Leadership: April 12, 2000


AL GORE AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF: What kind of President would Al Gore make, as far as being a military leader goes? It is difficult to say, but his previous actions and statements provide some insight.

@ He has stated "All my career, I have stood for a strong national defense".

@ During his eight years in the House and eight more in the Senate, his pro-defense rating on actual votes was less than 50%.

@ He campaigned against the Vietnam War in high school and college. He joined the Army in 1970, apparently as part of a political ploy to bolster the election campaign of his father (who was strongly against the war). He went to Vietnam in 1971, where he served as a writer and reporter. As the son of a senior senator, he was "taken care of" by the Army, which made sure he was never in danger. He was never under direct fire, but did spend one dangerous night at a remote firebase which had been shelled on other nights by nearby NVA units. Within 60 days of arrival, Gore applied to graduate school at Vanderbilt, knowing that if he was accepted, he would be sent
home early from Vietnam. He was accepted and went home after a tour of 141 days.

@ Vice President Gore has declared himself to be satisfied with the military record of the Clinton Administration. He has given no indication that he would try to restore the pre-Clinton military.

@ Vice President Gore has rejected the "don't ask; don't tell' policy and has declared that his administration will allow gays to serve openly. He quickly backed away from a statement that anyone he appoints to the Joint Chiefs would have to endorse this policy. This may or may not have been a political move to gain support from gay and lesbian groups in the primary battles with Senator Bradley. --Stephen V Cole


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