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Title: Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976. Interview A-0321-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Gore, Albert, interviewee
Interview conducted by Grantham, Dewey W. Gardner, James B.
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 140 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-12-31, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976. Interview A-0321-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0321-1)
Author: Dewey W. Grantham and James B. Gardner
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976. Interview A-0321-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0321-1)
Author: Albert Gore
Description: 243 Mb
Description: 42 p.
Note: Interview conducted on March 13, 1976, by Dewey W. Grantham and James B. Gardner; recorded in Carthage, Tennessee.
Note: Transcribed by Lynne Morris.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series A. Southern Politics, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976.
Interview A-0321-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Gore, Albert, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ALBERT GORE, interviewee
    DEWEY W. GRANTHAM, interviewer
    JAMES B. GARDNER, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
We're pleased indeed to have this opportunity to talk with you about your long career, and if it's agreeable with you, we propose to begin with your early life and your career before entering the House of Representatives early in 1939. Perhaps a second major segment of our discussions can be your career in the House of Representatives, leaving as the third major segment of our interview your distinguished Senate career. So let me suggest that we ask you to begin the interview by telling us something about your early life, perhaps particularly about the place in which you were born and reared and grew up and how the community, the county, the state, the region may have influenced your development in early life.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, Dr. Grantham, it's a pleasure to see you and Mr. Gardner whom I can soon have the pleasure of addressing as "Dr."
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Thank you.
ALBERT GORE:
It has been a long while since I first viewed this earth, not very far from the hill country where we are now. It was, was and is, a rural community. I was not born in the community where I was reared. At age five, we moved some miles from Jackson County into Smith County; not very far, but some few miles. The community in which I was reared from age five until going away to college was called Possum Hollow—for want of a better name should I say! [Laughter] For want of a more proper and elevating title. It enjoyed a one-room school. I recall

Page 2
my first joy of accomplishment. There may have been others, but the first one I recall is the teacher had some nice things to say about me on a Friday afternoon ending the first week. I had learned my ABCs. [Laughter] So that touched a chord of pride, and joy of achievement.
Later on in life, that same chord was touched from time to time. In this rural community, school and religion, and the physical surroundings—I mean by physical surroundings outdoors, animals, rabbits, coon hunting, fishing—were the key points of my life, other than, of course, my family. Almost all social life centered around church, church and Sunday school—centered around religion. The joys of Saturday and Sunday in the woods was magnificent. The boys would meet and we'd climb trees and chase each other through the treetops. That is, we'd climb a tree and swing almost like squirrels from one tree to another. But now and then there's some terrific falls. [Laughter] But never any broken bones.
Well, this . . . this may have instilled some individuality, may have been the springboard from which each climb upward whetted one's ambition and appetite. There was but one way to go from Possum Hollow—that was up and out! [Laughter] or out! You couldn't get out except by going up, and once you got out, you were still pretty far down the pole, so everything was up and with each ascension of life's ladder, that same pride of achievement that was touched in the compliments of the teacher by learning my ABCs in five days stood me in good stead. At least, it was ethyl in my gasoline.

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DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Well, it seems to me that what you've told us illustrates very well the fact that you have deep roots in this locality and that you identify yourself with this community in a broad sense, and that it's been very meaningful to you in your life. I wonder if you have thought or did think early in your life much about being a Tennessean, or being a southerner, or being an American.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, yes, I thought of all those things. Both my grandfathers were identified with the Confederacy, and though neither had any particularly long or distinguished career the sentiment of the family of both my grandparents—the grandparents on both my . . . my maternal and paternal grandparents—was pro-southern. I inherited that sentiment. What I mean inherited, I got it honestly from my forebears passed along from my grandparents to my father and mother and thus to me. An American, yes, of course. I loved to read everything of an historical character, and though in the early days the books were quite limited, nevertheless whatever I could lay my hands on I read, especially before children were consumed with television. So I was intensely chauvinistic and patriotic in my feelings. I don't remember that Tennessee had such a position in my emotions as the South and America. It was just not quite as pointed in my family. There were never any doubts about Tennessee and our love of the state, but it just somehow didn't quite stand out as did the feeling of the family towards the South and towards the whole country.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
You had, I take it, little difficulty in reconciling your regional and national loyalties.
ALBERT GORE:
Uh . . . Well, yes, I think I did. I think I may have, at that

Page 4
time, I may have been southern first. [Laughter] I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I did draw a difference, somehow. Later on, I tended to blur those differences and merge those into one, but then I think I did have some different feelings.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I believe Cordell Hull was from this area. To what extent did his career influence you, your goals, your aspirations. I'd understood that Carthage produced a number of important politicians.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, you'd be, you'd be surprised perhaps, maybe you know, but from this little town of Carthage, as you said, a great many men of national prominence have come. If you go around a few streets in Carthage you see a mansion, a great antebellum home, where a congressman, a pre-Civil War congressman lived. In the basement of this house, there are rings in the wall where slaves were chained for the night. Later, Benton McMillin was a congressman from this district, who lived in Carthage. He became Democratic leader in the House of Representatives. He was later governor of the state and later served as ambassador to one, I guess two countries. Then of course Cordell Hull, as you've mentioned. And then I had a career thirty-two years from here in national office and some state positions prior to that. And, as a footnote to the future, my son Albert Gore Jr. is a candidate for Congress now.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
When you were moving into politics, were you conscious of the tradition of Carthage and Smith County for producing these leaders? To what extent did you look to Cordell Hull's career and his success?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, to begin with, my father admired Cordell Hull. Around the fireside at night, he would often speak of him. They had been boyhood,

Page 5
what they call "running the river." They had run the river together. That is, they'd go down with a raft of logs and then come back up the Cumberland to Carthage on steamboats. And they'd known each other as young men.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Let me interrupt, Senator. That is, they would go down to Nashville . . . ?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
. . . with a raft of logs?
ALBERT GORE:
. . . a raft of logs. And then the chief mode of transportation back at that time was steamboat. Later on, of course, Cordell Hull was in Congress. My father was his supporter. Then Hull was defeated for Congress, as I recall, I believe it was 1920. This was a great disappointment to my father. I heard him speak of that. Then Hull was reelected to Congress. I remember during a recess of Congress he would come to Carthage and spend some time. He would get his mail. I was teaching school at the time, a rural school. I would, not infrequently, drive from the rural school which I taught at Pleasant Shades some twelve miles away, I'd drive to the county seat at the close of the day. By that time, Judge Hull, as everybody called him, would have finished his mail and his lunch, and now and then would be up under the trees in the courthouse, talking with the checker players and other people. I would sit nearby and listen to him, and I became greatly impressed.
Now to answer your question as to whether or not this condition of public service had its influence on me. The answer is yes, as it has done for more than a hundred years on many other youngsters from here. At least, I knew it was doable. [Laughter] Others from here had done it, and through

