2017年1月27日 星期五

AL GORE. climate change summit. The End of the Line


Al Gore and others will hold climate change summit canceled by CDC ...

www.theverge.com/2017/1/.../al-gore-climate-change-health-summit-cdc-donald-tru...

2 days ago - Former vice president Al Gore, the American Public Health Association, and other organizations announced today that they will hold the summit on climate change and health that was canceled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week. The Climate & Health 

人物

阿爾·戈爾,康復中的政客

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
2000年10月,在一場總統大選辯論結束後,阿爾和蒂珀參加了在波士頓舉行的一場集會。這場大選對一家人來說非常艱難,但最終為他們重新發現自我奠定了基礎。

阿爾·戈爾(Al Gore)現在一個人住,獨居在納什維爾的那幢1萬平方英尺的殖民地風格宅院,木蘭樹為房子遮蔭,車道下埋着地熱井,將20間房屋的溫度調整得恰到好處。
有些時候,戈爾要前去舊金山,要麼是去做他的風險投資項目,要麼是去會他的新女友,他在這座城市聖瑞吉大廈擁有一套豪華公寓。有些夜晚,他會入住紐約的攝政酒店(Regency),他有三個孩子目前定居在這座城市。Sam Mircovich/Reuters
戈爾已經64歲了,積累了超過1億美元身家,但他仍然四處奔走,彷彿在拚命彌補失去的時光:他要寫博客,要敲定商業合同,還要拯救全球氣候問題。
蒂珀·戈爾(Tipper Gore)現在同樣是一個人住,不過她的生活節奏要輕鬆些——在2010年6月夫婦倆決定分居後,她決意要這樣生活。
她主要在兩地穿梭,有時住在加州聖巴巴拉附近價值900萬美元的海濱別墅里,有時則去位於弗吉尼亞州阿林頓的娘家看望89歲高齡的父親。她常常去紐約,和丈夫一樣,她仍在工作(通過她的網站出售她的攝影作品),也在結交新男友。
夫妻倆每年會見幾次面,最近一次是在今年六月,夏天他們會與家人一同旅行,聖誕節時則會一起去田納西州迦太基市的戈爾家度假。
他們會在戈爾家族古老的農莊和湖邊相聚,戈爾做國會議員和參議員的父親曾在那裡,夢想着有朝一日兒子能成為總統。那時候,戈爾家族擁有成就政治王朝的條件,而一家之長老艾伯特·戈爾(Albert Gore Sr.)自然會心懷這樣的期盼。
但這一路上,會經歷艱難時世,會遇到各種競爭,而王朝既需要延續性,也需要新生力量。戈爾的四個孩子是在華盛頓的溫室里撫養長大的,現在他們只希望與政治離得越遠越好。
家中的長女卡雷娜·戈爾·希夫(Karenna Gore Schiff)在2000年總統選戰期間,曾擔任父親的顧問,她經歷了種種個人困擾,在與丈夫分居後,正努力重建自己的生活。克里斯汀·戈爾 (Kristin Gore)在2009年經受了離婚的打擊,不過現在已經成為了一名出色的小說家。艾伯特三世(Albert III)最引人注目的是他年輕時酗酒和吸食大麻的不良嗜好,現在他是一名從事城區改造工作的管理人員。而曾經考上醫學院的莎拉(Sarah)現在是名藝術家,嫁到了加州。
一家老少,沒有哪個在遠離政壇的步伐上走得比阿爾·戈爾更大;在採訪了40多位他的朋友與熟人後可以得出一個結論:現在,他終於已經在心中放下了2000年總統大選失利這件事。
有幾個朋友甚至聽戈爾說過,如果不是因為父親,他當年不一定會進軍政壇;他也許會繼續早年做記者的職業生涯,或者去大學當教授。
至於和華盛頓的名流打交道這件事,在戈爾看來,沒有一點吸引力,所以他選擇不去參加在北卡萊羅納夏洛特市舉行的民主黨代表大會。他在接下來的兩個星期,會專心打理他的有線電視Current TV事務,在紐約組織兩黨代表大會的報道。
在電視演播室里就色彩提出意見,這跟當年那個8月的那場代表大會彷彿相隔了一世,但實際上僅僅只隔了12年,那場大會之後,戈爾家族的大廈便轟然倒塌。但對戈爾來說,Current TV關乎的是活在當下,而政壇的短兵相接則代表着過去。
但他的幾位朋友仍然在猜想,到了夏洛特代表大會的最後一夜,看着其他意見領袖們高談闊論的時候,戈爾的思緒一定會飄回到另一座城市的另一個講台上。
他們看起來是個完美的美國家庭。那是2000年8月17日,副總統阿爾·戈爾剛剛在洛杉磯的斯台普斯中心接受了民主黨的總統大選提名。他身上灑滿了 紅白藍三色的彩紙屑,姿態莊嚴,但在看見蒂珀從舞台一角走上前時,他大步流星地迎上去,給了她一記深深的、熱烈的長吻,這是當晚黃金時段兩人第二次出鏡。
因為戈爾素來給人以拘謹的印象,媒體對“這記長吻”大做文章,但夫妻倆的朋友們都覺得,這一幕是阿爾和蒂珀倆很經典的形象,他們是心意永不變的熱戀中的少男少女,他們在高中畢業舞會上一見鍾情,從此忠貞不二。
過了一會兒,他的子女們也走到了台上。小女兒莎拉拍了拍父親的背,然後摟住了他。二女兒克里斯汀站在一旁微笑。而當時在讀高中的老三艾伯特一如往常,徑直走到了母親蒂珀那裡。
