When Al Gore was vice president, it was his boss, Bill Clinton, who made tabloid headlines. But now, fresh off Gore's surprise divorce announcement, the National Enquirer has dug up a 2006 police report in which a massage therapist accused Gore of "unwanted sexual contact" in a Portland hotel room. In her lengthy account, the woman said, horrified and scared, she repeatedly rebuffed Gore, telling him he was acting like a "crazed sex poodle." (Watch a local report about Al Gore's sex allegations.) Police, lacking evidence supporting the claim, never filed charges, and Gore's lawyers, writing to the Portland Tribune in 2007 and 2008, called the allegations "completely false." Who's the victim here?
Even Gore-haters must admit this is fishy: "As much as I dislike Al Gore politically, this looks like a smear job," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. Her refusal to press charges at the time is puzzling enough. But the really suspicious thing is that the story only got out when, after four years, she decided to try selling her story to the National Enquirer for $1 million.
"Gore accused of sexual assault?"
True or not, the liberal media shouldn't have covered it up: If the masseuse had made the same charge against Dick Cheney, says John Hinderaker at Power Line, it would have sparked "the biggest media frenzy of recent years." Just as Newsweek buried the Monica Lewinsky story and the entire mainstream media ignored John Edwards' affair, the Portland Oregonian looked the other way on the masseuse's accusations against Gore, even though it had the police report in its possession.
"Crazed sex poodle?"
The question is, what now? It's hard to decide whether the press should cover this, says Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic. On one hand, the masseuse's account reads like "a fabulist's" Al Gore "revenge fantasy": "A 'molest-proof' bra. Abdominal massage. Condoms in the 'treat box.' Lunges. Grasps. Kisses. Moans." The only thing missing is reference to a "torn bodice." On the other hand, "the long record of powerful men abusing vulnerable women" makes it hard to simply dismiss such a "scary" tale. One thing's certain: The conservative noise machine will do its utmost to push this story "into the mainstream."
"Mr. Stone's massage"