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"Being a U.S. Senator is the best elective job in the world," Bradley says. "It affords complete independence. A senator is accountable only to his conscience and the voters of his state, and then only once every six years. A senator sets his own schedule and determines his own style. A senator can call virtually any American for advice and get it...In the Senate, you know that you're in the middle of the action and that what you do has an impact."
Still, "the Senate is not the only place to serve," Bradley wrote in 1996, "I am leaving the Senate, but I am not leaving public life."
Bill Bradley has said that if you run for president of the United Sates, you must at least:
1) Know America well, firsthand, from traveling and talking with thousands of people.
2) Know a lot about the world outside of the United States, so you can do a good job dealing with foreign countries.
3) Be able to explain your ideas to the American people.
In 1998 and again in 1992, Bradley decided he wasn't ready to run for president. He wasn't sure he had mastered those four "musts". And he wasn't ready and willing to put himself and his family in the spotlight of a presidential campaign.
In December 1998, Bill Bradley said he would run. He was better prepared for being president and confident he could do the job well. His family was better prepared, too. His wife was healthy. She was no longer fighting the cancer that threatened her life in 1992. And his daughter, Theresa, was older.
In February 1999, Bradley made his first speech of the 2000 presidential campaign. He spoke to a group of Democrats in Virginia about what the democratic party should be trying to do. He talked about where he would lead the party (and America) if he were president.
"I want to be president because I know this is a great country and a great people," Bradley concluded. "I know that when we unleash our energy and creativity and intelligence, the great challenges facing us can be met-and triumphed over. I know that we can do all of this and more-as Democrats and as Americans."
Bradley faces a long, hard campaign. First, he would have to convince Democrats to select him instead of Al Gore as their candidate for president. Then, in November 2000, he would have to convince a majority of American voters to choose him as their next president.
During the campaign, Bill Bradley would tell the American public a lot more about what he would do if he were president. But what would Bill Bradley do if he lost the election?
"If I wasn't in politics," Bradley once told a group of high school kids, "I'd probably write. I'd probably continue to work with young people. I'd probably-oh, I don't know, a number of things. You don't want to peek at all you cards. I've got a few."