Page 6
the years, Carthage as the home of a politician gained certain acceptability. Strange, Dr. Grantham, that such a thing would develop, but I can think of larger towns nearby and no one from those towns had ever politically done any good! [Laughter] But somebody from Carthage is almost always lucky. [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
You mentioned earlier, Senator, that your grandfathers on both sides were Confederate soldiers.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I'm not sure about the extent of their military service and just what it was. At least they were identified in some way with the Confederacy.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
. . . with a Confederate cause. And you mentioned your father's admiration for Judge Hull. I wonder if you could elaborate a bit about family influences, other family influences, in your own development—your father, mother, other members of the family, who influenced you, contributed to your development.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, there are several lawyers in the Gore family, and I think this was part of my desire to become a lawyer. At least, I was very interested in it. I would go to the county courthouse when I had an opportunity and when a good murder trial was under—I shouldn't say "good" trial [Laughter]—a dramatic murder trial was underway or some other altercation in the community that elicited public interest. I would watch the lawyers and listen to their debate and just was thrilled by it and challenged by it. To this extent, yes. However, the family influenced me more, my own family influenced me more profoundly with, oh, for want of a better description, the moral codes. Perhaps part of it's

Page 7
folklore, perhaps some of it now is regarded as puritanical, but we had, and deeply held the mores and moral codes that are traditional with the fundamentalist religion of this area and Scotch-Irish independence. I believe that this was the most profound influence on me and on my life and on my outlook on moral and social values.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
It seems to me to be illuminating as far as the development of character is concerned, but how would you explain what I believe is an aspect of your career and personality. That is, your independence, willingness to take a lonely position on occasion, to be your own man. Where did this trait come from?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, it's a certain characteristic of my father and of my mother. I think, as I said earlier, it was stimulated by the isolated life I lived in an isolated community where every boy was pretty well on his own out in the woods and on the lomesome hills. We'd separate on top of a hill someplace, each one going his way home. A walk through the moonlight, the loneliness with the hooting of the owls, the scream of the hawks, yet one walked without fear and successfully. Maybe this is a very primitive thing, but it's a part of the installation of independence and self-reliance, but it's not peculiar to me. I think this is down through history and rather peculiar of people who live in the open and with a certain degree of solitude. They're left upon their own talents and skills to succeed and to achieve.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
So in a way, that would be a reflection of or an illustration of a community-wide or area-wide characteristic.
ALBERT GORE:
Certainly I think, Dr. Grantham, this is more or less

Page 8
characteristic of the people in this upper Cumberland mountain, Appalachian area. Of course, you get a fistfight here pretty fast [Laughter] and a fist in your nose pretty hard, if you're looking for it.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, if that is the case, and I have no doubt that it is, in another respect you were very different. That is, you were able to advance educationally. You and your family were ambitious for you to obtain as much education as possible, and you succeeded in attending college, which certainly was not true of the majority of the young people growing up in Smith County. Could you comment on the ambition for education in your family and the community, and perhaps say something about your college experience.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I hardly know how to begin on that one. Going to college was a challenge, one that I accepted. I don't recall that I ever had any doubt that I would do so, but finding the means to do so was somewhat difficult. I can recall that I graduated from high school in 1926, and though the Great Depression and collapse of the stock market didn't come until 1929, as you know, nevertheless for the farm economy, the depression had begun before 1929. Yet my family was quite affluent insofar as food was concerned and produced just about everything at home except salt, and pepper, and sugar, and that character of commodity. We were members of the beef club in which some fourteen, sixteen families would be together, and each one would contribute a beef at a given period. The beef was slaughtered and then divided into fourteen or sixteen parts, or piles, packages, depending upon how many members of the club there were. Then someone would be blindfolded and turn his back and somebody would walk

Page 9
up to a stack of beef and say, "Whose stack is this?" Well, this fellow would say . . . we finally caught a fellow one time. He'd say, "Whose stack is this?" "Whose stack is this?" "Whose stack is this?" Somewhere down the line, there would be an extra large pile, one with some extra good cuts, and he'd say, "And whose stack is this?" [Laughter] He'd do that twice during the calling, and it happened that this "and," this conjunction preceded his pile and the blindfolded man. [Laughter] So, both of them almost got lynched! [Laughter]
Anyway, in this way we had beef, and we killed our own pork, and cured our hams. My mother furnished most of the food for the family with chickens, and eggs, and cows. So we produced our eggs, and our milk, and our beef, and our pork. My brother was quite good with the rifle, and later I developed some proficiency and we added to the food for the family with squirrels and rabbits, now and then a young groundhog and what we call a white crest chicken hawk, which is marvelous food. Chicken hawk is, to me, better than turkey. And then of course, my mother canned everything, I mean everything. She was good. Her food was excellent. She made kraut, pickles. We had an ash hopper and we burned wood for a fuel in the stove, the cooking stove and the fireplaces. The ashes would go into the ash hopper, and with a portion of water; lye would come from this, and this was used to make soap. There were always chickens and butter and eggs and most of the time some cream to sell for the spending money of the family.
The money my father earned went to pay off the mortgage. I don't mean to say that, I don't mean by saying that my mother was the breadwinner, that my father was not industrious and diligent. He

Page 10
was, but his money went to pay off the mortgage and later to store some small amount of deposits in the bank, our banks, all of which were lost. Before the crash, he had become uneasy about the soundness of banks, so his small savings, I think which was in the order, I believe, of about $8,000, were divided up into deposits in different banks. Either three or five banks were near our home in different local communities. And within a few days, all of those banks failed, and he never recovered one dollar from his savings. So I may be hastening ahead in my answer to your question to other things, but these, this independent reliance, this independence of the family had a part in molding my personality and my philosophy and my attitudes. I knew it was possible to be self-reliant, to live an independent existence. Not entirely so; we're all interdependent, but far more so today for most people than for me. But to advert, I think that these experiences were common to a great many people, most people in this area. But somehow, I was about the only young man in my generation from Possum Hollow who went to college or who seemed to desire to do so.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did you find it necessary to work while you were in college or between college sessions? Could you tell us about the . . .
ALBERT GORE:
Oh yes, indeed. At no time did I attend college more than two consecutive quarters. I frequently would work for a quarter, then go a quarter. Or maybe work for two quarters and go two quarters. And not only drop out and work but earn my meals by waiting on tables. I had one amusing experience. I was then at the University of Tennessee. I secured a job as a waiter in a restaurant in downtown Knoxville, on Gay Street. And the compensation for my work was my meals. But I was lectured in the beginning

