I need some clarification about Al Gore

Alright so folks, I need some clarification about Al Gore. Keep in mind that I am 23 and so at the time Clinton and Gore were in office, I was only really aware of Clinton though I knew his VP was Gore I didn’t know much more about him. But I recall jokes being made that he misspelled things and had little personality.

Am I confused? Were they joking about Quayle and I transposed the memories onto Gore? If they were making fun of Gore, what triggered it? He seems fairly well educated and fairly charismatic in recent years.

I know he said the thing about inventing the Internet and I seem to remember spelling potato with an e, but again, I need some clarification about him.

– IG

Yes, you do seem to be confusing the two. Potato with an e was Quayle, who was “correcting” a small child’s spelling. Quayle was the one who was known for being, well, a dim bulb.

Inventing the internet is usually attributed to Gore, but that’s more spin than anything else. This article discusses it. Gore came off as rather uncharismatic and stiff in the 2000 presidential election, but now that he’s out of the political life (maybe) and less of a victim of his handlers, he’s gotten quite personable. You should check out his recent interview on the Daily Show. (Dinner’s ready, so I don’t have time to find it on YouTube.)

The misspelling thing was Dan Quayle. He corrected a kid at a photo op at a school, in error.


The internet one is Gore’s.

What he actually said (out of context) was: “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

Meaning, supporting bills that funded DARPA’s research and technology.

The press had a field day making Dan Quayle look stupid. Follow a guy around with cameras nearly 24/7 and it wouldn’t be hard.

Dan Quayle was the VP who misspelled potato. Here are some of his other malaprops. Al Gore was teased for having no personality, but never for a lack of intelligence. He also didn’t claim to have invented the internet. As this article explains:

Of course he could have worded his comments better, but to argue that he claimed he invented the internet is disingenuous.

“Potatoe” was Dan Quayle, who was also known for quite a number of malapropisms.

Although Gore was known for a few dum-dum remarks himself. But… there are lots of sites online that try to store Gore or Quayle quotes and are clearly mixed up between the two. I’ve seen some of the same quotes attributed to both Quayle and Gore.

And it was Gore that people would joke about having the personality of a tree.

I do specifically remember one amusing Gore remark (I know this one was him, because I saw it on a video clip) around the beginning of the Clinton presidency, where he and Gore were visiting some place before the inauguration (Monticello, I think). Gore looks at 4 busts of founding fathers – which include George Washington and Ben Franklin – and says, “Who are these people?”

(The tour guide responds: “Well, this is George Washington on the right, and that’s Ben Franklin on the left…”)

Here are a few good ones from Dan Quayle:


I think my favorite one is:
“Hawaii’s always been a very pivotal role in the Pacific. It is in the Pacific…”

Among the purported Quayleisms that aren’t actually his, perhaps the best known is the statement that: “I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.” Indeed, even Cecil was briefly mislead on that one.

Snopes does, however, have a list of some of the doozies he’s said (and notes that some of them are misattributed to Gore, among others), along with some that he’s been accused of saying but didn’t. Here are some of Quayle’s actual quotes:

*  "Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."

* "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

* "The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."

* "I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change."

* "Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."

* "I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."

* "I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican."

* "I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."

* "When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame."

No offense, but Snopes says of your list, “…most of the ones on the following list are actual Quayle quotes”.

Which is, IMO, a little sloppy, since it doesn’t do anything except further the UL. And I don’t see anything wrong with the fifth, seventh, and ninth statements at all.


Nobody had to make him look stupid. You are coming off sounding like one of those people who claim that the news media is biased against conservatives or something, which is nonsense.

Sensitive, a bit?

As anyone who has lived in San Diego will attest, the area is inundated with tourists from Arizona all summer long. They go there to escape the heat. I believe that the entire quote was “I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix and we visited there often” but even if it wasn’t this quote really isn’t loony.

Actually this makes sense. While a lot of people look for underlying causes, he’s reminding us that people are also responsible for their own actions.

Not totally loony, but there’s a definite disconnect that will make the listener have a little “Wait… what?” moment – assuming the listener knows that Phoenix is not in California. And I’m sure there are plenty of Americans who have no idea where Phoenix is. Sadly enough…

I agree. I wouldn’t count that quote as a malapropism at all. That’s the whole point – it’s not society’s fault, it’s not the Rodney King / LAPD trial’s fault, it’s the fault of the people engaging in the crimes (the rioting, looting, killing, etc). That quote is perfectly fine – it’s a totally succinct expression of his view on the riots.

Bondage between a mother and child is an amusing one, though.