans to the private life of Al Gore by using the power of pictures.

With a montage from what she called "the family photo album," Mrs. Gore traced the family's life from prom pictures and motorcycle-riding youth through the Vietnam War, the births of their four children and last year's birth of a grandson.

"He's still the man I fell in love with in high school 30 years ago," concluded Mrs. Gore, who took many of the pictures herself. Delegates at the Democratic National Convention chuckled and cheered as they went along on the video tour, complete with footage from home movies.

As the crowd waved "Tipper Rocks" signs, Mrs. Gore, known to bang the drums herself, danced onstage to the beat of a drum band.

"Many of you know that faith and family are at the center of Al's life," she told the convention. "Many of you know Al to be a decisive leader with strong values, deeply held convictions and a steadfast commitment to making the American dream a reality for all our people."

But Mrs. Gore then left the policy to her husband and invited Americans to see Al Gore the family man, through the camera lens this avid photographer has used to document their 30 years of marriage, 24 in politics.

"Al has always been there for our family and he will always be there for your family," said Mrs. Gore, a one-time newspaper photographer who still campaigns with a camera slung over her shoulder, before beaming family photos onto giant video screens. "See the man I love in a way that you may not have seen him before."

The photos traced the Gore family, starting with the late Sen. Albert Gore Sr., who groomed his son for politics and "was his hero," and mother Pauline, "still one of the wisest women I know," Mrs. Gore said. The 88-year-old family matriarch watched from a skybox in the convention center.

The young couple's first home -- in a trailer park near Gore's Army base. Wedding photos. Baby photos. Family vacations.

Even some of the tough times, like when then-6-year-old Albert III was in a near-fatal traffic accident -- the photos show the family by his bedside.

Mrs. Gore used those photos to introduce her own pet issue -- mental health, describing the depression she suffered after Albert's injury. "I got help and it worked," she said. "People care; professionals can help."

The night was a family affair.

Second daughter Kristin Gore, 23, introduced her mother by telling of the day Mrs. Gore, an activist against homelessness, found a homeless woman named Mary living in a park across from the White House. Mary wouldn't leave because, mentally ill, she thought she was the president's wife.

So Mrs. Gore took Mary to the White House gate and asked the guard to leave a message for the president, saying his wife would be away for a few hours. "Mary agreed to go with my mom and accept treatment," Kristin Gore said. "She got her reality back."

"I'm inspired by my mother's courage."

Watching from the audience were eldest daughter Karenna Gore Schiff, who helped nominate her father on Wednesday; daughter Sarah, 21; son Albert III, 17; and brother-in-law Frank Hunger, wife of Gore's late sister Nancy.