By Tom Donaldson
Atlantic News, November 24, 1999
HAMPTON – Well over 300 people jammed the Inn of Hampton Conference Center ball room on Sunday evening to see and hear former Senator Bill Bradley, who hopes to beat out Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic presidential nomination. Many young people, some with basketballs, were in the large crowd hoping for an autograph. Most of them were not even around when Bradley was the high-scoring number 24 for the NBA’s New York Knicks. Bradley took time to speak to a group of basketball players from Winnacunnet High School prior to his talk.
Along with Bradley was Democratic Senator Bob Kerry of Nebraska. Kerry was introduced by former state senator and well-known Hampton realtor Bob Preston. He praised Bradley and promised to support him. Kerry in turn introduced Bradley, saying, “He is the most incorruptible person I have ever met.”
Bradley said that he was recently asked what he would like his legacy to be. He laughed, saying that to have a legacy you had to first be nominated, then be elected, serve honorably and, finally, die. However, in think it over, he came upon four points that he considered to be a good legacy. One would be to serve the country for four years during peace time. Secondly, to protect the natural environment, at which point Bradley cited his memory of the Mississippi River delta in his home town and thousands of places in New Hampshire. Third, he would want to have been a good steward for the economy, and finally, to see that every child could meet his or her potential. He said that there are 14 million children living in poverty in the United States and they cannot meet their potential. “During these good economic times, we should eliminate that poverty. We should be fixing our roof while the sun is shining.” Bradley said.
The candidate focused on education and fielded many questions from older people regarding health care. He stated that the HMOs are not working and that managed health care as we know it now will look entirely different in five years. His plan is to replace Medicare with a better plan that will serve everyone well and will include the severely ill and disabled.
Bradley said that campaign reform is needed “desperately” and that he would work for it if elected president. He would work for the registration of all hand guns (here, the audience applauded), and the banning of the “Saturday night special.” He answered questions willingly until his campaign staff told him he had to end the program.