Page 11
that my meals were to be enough to satisfy a reasonable appetite, but not to overfeed one. I had the misfortune of getting caught one time eating my pie a la mode. And I got fired. [Laughter] That was an inordinate appetite—ice cream on one's apple pie. So I lost this job.
Money was so scarce at that time that I would mail my shirts to my mother, and she would launder them on the farm, iron them, and mail them back to me. Postage was cheaper then than now.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, was college—I take it that you attended the University of Tennessee for a time, and then the State Teachers' College in Murfreesboro, from which you were graduated, I believe—was college a revelation to you? What was the impact of your college experience on your development, as you say?
ALBERT GORE:
Strangely enough, not as much as I had anticipated. I had been an omnivorous reader, and things were not as new as I had anticipated except in the limited science and mathematical studies. The whole field, the physical world outside of my limited experience as a youngster, seemed to open up with some very limited studies in science. Mathematics I only grasped, but I got an insight into the world of mathematics, and it's a fascinating world. I never explored it. But later on in life when I found it necessary to try to understand complicated economic matters, accounting reports and business reports, discount and cash flow, this kind of thing, I found that the limited training I had in mathematics stood me in very good stead.
I shouldn't say, but I will say, that I felt I wasted a great deal of time in what was called educational subjects, that is,

Page 12
subjects in the Teacher's College that were designed to prepare one to be a teacher. Somehow or other, these seemed to me to be an almost utter waste of time. There was history, there was science, there was literature, there was English, mathematics, fine; that was very educational and very helpful. But I really got practically nothing out of the so-called educational subjects. You know what I mean by . . . it's a misnomer, all subjects are educational, but these are for the, you know what I'm referring to. They're the particular kind of subjects like "Beginning Teaching," like "How to Teach." Well, I later taught, but I didn't find the studies I had engaged in very helpful. In teaching, I found one is left a great deal to his own talents and intuition in the rapport with the students. This is a digression from your line of questioning . . .
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
No, it's very relevant. Do you recall any particular professor who influenced you?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes. A Miss Moynihan at Middle Tennessee State College was one who was very inspirational. Another woman teacher, Miss Buchanan, at Middle Tennessee. I think the teacher who influenced me most at the University of Tennessee was, I believe, Dr. Massey. He taught history. I don't recall anyone in science or mathematics because I didn't have enough of either. I just scratched the surface in those. I majored in history and English. There's a teacher in English whose name I can't recall right now. I found when I went to the University that I was failing English. I hadn't been accustomed to failing a subject and I just didn't understand. I knew something was wrong. So I sought out the teacher, and I wish I could recall his name. He just frankly told me that I had

Page 13
inadequate preparation; I didn't know what a sentence was, that is, sufficiently. Punctuation, paragraphing, I was inadequately trained, and I persuaded him to give me special tutoring in sentence structure, punctuation, paragraphing. I had no trouble with spelling. It was composition and it was sentence structure and it was paragraphing. So he gave me special instruction for some weeks, and I overcame these deficiencies. At least I didn't fail my subject. And later on in life, I became a stickler for correct punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraphing, and still am.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
You spoke of your own teaching, both before you completed college and afterward for a time. Did you look on teaching as temporary and as a means of eventually going into law and perhaps into politics, or did you consider teaching as a possible long-term career objective?
ALBERT GORE:
I looked upon teaching as a job, as a means of earning some money to go back to school. My ultimate ambition was to study law. I could never get together the money to go to law school. But, as you well know, law required some continuity of subjects, more so than teaching. At the time I graduated from high school, one could get a certificate to teach after three months of college. Well, three months of college wouldn't do very well toward passing the bar, becoming a lawyer. So actually I was, I looked upon teaching and used teaching as a means of livelihood and saving up to continue my education. Later on, I came to love the profession and became county superintendent of schools in my home county, and I enjoyed it and developed a pride in education. But while I served as county superintendent, I then drove to Nashville at night

Page 14
to attend a YMCA night law school. So while serving as county superintendent for four years, I completed a three-year law course at night and graduated with a law degree and passed the bar.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I wanted to ask you about your election as superintendent of education for Smith County. That was your first political campaign, I take it?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, my first political campaign was for county superintendent, but I was unsuccessful. I learned quite a lesson, several lessons however. I remember on election night there was a large crowd standing in front of the courthouse, Carthage's. The votes were being tabulated and the returns given. The editor of the county paper had a large blackboard in front of the courthouse, the lights trained upon it. For various offices as each civil district would report, why, he and his helpers would mark the votes. So, as all the votes were in, it appeared that I was the winner by one hundred and some votes. But then they opened the absentee box, the absentee ballot box, and I lost by 184 votes. And I learned that my distinguished opponent who was incumbent county superintendent had dispatched a team of loyalists to Detroit, Akron, and various places in the North where Smith County boys were working, and they secured the votes from enough of those that I lost the election by the absentee ballots. [Laughter] Nothing illegal. I just, I didn't do it. Somehow, it hadn't occurred to me, so I learned that you look for votes and you get votes from whatever sources you legally can do so. I later profited by the experiences.
I had another experience there.

Page 15
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Let me interrupt to ask you if that first political campaign occurred in 1930?
ALBERT GORE:
Um . . .
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
You were elected, I believe, in 1932. Perhaps it was 1928.
ALBERT GORE:
I think it was . . . no, no, it was later. I think it may have been the year before. It was in the Democratic primary in which I competed. I think it may have been, it may have been '30, but I rather think it was '31. The reason I think that, soon after this election, the incumbent superintendent and my successful opponent passed away.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
ALBERT GORE:
The interesting story there was, having had many political battles, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, and several of his battles had been characterized by bitter personality conflicts, charges back and forth. But I made no criticism of him at all. He seemed to be grateful for that, though I recall going to see him some months after our contest and talked to him about a possible position as teacher. He asked me where I would like to teach. I designated a large Democratic community in which he had defeated me. And laughing, he said, "I'm not going to put you there, you'd beat me next time." [Laughter]
We had a pleasant relationship. Incidentally, I didn't get a school at all. I proceeded to get a job operating a peddling truck for a hardware and furniture store. But within a few months, Mr. Hufflines went to the hospital of necessity, and they discovered a malignancy. I was told that on his deathbed, he asked a group of his close friends who had loyally supported him, who had successfully opposed me, to support me.

