National Post

Page URL:

Tuesday, November 02, 1999

Gore hires Wolf to choose his ties, polish his image
A move to earth tones: Author aims to transform subordinate figure into a leader
Toby Harnden
The Daily Telegraph, with files from Reuters

Chris Kopanis, Newsmakers
Feminist author Naomi Wolf is being paid $5,000 a month to advise Al Gore, the U.S. vice-president, on everything from his wardrobe to public speaking.

The Associated Press
Gore After

WASHINGTON - Al Gore, the U.S. vice-president and Democratic presidential candidate, has been paying feminist author Naomi Wolf thousands of dollars a month for advice on his wardrobe and image.

A report in the new issue of Time magazine said Ms. Wolf, 37, was hired last January for $15,000 a month to advise the vice-president on everything from his choice of ties to public speaking. Her salary was later cut to $5,000 a month as part of overall cost-cutting in Mr. Gore's campaign.

In her book Promiscuities, Ms. Wolf, argues that instructing teenagers how to masturbate and perform oral sex is "as sensible as teaching kids to drive." The lessons she has given Mr. Gore have reportedly focused more on his wardrobe.

Ms. Wolf, who contends that earth tones are more "reassuring," is said to be behind Mr. Gore's shift to brown, olive and tan suits and shirts and his move toward more casual clothing.

The vice-president also appears slimmed-down and healthier in recent public appearances.

"She's a valued advisor, and she'll remain one," Mr. Gore said on the ABC program This Week.

Republicans derided Mr. Gore over the hiring, calling it an example of the type of management he'd bring to the White House.

"He seeks out kooks and he spends money like a drunken sailor," said Michael Collins, spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

Ms. Wolf's presence has also created tensions in the vice-president's campaign team, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

Many of Mr. Gore's staff learned of her involvement recently, including his new campaign manager, Donna Brazile, who was behind the cut in Ms. Wolf's pay.

The newspaper said Mr. Gore had "gone to great lengths to conceal Wolf's role, funnelling her payments through other consulting firms so that her name would not appear on financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission."

Another advisor to Mr. Gore told Time: "I don't think I can properly describe her role. I don't think she relates to anyone but Gore."

Ms. Wolf was an unpaid advisor on the 1996 re-election campaign of Bill Clinton, the U.S. president, and worked closely with Dick Morris, Mr. Clinton's chief advisor, a position that evolved into a position of influence in this campaign.

In his own account of that campaign, Mr. Morris credited Ms. Wolf with ideas about how to reach female voters and for "remarkably prescient analyses of the social-cultural trends in the country."

This included her notion that the nation was searching for a "good father role model," that Mr. Morris said helped lead to Mr. Clinton's emphasis on family issues. Part of cultivating the father image included improving the president's image as a leader, a quality that Mr. Gore is said to be lacking and one he is apparently trying to develop with Ms. Wolf's help.

Time magazine reported that Ms. Wolf has been advising Mr. Gore that he is a "beta male," a subordinate figure, and must become the "alpha male," or a leader, before the public can accept him as president.

Ms. Wolf ensconced herself with a group of other campaign advisors last week in a New Hampshire hotel to prepare the candidate for his first town meeting with Bill Bradley, the former senator.

Mr. Gore turned in a notably assertive performance, initiating and controlling a discussion with the audience -- true alpha male behaviour.

According to Time, Ms. Wolf has argued within the campaign that Mr. Gore "is a 'beta male' who needs to take on the 'alpha male' in the White House before the public will see him as the top dog."

The feminist author, who went to Yale before winning a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, is also credited with encouraging Mr. Gore to distance himself from Mr. Clinton.

Mr. Gore has been told that he needs to separate himself from the president to shed the image of being number two, and because it would help him with female voters.

Copyright Southam Inc.