A Clash of Visions

Clinton and Tsongas, one-on-one for the first time, debate their plans for economic revival

Amid the furious negative ads Bill Clinton and Paul Tsongas have been firing at each other, it is easy to forget that a presidential campaign is supposed to be a contest over ideas. In TV spots, Tsongas has accused his rival of pandering and dishonesty, while Clinton has painted Tsongas as a hard-hearted crypto-Republican. Lost in the din is the fact that these two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination are charting a new direction for their party, moving it away from interest-group economics toward a new vision of American competitiveness.

The seriousness of that quest was underscored last week as...

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