Tipper Gore

Last updated

Tipper Gore
Tipper Gore 1999.jpg
Second Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 1993 January 20, 2001
Vice President Al Gore
Preceded by Marilyn Quayle
Succeeded by Lynne Cheney
Personal details
Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson

(1948-08-19) August 19, 1948 (age 70)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
Al Gore
(m. 1970;sep. 2010)
Education Simmons College
Boston University (BA)
Vanderbilt University (MA)

Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore (née Aitcheson; born August 19, 1948) is an American social issues advocate who was Second Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. She is the former wife of Al Gore, the 45th Vice President of the United States, from whom she separated in 2010.

Second Lady of the United States wife of the Vice President of the United States

Second Lady of the United States (SLOTUS) is the informal title held by the wife of the vice president of the United States, concurrent with the vice president's term of office. This title is less commonly used than the title first lady of the United States.

Al Gore 45th Vice President of the United States

Albert Arnold Gore Jr. is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Gore was Bill Clinton's running mate in their successful campaign in 1992, and the pair was re-elected in 1996. Near the end of Clinton's second term, Gore was selected as the Democratic nominee for the 2000 presidential election but lost the election in a very close race after a Florida recount. After his term as vice-president ended in 2001, Gore remained prominent as an author and environmental activist, whose work in climate change activism earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Vice President of the United States Second highest executive office in United States

The vice president of the United States is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, after the president of the United States, and ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The vice president is also an officer in the legislative branch, as President of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president presides over Senate deliberations, but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote. The vice president also presides over joint sessions of Congress.


In 1985, Gore co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), which advocated for labeling of record covers of releases featuring profane language, especially in the heavy metal, punk and hip hop genres. [2] Throughout her decades of public life, she has advocated for censorship, [3] mental health awareness, women's causes, children's causes, LGBT rights and reducing homelessness.

Parents Music Resource Center

The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was an American committee formed in 1985 with the stated goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to have violent, drug-related or sexual themes via labeling albums with Parental Advisory stickers. The committee was founded by four women known as the "Washington Wives" – a reference to their husbands' connections with government in the Washington, D.C. area. The women who founded the PMRC are Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius. The PMRC eventually grew to include 22 participants before shutting down in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Early life

Born Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson in Washington, D.C., Tipper Gore is the daughter of John Kenneth "Jack" Aitcheson, Jr., a plumbing-supply entrepreneur and owner of J & H Aitcheson Plumbing Supply, [4] and his first wife, Margaret Ann (née Carlson) Odom (who lost her first husband during World War II). She was given the nickname "Tipper" by her mother, from a lullaby her mother had heard. Gore grew up in Arlington, Virginia. Her mother and grandmother raised her after her parents divorced. [5]

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Al and Tipper Gore's wedding day, May 19, 1970, at the Washington National Cathedral Al Gore wedding.jpg
Al and Tipper Gore's wedding day, May 19, 1970, at the Washington National Cathedral

She attended St. Agnes (now St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School), a private Episcopal school in Alexandria, Virginia, where she played basketball, softball, and field hockey and played the drums for an all-female band called The Wildcats. [5]

St. Stephens & St. Agnes School

St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School (SSSAS) is an independent Episcopal coed private college preparatory school in Alexandria, Virginia. The school was created from the 1991 merger of St. Agnes School with St. Stephen's School. The school consists of three campuses within a 1.5-mile radius. The Lower School, grades JK-5, is located on Fontaine Street; the Middle School, grades 6-8, is located on Braddock Road; and the Upper School, grades 9-12, is located on St. Stephen's Road.

Alexandria, Virginia Independent city in Virginia, United States

Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 139,966, and in 2016, the population was estimated to be 160,530. Located along the western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately 7 miles (11 km) south of downtown Washington, D.C.

Drum type of musical instrument of the percussion family

The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments. In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system, it is a membranophone. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a percussion mallet, to produce sound. There is usually a resonance head on the underside of the drum, typically tuned to a slightly lower pitch than the top drumhead. Other techniques have been used to cause drums to make sound, such as the thumb roll. Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

She met Al Gore at his senior prom in 1965. Although she came to the prom with one of his classmates, Gore and Tipper began to date immediately afterwards. [6] When Al Gore began attending Harvard University, she enrolled in Garland Junior College (now part of Simmons College) and later transferred to Boston University, receiving her B.A. in psychology in 1970. [7] [8] On May 19, 1970, she and Gore were married at the Washington National Cathedral. [9] [10]

Harvard University Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities. The university is often cited as the world's top tertiary institution by most publishers.

