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PLATFORM : Act 2, Without Sax

September 12, 1993|LARRY BUMGARDNER | LARRY BUMGARDNER, a former journalist in Tennessee, teaches law and political science at Pepperdine University. He commented on Vice President Gore's appearance last week on "Late Night with David Letterman":

In yet another demonstration of the power of the mass media, Al Gore's 15 minutes on David Letterman's show probably did more to improve his public image than years of service in Congress, endless days on the campaign trail and seven months of actual work as vice president.

By poking fun at his own "stiff" image and delivering a Top 10 list spiced with a few of Letterman's favorite joke targets, Gore took great strides toward overcoming the "wooden soldier" role he has gained from numerous appearances standing silently in the shadow of President Clinton.

Just as Clinton revived a troubled presidential campaign in part through an improbable visit to Arsenio Hall's show, Gore may have managed the rebirth of his own image through a risky appearance with the dangerously satirical Letterman. Gore has learned to circumvent the traditional news media to deliver his message.

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