在他的子女中,只有卡雷娜在台上來回走了一圈,向黨代表揮手致意,當時她本人擔任大選顧問,也從事政治這一行;一些戈爾的副手們認為,她是最有希望繼承家族事業的人。
此情此景值得銘記,在畫面中,戈爾一家滿面春風、引人注目、團結一心。正是因為家人的團結,令他們在經歷了喬治·W·布殊(George W. Bush)宣誓就職的痛苦後,仍然能夠挺過來。也正是因為這種團結,令阿爾和蒂珀得到靈感,在2002年出版了一本關於家庭的書,叫《心心相印》(Joined at the Heart)。在共同為該書撰寫的題詞中,夫婦倆寫道,他們祈禱一家人能永遠這麼團結。
他們一家仍然團結,而戈爾夫婦倆分居並遠離選舉政治的決定,終結了這個曾出現在自1988年到2008年的每屆總統大選中的傳說中的政治家族的角色。
儘管戈爾從未排除過再次參選總統的可能性,但他的幾位好友說,他無意再次參選,甚至想都不願意去想。他們說,主要原因在於他已經把精力放在了宣傳環保上面,這份事業為他贏取了2007年諾貝爾和平獎,也拓寬了他的視野,令他看到了人生方向。
對於戈爾來說,他是歷經多年,才找到這個方向的。戈爾的父親從政,母親葆琳(Pauline)充滿政治野心,他在他們建立起來的華盛頓的權力圈長大成人。他先是在太子黨雲集的哈佛大學求學,隨後入讀范德堡大學法學院,遂了父母的心愿。
也是在父母的鼓勵下,他從法學院輟學參與國會議員選舉。1988年他參加了總統競選,儘管當時在人們的心目中,他是個對政治的瑣碎不屑一顧的“政策 專家”。2000年他再次參選,又以失敗告終,這次失敗對他的打擊尤其沉重,也正是因為大選失利,他最終走上了一條他自己,而不是父母替他選擇的人生與職 業道路。
“阿爾·戈爾喜歡研究政策,但他始終都不喜歡選戰啦,親自給捐贈人打電話啦,這一類為了競選你不得不去做的事情,”擔任了戈爾2000年總統競選團 隊主任的托尼·克羅爾(Tony Coehlo)說,“在非常年輕時,他就由父親一手安排,走上了競選總統之路,而他也漸漸領略到了政府公職的好處。但政治與治國,對他來說首先是家族的傳 承。”
2002年,戈爾漸漸與脫離了政治的人生和解,當時他決定不再在2004年的總統大選里與喬治·W·布殊再次較量——據朋友們說,戈爾認為這是個明 智卻又痛苦的決定。在2000年總統大選中落敗,這讓他和他的家人都經歷了近乎於創傷後壓力心理障礙症(Post-traumatic stress disorder;PTSD)的癥狀:幾個孩子晚上惡夢連連,夢中焦慮萬分,而夢境都跟大選有關。戈爾覺得如果再次向白宮發起衝擊,恐怕只會延長一家人受 的苦,也會讓滌凈(catharsis)與恩寵狀態(state of grace,與“滌凈”都是基督教常見的語彙)更晚到來。
他應對創傷的辦法,不是建立一個想像中的影子總統職位;起先他蓄起了鬍子,大吃特吃,身材暴肥,隨後創建了新企業,找到了新的關注點。他不是那種在 家裡暴走,義憤難當地想着自己的政策處方是多麼正確的人;他比較內斂,與其說是一位吶喊者,不如說是位沉思者,更有可能對着互聯網上的一大堆晦澀難解的數 據陷入深深的憂思中。
假如旁人追問他,他會用黑色幽默來化解痛苦,戈爾形容自己是“康復中的政客”,並且說他“曾經是下一任美國總統”。他說的另外一句笑話聽來更加幽 怨,也更加透徹:那就是當人們告訴他,如果他當政,肯定跟布殊不同時,他通常會回答說:“你知道嗎?我也會犯錯,只不過犯的是不一樣的錯。”
戈爾的一位親近的朋友說:“我覺得,他永遠不可能完全把2000年大選失敗的事情放下來。但他也不會整天跟我們咆哮說,如果換成他會怎樣治理這個國 家。他不會讓憤怒之情凌駕於對政策的迷戀之上,在國家政策這方面,他倒是仍然相信,如果換成是自己當政會有所不同。我想,對他幫助最大的一點在於,他終於 徹徹底底地確信了兩件事情:第一,他最終找到了人生真正的召喚,第二,他最終獲得自由,成為自己生命的主宰。”
戈爾2000年總統大選團隊的經理唐娜·布拉吉爾(Donna Brazile)則使用了“救贖”一詞。
“阿爾·戈爾的故事的特別之處在於,無論什麼時候被人擊倒——在1988年,2000年,還有人生的其他時刻——他總能重新站立起來,因為他對自己 有信心,”布拉吉爾說:“他的父母夢想着他有朝一日能成為總統。他從未能成功入主白宮,但他卻能夠一路前行,通過從事一份他最在乎的工作贏得了諾貝爾獎, 也找到了他的救贖。”
過去這12年來,戈爾還通過擔任谷歌(Google)顧問、蘋果(Apple)董事、以及硅谷風投公司凱鵬華盈(Kleiner Perkins)的投資合伙人,獲得了巨大的財富。據信他的個人凈資產超過1億美元。
戈爾平素大致是一半時間住在納什維爾,一半時間住在聖瑞吉大廈他那套2800平方英尺的三居室公寓里;大部分時候他每天仍要花幾小時寫作(2013 年初,他的一本關於全球經濟和政治的著作將要出版),或者對減少溫室氣體排放的政策提供諮詢。上周他剛剛在舊金山召開的一次會議上,培訓在場的1000名 環保倡議者如何宣傳氣候變化所帶來的影響。
在戈爾2000年選戰落敗後,正是蒂珀鼓勵他撣落幾年前編輯的一份關於氣候變化的幻燈片的灰塵,向關心此事的民眾播放。他的熱情迅速高漲,於是創立 了一個非營利組織,現在這家組織稱為“氣候現實項目”(Climate Reality Project);就這樣,用他另一位朋友、也是2000年選戰顧問的羅伯特·施魯姆(Robert Shrum)的話來說,他“從政治家進化為先知”。
