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March 21, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-21

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T.. A -. -r- * 3 * A.,..02.fl A ... %I Aua A.

*Dole's key
were races
he lost
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - When the so-
called V-8 group, the high command of
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole's
presidential campaign, met on a cold,
raw day last December in their Capitol
Hill headquarters, the mood was un-
commonly tense and anxious.
For most of that year, Dole had been
riding high in the polls, raking in big-
money contributions and racking up
*big-name endorsements. But as the year
ended, the Republican congressional
majority - Dole's power base in the
party - had been battered in the battle
over the budget. Andoutonthehustings,
Dole was being pounded by a flood tide
of negative television attack ads spon-
sored by a new rival in the GOP race,
publisher Steve
Dole's aides
* News pondered how to
respond. "What
Analysis they wantedtosay
was that Dole was
__ fighting for a bal-
anced budget,
fighting for tax
cuts;" recalls Don Sipple, at the time a
recent addition to the strategy group.
"Well he may have been fighting for
those things, but he was losing the
In a quandary, Dole's top advisers
ultimately approved a hodge-podge of
commercials that did little either to re-
pair the damage done by Forbes' on-
slaught or to provide a convincing ra-
tionale for Dole's candidacy. Within
weeks of that December meeting, the
inconceivable happened - Dole lost
the New Hampshire primary --the low
poin't of what Dole's pollster at the
time, Bill Mclnturff, later described as
"eight weeks of terror."
Then, suddenly, the turmoil ended. A
mere 10 days after New Hampshire
gave its victory to conservative com-
mentator Pat Buchanan, Dole won the
March 2 primary in South Carolina. He
did not lose again, and Tuesday he
clinched the nomination by winning
primaries in four big Midwest states.
But Dole's impressive series of vic-
tories may obscure more than it reveals
*about the complexities underlying the
Republican presidential campaign, and
national politics in general.
Indeed, a review of the primary sea-
son points up one major conclusion: the
key victories for Dole actually came in
contests thathe, himself, did not win-
in Louisiana, for example, where
Buchanan eliminated Sen. Phil Gramm
(R-Texas), and in New Hampshire,
*where Dole came in second, but suc-
ceeded in blocking former Tennessee
Gov. Lamar Alexander. The result was
to set up a contest of Dole against
Buchanan - one in which Dole could
triumph without ever answering that
question that troubled his advisers back
in the dark days ofDecember,just what
reasons should he offer Americans to
choose him as their president?
As Dole first began to get his presi-
dential bid under way last year, David
(eene, who had been one of the Kansas
senator's chief strategists when he ran
in 1988, offered this assessment: "The

Republican leadership wants Dole to
sueceed," he said. "They feel it's his
turn. What he has to do is make sure
their .worst fears about him would not
be realized. Their worst fears are that
someday he says something that de-
stroys his whole candidacy and that he
can't come up with some kind of mes-
As it turned out, Dole managed to
liv up to only part of that bargain -
and that was enough. All through the
campaign, despite frequent provoca-
tion, he kept his temper in check, no
small achievement. That, the weak-
nesses ofhis opponents and the oddities
of this year's highly compressed cam-
paign schedule, appear to have sufficed
for victory.
Of all his rivals who were originally
in the field, Dole let it be known to his
staff early on that he viewed only one as
a seiious threat-Gramm. Gramm had
earned a reputation as a prodigious fund
rairer, had a natural base in the South
and West, a potentially powerful ap-
peal to the party's conservative core
and a consuming desire for the office.
But Gramm had trouble establishing
a distinct identity. He had set out to
*corner the market on conservatives. But
many social conservatives were drawn
instead to Buchanan's "more passion-
ate advocacy," said Charles Black,
Gramm's chief strategist.
As for the economic conservatives,
"Gramm was too much like Dole" in

NATION/W ORLD ne mcnigan vay - Inursoay,
GOP worried about possible Perot candidacy


The Washington Post
WASHINGTON- Republican leaders reacted
with a mixture of disappointment and resignation
to the prospect of Texas businessexecutive Ross
Perot entering the 1996 presidential race, a move
they fear could drain off enough votes to re-elect
President Clinton.
. On the morning after he locked up the Republi-
can nomination, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole
(R-Kan.) said a Perot candidacy "wouldn't make it
easier" to defeat Clinton. But he and key Republi-
can strategists appeared at a loss over how to
prevent the Texan from becoming the nominee of
his' own Reform Party, which is trying to qualify
for the ballot in all 50 states.
Republicans complained that Perot had "rained
on Dole's parade" by strongly hinting Tuesday he
was ready to run again if Reform Party members

want him. But even as he attempted to soft-peddle
the remarks yesterday, claiming he was more inter-
ested in building his party than running himself, he
dismissed suggestions that his candidacy would
help Clinton as "more Republican propaganda."
Perot received 19 percent of the vote in the
1992 presidential election, and later studies
showed that he drew almost equally from voters
who otherwise would have chosen Clinton or
President Bush. But two years ago Republican
House candidates received two-thirds of the
vote of those who said they supported Perot in
1992. They provided critical support for the
GOP as it captured control of both the House
and Senate.
Dole's campaign manager, Scott Reed, said the
Republicans would not concede any voters to
Perot in 1996. "We plan to compete aggressively

for Perot supporters in 1996 by convincing
them that the most effective way to change the
country is for them to come home to the Repub-
lican Party - as they did in
1994," he said.
Republican strategists
said yesterday they doubt
.. Perot would match his 19
percent showing if he runs
in 1996, but said he would
greatly complicate the Elec-
toral College map by tilting
some states back into
Clinton's column that they
'obelieve Dole can win in a
Perot two-person race.
Democrats agreed with that assessment, al-
though some believe Clinton's advantage in a

three-way race is somewhat overstated. "I've al-
ways thought he helps us, but not as much as last
time," one senior Democratic strategist said. "And
he'll train more fire on Clinton this time."
"There is no question that it would be to the
benefit of the president," said Delaware Repub-
lican chairman Basil Battaglia. "He knows if he
gets in, he's a spoiler. You wonder whether he
is in league with the president."
"A vote for Ross Perot is a vote for Bill
Clinton," said Brian Kennedy, chairman of the
Iowa GOP. "We are well positioned to carry the
state for Bob Dole in a two-man race, but a Perot
candidacy will service to divide the anti-Clinton
vote, and Bill Clinton may again be able to carry
the state as he did in 1992." In 1992, Clinton
won Iowa with 43 percent to 37 for Bush and 19
for Perot.


Guys everywhere. Girls everywhere. Insanity everywhere.
Mom and Dad were right. It is a madhouse. You call them up.
Tell them you're safe. And sound. They're relieved. And
proud. You hang up. Then you continue playing strip poker.

- U I t1 U M *- m=0 m1E- -® --__<__i__0

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