Bradley stumps in Iowa
By Patty Davis/CNN
February 25, 1999
FORT MADISON, Iowa (February 25) -- As Iowa dug out from several inches of new snow Wednesday, Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley was trying to cut his own path -- one he hopes will lead to the White House.
This was Bradley's second trip to Iowa in just three weeks.
"I think that everyone is still pretty open to listening to anybody who comes through," said Dennis Carroll, political reporter for The Hawk Eye.
That's exactly what Bradley is counting on. He's currently the Democrats' only alternative to Vice President Al Gore.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt has bowed out of the race. "The Gephardt supporters in Iowa are clearly people I'm going to go after," Bradley said.
Bradley is also courting the crucial labor vote, promising to look at troubles Burlington, Iowa's United Auto Workers say they're having with NAFTA, a trade agreement he helped pass as a senator.
"I think we need to look at the agreement, see how it's working and then make judgments," Bradley said.
The vast majority of labor unions are expected to endorse Gore later this summer.
"I think most people will say, 'Hey Al Gore is the sitting vice president and we've got a chance of wining the election. We can win it with Al Gore. We can't win it with Bill Bradley,'" said Tom Courtney of the United Auto Workers.
With the Iowa caucus about a year away, the latest CNN/TIME poll shows Gore leading Bradley 44-12 percent nationwide. Even Jesse Jackson, who hasn't yet announced his presidential intentions, leads Bradley by five percentage points.
But don't tell that to part-time nurse Bill Olmsted. "I think that the party would benefit from a clear break with the last eight years of fund-raising and all of the other things that have gone into this scandal process."
Or banker Bill Logan: "He's new on the scene. He's got good ideas that aren't just typical of what we're getting from Washington."
Bradley plays up his Washington, D.C. outsider status, even though he spent 18 years as a U.S. senator for New Jersey.
"The big chunk of my life I was like millions of other Americans who were working in the private sector, who tried to do their job the best they could do and who weren't involved in the federal government. I think that's the big difference," Bradley said.
It's a difference Bradley hopes will translate into votes and dollars.
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