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Bradley accuses Gore campaign of mudslinging

Sen. Bob Kerrey allegedly heckled during recent Gore campaign event

By Dana Bash/CNN

February 2, 2000
Web posted at: 6:15 p.m. EST (2315 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley said Wednesday that supporters of Vice President Al Gore recently resorted to literal and figurative mudslinging when they heckled Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey at a New Hampshire campaign appearance.

During a rally Wednesday in Greenwich Village, Bradley recounted the incident, which allegedly occurred Sunday at a Gore campaign event in Somersworth, New Hampshire. Kerrey, a Vietnam war hero, is one of Bradley's key supporters and has made several appearances for the former New Jersey senator throughout the campaign.

"Bob Kerrey attended a function on my behalf," Bradley explained. "Gore people demeaned him, they called him crippled, they threw mud and I think that the vice president ought to take responsibility for those actions and he ought to apologize," Bradley told reporters.

He referred to an incident in which Kerrey, a medal of honor winner who lost the lower part of one of his legs in the Vietnam war, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, were heckled by people at a Gore event.

"We're not aware of anyone using that kind of language," said Gore campaign spokesman Chris Lehane. "Certainly we would not condone it and would condemn it. Bill Bradley himself has been personally involved in mudslinging and personal vilification over the last few days."

Bradley's campaign press secretary Eric Hauser said Bradley based his accusation that Gore campaign people were responsible for the mud-slinging and name-calling on the basis of reports from his campaign aides and staff.

"I would simply ask Al Gore to take responsibility for his campaign and their actions, as well as his own words," Bradley told a rally in Judson Memorial Church. "When his campaign demeans a medal of honor winner like Bob Kerrey, there should be an apology from Al Gore."

For his part, Kerrey said that what happened is just "part of politics" and does not require an apology.

A Manchester Union Leader editorial published Wednesday chided the vice president about the incident, and called upon Gore to apologize.

Bradley, fresh from his close second-place finish behind Gore in New Hampshire's first-in-the nation primary Tuesday, launched into a campaign blitz of sorts to prepare for what he calls the National Primary on March 7, which includes elections or caucuses in some 15 states -- including New York and California.

Bradley said he's only asking Gore to do what he's done when his campaign has erred.

"When my campaign in New Hampshire put out a flyer that I didn't like, I took responsibility for it and apologized," he said. "When this kind of incident occurs, you have to take responsibility for it and apologize." Bradley referred to a campaign brochure attacking Gore's health plan, charging that it had symptoms of "Gore-itis."

Reuters contributed to this report.
ELECTION 2000
Gore, McCain tops in nation's first Election 2000 primary (2-01-00)

Al Hunt: Primary stakes are huge (2-01-00)

Candidates' victory, concession speeches (2-01-00)

NHPrimary.com: Non-voters will stay in the shadows (2-01-00)

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