先知當然也有可能喜歡罵罵咧咧,但是據他的朋友們說,戈爾在大部分時候都與白宮保持着距離,所以將他描繪成政黨瘋子的諷刺漫畫也並沒有遮蔽他對政策的關注。
如果他高調談論氣候變化問題,他會盡量不落下共和黨和民主黨兩黨成員,就如去年在《滾石》雜誌的一篇文章中,他既尖銳批評了奧巴馬的白宮內閣,也批評了共和黨。戈爾的友人們說,他與奧巴馬總統間關係融洽,不過從政策的角度看,兩人的關係並不像戈爾所期望的那樣堅定。
至於美國另一個現在仍處於統治地位的民主黨家族——克林頓一家——在“9·11”事件後不久兩人就見了面,在2000年選戰中產生裂痕的關係也開始漸漸彌合。
戈爾的朋友們說,他們倆偶爾會通個電話,或者安排時間見面。去年藉著參加田納西前州長內德·邁克沃特(Ned McWherter)葬禮之機,克林頓去了戈爾在納什維爾的家,兩人談了幾小時話,去年秋天也曾在為史蒂夫·喬布斯(Steve Jobs)舉行的一次追思會上見面。
戈爾也曾就環境議題,與國務卿希拉里·克林頓(Hillary Clinton)談了幾次話,不過幾次都屬於非正式談話,戈爾未曾參與政策制訂。
戈爾夫妻的一位共同的朋友說:“這家人確實不像以往那麼親密了,他們現在全都有了各自的生活,但待到他們年紀更長時,彼此間的感情對他們所有人都是有意義的。”
遠離政治舞台無疑令戈爾夫婦更加輕鬆地做出了分居的決定。幾位朋友都說,如果他們仍然要活躍於政壇,很可能不會分居。政界鍾愛那些拍起合影來效果好極了的神仙眷屬;反過來,遠離政壇的戈爾夫婦既然對生活重心存在分歧,他們就可以自由地去追逐獨立的生活。
據朋友們說,分居是夫妻雙方共同做出的決定,並沒有牽扯到不忠這類背叛行為。準確的說,是現年64歲的蒂珀希望他們的生活能變得輕鬆點,有更多閑暇來享受勞動的果實。(戈爾夫婦和他們的子女拒絕就本文接受採訪。)
2009年,在戈爾夫婦分居前的一年,他們在加州蒙特西託買了一套意大利風格的別墅,蒂珀希望他們能有更多閑暇時間在這裡放鬆下來,做些喜歡的事 情。另外,蒂珀對風景和肖像攝影的興趣更加濃厚,她的作品此前一直是在她的朋友米切爾·葛德(Mitchell Gold)和鮑伯·威廉姆斯(Bob Williams)經營的店面里銷售的。
葛德第一次遇見蒂珀,是在2002年的一次同性戀權益組織晚宴上,一年後,他去阿林頓幫她裝修了一處房子。他鼓勵她將幾件壓箱底的攝影作品拿出來掛在牆上,此後在自己的店內舉行了幾次她的攝影作品小型展覽。
2010年春天,她的攝影作品開始在店中寄售,葛德和威廉姆斯在華盛頓為她舉行了一場招待會;葛德說戈爾先生沒有參加這次活動,也就是差不多在同一時期,戈爾夫婦已經在準備向外界公布分居的消息了。
“蒂珀希望自己能更加安靜地生活——經過了我們好一通煽風點火,她才同意銷售自己的攝影作品——我認為,現在她已經找到了生活的真諦,她希望快快樂樂地生活,希望從家庭、攝影和聖巴巴拉的家中汲取到快樂的源泉。”葛德說。
可是對於戈爾,即便是獲得了諾貝爾獎(此外還憑藉著關於氣候改變的紀錄片《難以忽視的真相》[An Inconvenient Truth]獲得了奧斯卡獎),也不足以減慢他的步伐。他自從政起就是工作狂,現在他的工作興趣包括了Current TV——他和合伙人們正在奮力將它打造成擁有主導地位的新聞台——此外他還參與管理蘋果、谷歌和硅谷的幾家企業,以及他自己的總部設在倫敦的世代投資管理 公司(Generation Investment Management)。
他現在常常出差,要參與阿斯彭研究所(Aspen Institute)的秘密會議,要去海外做演講、擔任顧問;去年冬天他得到氣候現實項目的贊助,組織了一個去南極的旅行團,團員包括英國商人理乍得·布 蘭森(Richard Branson)、泰德·特納(Ted Turner)和幾位科學家。
“這個世界最終會變成什麼樣子,這一點讓阿爾特別執迷,”戈爾夫婦的一位朋友說:“我知道,蒂珀老是圍着他打轉,感覺非常疲憊。阿爾真的永遠不可能放輕鬆,好好享受。他似乎一直在抖擻着精神,思考着自己怎樣才能拯救地球。”
奧林·克雷默(Orin Kramer)是一位民主黨的捐款人,與戈爾關係密切,他回憶說,幾年前自己出席了氣候現實項目舉辦的一場志願者培訓活動,他以為在活動中,戈爾會拿出那份紀錄片《難以忽視的真相》使用過的幻燈片素材,宣講半個鐘頭來暖暖場。
“結果他站在台上,斷斷續續一共講了八個小時,把幻燈片整個過了一遍,勁頭十足,你會覺得他這是頭一迴向觀眾們播放這組幻燈片。他可不是那種堅持每周只工作40個小時的人,”克雷默說。
戈爾確實會時不時地幫忙為在民主黨內的老朋友募集資金;就在不久前,他在硅谷參加了一場為佛羅里達議員比爾·尼爾森(Bill Nelson)舉辦的雞尾酒派對,這位議員正謀求今年連任。
“戈爾已經建立了一個新的朋友圈子,他們來自於科技業、硅谷和企業界,這些人對政治興趣不大,不過對他非常非常忠實,”尼爾森議員的一位顧問這樣說,他要求在本文隱去自己的姓名。
雖然戈爾近年來身家暴漲,但除了蒙特西托的別墅和聖瑞吉大廈的公寓,他並沒有怎麼露富。他常常出差,但並沒有租一輛包機;坐民航班機的次數比公司商務機更多,往往是乘坐廉價的西南航空(Southwest)班機飛去納什維爾。
不過在女兒莎拉的婚禮上,他確實一擲千金(一位客人回憶說,在婚宴上,有整整一面牆全部覆蓋了新鮮採摘的玫瑰花),據說,他對親戚和手下的員工也非常慷慨。
他並不經常大宴賓朋;幾位朋友說,儘管他樂見朋友來納什維爾的家中作客,但他從未在那裡或聖瑞吉大廈的公寓里舉辦過派對。不過,他整個人看起來確實放輕鬆了。
