Campaign 2000: Can Bush Get Serious?

As Gore pulls ahead in the polls, W. needs to show that he can compete on the issues. Meet the man in charge of feeding him substance--and parrying Gore's policy attacks

At 7 P.M. last Thursday, 18 young men and women stood chin to shoulder in a small office at George W. Bush's Austin headquarters. His policy shop was gathering for its second meeting of the day. The group looked wrung out--the men unshaven, the women a bit frazzled--and not just because they have been putting in 100-hr. weeks for most of the year. The last two of those weeks have seen Al Gore grab the lead from Bush in many national and statewide polls, in part because Gore has been taking the hatchet to Bush's policies--calling his tax cut irresponsible, scolding...

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