(CNSNews.com) - Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley has escalated his attacks against Vice President Al Gore, by inserting Monica Lewinsky into the race.
Referring to Gore's assertion in the 1980s, that life begins at conception and that abortion is "arguably the taking of human life," during a weekend appearing in Seattle, Bradley accused Gore of "artfully dodging" the truth, much as President Clinton did during the year long Lewinsky scandal.
"Arguably' means different things to different people and it sounds familiar. The parsing of words is not what women need," Bradley told his audience. The reference was to Clinton's defining the word "is" while under questioning by special prosecutors, as he gave a deposition concerning his sexual relationship with the one-time White House intern.
Bradley has repeatedly criticized Gore for switching his position on the issue of federal funding for abortions. However, the former New Jersey Senator has never before invoked, either directly or indirectly, Clinton's problem with Lewinsky.
Meanwhile Gore, campaigning in California, shot back, "I don't need a lecture from Sen. Bradley about how to protect a woman's right to choose."
Addressing a California fund-raiser, Gore added, "Early in my career, I did wrestle with the issue of Medicaid funding for abortion. But since then, I have come to believe that poor women deserve the same constitutional right to safe, legal abortions, that more affluent women have."
In response to the vice president's statement. Bradley insisted, "Leaders should not have to wait until you are having your teeth pulled," before offering an explanation of their past votes.
Meanwhile, the Bradley camp also expressed annoyance at the decision by Connecticut Democratic Party officials to invite Gore to be the keynote speaker at next Saturday's annual fund-raiser, while Bradley was not invited to the event, expected to be attended by as many as 1,200 party faithful. State Party Chairman Ed Marcus, who is also a Gore supporter, said he extended the invitation more than a year ago.