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CNN Today

Bill Bradley Asserts Irregular Heartbeat Will Have No Impact on His Campaign

Aired January 21, 2000 - 2:32 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Three days ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Democrat Bill Bradley has a heavy load of campaigning today. Yesterday, Bradley confirmed he's had a recurrences of that irregular heartbeat he first revealed in early December. Within the past hour, Bradley said the condition will have "no impact" on his campaign.

He told supporters -- I'm quoting -- "It's a nuisance for me. It shouldn't be a concern for you." End of quote.

Bradley says he's experienced four such episodes the past three weeks and has not required treatment.

ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: For more on the Bradley story, we go now to CNN's Wolf Blitzer. He is only one of many on the CNN team there in Iowa to cover the caucuses in Des Moines -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Andria. Joining us now here in Des Moines is Jim Farrell. He's a spokesman for the Bradley campaign in Iowa.

The timing of this revelation about the four incidents of the irregular heartbeat for your campaign can't be good just coming a few days before the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

JIM FARRELL, BRADLEY CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: Well, it's really not a problem, because the doctors have said this irregular heartbeat is a nuisance more than a problem for him: certainly not going to slow him down or stop him in his -- his fight to get access for every working family in America, in his fight to lift children out of poverty, to heal the racial divide in this country, and to put good teachers in every school. Just a nuisance.

BLITZER: Is there any indication that the four incidents that we're now hearing about could have been brought on by this very aggressive, very active campaigning that he's been engaged in.

FARRELL: Well, that's not what the doctor said. The doctor said it's just important to take your medicine on a regular basis, and you know, he's going to do that. And as I said, a nuisance more than a problem.

BLITZER: All right. Let's talk a little bit about what we can expect Monday night. What do you expect will happen in the contest between Al Gore and Bill Bradley?

FARRELL: Well, this has become a competitive race.

BLITZER: In Iowa?

FARRELL: In Iowa. And when Bill Bradley got here a year ago, no one gave him a chance, certainly not Al Gore. But it has become a competitive race since that time, and it's become so because Bill Bradley has stepped forward with bold ideas, a bold plan, a vision for America. He's sent a message out to voters of Iowa to restore trust and honesty in government. And that message has been resonating very well out here.

We have people on our side, not the -- not the political establishment.

BLITZER: There's a poll that just came out yesterday. It shows Gore at 56 percent here in Iowa among expected Democratic caucus-goers versus Bill Bradley at 32 percent. Is that what you're getting in your internal polling as well in Iowa?

FARRELL: Well, the fact is polls may be up or down at any given moment, but they're very unpredictable here and they don't have much meaning, because the only poll that matters is who comes out to vote and who they vote for on Monday. And they're famously unpredictable here.

BLITZER: What would be a win in Iowa for Bill Bradley?

FARRELL: Bill Bradley needs to beat the expectations here, and the expectations are largely set by the media. But the only historical -- the only historical example of an insurgent campaign such as ours would be in 1980, Ted Kennedy when he got 31 percent, I think. So something in that range: You know, that's -- that's as good as any insurgent has ever done.

BLITZER: All right. Jim Farrell, good to have you join us here on CNN. We'll be watching. You'll be busy the next two days, I'm sure.

FARRELL: Thank you.

BLITZER: And then you're off to New Hampshire.

FARRELL: Yes, sir.

BLITZER: We'll see you in New Hampshire.

FARRELL: OK.

BLITZER: All right.

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