CONVENTION '96: THE LEARNING CURVE

CLINTON'S RECORD SHOWS THAT THE FAILURES OF HIS BOLD, EARLY PLANS TAUGHT HIM THE SECRET OF HIS SUCCESS: THINK SMALL

"Tonight I want to talk to you about what government can do because I believe government must do more." --Bill Clinton, State of the Union, 1993

"The era of Big Government is over." --Clinton, State of the Union, 1996

The President has told interviewers that he sees no inconsistency between these two statements. Yeah. Sure. But the conventional view, not only from foes but also from White House aides, is that they typify a split of Clinton's term into distinct--but dissonant--halves. Stage One, an activist, anything-is-possible phase lasted from Inauguration to November 1994. In the public mind it was marked by...

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