Page 16
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
As his successor?
ALBERT GORE:
So I found that when the contest to fill the vacancy after his death occurred in the county court, I was suddenly receiving support from both factions. It was quite a revelation. All this had an influence on me throughout my career. At no time did I make a personal assault in any of the political battles that I had.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I was going to ask if, in thinking back over these early campaigns, if you developed a style of campaigning that did become characteristic of your political career. And I wonder also, if in the election, it was a matter of the county court choosing a superintendent or was this a countywide popular election?
ALBERT GORE:
Now this was the county court filling the vacancy. The superintendent was elected by popular vote, but I had no opposition. I think that the fact that we had, Mr. Hufflines and I, had this, for want of a better description, gentlemanly contest and that we developed no enmities therein and remained friends solidified my popular support in my home county, which stood me in good stead when later I went to Congress.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
You were a very young superintendent, twenty-five, or not over twenty-five when first elected.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, I was twenty-five. Yes, I guess I was, but got along all right.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
That was in 1932, about the time that Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated. I understand that you became involved in politics on a statewide basis with the Young Democrats after F.D.R.'s nomination and then in working for the Speaker's Bureau in the '30s. How did you make that move from Smith County politics into state politics?

Page 17
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I suppose very easily. You say "how," because those were depressed times. The need for change, the opportunity and necessity for reform seemed so imperative that I was ready to join any movement in that direction. I happened to be at the age, at the time when the Young Democratic movement started. I participated and I guess, to some extent in a limited sense, became a leader of that movement. At least I was willing to be called a leader. I attended the rallies and made some attempted speeches against Mr. Hoover, President Hoover.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
As I recall, Senator Cordell Hull, I believe at that time, was in the Senate or about to enter the Senate, I think he was in the Senate, was a leader in the pre-convention campaign in behalf of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Did that fact influence your own identification with the Roosevelt campaign for the Democratic nomination?
ALBERT GORE:
I don't think it did. This was quite beyond me at the time, quite beyond me. It was only in the general election after Roosevelt was the nominee that I can recall becoming involved.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Edward H. Crump had taken some control in Tennessee politics by that time, at least establishing his power in Tennessee by then. Did this necessitate working with the Crump machine? What sort of relationship did you have with the Crump men, and were they that evident at that time?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I had no association at all at that time, opposition or . . . but I was never associated with him. I later opposed him, but Crump was not a part of my experience that early. This was just in Smith County and surrounding counties and ultimately in the Fourth Congressional District.

Page 18
My activity didn't get beyond that.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Well, you supported Gordon Browning in '36. I believe he was just elected.
ALBERT GORE:
I was his state campaign manager when he ran for the United States Senate in 1934. I believe that my activity in the Young Democratic movement and the fact that I was county superintendent at a fairly young age may have drawn his attention to me, and he invited me to become his state campaign manager.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Now, he had different relationships with the machine. Well, I suppose he was opposed essentially to the machine in '34 although supported for the governorship in '36.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, I did not manage his campaign for governor in 1936. I supported him for that, but as you said, the Crump machine supported him for the governorship in 1936. I was active in his campaign, but I do not remember now why I was not his state campaign manager. But I was active and took a part in his election and became a member of his cabinet after he was elected.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, before we ask you to talk some about your statewide political activities, which perhaps could be said to have begun in 1934 and certainly in 1936 and '37, could you say something about national politics in the sense of national heroes before you really became involved on a district-wide or statewide basis? I wondered, for example, if Woodrow Wilson was one of your political heroes.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, first I think Andrew Jackson was foremost. Woodrow Wilson, yes. Hull, yes. And in an earlier period, Jefferson.

Page 19
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Benton McMillin?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, though I never . . . only as a personality, not as a political career.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
The reason for my question is my interest in knowing how you viewed Franklin Roosevelt, and how your opinion of him might have changed from your early perception of him.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I viewed Roosevelt from the perspective of economic chaos, very severe, the Depression, and as an alternative to Hoover whom I had come . . . well, not to hate, that's hardly the word, but vigorously to detest as a political leader. I had no opportunity to know Roosevelt personally at that time. Television was not yet here. The candidate was not immediately in anybody's living room. True, there were radio broadcasts of the campaigns, but there was nothing, there was no particular personal tie or adulation of Roosevelt. He was an antidote to what we had. Any voice for a change was welcome.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did you come to be a strong supporter of his administration in 1933, '34, '35, '36?
ALBERT GORE:
Certainly in '33 and '34, and in the beginning of his administration, yes. I was a very enthusiastic supporter. By '36 and '37, I think I had cooled a little in my support of Roosevelt. In the second half of the 1930s, I had this experience in my campaign for Congress that maybe colored my attitude. At that time, the chief source of jobs in this rural congressional district where I lived, governmental jobs, was relief agencies—WPA, the various alphabetical organizations that the New Deal had brought into being. And it happened that this was a source

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of political patronage. And the boss of that patronage at that time was the late Senator Kenneth D. McKellar. Through some political alignments on his part and also because of my association with Governor Browning from whose cabinet I departed to make the race for Congress, I had become identified with a political faction in the state, and thus the federal patronage power was turned against me in my campaign in the Democratic primary. I was impressed with the abuse which I regarded this as being, so I went to Congress somewhat disenchanted with the, at least the power of patronage that prevailed in the relief agencies at the time. I later recognized that as not a fault of Roosevelt, nor of the program. It was before the Hatch Act and just the product of the spoils of political life. I came to accept that and became a supporter in many respects of the New Deal, after I'd been in Congress a very short while.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Would it be fair to say then when you entered Congress in 1939, your attitude toward President Roosevelt was probably in considerable contrast to that of a young Texas representative also, I think, entering Congress in 1939? His name was Lyndon B. Johnson.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, I was even in my first term an independent, though populist in my leanings from the beginning. Yet, the experience I had in the primary must have had a part. And also I think the social mores and moral values that had been my upbringing tended me against the relief program. I placed self-reliance ahead of those things. I was aware, of course, of the difficulty of being a rugged individual at the time; he often was a ragged individual. But I must say, I went to Congress strongly supporting many of Roosevelt's programs—TVA, Social Security, minimum wage, this

