The Search for a Silver Bullet
A seven o'clock one evening in late September, a senior staffer at Bush / Quayle '92 headquarters looked up from his paperwork and saw his boss, Bob Teeter, looming in his office doorway. There was no point asking Teeter if he had come with good news, since there never was any. The president was thirteen points behind Bill Clinton in the campaign's polling, and the computer maps on the walls appeared to have been colored in by a child whose blue-for-Bush Crayola had long since got lost. The landscape of America was practically all Clinton red, 397 electoral votes' worth. The deepening gloom had begun to infect everybody, even Bush's own family.
The staff man awaited his orders.
"Find me something," Teeter said.
The staffer, lost in his chores, had only half-heard him.
"Find me something," Teeter said again.
"What?" the staffer asked.
"Find me something that will win the election," Teeter said, smiling wanly and walking away.
The something they were looking for, by that stage, was the silver bullet that would bring Clinton down; it was a given, in the White House and on Fifteenth Street, that Bush was not going to win a second term with advertisements for himself. He had spent a year shuffling identities like a pack of cards, from Lion of the Desert to Man with a Plan to Archdeacon of Family Values to Son of Harry Truman to Man with Another Plan. None of them had worked. Neither had his renomination in Houston, which had brought him only a faint and fleeting bounce. His approval rating in the polls was near Jimmy Carter's historic low for a president seeking reelection, and he still seemed mired at or around 40 percent of the vote in what was then still a two-way race with Clinton. "We're stuck," Jim Baker told a friend in mid-September. "Nothing's happening. It's stagnant out there."
The reelection team had tried fixing Bush, if only as a prelude to his
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Publication information: Book title: Quest for the Presidency, 1992. Contributors: Peter L. Goldman - Author, Thomas M. Defrank - Author, Mark Miller - Author, Andrew Murr - Author, Tom Mathews - Author, Patrick Rogers - Author, Melanie Cooper - Author. Publisher: Texas A&M University Press. Place of publication: College Station, TX. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 508.
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