Mike Allen at Politico:
Al and Tipper Gore, whose playful romance enlivened Washington and the campaign trail for a quarter century, have decided to separate after 40 years of marriage, the couple told friends Tuesday.
In an “Email from Al and Tipper Gore,” the couple said: “We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate.
“This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration. We ask for respect for our privacy and that of our family, and we do not intend to comment further.”
The e-mail was obtained by POLITICO and confirmed by Kalee Kreider of the office of Al and Tipper Gore. Kreider said there would be no further comment.
Wow. Even in the messy world of political marriages this one comes as a shock
Ruth Marcus at WaPo:
So who would have thought that Bill and Hillary would outlast Al and Tipper? The Clintons’ marriage was — is? — famously complicated. The Gores’ marriage — well, except for that overwrought convention kiss — seemed pretty normal. Almost, you might say, “Love Story.” “It was just like everyone else melted away,” Tipper wrote of their meeting at his high school prom.
They survived four kids, their son’s accident, her depression, his loss.
You would have thought they were past whatever hump it is after which marriages can be deemed solid. There is something deeply unsettling about their decision to separate, because the pairing seemed so stable and so sensible — not two peas in a pod as much as two pieces that fit together.
Howard Fineman at Newsweek:
I’ve known Al and (less well) Tipper Gore since the early 1980s, and always thought that their marriage was the quirky, unstable leftover of their youths in the capital. Gore was as “federal” as you could get, the princely son of a senator living at the Fairfax Hotel and commuting up Massaschusetts Avenue to prep school at St. Albans. Tipper was all local, the fun-loving daughter or a well-to-do Arlington, Va ., businessman (and who gave the young couple the suburban house they lived in). It had to have been thrilling—and an act of teenage rebellion for them both—when they literally crossed the river for each other.
But the driven Gore—whose father reared him with the expectation that he would be president—was, after a fitful start (reporter, theology student)—focused intently on a political life. His wife, by contrast, always seemed unsettled in the role of the Good Wife, the dutiful, careful, and absorbed political spouse.
She did her best. In the old days, the Gores used to have a Christmas party at their Arlington home when their kids were young; Gore staffers would dress as Santas and elves. Al tried to enjoy these events (even though he wasn’t much for easy social chatter), but I always thought that Tipper, genial as she was, seemed a bit nonplussed by the use of her home for such a mix of public, political, and private life.
Tipper loved to take photographs at events—a way to express herself artistically but always a way to distance herself from them.
The two sometimes could seem yoked together like the figures on a wedding cake. When, as vice president, they hosted Halloween parties, they dressed in elaborate costumes (provided by the Walt Disney Co.) that some years completely hid their identity as individuals. It was a kind of goof on the whole enterprise: guests had their pictures taken with “hosts” no one could identify. I didn’t think the Gores were enjoying themselves in the heavy armor of costumes.
Forty years together, and now this. I remember thinking around the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that the Gores were so very different from the Clintons, whose marriage seemd like a business deal more than anything else. If the Gore break-up really isn’t about adultery on either side, then it seems that the failure of their marriage could be the cost of being a famous public figure. If Al is on the road here, there and everywhere, he’s not at home being a husband. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming him, necessarily. I don’t have any reason to put the blame on him, and I do hope that people who don’t like Al Gore as a politician and as an environmental advocate won’t take advantage of his personal crisis to whack on him. Still, if Al and Tipper Gore did grow apart over the years, surely his prominence and associated globetrotting was a major contributing factor in this sad end to their marriage. At least that’s what friends of their are anonymously telling the press.
Forty years. Man.
Perhaps the love faded away through the years, like a slowly melting glacier. We suppose these things just happen sometimes. But while the Gores may never be the same again, we prefer to remember them at the peak of their love: making out in front of everybody at the Democratic National Convention in 2000.
UPDATE: Jon Bershad at Mediaite
Maureen O’Connor at Gawker
UPDATE #2: On the scandal, The Smoking Gun
John Hinderaker at Powerline
UPDATE #3: Stu Woo at WSJ