Quest for the Presidency, 1992

By Peter L. Goldman; Thomas M. Defrank et al. | Go to book overview

13.
The Man from Hope

As May gave way to June, Clinton slogged on through the last big round of primaries in California, Ohio, and New Jersey. The news that Tuesday was good on its face, as it had been every primary day since his stumble in Connecticut; he swept the board and picked up the last delegates he needed to guarantee his nomination. But it didn't seem to matter, to his own battered morale or to his prospects in November. The press was all but ignoring him. His campaign was shot through with internal tensions. He was still third in the polls; winning primaries wasn't so much fun when a quarter to a half of the electorate in your own party said in the exit surveys that they would have been happier voting for Ross Perot.

"So I've struggled through all these primaries," he groused to Frank Greer one day, "and all I get for it is that I'm in third place."

Greer tried to persuade him that being third was a blessing in disguise -- that it sheltered him from an air attack by the Republicans at a point when he had no money left with which to fight back.

"So being third after all these primaries is a plus instead of a minus," Clinton said. He sounded unconvinced; where he came from, third place was third place.

He didn't see a clear way up from under; on the contrary, he was having an attack of what he might have called buyer's remorse over the new message elements his people had laid before him. Privately, he complained to his friend Bruce Lindsey that too much of it came from focus groups and people meters as against the years of study he had done preparing himself for the race. It had all sounded okay at a twohour meeting, but after a couple of days of reflection, he wasn't sure anymore. His discomfort showed in his speeches, which seemed, if anything, to be busier in detail and fuzzier in conception than ever. "We were playing Moses out there," one senior adviser said after a particularly bad show in California. Clinton was wandering all over the desert, adrift from theme to theme.

The Manhattan Project task force kept trying and, by mid-June,

-269-

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Quest for the Presidency, 1992
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • I - A Quiet National Crisis 1
  • 1 - The Autumn of a President 3
  • 2 - The Age of Anxiety 11
  • 3 - The Winds of Rebellion 20
  • II - The Challenger 29
  • 4 - The Man Who Would Be President 31
  • 5 - Waiting for Godot 48
  • 6 - The Look of a Winner 73
  • 7 - The Scent of a Woman 89
  • 8 - The Comeback Kid 126
  • 9 - Goin' Home 156
  • 10 - The Downside of Charisma 185
  • 11 - The Doom Crier 208
  • 12 - The Manhattan Project 245
  • 13 - The Man from Hope 269
  • III - The President 295
  • 14 - Where Was George? 297
  • 15 - The War against the Crown 318
  • 16 - The Last Inaction Hero 341
  • 17 - He Doesn't Get It 358
  • 18 - The Quayle Hunt 368
  • 19 - The Return of Little Brother 387
  • 20 - This Way to the Jihad 398
  • IV - The Billionaire 411
  • 21 - Citizen Perot 413
  • 22 - The Age of Innocence 424
  • 23 - The War of the Worlds 436
  • 24 - Point Counterpoint 449
  • 25 - The Long Goodbye 463
  • V - The Choice 481
  • 26 - The Boys on the Bus 483
  • 27 - The Search for a Silver Bullet 508
  • 28 - The Second Coming 538
  • 29 - Nine Days in October 553
  • 30 - To the Wire 579
  • Appendix - The Campaign Papers 615
  • Index 736
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