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Former Sen. Bill Bradley says 'We Can All Do Better'

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(WBEZ/Andrew Gill)

Perhaps if former small forward Bill Bradley had been able to lace up his old sneakers last week, his beloved New York Knicks might have been able to withstand the Heat in the first round of NBA playoffs. The ghost of Bradley, it seems, would be a welcome haunt in many of his former arenas: from Madison Square Garden to the floor of the U.S. Senate.

After a decade-long, Hall of Fame career in the NBA, Bradley moved onto his next competitive sport: politics. He served in the U.S. Senate for nearly twenty years, representing the state of New Jersey. In 2000, he sought the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. But after 15 months of campaigning, Bradley ultimately conceded and offered his support to Vice President Al Gore at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. He said that a Democratic president and a Democratic conscience were paramount to the success of America.

“I believe that America is a great country, but I also believe it can be a greater country. And so do many other Americans. There's a great wave beginning in this country, I saw it and felt it practically every day for over a year. And when it breaks, it will carry the trappings of political privilege with it. It will vanquish the insidious bond between big money and political decisions. It will break the grip of political lies on our imagination. It will put the people back in politics and usher in a new day full of hope and honesty, full of humanity and caring. A day that Americans yearn for, a day that Democratic leadership can help bring about. A day that will come, let us have the courage to make that day come... now,” Bradley said during his convention speech.

Of course, Gore—and the Democrats—lost the election for the White House. And the United States’ political, social and economic landscapes look much different than they did in 2000. But, Bradley argues, government is not the problem: we all must do better.

In his newest book, We Can All Do Better, Sen. Bradley delivers a searing critique of the state of the nation—in terms of the role of money in politics, foreign policy, economics and diminished potential. He offers prescriptions for job creation, deficit reduction, immigration and education.

Sen. Bradley joined Steve Edwards on Monday’s Afternoon Shift to share his thoughts on how we all, can do, better.

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