Bradley's unequivocal answer, though the typical I-can-see-nothing-but-victory response of a presidential candidate, can also be interpreted as a subtle dig at Gore. "You have to passionately imply that the office is beneath you especially when you're running against a vice president," says TIME Washington correspondent John Dickerson. "By dismissing the suggestion of running for vice president, Bradley can reinforce his drive to be president and simultaneously denigrate Gore's experience."
It may also be a sign of the changing heat of the Gore-Bradley battle. What started as something of a bland mutual admiration society between the Democratic contenders has turned somewhat sour in recent weeks: Each candidate is accusing the other of abusing the campaign contribution system, and Bradley has been particularly hard on Gore's White House record, insinuating that the vice president has been ineffectual on such issues as campaign finance reform. Of course, it's only a matter of time before this sparring combined with the fact that the vice president is running neck-and-neck with Bradley in New Hampshire leads to Gore's being asked a most unwelcome question: Would he be interested in a three-peat as veep?