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Election 2000
Democratic National Convention
Bill Bradley
Bill Bradley
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Bill Bradley Returns to the Team

"We're the party of hope, we're the party of change," said former Senator Bill Bradley Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California. He called for Americans to stop child poverty and to reform campaign finances. He also endorsed his former rival for the presidency -- Vice President Al Gore.

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Bradley put up a spirited fight this winter as Gore’s only rival and the two exchanged increasingly heated rhetoric during the primary season. When explaining his decision to endorse Gore, Bradley said "Politics is a team game." The "team" metaphor is apt, because it was on the basketball court that Bradley first drew the nation's attention.

A native of Crystal City, Missouri, the rangy Bradley found New Jersey by way of Princeton University. He attended on an academic scholarship, but he also set scoring records for the Princeton Tigers that still stand, and won a gold medal as part of the 1964 U.S. Olympic basketball team.

Basketball was never the overriding interest in Bill Bradley's life. After earning his Princeton degree in 1965, he pursued a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University in England instead of moving directly to the pros. But in 1967 he joined the New York Knicks as a highly paid rookie, and proved to be an essential part of two NBA championship teams.

The 59-year-old Bradley entered the Senate shortly after retiring from basketball and served his adopted home state of New Jersey for 18 years. In 1996, he decided against running for re-election, claiming he had lost interest in partisan battles -- and then jumped back into politics to run for president.

Bradley’s campaign emphasized health care for the 44 million Americans who lack it; racial unity; help for 13 million children living in poverty; fundamental campaign finance reform; aid for working families and gun control.

Writing on his campaign Web site shortly after endorsing Gore, Bradley said: "The Republican Party too often presents the American people 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. Democrats know that ultimately government can and must sometimes do the big things that individuals cannot do, the non-profit sector doesn't have the resources to do and the private sector will not do."

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