The Campaign Papers
I n the course of more than a year's reporting, we gathered a large number of confidential memoranda and other documents from the various campaigns. In the pages that follow, we have reproduced a number of them, those which struck us as most interesting to a general reader. They appear in chronological sequence, almost all in excerpted form; to publish our entire archive whole would require a second volume about as large as this one. In editing them, we have made every effort to preserve the integrity of the thoughts and arguments as the various authors intended them to be presented; we have limited our cuts to what we thought redundant or of marginal utility as part of the record of the 1992 campaign.
We published a comparable sampling in the 1984 book in this series and were sometimes surprised at the uses made of them by journalists and scholars. In the age of the handler, there is an unfortunate tendency to impute too much authority to strategy and polling memos, as if their arguments were commands punched into a computer rather than recommendations made to a living, breathing candidate with his own ideas and his own vanities and frailties. If a document exists, in this reading, it must have been obeyed.
A number of caveats should therefore be attached to this collection, first among them that the documents should not be read as a certain guide to what actually happened in the campaign or which advisers played the decisive roles. Instead, they reflect the thoughts, the brainstorms, and sometimes the frustrations of particular players at particular moments in the campaign. Politics runs more on the spoken than the written word, and some of its leading practitioners rarely if ever find it necessary to set their thoughts to paper. Polltakers, whose trade and habits of mind require it, are usually the most prolific authors; managers and strategists often are not. The reader who has got this far knows that James Baker, for one prominent example, and James Car