Aides to the Missouri congressman were surprised to see Susman's name on Bradley's web site, not only because Susman raised a big chunk of Gephardt's campaign war chest in 1988 but also because he has been touted as an important benefactor in any White House bid. Susman wouldn't explain his change of heart. Gephardt won't decide until January, but the defection suggested that he may not run. As one ally put it, "Dick has a 50-50 chance of getting elected Speaker in 2000. He has about a 50-to-1 chance of being elected President."
The first phase of campaign 2000 is less like a gold rush and more like a game of Clue. The most interesting news at www.BillBradley.com has much more to do with erstwhile rival Representative Dick Gephardt than with Bradley. The web site, which last Friday announced that Bradley, as expected, was exploring a run for the 2000 Democratic nomination, buried a telling detail about the Democratic race. Near the top of a long list of Bradley backers and supporters was Louis B. Susman, a Chicago investment banker, former fund-raiser for Ted Kennedy and a longtime backer and moneyman for Gephardt.