AL GORE: NARAL Endorsement Stuns Bradley Camp
The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League's endorsement of Democratic presidential hopeful Al Gore Tuesday has stunned the Bill Bradley campaign, prompting his aides to call the move an "inside job," the New York Post reports. While campaigning in Brooklyn, N.Y., Tuesday, Bradley "lashed out" at NARAL and said the group should explain why it favors Gore, who had a weaker abortion-rights voting record in Congress. "I'm very surprised that NARAL would endorse someone that had an 84% Right to Life rating when I've had a 99% NARAL record," Bradley said. He has put Gore on the defensive in the past few months, chiding the vice president for not being "truthful in claiming he's 'always been pro-choice.'" Although both Democratic candidates are abortion-rights supporters, and NARAL stated yesterday that Bradley's abortion-rights voting record was exemplary, the group threw its support to Gore because Bradley is using the "issue of choice as a political wedge between pro-choice voters" (Blomquist/Danis, 2/16). "We reject attempts to use this issue ... to divide pro-choice voters. We are unhappy and very disappointed that the Bradley campaign is using it in this fashion," NARAL President Kate Michelman said. NARAL, which has never before endorsed a presidential candidate during the primaries, said it would place ads, make phone calls and walk door-to-door in support of Gore. Bradley, who called his abortion stance "an issue of core conviction ... [that] I have believed in from the beginning of my political life," said he "was very surprised" by NARAL's choice (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/16). "They really need to explain it better than they have," he added. Bradley said, "[This will not] hurt my case at all, because women know where I stand" (Schwartzman/Allen, Washington Post, 2/16). Bradley staffers insisted yesterday that Gore's current abortion-rights stance is not the issue. "Fortunately, Al Gore is pro-choice today. But he has yet to explain his evolution; in fact, he has yet to fully acknowledge his antichoice past," said Gina Glantz, Bradley's campaign manager and a former NARAL consultant (Milligan/Hohler, Boston Globe, 2/16). Kristen Ludecke, a Bradley campaign spokesperson, added, "Bill Bradley knows that Al Gore had an anti-choice record. Kate Michelman knows that Al Gore had an anti-choice record. The only person who doesn't seem to know that is Al Gore" (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.