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Gore split shocks former aide, current D.C. Council hopeful

Clark Ray and Tipper GoreThe stunning dissolution of the Gore marriage reverberates even in local political circles.

Clark Ray, the former D.C. parks and recreation director now running for an at-large D.C. Council seat, has worked for both Gores -- as an advance man for Al Gore during his vice presidency and as Tipper Gore's chief of staff during the 2000 presidential campaign. Tipper notably stumped for Ray last October, appearing at a fundraiser for his council bid.

Ray said Wednesday that he was in fact one of the Gore friends to have gotten the e-mail announcing their split. And like pretty much all of them, he says, he was "completely shocked."

"I just sat there," Ray said last night. "It's gotta make you question: 40 years? ... My gosh. I spent just eight years with them and saw what they went through. ... I had never seen a more committed couple."

Asked for a favorite Al-and-Tipper anecdote, Ray remembered a 1998 vice presidential trip to the Middle East: "We were in Egypt. We were in Cairo, and it had been a stressful trip because we'd been in Israel, Saudi Arabia, back to Israel, and then to Cairo. I don't know if it was a birthday or what occasion it was. But at the end of the trip, I mean, there were tensions. The vice president rented a boat and took Mrs. Gore out on the Nile for a private dinner. ... That type of marriage -- that he thought enough to say, 'You know, honey? This has been a rough trip. What better way to treat you than a nice dinner on the Nile?' "

But Ray didn't get to relax.

Among his duties, he recalled, was safekeeping a stash of veep blood, which is toted around in case of emergency. During the dinner, someone realized that the blood was missing. "So they're out having a great time, and we're, like, sweating bullets because we couldn't find the blood, thinking something terrible was going to happen," he said.

By Mike DeBonis  |  June 3, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  DCision 2010 , The District  | Tags: Al Gore, Clark Ray, Gore divorce, Gore separation, Tipper Gore  
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