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The first day of President Clinton's vacation was nonstop golf played against a dramatic mountain backdrop. How-ever, the world of domestic and international politics kept intruding like radio static.

As the president teed off Wednesday at the first hole, Sen. Bill Bradley, a moderate Democratic stalwart, announced that because he believes the wheel of American politics is broken he will not seek re-election for a fourth six-year term.That decision weighs the scales even more heavily against the Democrats recapturing the Senate next year, a year in which Clinton himself faces re-election.

Clinton did his best to concentrate on the vacation at hand, teeing off against the silhouette of the Grand Tetons that appear to rise from the carpeted greens like giant shark's teeth.

The president reportedly shot an 84 on the first round, returning after a brief lunch for a second 18 holes.

Clinton took time to call Bradley, then issued a statement saying he will miss the New Jersey senator. Bradley brought a "sense of civility" to politics and exercised leadership in "moving the Democratic Party in a new direction," the president said.

The Clintons settled into the 8,000-square foot summer house on the 18th hole of the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club they borrowed from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Their daughter, Chelsea, is due to arrive Thursday, and the Clintons will begin a more active recreation schedule that might include an overnight campout.