Tipper Gore's goodwill visit to El Chile, Honduras, was a good old-fashioned PR photo opportunity. But there are limits, surely.
Officially, the vice president's wife made the trip to survey the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Mitch and help with relief efforts. But one journalist on the scene, however, reported that Gore spokesperson Nathan Naylor had choreographed the episode in advance for the cameras.
'Is this where I'm supposed to shovel?' asked Gore. 'No, it's further down,' replied Naylor. Minutes later, Gore was filmed shoveling a pile of mud - located in the middle of an otherwise clear street - upon which camera operators stood as they filmed her.
Later, Naylor promised Gore would be sleeping in a tent among victims left homeless by the hurricane. The problem was that victims were being housed in a local school. Nonetheless, Gore's aides set up a tent. She awoke at 4:30 a.m. - just in time to appear live on US morning news programs.
The photo-op did not go entirely according to plan, however. Local residents didn't know who Gore was - some reportedly confused her with the late Princess Diana - and the exercise was inconveniently stalled when a young girl sank into the mud and required immediate assistance.