Inventing Al Gore: A Biography By Bill Turque 

Inventing Al Gore: A Biography By Bill Turque 
Posted by FoM on February 06, 2000 at 10:39:50 PT
Newsweek: Book Excerpt
Source: PRNewswire
    Friends Say Gore Was Enthusiastic Recreational Marijuana User. In his forthcoming biography of the vice president, "Inventing Al Gore: A Biography," Newsweek Washington Correspondent Bill Turque explains how the Democratic front runner learned to play hardball. 
In childhood he was urged to compete, then, in 1970, he watched as Richard Nixon's modern attack machine defeated his father's Senate re-election effort in a brutal contest that foreshadowed the kind of politics the son would practice in the years to come: always go on the attack. And in 1987, after Gary Hart was forced from the race, the young Gore had to figure out how to maneuver in a new Age of Scandal -- a skill he would hone in the Clinton years. Exclusive excerpts from the book appear in the February 14 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, February 7). The book will be available in March from Houghton Mifflin Co.The excerpt details what the late Albert Gore Sr. meant when he said, "We raised him for it," commenting on his son joining Bill Clinton on the Democratic ticket in 1992. "He was born not merely to take his place in this world, they told him, but to lead it . . . While his peers tested the forbearance of the adult world, Gore looked for ways to ingratiate himself," Turque writes. "As 'Little Al,' as he was known at home, marched through his cameos at social events, he was less a kid than a miniature grown-up, working the room for his parents. 'He told me one time that his way of getting attention was by being very polite,' said his Vietnam buddy Mike O'Hara. 'He said, "I was a real little politician".'"Turque chronicles how Gore Sr.'s fight with a fierce Nixon White House taught Gore an early lesson in attack politics. "When Gore entered Congress in 1977, he brought a heightened sense of self-preservation, and a willingness to do whatever it took to survive -- even if it meant playing the race card."Turque also writes about Gore's marijuana use. He writes that three friends from the vice president's Nashville days in the 1970s say Gore "was an enthusiastic recreational user, smoking sometimes as often as three or four times a week." One of those friends, John Warnecke, who was a reporter for The Nashville Tennessean, says, "'We'd get stoned and talk about what we'd do if we were president'," Turque writes. Andy Schlesinger, a former Tennessean reporter who is still close to the Gores (he celebrated with them last week in New Hampshire), says that in the first few months after Gore returned from South Vietnam in 1971, he smoked with him "'at least a dozen times'" at the Warneckes'.The book also describes Gore's efforts in 1987 to stop Warnecke from revealing the marijuana use, which included a call from longtime Gore aide Peter Knight. "The press wanted to make an issue of Al's smoking, Warnecke remembers Knight saying. 'Tell them it's personal, it's none of their business'," according to the excerpt. "A few minutes later, Warnecke says, Tipper called and put Gore on the line. He was calmer than Knight but delivered the same message . . .Within an hour, Gore was on the phone again, his tone more emphatic. 'The press has no business prying into my personal life,' Warnecke recalls Gore saying. (Gore says that he has no memory of the conversation.) Warnecke was stunned by the pressure, but also didn't want to do anything to hurt his old friend. If reporters called, he would say nothing."In November 1987, after Gore had gone public about marijuana use, Warnecke received a call from a reporter at The Tennessean. Warnecke "didn't stonewall, per Gore's wishes. Instead, he told what he now says he thought was a more authentic-sounding lie -- that he'd seen Gore smoke only once, right after his return from Vietnam in 1971," Turque writes. According to Warnecke, Turque writes, "Gore considered even this sanitized version of the past a betrayal, and the two have not spoken since 1987." Turque writes that Warnecke "is angry that his old friend has cut him off, and it has bothered him for years that he misled his old newspaper. 'At the time, I though it was spin', he says." New York, Feb. 6 PRNewswireCopyright  1995-2000 Excite Inc. Related Articles:Pothead Al? Gets Weeded Out Drug Use Question Leads to More Questions
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