HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (AP) _ Vice President Al Gore today defended himself against criticisms of the small amount of money he donated to charity last year.

``I support every good charity. I always have,'' Gore said when asked about the issue at an Earth Day event along the Appalachian Trail.

The vice president, a leading contender for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination, and his wife Tipper contributed $353 to charity in 1997, according to tax returns released last week. They reported earnings of $197,729 and federal taxes of $47,662.

In 1996, the Gores listed $35,530 in charitable contributions, based mostly on proceeds from Mrs. Gore's photographic book, ``Picture This.''

A spokesman for Gore has said that the Gores' donations to charity were low because they lacked a similar source of income this year.