ABC's Claire Shipman Mourns: Does Gore Divorce Mean 'Storybook Endings' Are Impossible?

Good Morning America's Claire Shipman on Wednesday continued to tout the "storybook" nature of Al and Tipper Gore's failed marriage, reminiscing, "Al and Tipper. Tipper and Al. Their very togetherness, always part of the appeal."

Recounting the news of their separation after 40 years, the journalist seemed to wonder if any marriage could survive: "Of course, storybook endings aren't easy to come by. But this twist makes them all seem that much more out of reach." [Audio available here.] In a follow-up piece, ABC's Cokie Roberts contributed an odd aside about how political wives tend to not sing the praises of their husbands enough.

She opined, "And [a politician's] wife knows he puts on his pants one leg at a time. You know? And she's there reminding him of the mortgage payments and of the fact that he's just a regular person, not a god. And you know, who needs that? It's much more fun to be a god than a regular person."

Shipman informed viewers just how real the Democratic power couple was: "For four decades, after all, they've beaten the odds and pulled off the rarest of political feats: A genuinely good and appealing marriage." Roberts proclaimed that Al and Tipper Gore were "nice."

All of that may be true. But, it does seem as though members of the media have invested quite a bit in the narrative of just how impressive and authentic Gore and his wife are. And rather than let that idea be questioned, they are clearly sticking by it. It was Shipman who, on July 30, 2008, hyped the liberal politician as "the man who is often named as the best [vice presidential] choice in modern history." (She didn't say by who.)

A transcript of the Claire Shipman segment, which aired at 7:30am EDT on June 2, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: But, first in this half hour, the surprising split of one of the most prominent couples in politics. Just two weeks after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, former Vice President Al Gore, and his wife Tipper announced in an E-mail to their friends, that they are separating. Claire Shipman will look back at their four-decade romance.

CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Al and Tipper. Tipper and Al. Their very togetherness, always part of the appeal.

TIPPER GORE: Did I mention, I have loved him for more than 30 years?

AL GORE: Someone I loved with my whole heart.

SHIPMAN: For four decades, after all, they've beaten the odds and pulled off the rarest of political feats: A genuinely good and appealing marriage.

DIANE SAWYER: Did you really never date no one else? The two of you, for all those years?

AL GORE: No. We dated some other people.

TIPPER GORE: You did? Well.

AL GORE: But, there was never any doubt in my mind as to who I was going to marry.

SHIPMAN: And then that memorable convention kiss– continued on SNL.

[Clip from SNL]

AL GORE: Tipper!

JIMMY FALLON: Look at that. Isn't that nice?

SHIPMAN: Tipper let us ignore the awkward and see the regular guy.

TONY COELHO (former Gore campaign manager): Tipper, whenever she was in the room, Al softened. And he knew that.

SHIPMAN: When we interviewed her a few years ago, she seemed to be relishing the next phase of their lives.

TIPPER GORE: I told somebody the other day, I went to bed with a recovering politician. And I woke up with a movie star. And it's great.

SHIPMAN: But friends say their paths and expectations diverged.

COELHO: She went and did her thing. She was supportive. But, she didn't share the world stage with him.

SHIPMAN: Of course, storybook endings aren't easy to come by. But this twist makes them all seem that much more out of reach. For Good Morning America, Claire Shipman, ABC News, Washington.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org