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Voter Eyes Bradley’s Glasses

January 4, 2000

MANCHESTER, N.H. _ Bill Bradley famously ignores fashion, but he does pay attention to appearances.

Eye doctor Norm Michaud, a Goffstown resident and helpful Republican, stopped the Democratic presidential candidate as he was leaving a speech Monday to advise him against using his reading glasses in public. ``Half-glasses are why Ted Kennedy was never elected president,″ Michaud said. ``People don’t like to look at you peering over half-glasses. It doesn’t make you look trustworthy.″

Bradley shook the doctor’s hand and nodded. ``Thanks. I thought about that,″ the candidate said. ``That’s why I use a TelePrompTer.″

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It’s not ``Green Eggs and Ham″ _ but close.

Bradley’s campaign launched its January sprint on a Dr. Seuss theme, issuing colorful press credentials that borrowed not only from the candidate _ ``Let the joyous journey begin,″ the laminated cards read, mimicking Bradley’s phrase for the campaign _ but also from the children’s poet in beckoning ``Oh, the places you’ll go!″

On the back of official press luggage tags, all properly copyrighted, the Cat in the Hat is pictured smiling over this promise: ``Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!″

A swirl of pastel colors did not hide the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire _ drawn in outline on the cartoony credential _ are the only two ``great places″ Bradley and his entourage are off to anytime soon.

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BY THE NUMBERS:

80 _ percentage of Americans who believe a woman will likely be elected president in the next 50 years. Pew Center, December 1999.

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VOTER’S VOICE:

``I believe in the system. The vice president ought to be president. And Bradley shouldn’t even be challenging him.″ _ Gene Minnis, an Al Gore supporter in Davenport, Iowa.

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THIS DATE FOUR YEARS AGO:

In Waterloo, Iowa, former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander trotted out a vintage auto to send ``a wake-up call to Republicans″ that front-running presidential candidate Bob Dole’s 35 years in Washington make him a certain general-election loser. Posing with a 1960 Ford Thunderbird at a car museum, Alexander said, ``That was the same year that Bob Dole arrived in Washington, and he has been there ever since.″ He used his outsider pitch to point out Dole’s years in Congress and warn, ``35 years in Washington is a losing message.″

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MONDAY’S ROUNDUP:

Bradley and Gore contrast the themes of their competing Democratic campaigns. Bradley promises ``a world of new possibilities,″ emphasizing education and health care as top priorities. Gore counters that he is a tested leader and America needs ``good decisions with good leadership.″ Elizabeth Dole prepares to endorse George W. Bush’s Republican candidacy. Sen. John McCain focuses on New Hampshire, where he’s in a dead heat with Bush, by courting voters at a town meeting. Republican Steve Forbes, also in New Hampshire, criticizes the current income tax system.

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TODAY’S TRAIL:

Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan signs copies of his book in Virginia. Republicans Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Forbes campaign in Iowa. McCain and Bush travel through New Hampshire. Gore meets with high school students in New Hampshire, where Bradley proposes budget savings plans.

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