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Bill Bradley's Take on America

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Former Senator Bill Bradley is currently on a book tour promoting his book, The New American Story, and LAist had the opportunity to hear him speak at UCLA through the School of Public Affairs on Friday before his appearance on HBO's The Bill Maher Show. About 35 students, political activists and fans came to hear Bradley speak. An esteemed resume, Bradley is a former senator and presidential candidate, basketball champion, Rhodes Scholar and Olympian.

The Senator's passion for America, where we've come from, where we're at and what we need to do to move forward in a positive direction are sincere and obvious from the moment he steps into a room. A true politician makes everyone in a room feel noticed and Bradley did this effortlessly, and despite his slightly tardy appearance (Friday traffic and all), Bradley's poise and story-telling made it obvious to the naked eye that he has probably been a natural at just about every endeavor he's ever undertaken.

Bradley's theories combine revised rules and responsibilities for both the Democratic and Republican parties in which he talked about both what our government needs to do for us and also what we need to do for ourselves. A perfect example is his push for universal health care. That responsibility falls to our leaders to ensure that all Americans have access to decent health care, but it should be our responsibility as citizens to take better care of our health and in doing so help keep the cost down by not over burdening the system.

He also spoke about Why Tuesday an organization we first heard about last fall during the elections. As national co-spokesman with Jack Kemp, Bradley discussed the phenomenon of why we vote on Tuesdays and the concept behind legislation to move election day to a Saturday. This is a fascinating topic that we will definitely be following leading up to the 2008 election.

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The former Senator had time for questions which ranged from his opinion on how the world views America as a result of the Bush administration, what can be done about wage inequality and the decrease of the middle class and his quick take on the democratic presidential candidates for 2008. If you're ever looking for a crash course in politics and what makes a politician great, find a way to get yourself in the same room as Bill Bradley. It can change your life.