WASHINGTON _ Bill Bradley intends to bow out of the presidential race Thursday and endorse Vice President Al Gore who vanquished him in 16 Super Tuesday contests from coast to coast, The Associated Press learned today.

Bradley's decision marks the end of a candidacy that soared briefly but floundered when the first votes were cast in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. It also eliminates the last shred of doubt that Gore will be the Democratic presidential nominee, and allows him to turn his attention to November with a party united behind his candidacy.

Both men praised one another in public comments Tuesday night after Gore's victories in the Super Tuesday voting sealed Bradley's fate.

Bradley advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the former New Jersey senator would leave the race Thursday and endorse Gore.