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Sweet: Former Sen. Bill Bradley endorses Obama on Sunday. Bradley statement. New poll Obama 33/Clinton 31

MANCHESTER, N.H.–Barack Obama is speaking to another packed house–a theater here with a capacity of about 850. Later today, Obama will pick up the endorsement of former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) whose own 2000 insurgent presidential bid folded when he was bested for the nomination by Vice President Gore.

Bradley is expected to be influential among Independents and Republicans. With the New Hampshire primary in two days Independents may be key to the vote. But Bradley lost independents to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2000 and McCain is running again, with his campaign–left for dead last year–in a position to do well in New Hampshire.

Quick observation: Obama loves to play pick-up basketball. Bradley is aBasketball Hall of Famer and played for the New York Knicks.

In a statement issued through the Obama campaign, Bradley said, Barack Obama is building a broad new coalition that brings together Democrats, Independents, and Republicans by once again making idealism a central focus of our politics, said Senator Bradley. Because of his enormous appeal to Americans of all ages and backgrounds, Obama is the candidate best positioned to win in November”

Bradley lost here when he ran–independents he expected to tap instead swarmed to another insurgent of the day–Sen. John McCain (R-Az.)

STATEMENT FROM THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN……

Senator Bill Bradley Endorses Obama

Former US Senator, Presidential candidate cites Obamas ability to bring people together for change, win general election

MANCHESTER, NHFormer United States Senator (D-NJ) and candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Bill Bradley, announced today his endorsement of Senator Barack Obamas candidacy. Bradley, who ran a very strong NH campaign, attracting strong support from Democrats and Independents, said Obamas ability to bring people together for change makes him the best Democrat to reclaim the White House and win a broad mandate to tackle our biggest challenges.

Barack Obama is building a broad new coalition that brings together Democrats, Independents, and Republicans by once again making idealism a central focus of our politics, said Senator Bradley. Because of his enormous appeal to Americans of all ages and backgrounds, Obama is the candidate best positioned to win in November. Barack knows above all that unless people can once again believe in our democracy, we wont be able to do the things that need to be done on health care and education or to break our dependence on foreign oil. His movement for change could create a new era of American politics truly a new American story.

Bill Bradley has always called on Americans to reach for what is possible in our politics, said Barack Obama. As a Senator, he was a thoughtful and tireless reformer, expanding health care for children and college education, and working to heal economic and racial divides. As a presidential candidate and author, he has continued to challenge us to build a mandate for pragmatic solutions and progressive change, and I am truly grateful that he has endorsed my candidacy.

Bill Bradley ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2000, after representing New Jersey as a United States Senator from 1979-1997. In the Senate, Bradley compiled a track record of fighting special interests, expanding health care, and promoting good economic growth. Prior to entering politics, Bradley played professional basketball for the New York Knicks. He was inducted into the National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Fame in 1982 and has written six books about American culture and politics.

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