You really had to search for clues to the dynamic of the Democratic presidential race in the first televised question-and- answer session with Vice President Al Gore and former senator Bill Bradley, held Wednesday night at Dartmouth College.
The shorthand descriptions of the contest that reporters had been using did not fit the reality of the evening. It was not Outsider Bradley vs. Insider Gore. The former New Jersey senator talked at least as much about his legislative initiatives in 18 years on Capitol Hill as Gore did about his work in more than two decades in Washington.
Nor was it New Democrat Gore vs. Old Democrat Bradley. Gore did argue that Bradley's health care plan would use up all the projected budget surplus and then some. But the vice president proposed enough new programs of his own that New Hampshire Republican Chairman Steve Duprey greeted reporters leaving the debate with a press release plausibly claiming that both men "spent the entire $1 trillion surplus in 60 minutes of national television."
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