目前在微軟全國有線廣播電視公司(MSNBC)主持一檔脫口秀節目的阿爾·夏普頓牧師(Rev. Al Sharpton)說:“上次我在攝政酒店裡見到了戈爾,他看起來特別輕鬆,這讓我嚇了一跳。他對我說,‘誰能想到阿爾·夏普頓會變成個瘦子,主持脫口 秀?’我回答說,‘誰又能想到阿爾·戈爾會變成個胖子,成了電視台的老闆?’他聽了狂笑不止。以前他可不會這麼隨和。”
走進新生活的戈爾夫婦都已經開始與其他人約會。戈爾交往的對象名叫伊麗莎白·季鐸(Elizabeth Keadle),她住在加州,也是環保人士,同時是民主黨的捐助人。而蒂珀交往的對象名叫比爾·艾倫(Bill Allen),他是攝影師,前《國家地理雜誌》的主編。
(2010年曾傳出新聞,戈爾遭到俄勒岡的一位按摩理療師的性騷擾指控;戈爾否認了所有指控。當地的郡地方檢察官後來宣稱該指控事實不足,原因是證據自相矛盾、缺乏法醫證據、證人供詞不一致並存在可信度的問題。)
夫妻倆的重聚,多與子女有關。比方說去年夏天在華盛頓,他倆就一同參加了女兒克里斯汀的簽名售書會。
蒂珀先到——據葛德說,對她來說守時這一點特別重要——在看到丈夫時表現得很調皮。據兩位參加活動的客人回憶,她帶着誇張的南方鼻音喊道:“嗨,親愛的!”後來夫婦倆聊了會兒天,並跟女兒一起合影。
“蒂珀和阿爾現在可能生活在不同的城市,對近來自己的生活也深感滿足,但他們的孩子總會將兩人拉攏在一塊兒,”戈爾夫婦在納什維爾的一位朋友克里斯 汀·拉法農·奧拉爾(Christine Leverone Orrall)說:“我覺得他們在向我們展示,分開後也可以活得愉快而健康,與此同時還能為了孩子和他們的生活而作為家人聚在一起。”
克里斯汀、卡雷娜和艾伯特——現在他在一家房地產管理公司擔任商務拓展主管——三人都住在紐約。父母常來看望,去看卡雷娜·戈爾·希夫的次數尤其多,她在2010年與做醫生的丈夫德魯·希夫(Drew Schiff)分居,帶着三個幼子。
戈爾·希夫的朋友們說,在分居前後她經受了許多個人方面的困擾,父母一直在為她加油打氣,成了她的支持網中必不可少的一部分。戈爾·希夫和丈夫在子女的監護權事宜上做出了友好的安排,據說她這陣子整個人已經緩過勁兒來了。
在戈爾夫婦的四個子女中,畢業於哥倫比亞大學法學院的戈爾·希夫(Gore Schiff)是至今社會知名度最高的一個——而今她相對沉寂,因此也是四姐弟中讓人最感疑惑的一個。這些年來,一直有傳聞說她將競選公職,但她的幾個朋 友說,現如今她把生活重心放在了撫養孩子以及重新理順私生活上。他們還說,跟父親一樣,現在她的興趣點已經從家族選舉政治的領域轉移開來了。
“卡雷娜在2000年的選戰中特別投入,她認為自己是父親最信得過的使者之一,深入參與政治與政策制訂,”一位參與過2000年戈爾選戰,與她共事 過的資深官員說,“副總統信任她、欣賞她,最難得的是她接手參加了蒂珀不那麼願意參加的活動。我們中有很多人當時都以為,卡雷娜有競選公職的野心,不過她 的個性太強了,我覺得如果她作為候選人參與選戰,長期下來不一定能吃得消。”
現在戈爾·希夫在紐約協和神學院(Union Theological Seminary,她父親在上法學院前,也曾念過神學院)攻讀碩士學位,她積极參与了總部設在紐約的非營利機構“造福兒童協會”(Association to Benefit Children)的工作,擔任協會董事。該組織的會長湯姆·斯泰隆(Tom Styron)說,戈爾·希夫和另一位董事、前市長大衛·丁金斯(David Dinkins)共同承擔了絕大多數的外聯工作,負責聯繫民選官員和政府機構。
斯泰隆醫生是耶魯大學醫學院的臨床心理學家,作家威廉·斯泰隆(William Styron,《蘇菲的選擇》作者——譯註)之子,他說:“在設法運用政治資本為我們所用這方面,卡雷娜和市長往往是我們這兒最靠得住的人。”
“她非常注重隱私,非常會保護家人和子女,”斯泰隆醫生說,“她本人多次歷經坎坷,但仍然能夠一絲不苟地完成自己的使命,把所有的不愉快都藏在心底。”
布魯金斯學會(Brookings Institution)的學者斯蒂芬·漢斯(Stephen Hess)撰寫了大量有關美國政治王朝的文章,他說,戈爾家族遠離政壇這件事實屬罕見。在最近這幾十年來,政府充斥着夫妻幫,隨後他們成年的子女和孫輩也 開始在民選的職位上出出入入。漢斯認為,戈爾家族是經由一家之長老艾伯特·戈爾的安排走上了權力之路,但他的兒子和孫輩們花了多年時間,努力與政治做了個 了斷。
“有時候我覺得,如果不是因為他父親本人就是政治家,阿爾·戈爾根本不會從政,”漢斯說:“這讓你對我們的政治家族產生了疑惑:這其中有多少人是出於對服務社會的熱愛,又有多少人是因為感到有義務追隨上一輩的道路,這才從事公職。”
戈爾夫婦的朋友們則紛紛指出,阿爾·戈爾在擔任眾議員、參議員和副總統期間並非不快樂,他們夫婦倆在華盛頓的聚光燈下生活了將近25年,這段時光也被他們充分利用了起來。不過這些朋友們也說,這對夫婦現在看起來跟以往一樣幸福。
托尼·克羅爾說:“在美國政壇,30年來阿爾和蒂珀是一對婚姻幸福的夫妻。他們把自己包裝起來,用於政治消費,而現在為了個人的幸福,他們撤下了那層包裝。”
“他們還是一家人,只不過他們成了自己真心想要成為的那種親人。”
Kitty Bennett對本文有研究貢獻。
本文最初發表於2012年8月26日。
翻譯:詹涓

The End of the Line

