Scenes Along the Way
Undated (AP) _ After a year or so, the campaign blurs, for candidate and voter alike. Yet some moments glint in the sun and stick in the memory:
--- Tim Lachina Does What Any Red-Blooded American Would
CLEVELAND - All Tim Lachina was looking for when he slid into the booth at Shorty’s Diner was lunch.
What he got was a dining companion. Michael Dukakis sat down opposite him. So Lachina did what any red-blooded American is entitled to do. He gave the candidate some advice. A mob of reporters eavesdropped.
″Let’s kick some ass out there,″ said Lachina.
″OK,″ replied Dukakis. ″Very good, we’ll do it.″
But he didn’t say it with much enthusiasm. It was a low day for Dukakis. He arrived in Ohio to find a new state poll showing him trailing by 11 points and national polls showing him a devastating 17 points behind George Bush. The attention paid polls was having a ″terrible effect,″ he told reporters.
Two days later, Dukakis was in Illinois holding a Republican campaign flier aloft, declaring, ″Friends, this is garbage.″
The next day, he was again on the attack. In the Bush campaign, as in the Watergate scandal, he said, ″truth was the first casualty.″
Lachina draws satisfaction from what he told Dukakis. ″I felt it was sort of the sentiment of the people,″ he says. ″I didn’t want to see him pushed around by negatives.″
-By Joe McDonald
--- The Glorious Day of the Dead Fish
BOSTON - No one had made such effective political use of Boston Harbor since the Boston Tea Party.
Sept. 1, a glorious late summer day, and the sparkle on the surface of the harbor belied the underlying realities. It was a perfect opportunity to make some hay.
So Bush took a boat ride on Boston Harbor and, with television cameras tagging along, belittled Dukakis’ environmental record.
The Bush campaign sent its own cameras along to capture harbor scum, floating debris, dead fish, warning signs.
″Extremely frustrating″ is what James Hoyte, secretary for environmental affairs in Dukakis’ Massachusetts cabinet, says of the day. He says the campaign should have done a better job in advance of spelling out Dukakis’ environmental record.
Don’t blame us, says Carolyn Kiley whose firm rented the harbor cruise ship to the Bush people: ″We weren’t a party to slam dunk any Democrat. They asked us for a boat ride. We’re real good at that.″
-By John Diamond
--- Love on the Art Deco Bridge
NEW ORLEANS - Here’s what the campaign means to Salvador Avocato.
Before the Republicans came to town for their convention, the city fathers had a prominent railroad bridge painted in art deco pastels.
It still glows in pink, aqua and lavender, but Salvador, 17 and in love, couldn’t resist.
One night in September he painted a message on the bridge: ″Sal and Stef.″
Now he’s serving 100 hours in community service. Removing graffiti from public places.
-By Janet McConnaughey
--- She Became a Believer
AMES, Iowa - Remember the ″Invisible Army″?
Those were Pat Robertson’s troops. They first showed their strength at a straw poll among Republicans in the cavernous basketball arena at Iowa State University on a Saturday night in September 1987.
″I kept hearing rumors, people kept saying ’you are not going to believe it until you get down there,‴ said Christy Cobb, whose job was to escort reporters. ″They were right, I didn’t believe it until I got down there.″
The sight she saw was a roaring crowd of thousands of Robertson backers who had just thumped Bush in a straw poll.
″Not only was I dumbstruck and speechless with no spit in my mouth, I was heartsick,″ she said.
″It was the first time concretely and absolutely I saw evidence that George Bush was not going to carry Iowa,″ she said.
On Feb. 8, Bush finished third in the state’s precinct caucuses, behind Bob Dole and Pat Robertson.
-By Mike Glover
--- Michael Dukakis, You’re No Beetle Bailey
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. - Donald Gilleland, spokesman for General Dynamics, has come forth to say that some of the blame belongs to his company for that famous television scene of Dukakis wearing an oversize helmet and riding on a tank.
The Bush camp made a damaging commercial from the video tape and even such a good Democrat as Rep. Bob Carr of Michigan talks of ″rather idiotic pictures of the candidate in a helmet looking like Beetle Bailey.″
Gilleland confesses: ″He took a lot of editorial caricaturing over the helmet, but it was in truth our fault, not his. We required that he wear the jumpsuit because it has straps that would have let us pull him out quickly if need be, and the helmet let him communicate with the tank driver below.″
-By Bill Kole