BILL BRADLEY: Alludes to Health Care in Announcement
"With lofty rhetoric but no specifics," former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley yesterday formally declared his candidacy for president, sounding health care as one of his main campaign themes (Enda, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/9). "To me the American dream is not just for the lucky among us. Isn't it just common sense that we make sure every child in America is covered with health care?" he said, adding, "What others call idealism is a common-sense reality" (Edsall, Washington Post, 9/9). ABC's Dean Reynolds noted, "It is still a long shot campaign. But today, Bill Bradley's effort had a polished look with a big hometown crowd and a cutting message that America's prosperity is being wasted. He decried an America still without adequate health care for everyone, where millions of children live in poverty and where working class families fall behind even as the stock market soars" ("World News Tonight," 9/8). Fox News Channel's Jim Angle reported, "He mentions gun control, he mentions health care -- in fact he will have a major proposal on health care at the end of this month that will propose almost universal health care -- but the main purpose of today's speech was to talk about Bill Bradley's values" ("Special Report," 9/8).
But Will It Fly?
Vice President Al Gore's campaign chose a conciliatory response. Spokeswoman Kiki Moore said, "Al Gore will be out campaigning, talking with Americans about change that works for working families in important areas like health care." Republican National Committee Chair Jim Nicholson said Democrats face a "Hobson's choice" between the two candidates. He said, "They can either support Clinton's sidekick and chief cheerleader, Al Gore, or they can back Bill Bradley, who promises a return to old-style liberalism. Public opinion polls tell us Americans don't want the former. History tells us what's wrong with the latter" (Cain, Washington Times, 9/9).
George Will Hunting
Syndicated columnist George Will writes that "On health care, gun control, campaign finance reform and other matters, Bradley may amble to Gore's left, the locus of Democratic energy and restiveness. ... Now begins a test of the political axiom that you cannot beat vanilla with French vanilla. Al Gore is earnest and given to alarms, as about global warming and urban sprawl. Bradley is earnest, with details due this autumn" (Washington Post, 9/9).