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Al and Tipper Gore at a rally in Boston after a presidential debate in October 2000. The toll of the campaign was difficult for the family but ultimately set the stage for a reinvention.

AL GORE lives alone now, in a 10,000-square-foot colonial in Nashville, where magnolia trees shade the house and geothermal wells, buried beneath the driveway, cool and heat its 20 rooms.
Some weeks Mr. Gore heads to San Francisco, where he has a luxury apartment at the St. Regis tower, to work on venture capital projects or visit his new girlfriend. And some nights he checks into the Regency in New York, where three of his children live.
At 64, even after accumulating more than $100 million in wealth, Mr. Gore races like a man making up for lost time: blog posts to write, business deals to close, a global climate to save.
Tipper Gore lives alone now, too, and at a gentler pace — the pace she wanted when the Gores separated in June 2010.
She divides her time between their $9 million seaside villa near Santa Barbara, Calif., and her maternal family home in Arlington, Va., near her 89-year-old father. She, too, is in New York often and is also working (selling her photography through her Web site) and dating someone new.
The couple reunites a few times a year, most recently in June, for summer family vacations and Christmases in the Gore family seat of Carthage, Tenn.
They gather at the old farm and lake where Mr. Gore’s father, a congressman and senator, had once dreamed about his son becoming president. Back then the Gores had the makings of a political dynasty, and the paterfamilias, Albert Gore Sr., certainly held that ambition.
But hard times happen. Reckonings occur. And dynasties require both continuity and a next generation. The four Gore children, having been raised in the hothouse of Washington, want nothing to do with it.
The oldest, Karenna Gore Schiff, an adviser to Mr. Gore during his 2000 presidential campaign, has struggled with personal troubles and is rebuilding her life after a separation from her husband. Kristin Gore weathered a divorce in 2009 and has found success as a novelist. Albert III, known mostly for youthful indiscretions with alcohol and marijuana, is an executive working on urban renewal. And Sarah, once in medical school, is now an artist and married in California.
