(CNSNews.com) - Despite his opponent's constant criticism over his abortion voting record, Vice President Al Gore has been endorsed by the Washington, DC-based National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, the nation's largest pro-choice group.
The move is unusual since NARAL seldom makes primary endorsements and could serve to make further Bradley criticism meaningless, as both men prepare to square off in the March 7th Super Tuesday contests.
The endorsement is bad news for Bradley, who has spent weeks attacking the vice president for his abortion-related votes as a member of the House of Representatives and for a letter he wrote in the 80s in which he said he believed abortion was "arguably the taking of human life."
"The threat to this freedom (abortion) is too great to be used in a divisive, political way," said NARAL President Kate Michelman, as she made the endorsement. The NARAL leader was referring to the Democratic candidate quarrel over which of them, Gore or Bradley, is more pro-choice.
"We can not play political games on an issue as fundamental as a woman's right to choose," Gore said following the NARAL endorsement.
"I'm very surprised that NARAL would support Al Gore since he had an 84 percent right-to-life record and I've had a 99 percent NARAL record," Bradley said following a New York City campaign stop. "I don't understand it. I think they need to explain it a little better than they have."
Gore has a 66 percent NARAL voting record.
Bradley's annoyance over the endorsement was supported by Carol Greitzer, who served as NARAL president from 1969 to 1972. "Gore's record currently is fine, but he was not there at the beginning."
Addressing the NARAL action, Gina Glantz, a former NARAL consultant and currently Bradley's campaign manager, said, "The endorsement is a typically Washington decision that has more to do with politics than with a woman's right to choose."
Meanwhile, Bradley did get a bit of good news when he was endorsed by a Teamsters Union local in Atlantic City, NJ.
Gore already enjoys significant labor support as a result of being endorsed by the AFL-CIO's executive council.
A spokesman for the AFL-CIO characterized the Teamsters vote as "a spontaneous expression of support" and insisted it would have no impact on the broader labor vote.