She may be the blond bombshell in Vice President Al Gore’s political arsenal.
Karenna Gore Schiff has become one of her father’s closest advisers these days, with a deft new media presence and a tenacious hold on the mechanics of the campaign trail.
At 26, Mrs. Schiff was game enough to introduce the vice president to the hometown crowd in Carthage, Tenn., last June, though nine months pregnant.
She had become, Newsweek reported, “someone the veep can trust unconditionally.”
And she had a mission.
“I started thinking how passionately I care, and how deeply, about the issues that are at stake in this election. And I felt I didn’t want to be on the sidelines,” Mrs. Schiff said during a media awards luncheon last September.
By November, the New York Times noted that the svelte blonde had “become a huge, and hugely underestimated, force in her father’s presidential campaign.”
She was responsible for Mr. Gore’s decision to move his campaign headquarters to Nashville, get close with audiences and distant from President Clinton.
But Mrs. Schiff was also credited with engineering the vice president’s widely criticized news conference in March 1997 when he claimed “no controlling legal authority” stopped him from campaign fund raising via the White House phones.
These mixed reviews have not fazed her, and little wonder. In one form or another Karenna Gore Schiff, the vice president’s eldest daughter, has nudged her father through his campaigns since 1988, according to press reports.
A few weeks ago, she wowed the 20-somethings at a Chicago night club, determined to raise funds for her new all-Gore Web site (www.gorenet.com) designed for the young and restless voting bloc.
“We want your time and spirit as we mobilize across the country,” she said, later adding, “I love my dad just the way he is.”
Then she slyly noted she could use a martini.
This week finds her grinning and barefoot in Talk magazine. An article called “She lived through grunge” rifles through her past, including former teen pals recalling her high school drinking and occasional marijuana use.
Nevertheless, she emerges as “one of her father’s closest friends and most trusted advisers.”
Glamour magazine also bills her as “her father’s secret campaign weapon” and “ambassador to Generation X voters, serving as his eyes and ears among young women.”
Here we find that daughter calls dad “Inspector Gadget” and applauds him for lashing out against the Reagan administration.
“He thought that there were horrible injustices going on in the country, and that people should be more socially conscious,” she said. “And it meant something to me that I was hearing the same thing from him as I was hearing from the punk band I liked to listen to.”
So far, Karenna Gore Schiff’s public life has unfolded in sound bites and photo ops of the most proper demeanor.
Young Karenna graduated from Harvard, then wrote for the on-line journal Slate, offering a wordy mix of dispatches on politics and the Internet. She is a third-year law student at Columbia University.
After a brief “cloud nine” courtship, she married wealthy Manhattan physician Andrew Schiff, a Republican, two years ago; a sturdy little boy, Wyatt, was born July 4.
Mrs. Schiff gets good reports on her tasteful clothes and civility. Bits and pieces emerge on her swank life the $2.5 million duplex on Manhattan’s East 66th Street and doting, high-profile grandparents.
Her prowess as a potential political candidate has been bandied about in several newspaper and magazine articles.
But for now, her role as presidential adviser has matured beyond the adorable image of a daughter bent on stumping for her dad. Soon on the cusp of Super Tuesday, perhaps we may see her interviewed in an official capacity, “Gore adviser” flashed below her name.
“She has an incredibly good instinct, nearly perfect pitch, a good ear for what’s right,” Mr. Gore told Talk. Her advice, he said, was “incredibly invaluable.”