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Special Event

Bradley Endorses Gore for President

Aired July 13, 2000 - 1:11 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We take you now live to Greenbay, Wisconsin, where Bill Bradley and Al Gore are appearing on stage for the first time in a long time since the debates, when they were duking it out in primary season. Bill Bradley has been quite quiet since he ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. He said he would endorse Al Gore. And it appears it is going to happen today. He has flown to Greenbay to appear with Al Gore at this event, and make it official. So we will listen in.

BILL BRADLEY (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, yeah! louder!

(CHEERING)

I'm very pleased to be in Greenbay today.

(CHEERING)

I'm very pleased to be in Wisconsin, a state represented by two great United States senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold.

(CHEERING)

I'm very pleased to be here with the Attorney General Jim Doyle.

(CHEERING)

And I am especially pleased to be here with Al Gore.

(CHEERING)

And I'm pleased to be here with all of you.

For 15 months I walked through neighborhoods, down country roads, sat on front porches. met tens and thousands of Americans talking about their lives and the vital issues of the day. And I asked: Where can I help America? And in almost every case Americans said either help us raise our living standards, and meet the needs of our families, or help us in racial tensions, or help us get closer to our dreams. It seems to me what folks are pleading with us to do is to help them build the bridge between needing and achieving.

(CHEERING) Too often Republicans present us with either/or choices: Either we have economic prosperity, or social justice. We can't have both. Either we have freedom or equality. We can't have both. But these dichotomies are false. Under Democratic leadership, I believe we can wisely pursue both prosperity and justice, both freedom and equality.

(CHEERING)

The Democratic Party is a place of many different voices, but all but the same values. That's why we're Democrats. Democrats know that ultimately government sometimes must do big things that individuals cannot do, the nonprofit sector doesn't have the resources to do, and the private sector will not do. Helping people help themselves through government support is a healthy prescription for creating a stronger society.

Throughout my campaign, I talked about the enormous opportunity we had to do big things, again. An enormous opportunity made possible by the economic growth we've had for the last decade and by the Democratic leadership of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and the Democratic congressional candidates who help make it possible.

(CHEERING)

But the Democratic Party has always been the party that was never satisfied with the status quo. We've always challenged ourselves and the American people to be better, to accomplish more, to care more.

Our problems are well-known: 44 million people without health coverage, 13 million children living in poverty, continued racial discord, a public education system that needs universal quality, working families still struggling against the forces of technological change and globalization and a political process dangerously awash in money.

At this time of unparalleled prosperity, there is no excuse for not acting now.

(CHEERING)

For 15 months I ran for president of the United States. I'm honored and grateful to those people across America who supported me. I had a remarkable experience. Though, someone once told me that when one uses the term experience in this context, experience then is what you get when you don't get what you really wanted.

Indeed, Democratic voters spoke and selected Vice President Gore as our party's nominee. I'm here in Greenbay, today, because I believe what Vince Lombardi once said is true: "Winning is a team sport."

(CHEERING)

Our party is strongest when we're unified, when we speak with one voice, when we work to guarantee a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president. I will work to accomplish both, because I believe that Democrats have a better chance of guiding America to a brighter future than do Republicans and it's not even close.

(CHEERING)

And, today, I want to make it clear that I endorse Al Gore for president of the United States.

(CHEERING)

I believe that, under his leadership, we will come closer to solving the problems I mentioned earlier than under the leadership of George W. Bush, and it's not even close.

(CHEERING)

And as another reason that I endorse Vice President Gore, I've seen it throughout his public life, more and more of our future will depend on forces and scientific breakthroughs that many Americans don't understand. It takes leadership to see the future as it could be, and then to set a direction and move our country toward it. Vice President Gore has a deep understanding of those technological forces changing America. I know he will strive to keep America ahead of those forces so that they maximize our future for the greatest number of Americans.

(CHEERING)

Our world will look very different eight years from now. The opportunities and difficulties of our new age require new thoughts, new ideas, and new actions. The vice president will provide that kind of innovation, the nation as a whole will benefit from his leadership. That is why I think they will rally to our cause. That is why I believe we will when in November.

Ladies and gentlemen, Vice President Al Gore, the next president of the United States.

(CHEERING)

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Bill. Thank you, my friends.

I'm very grateful to be here today with a leader who brought high purpose and high ideals to our contest for the nomination, Senator Bill Bradley. Thank you for your kind words, for your endorsement.