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kind of social programs—but I didn't like the power politics of it. And therefore, I went as an independent and became so and remained so, whereas Congressman Lyndon Johnson seemed to have had the support of Roosevelt and he was a fair-eyed, fair-haired young boy at the White House when he was invited to the White House. He was an [Laughter] enthusiastic New Dealer and I was a critical New Dealer.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Incidentally, I may be wrong about the date of his entering Congress. Perhaps it was a little earlier than your . . .
ALBERT GORE:
I believe he entered in 1937.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
. . . in a special election on the . . . though perhaps it was as a result of the election of '36.
ALBERT GORE:
I think it was in the election of '36.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did you support Roosevelt's labor policy before you entered Congress? Did you think well of the Wagner Act of '35, for example?
ALBERT GORE:
I don't recall that I had any strong feelings one way or another about that.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I ask that because of your service as Commissioner of Labor in the Browning administration. I believe you served from, in '36 and '37, or did you take office in '37?
ALBERT GORE:
I served in '37 and part of '38.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Could you comment on your duties and that experience?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, the most important duty I had was to inaugurate unemployment compensation in the state. This was a new program, newly enacted federal law with which the states must comply. I devoted a great deal of time to that and on the had a great many appointments to make, new positions to fill in this new activity. A liberal number of

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those positions were filled by promising young men and women from the Fourth Congressional District. So this federal patronage cut two ways. The list was not exactly federal patronage, it was state patronage supported by federal funds. So I had mixed feelings about the Roosevelt administration when I arrived at Congress. As I say, I was an enthusiastic supporter of many of his programs, I'd say most of his programs. But I was also critical of some, particularly of the relief agencies. Maybe this assaulted my independence and my upbringing, but I must admit that the calloused experience of patronage politics in the primary must have had its part.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
There are two or three other matters, Senator, that Mr. Gardner and I would like to have you reflect on in connection with your pre-congressional career.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Well, I'm interested in the '38 campaign. I suppose it appears that you sort of got swept in with the feud between Crump and Browning in '38, that you had been a loyal Browning supporter earlier, and that McKellar's position was used against you in that primary. Do you recall that '38 campaign? What was Browning's position with Crump? Why did he become estranged in that period from the Crump organization, which supported him in '36 and then opposed him in '38?
ALBERT GORE:
I don't think I'm qualified at this stage to identify the issues on which they broke. I wish you'd correct one word you used—I wasn't swept in, I fought my way in. [Laughter]
JAMES B. GARDNER:
But in their criticism against Browning, they, I suppose, criticized anyone who had supported him too. I knew there were a number of issues

Page 23
such as the county unit system involving voting and other things like that. I wasn't exactly sure what had broken the . . .
ALBERT GORE:
You can find someone better qualified to handle that.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I thought as a member of the Browning administration perhaps you knew something.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, if I, I guess if I rake my memory I could reconstruct it, but after all, that was forty years ago. I think I'd better not attempt to review that.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
What about the campaign itself, Senator? Did you have strong opposition and could you describe your opposition and your own candidacy in the campaign?
ALBERT GORE:
I think I had five opponents. One of them was a district judge; another was . . . two more were what we call district attorney generals. Another was a former state senator and a prominent lawyer. Another, then a local politician in legislature, achieved some local fame. Large district, eighteen counties, our campaigning was very vigorous. Personally, my wife and I, we managed our own campaign. I think we were able to get together for the entire campaign maybe ten thousand dollars. I hired and persuaded, expensive really, some neighbor youngsters who, one of them played the guitar and another a banjo in some way or another. Sweet voices sang and I would join with them and play the fiddle. So we had a little road show going, and we went to all the crossroad communities and night rallies in rural schools. We were favored with good crowds frequently. Oh, I'd have thousands, sometimes two thousand people in a county seat town. I had a large crowd in, at homecoming in my home

Page 24
town. We called it ten thousand; [Laughter] that may have been a political estimate. But the point I'm trying to make is, political speakings were then attended. On a night during the week when I would speak at a rural school, the auditorium would be pretty well filled. We would give them some entertainment. I wouldn't call it choice, but at least it was acceptable. I pulled a right mean bow at that time and then spoke on the issues and used a right good deal of humor and a lot of entertainment. Then, a very important part of political campaigning was the pleasantries and the humor, however unsophisticated it was, that you generated in the audience, or you sought to generate in the audience. And if you were a good and effective candidate, you did generate in the audience some warm and pleasant rapport. You relaxed with your jokes and you illustrated your points with some humor, and sometimes there would be local color. I would frequently turn some particular event of the night or of the day or of the area with some humor, sometimes self-deprecating. The ingratiation of the candidate with the audience, the immediate audience, was a powerful political weapon if one could use it. Ridicule and humorous ridicule was a far more effective device against an opponent than personal invective. So I was of the old southern political style, a fairly good storyteller with some unsophisticated adroitness at turning the humorous incidents or making humor of some incident that occurred immediately there. Then, I must say the fiddle played a considerable part.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Well, it's obvious that you had an energetic, well-planned . . .
ALBERT GORE:
Not well-planned. [Laughter] Accident.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
. . . campaign that proved effective, and that you yourself were the strongest part of your campaign. Do you think issues and your

Page 25
own program or proposals played a part in the '38 outcome?
ALBERT GORE:
Not a great deal. It was important that I be able to discuss issues of the day with some acceptability, not impressiveness. But at least I spoke in a strong voice [Laughter] about one issue or another. It was necessary to impress the voters that the candidate had the capacity to get worked up on an issue and give a good accounting of himself in debate. But so far as my position on issues contrasting with other candidates, I don't think it played any part at all. It was a personality contest, in many respects, a personality contest.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, we're talking here about the primary, are we not?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did you have opposition in the general election in 1938?
ALBERT GORE:
I don't even remember. The Republican opposition at that time was so insignificant, if it occurred, I don't remember.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I wondered if we could move ahead just briefly to ask if you could comment on later opposition in the primaries while you were in the House, or if there was any, in the general elections? You were elected, as I recall, at least six, to six additional terms in the House.
ALBERT GORE:
I had opposition in only one Democratic primary, that is, opposition of any consequence. I did not have serious Republican opposition. I had opposition, but I never regarded it as being seriously challenging. Usually there was a Republican on the ticket, but it was routine.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Did you continue to use the fiddle throughout your House career, or . . . ?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, as I said, I had opposition only one time, and well . . .