No family member has moved on from the political world more than Al Gore, who, according to interviews with more than 40 family friends and associates, is mostly at peace these days with losing the presidency in 2000.
Several friends have even heard him muse about whether he would have gone into politics if not for his father; he might have continued his early career as a journalist, or become a professor.
As for rubbing shoulders with the Washington elite, it is so unappealing that Mr. Gore has chosen to skip the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, N.C., and will instead spend the next two weeks on his cable channel, Current TV, leading the coverage of both major-party conventions from New York.
Offering color commentary in a television studio is a lifetime away from another August convention, just 12 years ago, just before the decline and fall of the House of Gore began. But for Mr. Gore, Current TV is about living in the present; the cut and thrust of politics is the past.
Still, several of his friends expect that on the final night of the Charlotte convention, as the other talking heads squawk to be heard, Mr. Gore’s mind will wander back to another stage in another city.
THEY looked like the perfect American family. It was Aug. 17, 2000, and Vice President Al Gore had just accepted his party’s presidential nomination at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Under red, white and blue confetti, Mr. Gore’s purposeful poise melted away as he spotted Tipper entering from the wings. He strode over and gave her a deep, long, passionate kiss, their second in prime time that night.
The media made much of “The Kiss,” given Mr. Gore’s usual stiffness, but friends of the couple simply saw classic Al and Tipper, the eternal lovestruck teenagers, who first locked eyes at his high school prom and had been swooning ever since.
Moments later their children appeared on stage. Sarah, the youngest, tapped Mr. Gore’s back and threw her arms around him. Kristin, the middle daughter, beamed at their side. Albert, then in high school, went to Tipper, as he often did.
Hanging back a bit and waving to the delegates was Karenna, who by then had a political orbit of her own as a campaign adviser; some Gore aides saw her as the most primed to follow in the family business.
It was a Gore tableau worthy of framing: smiling, attractive, united. Theirs was a bond that would help them recover from the heartbreak of George W. Bush taking the oath of office. A bond that inspired Al and Tipper Gore, in 2002, to publish a book about family titled “Joined at the Heart.” A bond, as they wrote in that book’s dedication, that they prayed would never be broken.
The bond endures, but the marital separation of Mr. and Mrs. Gore, and their desire to let go of electoral politics, have ended their role as a storied political family that figured in every presidential election from 1988 to 2008.
While Mr. Gore has never ruled out running again for president, close friends say that he has no desire to run and cannot conceive of another campaign. The main reason, they say, is that his devotion to environmental advocacy, which brought him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, has sharpened his own outlook on what he wants to do with his life.
Such perspective has been a long time coming for Mr. Gore. He was raised in the Washington power circles of his father and his political savvy mother, Pauline, then studied at the university of princelings — Harvard — and later attended Vanderbilt Law School, fulfilling a hope of his parents.
He dropped out to run for Congress, also at his parents’ encouragement. He ran for president in 1988, even though he was known as a policy wonk who disdained the pettiness of politics. And in 2000 he ran and lost again, a crushing blow, but one that finally led to a life and career that he, and not his parents, wished for.
“Al Gore loved policy but he never really liked campaigning, making phone calls to donors, all the things you have to do running for office,” said Tony Coehlo, who was chairman of Mr. Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000. “He was set on a course to the presidency at a very young age, by this father, and he came to appreciate public office. But politics and governing were foremost a family inheritance for him.”
Mr. Gore began to make peace with a life out of politics in 2002, when he decided not to challenge George W. Bush in 2004 — a decision that Mr. Gore thought was sensible but also painful, friends say. Losing the presidency in 2000 had induced a kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome in him and other family members; some of the children had nightmares and anxiety dreams involving that campaign. Running for the White House again, Mr. Gore thought, might just prolong the pain and put off the possibility of catharsis and a state of grace.
He dealt with the trauma not by conducting a shadow presidency in his imagination; rather, at first, he grew a beard, ate too much and got fat, then found new ventures and preoccupations. He is not temperamentally inclined to walk around the house in a rage about the rightness of his policy prescriptions; he is more introverted, more of a brooder than a yeller, more likely to get lost in arcane data on the Internet.
If pressed, he uses gallows humor to deal with the pain, referring to himself as a “recovering politician” and saying he “used to be the next president of the United States.” Another joke, a bit more wistful and a bit closer to the bone, comes when people tell him that he would have governed differently than Mr. Bush. Mr. Gore usually replies, “You know what: I would have just made different mistakes.”
A close friend of Mr. Gore’s noted: “I doubt he’ll ever be totally-every-day-at-peace with losing in 2000. But he doesn’t rant about the way he would have run the country. He doesn’t let his anger take priority over his policy obsessions, where he still believes he can make a difference. What has helped him the most, I think, is that he is utterly convinced of two things: that he has finally found his true calling in life, and that he is finally free to be his own man.”
Redemption is the word used by Donna Brazile, Mr. Gore’s campaign manager in the 2000 race.
“The story of Al Gore is that, whenever he is knocked around — in ’88, in 2000, at other moments in his life — he has gotten back up because he believes in himself,” Ms. Brazile said. “His parents dreamed about him becoming president. He never won the White House, but he went on to find redemption with the Nobel for the work he cares most about.”
