Al Gore, high-risk passenger

                         Former Vice President Al Gore shaved off his beard, but
                         he was still treated like a terror suspect on a recent trip to
                         Wisconsin to address a Democratic Party convention.

                         Passengers boarding a flight to Milwaukeee at Reagan
                         National Airport in Washington last week were shocked to
                         hear Gore being told, "Sorry, sir, you have to go through
                         extra screening," and see guards rifling through his briefcase
                         and suitcase, a witness told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

                         "You're looking out and seeing Al Gore's unmentionables in
                         his big, carry-on suitcase," Mark Graul of Green Bay told the
                         paper. "You could tell he was thinking, 'This is not happening
                         to me.' He did not have a happy look on his face. Basically
                         the whole plane boarded before they got through looking
                         through his stuff."

                         Graul says a bunch of passengers whipped out their cell
                         phones before the plane took off. "People were calling
                         friends," Graul says, "[telling them] 'You're never going to
                         believe what I just saw.' " Adding insult to injury, Gore was
                         taken aside at the gate when he left Milwaukee for New
                         York the next day and thoroughly searched again.

                         "My understanding is he was randomly selected both times,"
                         says Gore aide Jano Cabrera, who was traveling with the
                         ex-veep. "And both times he was more than happy, as all
                         Americans are in these troubled times, to cooperate."

                         Cabrera insists Gore wasn't mad. "Despite the fact that he
                         won more votes than anyone else in the history of America,
                         except for Ronald Reagan, he is more than happy to do his
                         part for airport security," Cabrera says. "As I recall, he
                         shook the hands of all the airport screeners afterward and
                         thanked them for doing the jobs that they're doing, and asked
                         them to keep up the good work."

                         A rep for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration
                         said that the agency "does believe that screening at the gate
                         is an additional level of security," and noted that former
                         dignitaries do not merit special treatment.

                         Meanwhile, Gore is planning to meet with top Democratic
                         contributors and members of his old campaign staff later this
                         month in Memphis to discuss another bid for the presidency
                         in 2004.

                         "Memphis is going to be an opportunity for many old, and
                         some new, friends to get together who have been the
                         financial backing for many Democratic campaigns in the
                         past," veteran fund-raiser Mitchell Berger told the AP. "This
                         is an opportunity for them to get together and be with Al and
                         Tipper and discuss the state of Democratic politics currently
                         and in the future."

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