Campaign insiders: Gore avoided ties with blacks

December 19, 2000
Al Gore received a record turnout of black voters, but Goreinsiders say the vice president went out of his way to avoid seeming too close to this key constituency.
     Gore returns Tuesday from a short vacation in the Virgin Islands justin time to face a chorus of carping (How did he blow it? Could he really be moresuccessful in 2004?). But while he was off making sand castles, the vanquished veep should at least have been expected totake a little comfort -- and hope -- from African-Americans, a key Democratic constituency that turned out to vote for him inrecord numbers. 
     And yet. Insiders say the Gore campaign's handling of theblack community during the campaign -- and especially during the post-election period -- caused a series of slights, fights andfeelings of betrayal. While his campaign poured millions over the last year intotrying to appeal to swing voters, some of Gore's ground troops, backed up by furious black lawmakers,complained for months that the campaign was ignoring black voters. Money and time were finallyinvested, but late, not until weeks before Election Day.