Gore, Bradley Staffers Stump for Student Aid
Representatives from the two leading Democratic candidates for president visited the ARCO Forum last night in an attempt to win over students still shopping for a candidate.
The Kennedy School of Government Democratic Caucus hosted Jim Shannon, a campaigner for former Senator Bill Bradley, and Lynn Akin and Jon Schnur, from the campaign of Vice President Al Gore '69. The representatives took turns making presentations on behalf of their candidates, and were available for questions after the event.
According to Shannon, Bradley's rise in popularity "probably surprised a lot of people" especially since many candidates dropped out of the race early because of Gore's strong lead. Further, the press wrote off Bradley early on, said Shannon, who is the senior vice president and general counsel of the National Fire Protection Association.
Bradley's campaign centers on the big issues--which Shannon said the candidate felt are now being ignored.
"I have watched for the last six years as Democrats and Republicans have retrenched into an atmosphere that government can not do anything big anymore," Shannon said.
As president, Bradley would address fundamental issues, such as universal health care and gun control, according to Shannon.
In addition to implementing mandatory gun registration, Bradley hopes to use $65 billion to make sure that at least 95 percent of the population has health care, Shannon said.
Bradley, a candidate who has struggled to prove his viability against a well-funded front-runner like Gore, also wants to overhaul campaign financing, Shannon said. His idea, Shannon added, is to require broadcasters to set aside time for candidates in the weeks before elections.
"Are you going to carry into the presidency all of the baggage and scar tissue of the last few years?" Shannon said, adding that his candidate offers the country a fresh start.
Shannon then left the forum while the Gore representatives gave their presentation.
Akin and Shnur, who both work with Gore, spoke based on their personal experiences with the vice president.
Gore is a person that has the ability to come up with "great plans," Akin said. He not only "wants to make government smaller, but better," she added.
Schnur described the Vice President as dedicated, knowledgeable, and "incredibly principled." In Malaysia, for example, Gore gave a speech on human rights even though it landed him in political deep water, Schnur said.
Schnur further emphasized Gore's faith in family and community. To support them, Schnur said, Gore wants to increase expenditures on childcare and preschool, which he said will help lower income communities.
"He is somebody who has a profound vision on where the country needs to go and where the world needs to go in the long term," Schnur said.
College student participation coordinators for both Gore and Bradley also attended the forum, which was designed to give each candidate's representatives a chance to present information to students.
Joseph N. Sanberg '01, president of the Harvard College Democrats, was in attendance in order to encourage students to volunteer for Gore's campaign.
"Politics is something everyone should be interested in," he says.
Bradley's college coordinator for New England, Shaun P. Kelleher, agreed, saying the forum would help students take part in politics, even outside of the presidential race.
"One of the things Bradley stands for is getting young people involved."
Even, he said if they are not on Bradley's side of the fence.