Garland Junior College

Garland Junior College (1872-1976) was a liberal arts women's college in Boston, Massachusetts. Mary Garland established the Garland Kindergarten Training School in 1872 on Chestnut Street in Boston's Beacon Hill. By 1903, the school had expanded its curriculum to include home economics, and was renamed the Garland School of Homemaking. It was authorized as a junior college in 1948, and subsequently granted the AS degree as Garland Junior College. Studies in the visual arts became the AA program, and curriculum included illustration, fine art painting, graphic design, and jewelry design. Marc Brown, author of the "Arthur" children's book series, taught illustration at Garland during the 70s.

Boston University private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian, but has been historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Gore pursued a master's degree in psychology from Vanderbilt University's George Peabody College, graduating in 1975. [11] [12]

A master's degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. A master's degree normally requires previous study at the bachelor's level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the area studied, master's graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.

Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

Vanderbilt University Private research university in Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Vanderbilt University is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, it was named in honor of New York shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1-million endowment despite having never been to the South. Vanderbilt hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War.


Gore worked part-time as a newspaper photographer for Nashville's The Tennessean and continued as a freelance photographer in Washington after her husband was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1976. [5] [12] [13]

Politics and activism

Gore took an active role in her husband’s political pursuits starting with his first campaign for the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee in 1976. [14] Soon after her husband's election, Gore established a group to examine and write about social issues called the Congressional Wives Task Force. [15] [16]

In 1984, Gore began volunteering in homeless shelters. [5] [17] Homelessness became a major cause for Gore, and she formed a group called Families for the Homeless to raise funds and awareness for the issue. [5] [18]

Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC)

In 1985, Tipper Gore co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) with Susan Baker, wife of then United States Secretary of the Treasury James Baker, because Gore heard her then 11-year-old daughter Karenna playing "Darling Nikki" by Prince. [19] The group's goal was to increase parental and consumer awareness of music that contained explicit content through voluntary labeling albums with Parental Advisory stickers. [5] [20] Their coalition included the National PTA and the American Academy of Pediatrics. [20] It's worth noting that the PMRC had no members, merely founders, and all of the founders were wives of prominent politicians.

According to an article by NPR, Gore went "before Congress to urge warning labels for records marketed to children." [21] Gore explained that her purpose wasn't to put a "gag" on music, but to keep it safe for younger listeners by providing parents with information about the content of the songs. [21] A number of individuals including Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, [22] Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, [23] John Denver, Joey Ramone, and Frank Zappa [21] criticized the group, arguing that it was a form of censorship. In response, NPR further stated that according to Gore, she "wasn't out to censor the objectionable material" and quoted her as stating that she is "a strong believer in the First Amendment" who is calling for greater "consumer information in the marketplace." [21]

The PMRC's efforts were successful and resulted in an agreement where recording labels voluntarily placed warning labels on music with violent or sexually explicit lyrics. [5] [24]

1990s to present

From left: Bill Clinton, Tipper Gore, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton Bill Al Gore Four principals.jpg
From left: Bill Clinton, Tipper Gore, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton

In 1990, Gore founded the Tennessee Voices for Children to advance youth services for mental health and substance abuse. [25] Gore also co-chaired the National Mental Health Association's Child Mental Health Interest Group. [26]

Gore campaigned during her husband's 1988 presidential bid [27] and toured with him and Bill and Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign of 1992. [24] [28]

As Second Lady, Gore served as Mental Health Policy Advisor to the President. [12] Her goals were to diminish the stigma surrounding mental illness and to bring awareness to the need for affordable mental health care. [17] [26] In 1999, Gore hosted the first White House Conference on Mental Health. [17] That same year, she launched the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign (NMHAC) to encourage Americans to seek treatment for mental illness. [29] Gore has frequently spoken about her own experience with depression and treatment following the near-fatal injury of her son Albert. [14] [24] [30]

