THE CAMPAIGN: They're Pinched

In San Francisco, a new campaign worker reached for a headquarters telephone—and found it was coin-operated. At another campaign office, an order for bumper stickers was held up until enough cash was on hand to pay for it. On one recent campaign flight from Milwaukee, "dinner aboard" meant beer and Fritos.

To compare spending this year with earlier, freewheeling election years, notably 1972, is like contrasting a Volkswagen with a Rolls-Royce. A little frugality is clearly in order—but not the cutoff of federal matching funds to candidates, which has sent several campaigns reeling and has all of them hurting. Most...

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