Boston, MA (CNSNewscom) - Dubbing the session, "the first town meeting of the new millennium," Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley became the first candidate to return to the presidential hunt on Sunday, using an appearance before the City Year Program - a domestic Peace Corps effort - to call on white Americans to join in the fight for racial reconciliation.
"My campaign is about asking good people to step forward and join us, so that our voices can be heard," Bradley said.
The former New Jersey Senator reminded his audience that, by 2010, native-born white Americans will constitute a minority of the nation's population.
Then, offering a practical economic reason to address issues that continue to divide the races, Bradley added, "Increasingly, the future of white Americans will depend on the talents of non-white Americans...if labor economics mean anything...and that is why it is in the ultimate common sense, self interest to get this racial division behind us."
While insisting it was premature to concern himself with a presidential legacy since he has yet to receive his party's nomination, Bradley said if he were president, a cornerstone of his presidency and hence, his legacy, would be racial harmony. "Every child in America must have a chance to realize his or her potential," he said.
Bradley characterized his campaign as one of "big ideas," insisting his would be a presidency that would work to eliminate child poverty and provide universal health care.
"I want to be President in order to use the power of that office to do good. If each of you, and millions of other Americans, realize you have the power to do good and a President is President in order to do good, then what we thought was never possible can happen," Bradley told the receptive gathering.
Later in the day, Bradley headed to New Hampshire, home to the nation's first presidential primary, where he met with 400 people at the Elks Lodge in Concord, the state's capital city.
Asked by one questioner if voters should fault Vice President Al Gore for President Clinton's personal indiscretions, Bradley responded he would prefer to win based on his own agenda and no one else's.
But some in the audience voiced concern about Gore's ties to Clinton and insisted it was time for a fresh start.
Bradley's message was especially well received by those characterizing themselves as Independents, New Hampshire's largest voting block.
"I'm turned off by Gore, and the Republicans seem to be too conservative for my tastes," said Marcia Hogan, a Concord resident. "So, I'm taking a serious look at Bradley. I'd also consider John McCain."
"I will not vote for Al Gore. Despite the strength of the economy, something is not well in the country. I also feel Clinton has cheapened the presidency and Gore has stood at his side while he did it," said Terry Smith of Concord.