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We want to believe that after all the preliminaries these first caucus returns in Iowa and first primary votes in New Hampshire are the crucial first judgment on Campaign 2000.
But here is Charles Lewis with the numbers from the Center for Public Integrity in Washington: what shaped this race, he says, was the first auction that ran all of last year, an all-money event that took Dan Quayle, Lamar Alexander and Elizabeth Dole out of the field altogether, and compromised the blue-chip favorites Al Gore and George W. Bush, and tainted even challengers Bradley and McCain who keep raising and spending the big political bucks they deplore.
Lewis says: it will cost the winner a record $200-million to take the White House this year–$200-million in political debts to a corporate alliance for unspoken issues: like tax cuts on business and capital gains.
The money game in Campaign 2000 – in this hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
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It’s up to contrarian New Hampshire now to save the horseraces in Campaign 2000, or we might all go to sleep till November.
The Iowa caucuses went with the safe and sound favorites, Gore and Bush, and might have sealed their party nominations, except that New Hampshire voters have this funny habit of tipping the early leaders on their backsides.
The New Hampshire primary has been humbling the powerful since Estes Kefauver handed Harry Truman his hat in 1952; LBJ got the rude New Hampshire treatment in 1968. Ronald Reagan got the comeback benefit of New Hampshire in 1980, against George Bush. Bush got it against Bob Dole in 1988.
So the question is what rebound value New Hampshire has this year for Iowa’s losers, Bradley and McCain-and what New Hampshire makes of Iowa’s strong second-place Republican, Steve Forbes.
Tom Rath, attorney, advisor to the Bush Campaign, and member of the Republican National Committee;
Kim Zachos from the McCain Campaign;
Mark Fernald from the Bradley camp;
Joe Keefe from the Gore Campaign