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Gore: Convention Kiss Was Impromptu

August 21, 2000

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) _ You must remember this, Vice President Al Gore insists: That kiss was just a kiss _ a spur-of-the-moment emotional thing and not an effort to create a new image.

``You really planted one on Mrs. Gore. What were you thinking?″ interviewer Matt Lauer asked Gore Monday on NBC’s ``Today.″

``It was completely spontaneous,″ the vice president said of the long kiss and heavy embrace with wife Tipper on the podium of the Democratic National Convention last week.

``I think you can tell from watching it, it was completely spontaneous. I was just overcome by the emotion that I was feeling with all of the people cheering,″ Gore said on ABC’s ``Good Morning America. ``It was kind of an outpouring there that just moved me to express my love for Tipper.″

On CBS’ ``The Early Show,″ the presidential nominee denied the unabashed public show of affection was an attempt to cast off an image that some find ``wooden.″

``I didn’t plan that out in advance,″ Gore said.

He said the public talk about the kiss has surprised him. ``Somebody said, `Are you trying to send a message.′ I said, `Actually, I was trying to send a message to Tipper.‴

Tipper, talking to reporters on a campaign boat trip down the Mississippi River, said Monday she didn’t expect the kiss.

``I was surprised. It was a nice surprise,″ she said.

When asked if Gore delivered the message he was trying to send, she said with a chuckle, ``He did.″

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