Q. How do you tell Al Gore from a roomful of Secret Service agents?
A. Gore's the stiff one.
These days, Tennessee Senator Al Gore -- the bottom half of Bill Clinton's Democratic baby-boomer ticket -- freely retells this joke about his wooden campaign style in his ill-fated 1988 presidential race. The self-deprecating humor is a reflection of Gore's hard-won sense of ease, the tempering of the fires of ambition, the self-awareness that comes with staring tragedy in the face and surviving.
It was April 1989, and Gore, already mulling another presidential race, was leaving Baltimore's Memorial Stadium after taking his...