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More headlines: Bill Bradley on Government Reform

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


Reform sends the message that democracy is not for sale

Most people think democracy’s like a broken thermostat: you turn the dial and nothing happens. And money’s at the core of that problem. You need fundamental campaign finance reform, which means no soft money, public financing of elections, both general elections, partial financing of primary elections and free television time in the last six weeks of [the general] campaign. The rich have a right to buy as many houses or vacations or cars as they want. But they don’t have a right to buy our democracy.
Source: Democrat debate in Los Angeles Mar 1, 2000

First Lady would be scholar; hasn’t been politically active

Q: What kind of a first lady would your wife be? A: Ernestine would be the first immigrant first lady in history, having been born in Germany. She is a scholar. She has been a professor for 30 years. She has just published “The Language of Silence”, about Western literature on the Holocaust. She’s not been active in politics, except very active in my campaigns. She’s real. She’s dynamic. And she will chart her own way as first lady. And I think it will come out of her own depth of convictions.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH Dec 18, 1999

Make playing by the rules attractive to candidates

Q: What you think about wealthy individuals such as Perot who decide to use their money and run themselves?

A: The only way you’re going to have total and complete campaign finance reform is to block all possibilities of contributing money... I think that the way you handle the wealthy individual is that you have a system of public financing and free television time available to anyone who would agree to limits. That would be a way of equalizing those with a lot of money

Source: Joint interview with Bradley & McCain Dec 16, 1999

Project Independence: his grassroots campaign finance reform

One of the reasons I left the United States Senate was to build a grassroots movement for fundamental campaign finance reform - something called Project Independence. We got over a million signatures across this country. That’s not a movement, but it’s a beginning. We need more of that, people’s involvement.. From my perspective, there is no issue that is so linked to other issues as campaign finance reform. That’s why it is an imperative.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

Public financing for general elections - remove the money

Money distorts the democratic process. Most Americans realize that the big money is heard and that they’re not heard. I would ban all soft money, which are the $500,000 contributions or up, that are given to parties by wealthy individuals or corporations I would go to public financing for general elections. We spend $900 million a year promoting democracy abroad. We should spend the same amount ensuring that the special interests don’t have a grip on the legislative jugular in this country.
Source: NBC’s “Meet the Press” Aug 1, 1999

Reduce the role of money in political campaigns

There is way too much money in politics. It distorts the democratic process in a fundamental way. We’re one person, one vote - that’s what the country is about - but we all know that some people have more clout because they have more money. That’s not right. The antidote to money is campaign finance reform - reducing the role of money in our politics.
Source: www.billbradley.com/ “On Campaign Finance Reform” 5/19/99 May 19, 1999

Citizen distrust of gov’t is based on money in politics

Citizens believe that politicians are controlled: by special interests who give them money, by parties which crush their independence, by ambition for higher office that makes them hedge their position, and by pollsters. Voters distrust government deeply and consistently [based on] a deep and widespread conviction that politicians are acting in their own individual interests rather than as representatives of the democratic will. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, but one of them is money.
Source: Speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Jan 16, 1996

Airwaves are public property; use them as public forum

To ensure that all candidates have an equal opportunity to reach all voters, I would reclaim part of the public airwaves as a public forum. The airwaves are public property. That forum should not be available only to the highest bidder. We have not only a right to insist that broadcasters provide that space, but a responsibility to ensure that the public’s airspace is used in the interest of rebuilding democracy.
Source: Speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Jan 16, 1996

  • Click here for 16 main quotations from Bill Bradley on Government Reform.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Government Reform.
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Other candidates on Government Reform: Bill Bradley on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

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Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
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Secy.Robert Reich
Donald Trump
Gov.Jesse Ventura
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Page last updated: Oct 08, 2013