Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Elections Fade, Grudges Live On

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Elections Fade, Grudges Live On

Article excerpt

The presidential polls late last week read as follows: Clinton up 22 points in CBS-New York Times; up 19 in CNN-USA Today; up 17 in NBC-Wall Street Journal; up 13 in ABC; up 11 in Reuters.

It's getting close to the time when candidates all across the country sit down and draft two little speeches: the victory speech and the I-gave-it-my-all speech. On election night, both are close at hand - just in case.

Another set of speeches is already in preparation, the recrimination speeches dumping on Bob Dole if, as the polls predict, he loses. These will come in a variety of styles. Disgruntled vice-presidential hopefuls: Already Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin has grabbed the scalpel. "I thought George Bush's campaign was probably the poorest run presidential campaign - and I think this is a close second." Thompson had earlier boasted that he could deliver Wisconsin for Dole, but "they haven't taken my advice." Thompson, the principal advocate of the proposal to turn the welfare programs over to the states, wanted Dole to turn his campaign over to the Republican governors, each to run separate campaigns - a quaint notion ensuring catastrophe. Gov. Fife Symington of Arizona - not a vice-presidential hopeful, just a fellow wanting to be hopeful about something - also pounced on the Dole effort as "Melba toast." The Social conservatives: Ralph Reed deplores all the attention Dole paid to economics and taxes instead of focusing on the social issues. Dole proposes five constitutional amendments, and he mentioned two of the cultural issue amendments - school prayer and flag burning - in the final debate. The most prominent proposed constitutional amendment - the anti-abortion amendment - wasn't mentioned during the fall campaign. Reed will blame much of Dole's defeat on his avoidance of this key issue. The Go-negative brigade: Some will say Dole didn't get mean enough early enough. Donald Rumsfeld, Dole's campaign chairman, says, "We should have brought up the character issue sooner." This hindsight may linger longer than most others. Dole faced a dilemma. He had ammunition to fire at Bill Clinton, but he also had a reputation as being a mean-spirited campaigner. …

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