The last dozen years have also brought Mr. Gore enormous wealth from his roles as an adviser to Google, a board member at Apple and an investment partner at Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. His net worth is believed to be more than $100 million .
Mostly splitting his time between Nashville and the three-bedroom 2,800-square-foot apartment at the St. Regis, Mr. Gore still spends hours most days on writing (he has a book set to come out in early 2013 on global economics and politics) and consulting about policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Just last week he helped train a San Francisco conference of 1,000 environmental advocates on spreading the word about the effects of climate change.
It was Tipper who, after the 2000 loss, encouraged Mr. Gore to dust off an old slide show he assembled years earlier on climate change and begin showing it to concerned citizens. His zeal grew so great that he started a nonprofit organization, now known as the Climate Reality Project, and evolved “from a politician into a prophet,” said Robert Shrum, another Gore friend and adviser from 2000.
Prophets can be scolds, of course, but Mr. Gore has mostly kept away from the bully pulpit so that caricatures of him as a partisan loon do not overshadow his policy concerns, friends say.
When he has sallied forth on climate change in a high-profile way, he has tried to take on members of both parties, as he did in a Rolling Stone article last year that sharply assailed the Obama White House, as well as Republicans. Friends of Mr. Gore say that he remains on good terms with President Obama, but that, from a policy perspective, the relationship is not as robust as Mr. Gore had hoped.
As for America’s other reigning Democratic family, the Clintons, Mr. Gore and President Clinton began mending fences damaged by the 2000 campaign during time they spent together immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.
They occasionally talk by phone or make an effort to see each other, friends say. Mr. Clinton spent a few hours with Mr. Gore at the Nashville house last year at the time of the funeral of Ned McWherter, a former governor of Tennessee, and they caught up last fall at a memorial service for Steve Jobs.
Mr. Gore has also spoken a couple of times to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on environmental issues, though the conversations were informal and Mr. Gore has not been involved in policy-making.
“The families aren’t as close as they once were,” a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Gore said. “They all have other lives now. But there is a bond there that is meaningful to all of them as they get older.”
LEAVING the political stage invariably made it easier for Mr. and Mrs. Gore to separate. If the couple were still involved in politics, they probably would not have split up, several friends said. Politics prizes picture-perfect nuclear families; the Gores, in turn, felt free to pursue independent lives as their priorities diverged.
The decision to separate was mutual and did not involve a betrayal like infidelity, according to friends. Rather, they said, the 64-year-old Mrs. Gore had wanted their lives to ease up, more time to enjoy the fruits of their labors. (The Gores and their children declined to be interviewed for this article.)
In 2009, a year before the separation, they bought the Italian-style villa in Montecito, Calif., where Mrs. Gore hoped they would spend far more time relaxing and working on projects. Mrs. Gore also became increasingly passionate about her landscape and portrait photography, which, until recently, she had been selling at stores owned by her friends Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams.
Mr. Gold first met Mrs. Gore at a gay rights organization dinner in 2002, and a year later went to Arlington to help with her home makeover there. He encouraged her to hang several of her photos, which had been stored away in boxes, and later began holding small exhibits of her work in his stores.
In the spring of 2010 her photos went on sale in the stores, and he and Mr. Williams held a reception for her in Washington; Mr. Gold said that Mr. Gore did not attend the event, which was around the time that the Gores were preparing to announce their separation.
“Tipper wants a much more quiet life for herself — we had to push her a little bit to put her photography on sale — and I think she has found that now,” Mr. Gold said. “Her life, I think, is centered around being happy in life, being happy with her family and her photography and Santa Barbara.”
But for Mr. Gore, even winning the Nobel (as well as the Academy Award honor for the climate-change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”) was not enough for him to slow down. A workaholic since his days in politics, Mr. Gore’s professional interests now include Current TV — which he and his partners have struggled to turn into a leading news operation — as well as Apple, Google, various ventures run out of offices in Silicon Valley and Mr. Gore’s London-based Generation Investment Management.
He is traveling constantly, to conclaves at the Aspen Institute and speaking and consulting engagements overseas; last winter he led a trip to Antarctica under the auspices of the Climate Reality Project that included the British businessman Richard Branson, Ted Turner and several scientists.
“Al obsesses about what the world will end up becoming,” said one friend of the Gores, “and I know that was tiring for Tipper to be around. Al never really unplugs and just enjoys himself. He seems wired to always be thinking about what he could potentially do to save the world.”
A Democratic Party donor close to Mr. Gore, Orin Kramer, recalled attending a volunteer-training session a few years ago for Climate Reality, where he expected Mr. Gore to warm up the audience with a half-hour presentation of the environmental slide show that formed the basis for “An Inconvenient Truth.”
“He stood up there on-and-off for eight hours, going through the slides, with the kind of intensity you’d expect if he was giving the slide show for the very first time,” Mr. Kramer said. “He doesn’t adhere to anything close to a 40-hour workweek.”
Mr. Gore does do some fund-raising for longtime Democratic friends from time to time; he spoke not long ago at a Silicon Valley cocktail party for Florida Senator Bill Nelson, running for re-election this year.
“Gore has a new group of friends in the tech industry, Silicon Valley, from business ventures, who are less interested in politics than they are very, very loyal to him,” said an adviser to Senator Nelson who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
There are few conspicuous examples of Mr. Gore’s new wealth, beyond the Montecito villa and the St. Regis apartment. For all his traveling, Mr. Gore does not lease a plane; he flies commercially more than on corporate jets, often taking the budget airline Southwest to Nashville.
