With less than a month until voters head to the polls on Election Day, Former Vice President Al Gore is scheduled Tuesday to make his first appearance with the woman who was first lady while he was in Washington back in the '90s.
Gore is known for many things other than being the vice president. After leaving office, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change — likely the issue he will discuss on the stump, as it is popular with millennial voters the Clinton campaign wants to attract. But, for some of those young voters familiar with popular internet memes, Gore may be more famous for something else: saying he invented the internet.
The former vice president's absence from the campaign trail has been notable. In the 1990s, when he was former President Bill Clinton’s second hand man, he and Hillary Clinton were known to compete for power in the White House. Now, years later, she is the Democratic nominee within striking distance of becoming president.
But, wait, did the vice president of the United States who certainly did not invent the internet actually say that?
Gore’s infamous faux-quote — which made its way into the Republican primary race even this year when former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal joked about it — comes from a March 8, 1999 interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. At the time, the vice president was getting ready for his presidential run and Blitzer asked him to tell the American people why he should be elected and what his vision was for the country.
The vice president, summarizing his record of forward thinking policy, referenced work he had done to commercialize the internet while he was in Congress.
“During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet,” Gore said to Blitzer.
That statement wasn’t immediately noticed but was picked up a few days later by a Wired reporter who noted that the preliminary discussions about the systems that would later become the internet were held when Gore was just 21 years old, in 1967. That system, known as ARPANET, was commissioned in 1969.
Now, more than 17 years later, Gore’s faux-quote still makes its way into popular discourse. So, did he say he invented or actually invent the system that allowed this joke to last for so long? Nope, not a chance.