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DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
He didn't find it necessary to resort to the fiddle! [Laughter]
ALBERT GORE:
I really didn't use it very much after the first time.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Before we leave the pre-1939 portion of your career, Senator, I want to ask you about two other matters. One is your attendance at law school, the YMCA law school in Nashville, the work you did in law school, your admission to the bar, and your brief practice in this period. Would you comment on these matters?
ALBERT GORE:
As I said earlier, I was never able to make a financial ripple to attend law school in the regular daytime law college. But after I was elected county superintendent, I then enrolled in the law school at Nashville, which is fifty-two miles away, and commuted three nights a week for those three years. I enjoyed my studies. I don't think I had any outstanding grades, but to the extent that I was able to give my studies attention while also being county superintendent and doing a little trading of livestock, land and tobacco, at least I won a degree and passed the bar with decent grades.
It would be interesting perhaps to know that at the time I was attending YMCA night law school, my wife, before our marriage, was a student in the Vanderbilt University law school and was earning her way through school by waiting on tables at the Andrew Jackson coffeeshop, that is, the coffeeshop in the old Andrew Jackson Hotel, which was only a block and a half from the YMCA law school. I found it necessary to have a cup of coffee before the drive back to Carthage after classes from, I believe it was, seven to ten. Pretty soon there was but one girl whose coffee tasted just right. We took the bar together and by the slimmest, thinnest margin,

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she made a grade of 84 on hers and I made 84¼. [Laughter] By that narrow margin, I maintained a position as head of the household.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did you practice at that time after being admitted to the bar?
ALBERT GORE:
No. Well, actually no. I had a case or two, let's say, but then there came a campaign, Gordon Browning's campaign for the United States Senate, which I managed and then actively participated in his gubernatorial campaign. And then he invited me to become Commissioner of Labor, so I rarely ever practiced. My wife did practice for a year or more before our marriage, but she gave it up after my election to Congress because, well, it just didn't quite seem the thing to do, for her to be practicing law in Washington while I was a congressman. That's more acceptable now than it seemed then to me that it would be.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Actually, you have answered my second question, which was your courtship of Mrs. Gore, the present Mrs. Gore . . .
ALBERT GORE:
The only Mrs. Gore. [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
The only Mrs. Gore. But I wonder if we could ask you to comment more generally on her contribution to your political career?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, it's perhaps more than my own. She is, has always been, keenly astute, enormously loyal, I guess most of all, a very sensitive person; her political judgment is excellent. She could sense trouble many times more quickly than I. And, as adroitly, she remembers people, names, faces, personalities excellently, better than I. Her personality was always warmer than mine. Though I was sometimes described as magisterial, she was never so described. Many times, she would preserve an equation, which, left alone, I might have allowed to become cold. So, in

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strategy, and tactics, and planning, and work, she has been an enormous source of strength and power.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
When you went to Washington early in 1939, was it strange to you, did you know Washington well, and what were your early reactions as a freshman congressman?
ALBERT GORE:
I didn't know it at all. I'm trying to answer your questions what my reactions were. It was all so new, so baffling. I had one anchor, Cordell Hull, who had known me in a very slight way because sitting under the trees I would sometimes ask a question as he talked to the group gathered around. At any rate, he had remembered my father, and I was from his hometown, and there was an easy equation between us. I remember going to see him soon after arriving in Washington. He gave me this advice: stay on the floor and learn the rules. This stood me in very good stead because by staying on the floor, I learned the parliamentary procedures. I learned all of my four hundred and thirty-four colleagues by name, and I learned the parliamentary rules. Later, a knowledge of these parliamentary rules became very crucial in some very important events when I was able to use them to my advantage, sometimes crucially.
So, I stayed on the floor, and I learned the rules and because I did so, William B. Bankhead, who was then speaker, and later Sam Rayburn were, shall I say, drawn to me or I was available when they needed someone for a chore. And I became one of Rayburn's team—he nearly always had a team of about ten men considerably his junior—upon which he relied while presiding over the committee as a whole or undertaking a task when an important bill was up. So, I gradually advanced in my tenure in the House

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on the Rayburn team until, before I left, I suppose that only Jere Cooper, my colleague from west Tennessee, was called upon to preside over more difficult bills than I. Cooper was par excellent as a presiding officer and was older than I in the service, and he was topmost in Rayburn's group of presiding officers. But I think it would be fair to say that I was perhaps second ranked at the time I chose to leave the House and run for the Senate. I rose in the hierarchy of the House, had my ups and downs, opposed some of Roosevelt's programs, but grew in my dedication to the programs of reform, of social projects, egalitarian philosophy.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Can you date that growth more precisely—during the war, at a particular point, or was it a gradual development?
ALBERT GORE:
I'm inclined to think that it was gradual, that my social consciousness sharpened along with a keener awareness of national problems, and the social pressures and deprivations of the times. I learned quickly that the problems of the nation were not identical with the problems of my native Appalachia, that it was a bigger world, that the social mores of which I was a part were not necessarily those of the nation as a whole, that we were in a process of change, no longer primarily an agricultural nation. We were steadily becoming more and more an industrial and urban country and an urbanized society. So with the growing knowledge of the country and of the nation and its problems, I think I grew in my support of and my loyalty to the administration at the time.
Will you excuse me, I hear someone at the door.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I think it might be helpful if we could go back to the beginning of your service in the House and perhaps if we could ask you about your service on certain committees. I note that your original committee assignments included Banking and Currency, Appropriations—I suppose those were the major committee assignments.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, for four years I was on Banking and Currency. You could only be on one major committee in the House, and this was not my choice, but it was a major committee and I was assigned to it, along with some other freshman congressmen, including Wilbur Mills and Mike Monroney. Monroney later advanced to the Senate, Mills became chairman of the Ways and Means and achieved some Fanne fame. [Laughter] Maybe I'd better change that. [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
That's a good description. [Laughter]
ALBERT GORE:
Fanne Foxe, I believe.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Yes.
ALBERT GORE:
And I served four years on the House Banking and Currency Committee, and there developed some knowledge of banking, insurance, finance, programs having to do with lending, credit availability. It was an important part of my limited education in the whole vast field of economics, taxation, of the intricacies of fiscal policy. I was much impressed with the learning and the philosophy of Congressman Wright Patman, who was a senior member of that committee. As you know, he was an inveterate foe of the Federal Reserve banking practices, strongly populist in his leaning, and I learned a great deal from him and from

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the legislation with respect to banking, from the witnesses from the field of banking that came before the committee.
Four years, that's a right good course, so to speak. For four years, I was concentrating on those subjects, for this was my only committee. I then became a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Let me interrupt to ask you whether this was your choice, to move from Banking and Currency to Appropriations?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I really preferred, would have preferred to go on the House Ways and Means Committee, a committee of taxation. But a Tennessee colleague, senior to me, Jere Cooper, was already on that committee so this was foreclosed to me. So yes, this was my choice. After serving for four years on that, I wished to go to a committee that had more relevancy to my congressional district. After all, monetary policy was not a very popular subject in the Fourth Congressional District. We had a lot of good, sound local banks . . . Banking and Currency did not lend itself to the interests of my district very well, whereas the Appropriations Committee, what with the TVA, with the many alphabetical programs then underway in the national administration, and with my desire to see the Cumberland River and the Caney Fork River developed, I had a better opportunity to bring that about as a member of the Appropriations Committee than I did as a member of the Banking and Currency Committee. So yes, that was my choice after four years on the Banking and Currency Committee.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
During World War II, you seemed to be quite interested in price controls and that sort of thing. I believe Bernard Baruch influenced

