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November 10, 2000

Albert’s Excellent Adventure

Yet another version of Al Gore emerged late last week – but amid the media feeding frenzy about a DUI citation George Bush received 24 years ago you most likely did not hear the allegation about young Albert Gore.

In the wake of the 11th-hour revelations about George Bush’s 1976 DUI record, a Tennessee man, Ray Hudson, has come forward with a firsthand account of a night in 1971 when Gore, then a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, was assigned to do a story on a Nashville motorcycle gang, the Death Angels, in which Mr. Hudson, then known as “Buzzard,” was a member. Admittedly, a factual account of an uncontested DUI arrest is different from a loosely corroborate anecdote, but the story about Gore’s “eventful youth” is compelling enough to retell – and further investigate.

Hudson, now 55 years old, who turned his life around in 1980 and now ministers to the poor and homeless, said he voted for Gore when he was a Tennessee Senator, but only later made the connection that Senator Gore was the former Tennessean reporter who spent several days “in the bikers’ crib.” Hudson says that, although he mentioned this story to close friends, he thought taking it to the press was the wrong thing to do – until Gore’s operatives “Bush-wacked” W. with the DUI story in the closing days of Campaign 2000.

Hudson says the gang decided to cooperate with Gore on the article “because at that time, we were getting a lot of hassle from the police,” and they wanted to improve their public image.

“[Gore] hung around a couple of days and we wanted some good press so we treated him well. He spent one night with us, or a big part of the night, partying with us. … We were all sitting around, getting fairly well-loaded, talking, joking. [Gore] was not overly talkative. … And during that party he smoked dope with us, he drank a lot. We had a door there that had some weird trim up over the door and [Gore] took a couple of pot shots at it [with a handgun.] And he missed. He’s not a straight shooter. … He was not one of us. He would never be one of us. It was something completely foreign to his makeup.

”[Gore] portrayed himself [at the national convention] as this great family guy, great husband and all of that. [But the night Gore spent with us] he was given one of the club girls there and took her into a back room. You know, I’m sure we all have some things we wish we hadn’t done. I don’t know how he is now. I don’t know him now other than what I see on TV and some of the stories he tells. But I do know this is one incident I know about firsthand. I think that it’s a shame that people try to make a big deal out of something that isn’t but then ignore some more serious things in the news and it just seems, well, one-sided to me. I think both sides need to be heard.“

As for the article Gore wrote, Hudson says, "It was great. We loved it. We bought a good article there.” Gore’s article contains comments about two of the motorcycle gang’s women, some of which, such as, “As evening passed into morning, [she] was saying…,” imply that he spent some part of that night with at least one of the women, whom he called “Cortez.” (Hudson’s account of Gore’s “indiscretions” coincides with Gore’s article on the biker gang published in November of 1971 – 18 months after his marriage to Tipper on May 19, 1970.)

Gore admitted early last week on the “Queen Latifah” show that in his younger days he drank lots of alcohol and would sometimes outrun police on his motorcycle. No member of the “tag-along” press corps has asked Gore about Hudson’s account of Gore’s “biker days.”

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