Al Gore presidential campaign, 1988

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Al Gore presidential campaign, 1988
Al Gore 1988.png
Campaign U.S. presidential election, 1988
Candidate Al Gore
U. S. Senator from Tennessee

Vice President of the United States (1993-2001)
House Representative from Tennessee (1977–1985)
Affiliation Democratic Party

The 1988 presidential campaign of Al Gore, U.S. Senator of Tennessee and former House Representative began on April 11, 1987. He campaigned for President of the United States as a Democratic candidate in the 1988 presidential election, against Democratic candidates Joe Biden, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon, Jesse Jackson, and Michael Dukakis (who eventually won the Democratic nomination). Despite eventual defeat, Gore (with a strong third place) was one of the front-runners that year. Al Gore, at that time, represented the Southern Democrats and some of the Conservative Democrats in 1980s.


On April 11, 1987, Senator Gore of Tennessee announced his candidacy. He stated that he believed he could offer, "clearer goals" than the other candidates.[1] 47th Texas Governor, Republican Rick Perry, who at the time was a Democrat, campaigned for Gore during the primaries.[2] During the Democratic debate, Gore argued that his foreign policy platform was different from his rivals, but they disagreed. " 'I reject Gore's efforts to try to pin labels,' Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri told reporters after the event." [3] At the time of the announcement, Senator Gore was 39 years old, making him the "youngest serious Presidential candidate since John F. Kennedy." [4]

Gore was further described by The New York Times as:

solidly built, dark and indisputably handsome. He has a powerful sweet tooth but keeps his weight under control by running several miles a day at dawn. His stump speaking is erratic, one night spirited and evocative and the next flat and routine. He is an indifferent platform joke-teller but can be a raconteur and mimic of some skill in the privacy of his chartered campaign plane. National analysts make Senator Gore a long-shot for the Presidential nomination, but many believe he could provide a natural complement for any of the other candidates: a young, attractive, moderate Vice Presidential nominee from the South. He currently denies any interest, but he carefully does not reject the idea out of hand.[4]


According to CNN, Gore ran his campaign as, "a Southern centrist, [who] opposed federal funding for abortion. He favored a moment of silence for prayer in the schools and voted against banning the interstate sale of handguns."[5] In addition, CNN notes, "in 1988, for the first time, 12 Southern states would hold their primaries on the same day, Super Tuesday.

As the only other Southern candidate, Gore chose to criticize Jackson often. Gore began to criticize Jackson for his Mid-East policies.[6] In particular, "Albert Gore Jr. assailed Mr. Jackson's foreign policy views and said he was 'dismayed' by Mr. Jackson's 'embrace of Arafat and Castro'."[7] Jackson responded by stating that, "The issue is not whether the Israelis and Palestinians are moral equivalents. Both of them are human beings and both are trapped in the cycle of death and pain. And they are trapped in the cycle of mutual annihilation. I wanted to offer leadership that will move from mutual annihilation to coexistence to break the cycle of death."[7] Gore was heavily criticized for his attacks against both Jackson and Dukakis.[8] Jackson also retracted some of his previous statements.[9] It was Gore who first mentioned the Massachusetts furlough program Dukakis had supported as Governor by asking him questions in a debate right before the 1988 New York primary, about "weekend passes for convicted criminals"; this later developed into the Willie Horton pro-George H. W. Bush attack ad.[10] However, unlike commonly believed, Gore did not mention Horton by name.[10]

Jackson defeated Gore in the South Carolina Primary, winning, "more than half the total vote, three times that of his closest rival here, Senator Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee."[11] Gore next placed great hope on Super Tuesday[5] where they split the Southern vote: Jackson winning Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia; Gore winning Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Nevada, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.[12][13]

Dropping out[edit]

Gore was later endorsed by New York Mayor Ed Koch, who made statements in favor of Israel and against Jackson. These statements further cast Gore in a negative light.[5] The endorsement led voters away from Gore who only received 10% of the vote in the New York Primary. Gore then dropped out of the race.[12] The New York Times argued that he lost support due to his attacks against Jackson, Dukakis, and others, as well as for his endorsement by Koch.[14]

Gore was eventually able to mend fences with Jesse Jackson, who supported the Clinton-Gore ticket in 1992 and 1996, and who also campaigned for the Gore-Lieberman ticket during the 2000 presidential election.[15][16] Gore's policies changed substantially in 2000, reflecting his eight years as Vice President.[17]

Statewide contests won[edit]

South: Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma[18]

Outside the South: Nevada, Wyoming[18]

Popular vote position[edit]

  • Dukakis - 9,898,750 (42.51%)
  • Jackson - 6,788,991 (29.15%)
  • Gore - 3,185,806 (13.68%)
  • Gephardt - 1,399,041 (6.01%)
  • Simon - 1,082,960 (4.65%)[19]



United States Senators[edit]

Lieutenant Governors[edit]

State House Speakers[edit]



  2. ^ "Michele Bachmann says Rick Perry co-chaired Al Gore's presidential campaign". PolitiFact Texas. Austin American-Statesman. 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2013-01-08. Perry indeed endorsed Gore for president, but he did not hold a campaign leadership post. 
  3. ^ Gore's Foreign Policy Not as Different as He Says, Rivals
  4. ^ a b Warren Weaver Jr. (January 21, 1988). "Gore as Candidate: Traveler Between 2 Worlds". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b c The first presidential run Archived 2007-01-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Gore Assails Dukakis Over Jackson
  7. ^ a b Gore Assails Jackson on View of Israel
  8. ^ ON MY MIND; Gore In the Big City
  9. ^ Jackson Seeks To Soften Stand On Middle East
  10. ^ a b "Did Gore Hatch Horton?". Slate. November 1, 1999. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  11. ^ Jackson's Triumph in South Carolina Illustrates Dramatic Change Since Vote in '84
  12. ^ a b Albert A. Gore, Jr., 45th Vice President (1993-2001)
  14. ^ This Gore Campaign, and the Next
  15. ^ Jesse Jackson endorses Gore for president Archived 2009-04-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ God bless Jesse Jackson Archived 2009-06-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ Presidential Candidates Stances on the Issues
  18. ^ a b "Elections". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. 
  19. ^ a b c d Our Campaigns - US President - D Primaries Race - Feb 01, 1988
  20. ^ a b Our Campaigns - GA US President - D Primary Race - Mar 08, 1988
  21. ^ Our Campaigns - LA US President - D Primary Race - Mar 08, 1988
  22. ^ Our Campaigns - OK US President - D Primary Race - Mar 08, 1988
  23. ^ Our Campaigns - TX US President - D Primary Race - Mar 08, 1988
  24. ^ Our Campaigns - Candidate - James E. "Jim" Folsom, Jr
  25. ^ a b Our Campaigns - AL US President - D Primary Race - Mar 08, 1988
  26. ^ Our Campaigns - Candidate - James S. Clark

External links[edit]