Election 2000: Sort of Like Spying, But with Lunch Thrown In

It has been very low key, but Moscow has kept close tabs on the U.S. presidential race. Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN has cabled his embassy in Washington demanding periodic updates on what the polls show, and Russian diplomats have been hitting the lunch circuit to mine reporters and pundits on who is ahead--or, to be more precise, on how GEORGE W. BUSH is doing. And how hard line his foreign policy advisers may be.

Putin remains publicly neutral, but privately he is more worried about a Bush presidency than about AL GORE's occupying the Oval Office. "Moscow is very frustrated about...

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