Black Sheep -- Famous for Embarrassing Their Famous Families

Al Gore III is just the latest in a line of political families' black sheep.

ByABC News
February 11, 2009, 12:20 AM

July 6, 2007 — -- The scion of one of America's most prominent political dynasties, he was almost kicked out of Harvard for getting drunk and running naked through the campus with some of his buddies.

Later, he descended into alcoholism, losing thousands of dollars in shady land-speculation schemes and was rejected by his father, who considered him morally deficient, "a Madman possessed of the Devil."

A Kennedy or a Rockefeller? A Gore or a Bush?

No, an Adams. Charles Adams, one of the sons of President John Adams, was the black sheep of his family, whose outrageous behavior and alcohol-fueled hijinks were a continual source of embarrassment to his parents and siblings.

Long before Al Gore III was arrested for marijuana possession and the Bush daughters were busted for underage drinking and a slew of Kennedys had made headlines for committing crimes, America's most important families were plagued by embarrassing relatives.

Of course, every family has a few bad apples, the source of hushed gossip behind closed doors. While political dynasties have always commanded attention, when one of their ranks stirs trouble, breaks the rules or falls down drunk, the incident becomes irresistible fodder. Famous black sheep are held to a different standard. Sometimes they can even do irreparable damage to the political fortunes of family members.

So far, the arrest of former Vice President Al Gore's son, Al Gore III, Wednesday morning for allegedly possessing marijuana and prescription drugs, doesn't seem to pose a threat to his father's potential political ambitions. The elder Gore has repeatedly claimed that he is not interested in running for president again. But his son's plight and his announcement that he is entering a rehabilitation program seem to be drawing sympathy from political pundits and observers.

Other families have not been as lucky, especially the Kennedy dynasty, several of whose members have seen their careers stunted due to their behavior. Most noteably Ted Kennedy's presidential ambitions were permanently thwarted in 1969 by the Chappaquidick scandal in which he drove a car off a bridge on Martha's Vineyard. His female companion drowned, and so did his highest political aspirations.