Countdown Mentality

Why Clinton's cautious team is focusing on how many days remain until the election

For weeks, the Clinton high command has been consumed by a single statistic -- no, not poll ratings nor the number of times George Bush claims that the Arkansas Governor raised taxes. Rather, the figure that obsesses them is the precise number of days remaining until America votes. Over late-night dinners at favored Little Rock restaurants like Doe's Eat Place, they eagerly parse the digits: Are we now closer to Nov. 3 than to the Democratic Convention? (Yes.) Should we count Election Day itself? (Yes.) On the stump, Clinton betrays the same nervous exactitude about the political calendar, asking students at...

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