As Al Gore labors to be seen as a man of the people, the candidate's demeanor continues to strike some voters as annoyingly confident. "He's like the kid in school you wanted to beat up because he knows all the answers," Tom Coveney, a 42-year-old Massachusetts banker, told The New York Times after the first October debate.
Buddy Hillow would be the man to ask about that. Hillow attended St. Albans prep school with Gore and, as recounted in a recent Gore bio, resented the fact that Gore seemed to excel at everything. Tension developed between Gore and Hillow that boiled over in a high school math class. As told in The Prince of Tennessee, by David Maraniss and Ellen Nakashima, here's what happened:
"Hillow sat in front of Gore and had a habit of rocking back in his chair until it reached the precarious balancing point. Once, as he was rocking, Gore extended a finger and lightly touched the chair, upsetting the balance. Hillow turned and hissed, 'If you do that again, I'm coming!' Gore did it again, Hillow leapt at him, and the two boys engaged in a fierce wrestling match, tumbling around the room, bowling over desks. 'I only wish I could say that I ended up on top, but I didn't,' Hillow recalled decades later."
Gore might want to send a memo to that Massachusetts banker: Bring it on.