Along with her work in mental health, Gore was a part of several other initiatives during her time as Second Lady. She served as Special Advisor to the Interagency Council on the Homeless and as the national spokesperson for the "Back to Sleep" SIDS awareness campaign. [31] In 1994, Gore visited a refugee camp and an orphanage in Zaire on a personal trip to provide aid in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide. She stayed in a UNICEF camp and assisted doctors and aid workers. [32] [33] [34] She made an official visit to Honduras in 1998 following Hurricane Mitch to volunteer, bring medical supplies, and survey the damage. [35] [36]

Gore took part in campaigning for the reelection of President Clinton and Vice President Gore in 1996, [37] [38] and she was actively involved in her husband's presidential campaign in 2000, making her own campaign stops and media appearances. She also acted as an advisor and was a part of decisions including the hiring of Tony Coelho as chairman of the campaign and moving its headquarters to Nashville. [12] [14] [24]

In 2002, Gore was urged by her supporters to run for the vacant U.S. Senate seat her husband once held in Tennessee, which was being vacated by Fred Thompson; however, she declined. [39]

Gore has been a long-time advocate for the LGBT community. [24] [40] She represented the Clinton Administration in the Washington, DC AIDS Walk in 1993 as one of the highest-ranking public officials ever to participate. [40] She has continued to participate in such walks and, in 2013, she was an honorary chair of the Nashville AIDS Walk & 5K Run. [41] She was a public opponent of California's Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in 2008. [42] In 2014, she created an exhibition of her photographs at the Wall Space Gallery to support the Pacific Pride Foundation that provides services to the HIV/AIDS and LGBT communities of Santa Barbara, California. [43]

She serves as co-chair of the advisory board of the Diana Basehart Foundation which assists homeless and low-income people with animal care. [44]

Creative roles

Tipper Gore drumming with Mickey Hart during a The Dead appearance in April 2009 Tipper Gore and Mickey Hart.jpg
Tipper Gore drumming with Mickey Hart during a The Dead appearance in April 2009

In high school, Gore was the drummer for an all-female band called the Wildcats. [14] [24] She has played drums with members of the Grateful Dead, and during the second night of the Spring 2009 Dead tour, Tipper Gore sat in on drums during the closing song "Sugar Magnolia". [24] [45] In 2000, she appeared on stage at the Equality Rocks concert at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium to play to a crowd of 45,000 prior to the Millennium March on Washington. [24] [46] Later that year, she played with Willie Nelson during his set at Farm Aid. [47] She played with Herbie Hancock at the 25th Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2012. [48]

Tipper Gore with camera in 2007 Tipper Gore with camera in snow.jpg
Tipper Gore with camera in 2007

A photographer since the 1970s, Gore has published several books of photography, [5] has been included in exhibits, [49] and her prints have been sold by Mitchell Gold Co. stores. [50]

Personal life

Gore has four children: Karenna Gore Schiff [51] (born August 6, 1973), Kristin Gore [52] (born June 5, 1977), Sarah LaFon Gore Maiani [52] [53] (born January 7, 1979), and Albert Arnold Gore III (born October 19, 1982); [54] and several grandchildren. [55]

In June 2010, the Gores announced their marital separation, "a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration." [56] In August 2012, The New York Times reported that both Gores were dating other people and have no plans to resume marriage, but that their "bond endures" and their relationship is friendly. "The couple reunites a few times a year, most recently in June, for summer family vacations and Christmases in the Gore family seat of Carthage, Tennessee," the newspaper reported. Tipper has been dating Bill Allen, who is a former editor of National Geographic . [57]


Tipper Gore is the author of a number of books including:

She has also contributed to the following books:

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  54. "Biography: Gore's road from Tennessee to the White House". CNN. June 16, 1999.
  55. McElwaine, Sandra (July 6, 2012). "Bill Allen: Tipper Gore's Secretive New Beau". The Daily Beast . Retrieved May 5, 2015.
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  57. Healy, Patrick (August 25, 2012). "The End of the Line". The New York Times . Retrieved November 17, 2012.
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Marilyn Quayle
Second Lady of the United States
Succeeded by
Lynne Cheney
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Al Gore
as Former Vice President
Order of precedence in the United States
as Former Second Lady
Succeeded by
Dick Cheney
as Former Vice President