, we've opined about Al and Tipper Gore's separation
and allegations he had a fling
with the Hollywood mogul, Laurie David, who bankrolled his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." We also speculated about the Gore daughter's divorce
on the heels of her parents'.
Now we are compelled to delve into the most recent news
about Al Gore, and it's a tawdry tale of his allegedly attempting to force himself on a masseuse in a hotel room in Portland, Ore. My colleague Bonnie Goldstein in e-mail today commented she finds it "unimaginable that Al Gore, the former senator from Tennessee and erstwhile next president of the US, attacked a red-haired hotel health spa worker he hired to give him a therapeutic massage while in Oregon on a business trip."
Whatever client event transpired, the masseuse billed the hotel her normal rate and later, months later, in fact, filed a police complaint, a document which this week the Portland police department confirmed to the The National Enquirer they have. Police declined to bring charges, citing insufficient evidence. Apparently, the unnamed redhead (all we know about her is the color of her hair) would have gone public but the Enquirer refused to pay her and her lawyer $1 million
. The fortress of tabloid journalism doesn't say what, or if, it paid for the police report.
As Bonnie imagined the scenario, "The phone call from the senior police desk officer to ask Mr. Gore, 'Uhm, remember when you stayed at the Hotel Lucia that time?' was probably directed personally to the former vice president without any discussion with Tipper, but in my head I hear her say as he hung up: 'Of course I know you didn't attack her. I've been married to you for 40 years. You are a man of rectitude and honor and you should have been president. But I'm just wondering, why were you getting your stomach massaged, honey?'"
With all due respect to Bonnie, to me there are some aspects in the Enquirer account
that have the ring of truth, like the part about the masseuse trying to distract Gore with chocolates. Gore's appetite
is legendary – one of the reasons given for his hyperactive performance in one of the 2000 presidential debates is that he wolfed down several high-performance protein bars before going on stage. His weight gain in recent years has been obvious
-- and a contrast to the disciplined persona he had projected earlier in his career
The masseuse's civil lawsuit is likely going nowhere, but it turns Gore back into a joke, a cruel fate for a man who had worked so hard to get beyond the ridicule heaped on him during the 2000 campaign.
On my run this morning, a fellow jogger, a 60-ish baby boomer like Gore, said it was nice to know Gore had these urges, because he had come across in the past so monk-like and weirdly repressed. Then, noting that Gore had requested an abdominal massage, he mused, "I wonder where the abdomen begins and ends . . ." I told him I wondered if other women Gore may or may not have had an encounter with will begin revealing themselves. "Like Tiger?" my fellow runner laughed.
I doubt Gore's alleged late-blooming sexual aggression will manifest itself with a tally comparable to Tiger Woods, but one Enquirer account mentioned there were others.
Either way, the respectability that eluded Gore for so long in his political life, and that he had finally achieved with his global warming crusade -- is now seriously eroded, replaced by punch lines about abdominal massages on the late-night shows. And other than what we guess at and speculate based on their long public marriage, who knows where Tipper
fits into all of this? We can only imagine.