BILL Clinton and Al Gore, his former Vice-President, have not spoken to each other since President Bush's inauguration, according to an article in an influential American magazine.They had a bitter and confrontation a few days after Mr Gore conceded last year's presidential ele
BILL Clinton and Al Gore, his former Vice-President, have not spoken to each other since President Bush's inauguration, according to an article in an influential American magazine.They had a bitter and confrontation a few days after Mr Gore conceded last year's presidential election, but the tensions had been building for years, Vanity Fair said yesterday.
"Clinton drove Gore nuts," one of Mr Gore's former aides said.
Another former White House official said: "If people are shocked now by the way the relationship hit the skids, they shouldn't be. There was an almost unnatural suppression and denial in the first six years."
Relations between Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore were little better.
"Hillary thinks that Tipper is an unintellectual, nice lady who doesn't have a brain in her head," a source told the magazine.
"Tipper thinks Hillary's an ambitious, rather uncoordinated, grasping, difficult woman."
Immediately after the Democrats' 1992 convention, the two couples set off for a Midwest tour as if on a wonderful double date. In reality the two men were diametric opposites: Mr Clinton undisciplined, disorganised and loose in his personal behaviour; Mr Gore stiff, ordered and verging on the sanctimonious.
Aides said that Mr Gore was infuriated by the President's tardiness and inability to reach decisions and felt a "very real dismay about Mr Clinton's weaknesses." Mr Clinton chafed at "the relentlessness of Gore's help."
The two men "did a remarkable job of containing the tensions and of wringing the best from their association," but at a cost. "The more Gore was rigidly disciplined and rigidly played his part, the more his resentment grew," a White House official said. The rift widened when Mr Gore was accused of breaching campaign finance laws during the 1996 presidential election. The Monica Lewinsky affair accelerated the falling out. Mr Gore was publicly loyal, but could "barely even comprehend why Clinton would behave the way he behaved," a friend said.
Mr Gore's presidential campaign was the final straw. In an interview on the day that he announced his candidacy, he called Mr Clinton's behaviour inexcusable three times. That was "a match on the huge pool of gasoline that had been accumulated," a source said.
Egged on by Naomi Woolf, the feminist author who became an adviser, Mr Gore refused to let Mr Clinton campaign for him and distanced himself from the President. Mr Clinton was "going nuts ... He's going: 'Don't use me, OK. God knows, use my presidency. Use my record'."
The election ended with the Gore camp blaming Mr Clinton for the defeat and the President's camp blaming Mr Gore's incompetence.
(The Times, London)