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you to some extent. What sort of policies did you propose and what was your . . . ?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, my interest in this, I think, stemmed from my committee assignment. I was then, as I've said, on Banking and Currency and this had to do with price controls, economic controls in World War II. I could not see how we could successfully have price controls without wage controls. Plummeted into a world war, I felt it absolutely necessary that there be some rigid controls and regulations on our economy. Or else we would have rampant inflation, perhaps economic disaster. And I thought it was necessary to have overall control. Those who slapped something down on the right side would substitute and prop up on the left side or to the rear and to the front. So I had expressed some views along this line, and then as a witness before the committee, Bernard Baruch was invited. He had some generous things to say about some of the things I had said. Maybe this was policy on his part, but I was very greatly attracted to the views he expressed. I agreed with the views he expressed. He too was an advocate, far more sophisticated than I, of overall control of our economy in time of war. This led to a personal equation. We had dinner together several times and had rapport on economic views. I think that was perhaps the extent of it, but he was a sophisticated advocate of the things I believed in.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Pursuing the matter of war controls, mobilization controls, could you elaborate a bit about the kinds of things that Congress did, the kinds of issues and concerns that came before you and your colleagues that had to do with mobilization and the war effort generally?

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ALBERT GORE:
My experiences were largely limited to the matters of, the subject matters of, within the jurisdiction of my committee. As I've said, on the Banking and Currency Committee, this led me into an active role in the economic controls. I advocated them at least a year or so before Roosevelt did. I was in the vanguard of the economic controls on our economy at that time. After going to the Appropriations Committee, I maintained my interest in economic controls, continued an active debate and advocacy, but added to my responsibilities as a member of the Appropriations Committee: the military, atomic energy, nuclear weapons, TVA, the energy and weapons side of war mobilization and the war effort. So as a result of my activity and interest I showed in the jurisdiction of these two committees, I was broadened in my knowledge and in my experience of economic matters, and developed a keen interest in tax policy, but was unable to do anything about it. As you doubtless know, the House of Representatives follows a gag rule in the consideration of a tax bill. It has been that way for many years, whether the House was under Democratic or Republican leadership. They have a closed rule. That is, a tax bill is brought out upon the recommendation of the House Ways and Means Committee. And then no amendments are permitted. Therefore, in all those years in the House feeling anxiously the desire to offer amendments, to fight for tax reform, I just never had an opportunity as a member of the House, and this brought about considerable frustration.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
So you really had to wait until you got to the Senate to pursue the matter of tax reform.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes I did.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Could I ask you, moving beyond 1945 and the end of the

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war, as a general position, were you in support of the Truman administration's efforts in the matter of economic controls, in the anti-inflation effort, in '45 and '46?
ALBERT GORE:
Was I . . .
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Were you generally in support of the Truman administration effort to continue the OPA, for example?
ALBERT GORE:
I was, yes I was, yes I was.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I understand in '47 to '48 you had been one of the anti-Republican debates on fiscal policies in the House.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes. By then I had become anti-Republican in many respects. I had become more partisan than when I arrived.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
To what do you attribute that partisanship?
ALBERT GORE:
Differences, sharp differences on policy and to greater knowledge of genuine, down-deep policy of the leadership of the two parties. I saw that the leadership of the Republican Party talked a popular game, but their real loyalty, down deep their real dedication, was to the policies and programs in favor of the vested interests.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, one thing which you might speak about briefly if you will is the legislation that you introduced during your House career and felt most attached to, hoped to get through. Could you tell us something about such measures?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, as you know, according to what I've said, a member of the House is circumscribed not only in his ability to offer amendments and to achieve legislation by his committee membership; his knowledge is not circumscribed, but at least the facility of gaining knowledge is

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maximized by his committee assignments. And I particularly point this out because of my provincial background, my limited knowledge of national and international affairs. I think I had some growth in these fields, but I had more opportunity for growth in the fields with which my committee was dealing. So, I don't recall having advocated a great deal of legislation, I'm sure I did, but at least I was not successful in being the author of too much in starting legislation.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I understand, Senator, and I suppose it would be fair to say that you had no overriding bill or issue that you were terribly concerned with during your House career, perhaps in contrast with Representative Hull's perennial advocacy of an income tax measure, for example.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, I'd been greatly influenced by Hull's authorship of an income tax amendment and by his philosophy of taxation according to ability to pay. And then this was, as I've said, buttressed by my experiences in the economic field. I came to realize the grave social injustices in our banking policies, our tax policies, our credit policies. They're so myriad.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
So that all of these experiences and impressions prepared the way for your Senate activity in this area of tax legislation.
Earlier, you said that you had not known President Roosevelt personally before going to Congress. Could you talk a bit about your relations with Roosevelt after you got to Congress.
ALBERT GORE:
The first time I had an opportunity personally to meet President Roosevelt was following my nomination to Congress before my election. I believe it was before my election. Anyway, before I took the oath of office, as I recall it, he came to Chattanooga to dedicate Chickamauga

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Dam. As a Democratic nominee for Congress, as I recall it, I was one of the ones who had the opportunity to meet him, sit nearby as he made his speech. Soon after being in Congress, he came to Tennessee again to dedicate the Smoky Mountain National Park. Then I talked to him in a meeting on that occasion, along with Mrs. Roosevelt both times. The first time I got invited to the White House, it followed my opposition to one of his favorite measures, of the Public Housing program. It was my first speech on the floor of the Congress, and I succeeded in defeating the bill. It was front-page news across the country. I must say, I could hardly contain myself. So in a few days, I got an invitation to come down to the White House. It was exciting; I'd never been there. I went out and bought a new briefcase, [Laughter] and I took this briefcase along and had it sitting by me loaded with data to support my position. Everytime I would reach for that briefcase, Roosevelt would either tell a new story or he'd bring up another issue, other than the one I'd been invited to talk about! We never did get around to it. He really mesmerized me. I felt so jubilant as a young congressman that I thought that I had arrived, and he was regaling me with humor. Then he talked about a national wage. He talked about some issues that he must have known appealed to my background. Finally, somebody came in and it was time to go. And I was all the way to the front door and had to send back for my briefcase. [Laughter]
He was a charming personality. One event endeared both Mrs. Gore and me to the Roosevelt family, though it was never mentioned between us. A congressman from Kansas named Lambertson—he was a Republican and doing well. We served

