Senator Bradley opts to only stand and wait

Sen. Bill Bradley (D) of New Jersey, once considered a possible contender for the Democratic nomination, recently met with reporters at a Monitor news breakfast in Washington.

SOME feel you're presidential. Can you see yourself entering the race, or being drafted?

That time has passed, from my standpoint. I think that the latest anyone could really have gotten into this was the first week or two in December, and therefore from my perspective it's not an issue.

I say the same thing I've said since the question first started being asked a few years ago, and that is no. The reason is this isn't the right time for me. It's as simple as that.

I think it's important that you experience the country. By that I mean primaries - the experience you get only if you're there. The campaign has a growth potential all its own. But what I'm talking about is actually understanding the contradictions of the country, and experiencing the differences personally so that you have a deeper understanding. So that's the first thing.

The second thing is it's important not just to know where Japan is, but to understand some of the coalition politics there. It's important to understand the Soviet Union, Mexico, other countries. And this should be knowledge not from a briefing book, but knowledge that you've developed and tested against events over time.

If you're interested in change and if you're interested in shaping the direction of the country, you need a team. You need people who are on the same wave length you are, who have some idea of how to work together. That takes time.

In order to be able to communicate, you have to not only have mastered the technical aspects of communication, which are not insignificant, but ideally you would have an idea of where you'd take the country. And that idea would be based upon a reading of history as well as a reading of what's possible.

What about a situation where there would be a brokered convention and a turn to Senator Bradley?

First of all, those who argue that there will be a brokered convention have the burden of proof to explain how it works. I haven't yet heard how it works in any kind of credible, understandable way.

I think that if history's any guide, and I think it is, it's more likely than not that one of the candidates will emerge. And Super Tuesday is an important time because that'll be an indication of whether anyone has developed some momentum. I would bet that even if one doesn't emerge with any kind of first ballot opportunity, the eventual nominee will come from among those who are out there now, who are in the campaign.

Would you care to endorse any of the Democrats now in the campaign?

I have never endorsed a candidate in a primary, in 1980 or in 1984. This time I might endorse someone. I haven't yet decided, but I could very well endorse someone. It would be before the New Jersey primary on June 7 - that's the last primary with California. I've never endorsed anyone, but this time there is a possibility.

In terms of how I'd make a decision, I've known some of the candidates for a number of years. I've gotten to know others in the last couple of years, so I have some personal knowledge of them in addition to whatever positions they've taken in TV debates or how they've postured themselves in a campaign. I wouldn't make any eventual decision only on their positions as articulated, but also on my view of which one among them would make a president.

Would you be willing to accept the vice-presidential nomination?

The same reasons that apply to not running for president would apply to why I would not run for vice-president. I think it's important to be clear early on on this. The same reasons that I wouldn't run for president apply to vice-president.

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