Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reshuffling in the Dole Campaign

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reshuffling in the Dole Campaign

Article excerpt

Bob Dole's staff reshuffling is reflective of a candidate who is behind. "Get new people; try new approaches." Such orders often are issued by losing candidates as they flounder around in search of a way back.

Sometimes it works. Ronald Reagan fired and replaced some top staff and made a comeback in the 1980 primaries. But candidates usually compound their problems by trying to repair their organizations when they should be giving full attention to wooing voters.

Reporters got an early hint of Mr. Dole's organizational inadequacies when Jack Kemp failed to show up for a meeting with reporters at a Monitor breakfast in San Diego. Mr. Kemp had appeared with this same group a week earlier in Washington. After that get-together I had asked Kemp, who had attended a large number of such Monitor sessions over the years, to meet with the group at the Republican convention. Kemp's answer, as I remember it, went along this line: "I'm not going to the convention this year. But I am going to be visiting a brother in Orange County. Maybe I can drive over for a breakfast from there. I want to do it." Later that day Kemp's secretary called to say that he would be with us at breakfast on the Wednesday morning of the convention. Of course, this commitment was before Kemp knew that he would be asked to join the ticket. In fact, Kemp was talking to our group like someone who was putting political life behind him. He expressed astonishment that any of us should ask him - which one of us did - whether he might be picked by Dole as his running mate. After all, he reminded us, he had come out for Steve Forbes in the primaries. Then, as we remember well, just before the convention, the unthinkable - as Kemp had described it to us - happened. He was tapped by Dole for No. 2. Would Kemp fulfill his convention commitment to our group? …

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