BEHIND THE SCENES: PINNED DOWN

FALSE STARTS AND BAD CALLS TRIP UP DOLE AS HE LURCHES TO THE MIDDLE

Few things are as painful to watch as a presidential candidate who won't take the medicine he needs and can't resist the poison he doesn't. For a moment last week, Bob Dole seized upon a good idea just when he needed it, a way to end the tobacco war with Katie Couric and perhaps win some points with soccer moms who worry about crime when they vote. Best of all, it was something he had wanted to do for months: end his opposition to Congress's 1994 ban on 19 types of so-called assault weapons. As majority leader, he had fought the...

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