There is no more passionate voice for justice and equality in all of America than Senator Bill Bradley. And I look forward to working with Bill Bradley, working with him in the years ahead to breakdown all the barriers of intolerance and discrimination.

Anybody who listened to Bill Bradley in the last 15 months, or throughout his career, knows that the passion in his heart to bring our people together across the lines of race and other barriers that have been used by some to justify hatefulness and discrimination, that that passion in his heart is deep and real and motivates him to make this a better country. And I am honored to have his support today. (CHEERING)

No one has done more to put campaign finance reform at the top of our national agenda. And I look forward to working with Bill Bradley in the years ahead to break the special interest stalemate in Washington once and for all. And both of us look forward to working with Wisconsin's Russ Feingold to pass the legislation that he's introduced and Herb Kohl.

It was here in Wisconsin that I first pledged, as I reaffirm today, that with your help.

ALLEN: The presumed nominee Al Gore for the Democratic nomination for president thanking Bill Bradley, who finally gave Gore his official endorsement today. Bradley's reluctance to use the word "endorse" brought out some taunts from Republicans, and fed speculation of lingering ill will that Bradley may have still had for Gore, due to some acrimony they shared during the preliminary season.

Let's talk with our senior political adviser, Bill Schneider, about that.

Bill, what do you think about this endorsement today?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it had a lot to do with a man who wasn't there on this stage, and whose name wasn't even mentioned, a man by the name of Ralph Nader. That's because he's running for president as the Green Party candidate. And there is a lot of concern, we hear, on the part of the Gore campaign that Nader could take some votes from Al Gore, from voters, particularly older voters on the left, who remember and respect Ralph Nader as a crusading consumer activist, and were not particular admirers of Bill Clinton or Al Gore.

Bill Bradley tried to stage a rebellion in the Democratic Party from the left against Clinton and Gore. He didn't get anywhere. He didn't win a single primary. But now it is possible that Ralph Nader's challenge could get serious. And that's one reason why Gore badly needed and wanted this endorsement from Bill Bradley. It was a why of trying to stem off any potential loss of votes on the left to Ralph Nader.

ALLEN: Interesting. What about the Bradley endorsement, in the terms of actual votes then, for Al Gore?

SCHNEIDER: Well, as I say, Bradley didn't get a lot of votes. I mean, it wasn't a matter that he needs this huge body of Bradley voters. The question is: What has happened to the left in this country?

Bradley tried to rally the left against Gore and it didn't happen. But it's still always a potential problem. In fact, the Democrats are more worried about the left, with the Nader challenge, than the Republicans are with the right, from the Buchanan challenge. Because Nader has a far more positive public image. He is better regarded by voters than Pat Buchanan is. So I think that's one reason that is motivating this.

ALLEN: Are we going to start hearing more about Ralph Nader in the months ahead then?

SCHNEIDER: Al Gore certainly hopes not. He hopes to essentially nip the Nader campaign in the bud. Right now, Nader has the potential of getting some votes from angry union members in states like Michigan, where they are unhappy with the Gore-Clinton position on free trade with China and Nafta and other countries and deals that have been made. Also from some environmental activists and liberals on the West Coast.

Nader is doing very well in California. The problem for Nader is that Gore is doing so well in California that Nader really isn't making any difference.

So Nader isn't a real threat right now. He is a potential threat. And I think what Gore is trying to do is cut it off. And the Bradley endorsement was part of that strategy.

ALLEN: And now what of Bradley and his future, as far as any involvement with the Gore campaign. He doesn't seem to be on the list of vice presidential candidate possibilities?

SCHNEIDER: Well, he would certainly be an interesting choice given the bitter personal relations between these two gentlemen. I actually think he would be a good choice. He is very independent of Bill Clinton, would help to establish Gore's independence. It would show Gore as a strong and a secure man. It would be like John Kennedy putting Lyndon Johnson, one of his most serious rivals, on the ticket. It shows that Gore can put someone like that on the ticket and it would also, of course, reach out to liberals, even though Bradley, like Gore, has good new Democratic credentials.

But the bitter personal relations between these two men from the primaries I think make that an unlikely proposition, though it is a very intriguing one.

ALLEN: Bill Schneider, thank you. And again, the news is Bill Bradley endorses Al Gore's nomination to be the Democratic candidate for presidency.

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