NEW YORK: Rocky's Slip Shows

When New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller told an international conference in Amsterdam last week that "we are living in a fluid period—more so than any other period of history," his words had a pathetically heartfelt ring. Though referring publicly to world affairs, Rockefeller was doubtless pondering in private the vagaries of politics back in New York City, where his grand design to hand-pick the next mayor had suddenly—and for Rocky, embarrassingly—come unraveled.

Republican Rockefeller had joined with New York Liberal Party Chief Alex Rose in tapping an unlikely candidate to run with their mutual blessing: Democrat Robert F. Wagner, 62, who...

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