Profiles In Caution

The several faces of Al Gore are all carefully thought out

In 1970 Albert Gore Jr. watched Albert Gore Sr. lose the Senate seat that he had held for 18 years. The father he adored had taken brave and unpopular stands against Southern fealty to segregation and then against the Viet Nam War, and he had lost his seat because of those stands. "His father's defeat was very traumatic to him," says his mother Pauline. It reaffirmed in the son an innate cautiousness and taught him the virtues of moderation, compromise, consensus.

In his own eight years in the House and three in the Senate, Al Jr. has rarely embarked on a...

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