Al Gore Prone to Exaggeration

ByABC News
October 6, 2000, 4:44 PM

W A S H I N G T O N, Oct. 7 -- This just in: Al Gore has a penchant for exaggeration.

From tales about his relatives to claims about his own achievements, the vice presidents embellishments frequently send media truth squads cracking and campaign aides back-peddling.

Pants on Fire

Gores latest trouble with the truth came Tuesday in his first presidential debate with Republican candidate George W. Bush. When moderator Jim Lehrer asked the candidates about their ability to handle the unexpected, the Texas governor cited his handling of wildfires that swept through part of his state in June 1998.

I accompanied [Federal Emergency Management Agency Director] James Lee Witt down to Texas when those fires broke out, Gore said in his response.

The vice president was in Texas shortly after the fires had broken out, but he was there to address the states Democratic Party at a June 26 fund-raiser, not to inspect fire damage, as his remark implied. Furthermore, Witt was never with him at any point during the trip.

An aide later claimed the vice president had conducted an aerial inspection of the affected area from Air Force Two.

I was there in Texas, Gore said on ABCNEWS Good Morning America the next day. Ive made so many trips to these disaster sites If James was there before or after, then I got that wrong.

Are You Experienced?

But Gore got it wrong a number times throughout the course of the evening.

When Lehrer asked the vice president to clarify what he means when he questions whether his opponent is experienced enough to be president, Gore insisted, I have actually not questioned Governor Bushs experience. I have questioned his proposals.

On March 12, however, as he criticized his opponents tax relief proposal at a campaign rally in Irving, Texas, Gore said, [This] raises a serious question: Does Governor Bush have the experience to be president. No! cried the partisan crowd.Proposals like that make you wonder, Gore added.

In an exchange about public education, Gore told the tale of 15-year-old Kailey Ellis, a student at Sarasota High School in Florida, who had to stand during her science class because, Gore claimed, they cant squeeze another desk in for her.

But the schools principal, Daniel Kennedy, called the story misleading and said Ellis was only without a desk for one class period.