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Special Event

Bill Bradley Delivers Stumps Speech at Adelphi University

Aired February 22, 2000 - 12:20 p.m. ET


FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: Now we want to take you, following last night's debate which we mentioned, the Democratic debate, to Adelphi University, where candidate Bill Bradley is having some remarks. Let's listen.


BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... But I am tremendously grateful for the offer to be here at Adelphi, and I simply want to salute Steve for his tremendous leadership of this university, in turning it around and making it something that the whole community and the country looks at now with a great deal of pride.

Steve, thank you very much.


Jim Larocca (ph), thank you for being here today and for lending my campaign so much support. I mean, your integrity and leadership and your competence and everything you've done in your life is the kind of support that I think gives my campaign added impact, and I want to thank you so much.


Before I begin my prepared text today, I would like to share with you just a few thoughts.

You know, there's a story about Albert Einstein, who distributed a graduate physics exam at college one day, and one of his students got the exam and came up to him and said, Professor Einstein, Professor Einstein, the question on this year's exam is the same as the question on last year's examine, which Einstein replied, that's OK, this year the answers are different, and that's really the world we're living in. We're living in the world of so much change the answers seem to be different every time we turn around.

For example, just take the information age. I mean, 15 years ago the only people who ever heard of the Internet was the Defense department, and now you can't be a self-respecting politician without your own Web site. And by the way, mine is

(LAUGHTER) Change is in the nature of our economy, in terms of the economy being more international. And two billion more people in the world market than a decade ago, and the international financial system much more interrelated. Interest rates right here on Long Island being set as much by international capital flows as by the Federal Reserve.

Changes in our security threats. Those security threats used to come primarily from -- from the Soviet Union. And now that's all over. We don't have to spend $150 billion defending Europe against the possibility that Soviet tanks will come across the north German plain. But we have new threats: terrorism, biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear proliferation, cyber-war and vital threats in the Persian Gulf and northeast Asia.

Changes in the nature of immigration into our country. It used to be primarily European and now it's increasingly Latin American and Asian and African and Mideastern giving us enormous possibility for enrichment if we handle it the right way.

And changes in our families, so many families that even the nature of family is changing in our country today. And so many families work so long. Whether you're the two professional couple, each of you trying to get to the top of your profession, or whether you're that working family each of you working two jobs each just to get a little bit of security, The problem is the same, and that's time with your children and how do you get that time with your children sufficient to be able to give them a set of values that they need in the 21st century.

And so here we are in the midst of all of this change, and I think that somebody who runs for president of the United States has got to give people a new story for a new century that allows them to know that when they see that story, hear that story, that they can get a piece of the prosperity that's out there, that we can live up to the ideals of our founders and that each of us can in our own way find some meaning in life that's deeper than simply the possession of material things.

When somebody runs for president of the United States, I think that president has the obligation to give you his sense of the new story and also to give you a sense of what people have to decide in an election based upon who the candidates are, what they believe, how they've lived their lives and where they'll take the country. You have a choice to make in the coming days, and you need to know where the two Democratic candidates stand on the issues that are important to you. You deserve to know what our convictions are, what we've done, who we are. That's because there's a lot at stake here. I'm challenging a sitting vice president of the United States for the nomination of my party for president. I'm going up against the party favorite, the choice of the political establishment, a man whose name and face are known by every American.

Why am I doing that? There's only one reason, and that's because I believe I have the ability and knowledge and the strength to do a better job of improving the lives of all Americans and making this country what I know it can be. I believe that at this moment in history we have to create a new politics in America. We have to sweep away the old politics of distortion and special interest money and special interests in Washington and create a new politics of honesty and conviction.

We're at a special moment in time. Even though things are good, as I said, we can't rest on our laurels. The motto of the next president has to be more than just more of the same. The next president has to push this country forward into a new century so that America's future will once again be even greater than our past.

How do we best decide who's well suited to do that? Well, we can lay out our policies, and we have, but no president can know in advance what grave decisions he'll have to make in the Oval Office. It's the unknown that is always what he has to deal with. But for me it's pretty simple. I know what I believe and I've always acted on my beliefs. I've been in public life for more than 20 years, and during all that time my core convictions have never wavered. My belief in the necessity for a growing economy, and for social justice, in the need to strengthen this nation through universal health coverage and common sense gun control, through putting a qualified teacher in every classroom and through healing the racial divide. Those things have never changed.

SESNO: Bill Bradley delivering his stump speech at Adelphi University today, talking about, as he does in most of these addresses, the need for what he refers to as a new politics, and winding up there at end for what will almost certainly be an attack, explicit or implicit, on his rival, Vice President Al Gore, saying that he, Bradley, is running because he has essentially the courage of his convictions, he knows what he believes. Last night in that debate in Harlem he suggested that Al Gore does not and in fact is a conservative Democrat, as he cast him.


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