He did spend lavishly on his daughter Sarah’s wedding (a guest recalled a wall at the reception covered with fresh roses), and he is said to be generous with relatives and staff members.
At the same time he has not become a big entertainer; several friends said that while he likes people dropping by the Nashville home, he does not have parties there or at the St. Regis. He does seem to have loosened up, though.
“The last time I saw Gore at the Regency, I was struck by how incredibly relaxed he looked,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who now has a talk show on MSNBC. “He said to me, ‘Who would have ever thought that Al Sharpton would be skinny and have a TV show?’ And I said, ‘Who would have ever thought Al Gore would have gotten chubby and own a TV channel?’ That got a belly laugh out of him. He wasn’t always that casual.”
IN their new lives, both Gores have also begun dating other people. Mr. Gore has been seeing a fellow environmental advocate and Democratic Party donor, Elizabeth Keadle, who lives in California, while Mrs. Gore has been seeing a fellow photographer and former editor of National Geographic, Bill Allen.
(Mr. Gore was in the news in 2010 over sexual harassment allegations made by a massage therapist in Oregon; Mr. Gore denied the claims. A county district attorney later announced that there was no basis for prosecution, citing contradictory evidence, lack of forensic evidence, conflicting witness statements and credibility issues.)
When Mr. and Mrs. Gore have come together again, it mostly has to do with their children. Last summer, for instance, they both showed up to a book party in Washington for their daughter Kristin.
Mrs. Gore arrived first — punctuality is very important to her, Mr. Gold said — and she reacted playfully when Mr. Gore showed up. “Hi, honey!” she called out in an exaggerated Southern twang, according to two guests. The two later chatted and posed for photos with their daughter.
“Tipper and Al may live in different parts of the country, and may be very happy with their own lives these days, but the children always bring them together,” said Christine Leverone Orrall, a friend of the Gores in Nashville. “I think they’re showing how you can be happy and healthy apart while still focusing on their children and their life together as a family.”
Kristin, Karenna, and Albert — who is now a business development executive at a real estate management firm — all live in New York. Both their parents often visit the city, particularly to help Karenna Gore Schiff, the mother of three young children, in the aftermath of her separation in 2010 from Drew Schiff, a doctor.
Friends of Ms. Gore Schiff say that she has endured personal problems before and since the separation, and that her parents have helped boost her mood and have been an essential part of her support network. Ms. Gore Schiff and Dr. Schiff have an amicable joint custody arrangement, and she is said to be doing better these days.
Of the four children, Ms. Gore Schiff, a Columbia Law School graduate, had by far the highest public profile — and of the four, questions have swirled the most around her, given her far lower profile today. There was talk over the years about her running for political office, but several friends of Ms. Gore Schiff said that her focus now was on raising her children and rebuilding her personal life. They also noted that her interests, like her father’s, had shifted from the old family turf of elective politics.
“Karenna got very caught up with the 2000 race, seeing herself as one of the best messengers for her father, and she inserted herself with a pretty heavy hand into the politics and the policy,” said one senior official on the 2000 Gore campaign who worked with her regularly. “The vice president trusted her and appreciated her, especially when she took on events that Tipper was less inclined to do. A lot of us thought Karenna had the bug for public office, though her personality could be so intense, I’m not sure if that would wear well as a candidate herself.”
Ms. Gore Schiff is now a master’s degree student at the Union Theological Seminary (her father was in divinity school before law school), and she is heavily involved with the Association to Benefit Children, a New York-based nonprofit, where she is now a board member. Tom Styron, the group’s chairman, said that Ms. Gore Schiff and another board member, former Mayor David Dinkins, handled most of the outreach to elected officials and government agencies.
“Karenna and the mayor are usually our go-to people in terms of figuring out how to use political capital for our cause,” said Dr. Styron, a clinical psychologist on the Yale Medical School faculty and son of the author William Styron.
“She is also a very private person, very protective of her family and her children,” Dr. Styron said. “To the extent that she has gone through difficult times personally, she keeps that to herself, while taking her responsibilities very seriously.”
The Gore family’s move away from politics is a rare one, said Stephen Hess, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who has written extensively about American political dynasties. In recent decades, government has been replete with fathers and mothers and their grown children and grandchildren coming in and out of elected office. In the Gores, Mr. Hess sees a family that was set on a path to power by a patriarch, Albert Gore Sr., that his son and grandchildren took years to make a clean break from.
“I sometimes think that Al Gore would never have gone into politics if his father had not been a politician himself,” Mr. Hess said. “It makes you wonder about our political dynasties, and how many of them are defined by a love of service and how many are kept in place because the younger generations feel an obligation.”
Friends of the Gores are quick to point out that Al Gore was hardly unhappy as a congressman, senator or vice president, and that, for nearly 25 years, he and Mrs. Gore made the most of their lives in the Washington spotlight. Still, these friends said that the Gores now seem as content as they have ever been.
“Al and Tipper were the happily married couple of American politics for 30 years,” Mr. Coehlo said. “They packaged themselves that way for political consumption, and now they have unpackaged that image in the interest of their own happiness.
“They are still a family, but they have become the kind of family that they want to be.”
Kitty Bennett contributed research.
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