(Des Moines, IA) Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley on Wednesday opened what he termed a new phase in his campaign to wrest the democrat party’s presidential nomination from Vice President Al Gore.
Bradley said he’s entering the “comparative” phase in which he’ll stake out positions on specific issues to show his differences with Gore.
“I think that this latest foray last week is an example of me laying out a bold position and the Vice President really not saying anything on it, and then his campaign attacking me for wanting to change the status quo,” Bradley told reporters during a news conference.
Bradley last week unveiled his campaign finance reform proposals, most notably a call for an end to “soft money” contributions made to political parties. Candidates may accept individual contributions of no more than $1000, but the parties can receive unlimited checks from individuals and corporations.
“I was a little astonished at the viciousness of the (Gore campaign’s) response, but maybe that touched a nerve,” Bradley said.
Bradley, a former star in the National Basketball Association, said he is executing a campaign game plan developed in January.
“We know exactly what we’re doing,” Bradley said. “If our strategic plan is right, we win and right now we’re on target to move in that direction.”
Bradley and his wife were in Iowa Wednesday to attend the opening of Bradley’s campaign headquarters in Des Moines. Over 50 people turned out for the mid-day event. A cake and candles were brought in, which Bradley blew out in celebration of his birthday.
In the news conference with reporters after the ceremony, Bradley described his race with Gore as “competitive” and said there’s nothing wrong with a little dust-up between the two democrat rivals during the primary season.
“Competition’s what America’s all about,” Bradley said. “Great companies don’t get to become great companies if they have a monopoly. If they’re in a competitive situation, they’re forced to become better and better…I don’t see why politics can’t be the same.”