You Alpha Male, You: Al Plays Full Disclosure

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We have a new catchphrase for Campaign 2000: "I sure as hell don't recall."

Give Al Gore credit for a fast, non-shifty response — in classic Friday-at-4 fashion — to the sight of those palm-greasing Buddhist monks rearing their shaven heads. He released the full transcript of his April 18 grilling by Justice prosecutor James Conrad, who was sufficiently put off by a short-fused Gore's answers to recommend to Janet Reno that she launch an independent investigation.

After eight years, the administration may have finally learned that fast, full disclosure is the best scandal-douser. The 150 pages (gist: "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'fund-raiser' is") don't seem to contain any legal red flags, at least for lay readers unfamiliar with the minutiae of the case, which is pretty much everybody outside the Justice Department. And Gore's releasing them himself is an unmistakable signal that he's confident of his innocence, or at least his defense: a really bad memory and a very small bladder. It's also the best way to ensure that nobody reads them too closely.

Plus, in text-only evasions like "I sure as hell don't recall having — I sure as hell did not have any conversations with anyone saying this is a fund-raising event," we are invited to imagine a fiery Al Gore, barely containing the seething beast within, ready to throttle these pesky lawyers that impugn his honor. Could this be the alpha male veep we've been hearing so much about?