Pauline Gore, whose son Al become vice president and nearly captured the presidency and whose husband served a lengthy and distinguished career in Congress, died Wednesday. She was 92.
Mrs. Gore, who had been weakened in recent years by strokes and a heart attack, died in her hometown of Carthage, said James Bass of Bass Funeral Home. The cause of death was not immediately available.
“Her son called me earlier this morning and said she passed in her sleep,” former Gov. Ned McWherter said.
Trained as a lawyer, Pauline Gore was a familiar figure on the campaign trails of her late husband, Albert Gore Sr., and her son, Al Gore Jr.
In Tennessee, she was nearly as widely known as her husband and played a central role in much of his campaign strategy. Gore Sr. served in the House from 1939-1953 and in the Senate from 1953-70.
“She was my father’s closest adviser,” the then-vice president said in 1999. “Together, they strengthened the future of this great country.”
She campaigned for her son when he ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1988. During the 1992 campaign, she and her husband campaigned actively for the Clinton-Gore ticket. They made a seven-week bus tour with many of the stops at senior citizens’ gatherings.
Pauline Gore never complained publicly about the demands public life made on her family, although she joked in a 1993 interview that she had saw so little of her son that she had “swapped a son for a vice president.”
Her husband died in December 1998.
Pauline Gore’s public appearances were more rare in recent years. But in April 1999, she accepted a state Senate resolution honoring her late husband, and she mentioned her son’s presidential ambitions.
“I think Al is going to be elected — and you know I hope he is — and when he is and you need something, just let me know,” she told the legislators. “You don’t have to fool around with him. Just give me a ring.”
She once said she never encouraged her son to go into politics, but impressed upon him the importance of “family values.” She had hoped Al would become a lawyer. He was a divinity student who worked as a journalist before making his first run for Congress in 1976.
Al Gore Jr. is the Gores’ only living child. Their daughter, Nancy, died of cancer in 1984. Other survivors include a brother, Whit LaFon of Jackson, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.