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Inside Politics

Sources: Bradley to endorse Dean

Dean smiles, says he may be able to talk about it later

From John Mercurio
CNN Political Unit

Sources say Bradley signed off on the endorsement only last weekend.
Sources say Bradley signed off on the endorsement only last weekend.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Howard Dean, who stunned the Democratic establishment last month when he won the backing of former Vice President Al Gore, will pick up another key endorsement Tuesday from former Sen. Bill Bradley, sources close to the Dean campaign said Monday.

Bradley, who challenged Gore for the 2000 presidential nomination and came close to winning the New Hampshire primary, has been talking with Dean for several months.

Several top Bradley campaign aides are now performing similar jobs for Dean, including national spokesman Jay Carson and political director Gina Glantz.

The endorsement is scheduled to be announced Tuesday morning, according to sources.

Dean has invited Democrats in New Hampshire to attend a previously unscheduled event Tuesday in Manchester for what aides are describing as "a very special breakfast'' at which "a surprise endorsement is in store.'' (The Iowa debate: Dean lumps rivals with Bush)

Previously, Dean had been scheduled to attend a breakfast in Iowa on Tuesday morning, before attending an afternoon candidate forum in Des Moines.

Asked about the endorsement, Dean, who was campaigning Monday in Iowa, said he couldn't talk about it -- but he smiled and said he might be able to talk about it later.

The endorsement is said to have been in the works for several weeks, although sources say Bradley signed off on the move only last weekend.

Other New Jersey Democrats last month backed Dean, including Gov. Jim McGreevey, House Democratic Conference Chairman Robert Menendez and Rep. Rush Holt.

Dean is currently working on securing the endorsement of early-primary governors, including Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. (CNN.com's interactive Election Calendar)

Bradley's earlier comments

Bradley could not be reached Monday for comment.

But in a recent interview with sfpolitics.com, a California Web site devoted to politics, Bradley said Dean "has the strongest free-media presence [of the Democratic contenders] and he has managed to broaden that to a broader protest and critique of the Bush administration.

"The last things he got to do, he has to be able to broaden that to a broader agenda, more than simply anti-war," Bradley added.

"And he has to have an aspirational component to what he is saying so that people will feel that they are empowered by him to be as good as they can possibly be.''

Bradley, who served with John Kerry in the Senate for several years, had little to say about his former colleague, who is battling to regain his footing against Dean in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Asked about Kerry by sfpolitics.com, Bradley said, "Well, let's go on.''


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