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on the committee together. He began to make speeches every two days lambasting Roosevelt and the Roosevelt boys. They were being protected, they were not permitted to be in the firing line, they had a sort of a safe position, according to him. But it got a great deal of publicity. And about every two or three days, he'd take the floor and make the charge again. The war was raging, and this was damaging stuff. The national morale, the military all that. Speaker Rayburn and John McCormack, the Democratic leader at the time, well, Rayburn called me into his office and McCormack was there. They asked me to get the records on the Roosevelt boys and be prepared to answer Lambertson the next time he spoke upon that subject. Well, I dug into the military records and, say what you wish to about the Roosevelt boys otherwise, they never feared to fight. They were in the thick of the war, and I had the records. So, the next time Lambertson spoke, when he finished, Rayburn slapped the gavel and recognized me. To use a colloquial expression here in the mountains, I took Lambertson's hide off. He never made another speech on it. But both Mrs. Gore and I began to get some invitations to functions at the White House. [Laughter] Though, as I say, that event was never mentioned. There was a change in our entree to the White House. Incidentally, Lambertson was defeated in his next candidacy, and this was an issue in his campaign. Some months after his defeat, I was out in the yard in our home, just across the river here, one afternoon during a recess of Congress. And there drove up Mr. Lambertson. I didn't know whether he came to shoot me [Laughter] or to exchange old times. But it was a very pleasant visit, very pleasant

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visit.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I wonder if you would comment on your relations with other important political figures in Washington early in your House career. You talked about the President, you mentioned Speaker Rayburn, and before him Speaker Bankhead. Were there other Representatives who had a great influence on you in your House career? You also mentioned Representative Patman.
ALBERT GORE:
Patman surely did. I think Carl Vinson of Georgia did. I didn't agree many times with Vinson, but he had a class, a style, a sense of humor, camaraderie that attracted me and attracted others. I think Jere Cooper of Tennessee had considerable influence on me. Oh, there were many who did, there were many who did. I developed very strong ties with the class of 1938—Monroney and Mills and I worked closely together on many, many things. I don't for the moment think of any national names. I was repelled by some, of course. Hamilton Fish, for instance, I came to detest, not as a personality but as the embodiment of isolationist philosophy with which I thoroughly disagreed. No, I would have to refresh my memory, I guess. I had more friends than animosities, but I developed some of both.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
What about your relationships with the other members of the Tennessee delegation, including the two senators, during the early years of your House service?
ALBERT GORE:
I had a very warm equation with the Tennessee delegation, with the possible exception of Walter Chandler of Memphis. Somehow, the ice of the Crump-Browning breakup never quite melted there. There was no bitterness between us, it was always gentle, but I was never able to develop the camaraderie with him that I did the other members of the House, including Republicans.

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I got along fine with the Tennessee delegation. My relations with the late Senator McKellar were mostly a little strained. I think perhaps it began because of my tie with Browning and because of the alignments in my first primary for the Congress. And I seemed to have been spotted as a possible comer. I never was able to develop the rapport with Senator McKellar that I had with my House colleagues. Of course, there's always a gulf between the senators and congressmen, you know, because most senators think that congressmen may be thinking about swimming that gulf. [Laughter] I guess that's but natural, and I did have some thoughts about it. They were not deceived by that.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Later on, you and Senator Estes Kefauver were colleagues in the Senate and were often spoken of in the national press because of your eminent position in Tennessee politics. Did you early strike up a unique relationship with Representative Kefauver?
ALBERT GORE:
Oh yes, we had a very warm relationship.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Could you elaborate on that a bit?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, Kefauver was more urbane. He was a graduate of Yale, as you know, and from the city of Chattanooga. He had certain interests and entrees and affinities that I did not enjoy. I was more provincial than he. I think we grew closer together, but there was never any conflict between us in the House. I think he was a more loyal supporter of the New Deal in his early years in Congress than I was. As I've said earlier, I became stronger in those views as my interests expanded and my knowledge grew and my affinities developed. We were pretty close and I liked Kefauver.

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DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
What about your relations with President Truman?
ALBERT GORE:
The first time I can recall meeting Senator Truman was when he was up for election for the last time as a Senator. Someone had accepted an engagement to speak at a state Young Democratic rally in Missouri. I believe it was Senator Tom Stewart. Anyway, whatever the identity of the person may be, the speaker had cancelled out. By then I had achieved some—
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
ALBERT GORE:
—small recognition as a speaker. So Senator Truman asked me if I would fill in the gap for him. I did, and went out and gave them some Tennessee harangue and twisted the Republicans' tail and told some stories, practiced some of the arts I had learned here in Tennessee. Strange as it might seem, that Missouri crowd seemed to like it. I made some generous references to Senator Truman, and he was there and not only liked it, but thereafter, every time he spotted me—we might be walking down the corridors of the Capitol yards apart—but he spotted me and would go out of his way to come over and shake hands and thank me for coming to Missouri. This impressed me. He was a man who demonstrated his gratitude; he had gratitude and demonstrated it and didn't forget it. So this was my first experience with him.
I generally supported his administration, though I must say that some of the little irritants—his conduct, the cronyism of his administration, his excesses such as his language—these humiliated me to some extent. There were times when I was ashamed of those, shall I say,

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idiosyncrasies of, maybe that's not a good word for it, relatively few incidents. Overall, I then thought as I now think that he made a great president. He surely had identification with the people, the mass of the people, and I admired that in him, though I was humiliated time after time as many other Democrats were with his defense of a crony, his championship of, well I couldn't say championship . . . I can't recall many of these incidents. I just remember there were a number of them that I didn't like, but they were personality instances.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
You mentioned Senator Stewart. What sort of relationship did you have with him? You discussed Senator McKellar. Also, I was thinking about Jim McCord. Wasn't he congressman at one time, and then was later governor of Tennessee? What sort of relationships did you have with these men? I know they were closely connected with the Crump machine as well as McKellar at one time.
ALBERT GORE:
I had pleasant relations with both of them. Of course, Senator Stewart and I had come up in different political factions in Tennessee, but that did not significantly mar the personal equation between us. When Jim McCord was congressman, we were quite close and had a quite pleasant association. I supported Gordon Browning and that group and they were . . .
JAMES B. GARDNER:
. . . rivals.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes. When they were rivals, I supported Gordon Browning. So I remained loyal to Browning, and, well, he was really a great leader in those days.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, you've been extraordinarily patient, cooperative,

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generous with your time. I suggest that we end this session at this point, having gotten well into your House career, and that on a subsequent occasion, we take up at this point and complete the interview. Thank you very much.
ALBERT GORE:
Thank you.
END OF INTERVIEW