Rolling Into Uncharted Territory

Clinton still leads. But the end game is new and yet to be played.

When the brief flurry of televised debates ended last Monday in East Lansing, Michigan, the 1992 campaign seemed poised to return to normal, or at least toward what passes for that condition every four years in the U.S.: candidates barnstorming, crowds growing more numerous and noisy, posters and signs flapping in the cooling October sunshine. And that, on the colorful, roiling surface, is pretty much what happened; how accurate or deceiving these appearances were remains tantalizingly in doubt.

There was President Bush, visibly elated and upbeat after his strong showing in the third debate, addressing cheering crowds, hammering home with new...

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