Wrong again. the conventional wisdom was so sure of itself: as soon as Colin Powell started talking issues, said the pols and pundits and even Powell himself, the sheen would fade. "I am fully aware that in taking stands on issues," Powell said, "I [will] quickly burn off popularity." But 10 days after Powell finally began speaking his mind, his standing has soared. New polls have him running about dead even with Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in a hypothetical three-way race; and Powell even manages a statistical tie with Dole for the G.O.P. nomination. Three weeks ago, Powell professed to...

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