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CNN Today

Super Tuesday: Bill Bradley to Drop Out Tomorrow Morning; Al Gore to Return to Campaign Trail After Visiting Mother

Aired March 8, 2000 - 1:03 p.m. ET

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

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: And we go to politics and the fallout from Super Tuesday. CNN has learned that the fallout includes a dropout in the Democratic contest for president. Bill Bradley will exit the race after a Super Tuesday shutout of 15 states and American Samoa.

CNN's Pat Neal joins us now from New York with more details.

Hi, Pat.

PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Donna.

Well, we have more details out now about Bill Bradley's plans for tomorrow morning. It will be at 11;00 tomorrow morning in West Orange, New Jersey, not far from his presidential campaign headquarters. But he will hold a news conference where he will announce he is dropping out of the race and he is endorsing Vice President Al Gore.

Now, as you mentioned, Bradley was trounced yesterday in Super Tuesday as Gore swept the Super Tuesday voters across the country. Bradley said he based his campaign on big ideas: using the surplus to pay for universal access to health care for all Americans, he also pushed for sweeping gun control legislation, including registration and licensing of all handguns, and he also called for campaign-finance reform. But voters didn't seem to connect with the message. He got no mandate from any of the core Democratic groups of African Americans, women or minorities.

Bradley is a former New York Knick, a pro-basketball player, and for 18 years he was a representative -- he represented the Senate for New Jersey.

He stopped by his campaign headquarters this morning. He now is on his way back to his home in Montclair, New Jersey, and where he will meet this afternoon with family, friends and supporters, and we will wait and hear more from the -- from him himself tomorrow.

Pat Neal, CNN, reporting live from New York.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Bradley's departure means Al Gore can do what he'd begun to do anyway: focus on trying to beat George W. Bush in November. Gore won every Super Tuesday primary and caucus, including those in Missouri, where Bradley grew up, and New York, where Bradley spent years in the NBA.

CNN's Gary Tuchman joins us now from Gore's home state of Tennessee.

Gary, what's the word in Nashville?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, what is does a man do after he sweeps the biggest series of primaries and caucuses in one day in U.S. history, amassing 65 percent of the total number of delegates he needs for the Democratic presidential nomination, a full five months before the Democratic convention? What does that man do? He visits his mother. Right now, Al Gore is in the middle of a visit to his mother, Pauline, in Carthage, Tennessee, 40 miles east of Nashville. When he's done, he goes back to the campaign trail. This is a very good time for Al Gore. He's about to become the first non- sitting president to sweep the primaries and caucuses in an election year for a political party.

Now, he is not commenting yet on Bill Bradley's upcoming announcement. The Gore campaign says it would be impolite for Gore to say anything until they hear that announcement tomorrow morning.

This morning on CNN's "EARLY EDITION," we asked Al Gore who he would like to face on the Republican side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had no preference for who the Republican nominee would be. I'm going to let the voters in the Republicans primaries make that decision. You're assuming it's George Bush; I won't quarrel with that, but I'm going to let them make the decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: Al Gore is a cautious politician. We don't expect him to get any less cautious as this campaign enters a new phase. However, his attacks against the Republicans, particularly George W. Bush, will get more focused. The Gore campaign believes Mr. Bush is vulnerable on issues such as the environment, gun control and abortion. You can expect to hear a lot about those topics from Al Gore in the days, weeks and months to come.

Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: All right, Gary Tuchman in Nashville.

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