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GORE A BORE? HE’S HIS OWN BEST JOKE

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Move over, Jay Leno. Vice President Al Gore is getting laughs and political mileage out of his own repertoire of self-effacing jokes, poking fun at his wooden speaking style.

"How can you tell Al Gore from a room full of Secret Service agents?" the vice president cracks. "He's the stiff one.""If you use a strobe light," he adds, "it looks like Al Gore is moving."

Finally, Gore's campaign trail favorite: "Al Gore is so boring, his Secret Service code name is Al Gore."

And Al Gore is so funny these days, he's turning a political liability - his stiff countenance and serious manner - into an asset.

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In the past couple of weeks, from the Democratic National Convention to the campaign bus trip he took with President Clinton, Gore has been on a roll, even using the old comedic trick of including his wife in his quips.

"In spite of all those jokes, I enjoy serving as vice president," Gore often says, capping off his routine.

"The jokes keep coming. Every time I hear a new one I always have the same reaction: Very funny, Tipper."

Sometimes, he plays his own straight man.

Speaking to black journalists nearly two weeks ago, Gore said: "I was sent here to speak . . . because of my reputation for excitement." Then, he stood rigid, looking straight ahead, not blinking an eye.

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Few Democrats will forget that self-mocking blank look or dance the Macarena again without thinking of the vice president.

A week ago, Gore asked the Democratic National Convention for silence, announcing, "I'd like to do the Al Gore version of the Macarena." Then he stood frozen. "Want to see me do it again?" he asked.

He has repeated the shtick again and again since.

Stumping through East Tennessee with daughter Karenna on Friday, Gore said his daughter begged him: "Don't do the Macarena today." But he did it anyway - standing rigidly.

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Gore frequently deflects questions about whether he has his eye on capturing the presidency in 2000. But it's tellingly on his mind in one of the skits he uses to amuse audiences.

With a scrunched-up face and tilted head, Gore says of his vice presidential seal: "If you look at that seal and close your left eye, and turn your head just right, it says `President of the United States.' "