Clinton-Gore team together again

By A. James Memmott

August 5, 2009 at 12:52pm

Former President Bill Clinton’s extraordinary mission to North Korea that resulted in the freeing of two U.S. journalists marked a thaw in his relations with his former vice president, Al Gore.

According to The New York Times, Gore, who co-founded the company the journalists worked for, personally asked Clinton to go to North Korea to intervene on behalf of Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

Clinton said he would, as long as his trip had the approval of the Obama administration. The White House then asked Clinton to go.

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton

The two Current TV journalists were detained near the North Korea-China border on March 17. They had been working on a story about women and human trafficking.

In June, they were convicted of illegally entering North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor.

Clinton flew to North Korea and met on Tuesday with Kim Jong-il, that country’s leader. He apologized on behalf of Ling, 32, and Lee, 36. The North Koreans than pardoned the journalists.

Clinton and the two women flew back to the United States on a private jet, arriving in Burbank, outside of Los Angeles, today.

Ling and Lee came off the jet and were greeted by their families. Clinton followed, and he and Gore embraced.

“It was a scene that will stand as an emotional triumph in diplomatic history,” wrote Johanna Neuman in The Los Angeles Times. “It also marks the public reunion of the Clinton-Gore team.”

Relations between the two men were strained during 2000 presidential election, when Gore unsuccessfully ran to succeed Clinton.

Neuman noted that Gore tried to distance himself from the Clinton presidency, which had been tarnished by Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern.

Clinton, in turn, felt that Gore did not use him enough during the campaign, especially in states where he remained popular.

In 2008, Gore chose to stay on the sidelines as then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bill Clinton’s wife, and then Sen. Barack Obama competed for the Democratic presidential nomination.

When the outcome was no longer in doubt, Gore endorsed Obama.

According to reports, Gore worked diligently behind the scenes to free the journalists. Similarly, representatives of the State Department, which Hillary Clinton now leads, were involved in negotiations.

Eventually, it became clear that the North Koreans wanted someone of international stature to come to North Korea on behalf of the captives.

Several people were suggested, including Gore and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

However, Bill Clinton emerged as the representative with the most clout and the most public relations value for North Korea, a country that was shunned during the eight years George W. Bush was in office.

Clinton agreed to go with the assurance that his mission would be a success, according to report.

On Wednesday during the airport arrival, Gore thanked Clinton for “performing so skillfully,” calling him his “partner and friend.”

Follow Muckety on Twitter Tweet This! Share on Facebook

Click here to sign up for the Muckety Newsletter

This post is tagged with: , , , ,
 Read related stories: Politics · Recent Stories  


  • There are no comments yet, be the first by filling in the form below.

Leave a Comment

The relationship map to the left is interactive.
• Solid lines are current relations. Dotted lines are former relations.
• Expand items with + signs by double-clicking or by selecting multiple items in the map and pressing the "e" key.
• Move an item in the map by clicking and dragging.
• You can also delete items, separate boxes and save maps. Right-click on the map or select Map Tools for these options.
• Find out more about an item in the map by right-clicking on the item and choosing Information about...
• View map color key.
• This interactive map requires Flash player.

Become a fan of Muckety on Facebook

  • Search for stories
    Special Features

Follow Muckety on Twitter Follow Muckety on Twitter
Muckety has no direct connection to most of the people or organizations listed on these pages.
We are unable to forward personal messages or provide personal contact information.
We make every effort at Muckety to ensure that our data is correct and timely. However, relationships are in constant flux and we cannot guarantee accuracy. If you come across incorrect or outdated information, please let us know by email.
© 2017 Muckety LLC