Playing For The Big Bounce

Bush cuts into Clinton's lead as he rallies his fractious party

George Bush sees his life as a series of "missions assigned" and "missions accomplished." Accordingly, he set several goals for himself at the Republican Convention in Houston. He needed to reunite his splintering party after a brutal primary campaign. If he couldn't explain exactly what he wanted to do in a second term, he at least needed to remind a majority of Americans why they voted for him in 1988. And he needed to shave roughly half of Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton's 25-point lead in the polls.

By the time the Republicans had executed what may have been the largest balloon...

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