In a Defensive Crouch

Bush loses ground for '88 -- and several Democrats gain

When news stories in October suggested ties between George Bush's office and the supply line to the contras, the Vice President denied any involvement. Still, a few of his campaign advisers considered the rumor a political plus. A suggestion that the Vice President stands tall behind the "freedom fighters," they reasoned, might improve his standing with Republican hawks who doubt Bush's grit. An aide recalled this judgment with a rueful chuckle last week as Bush labored to free himself from one of Iranscam's many tentacles. With his presidential prospects damaged by the broader scandal, Bush had to plead ignorance of what...

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