Campaign Notes

3 minute read

Bankrupt Address

George Bush received a personal reminder about the sour state of the economy last week. The Houstonian Hotel and Conference Center, where the President rents a suite to use as his official residence and where he plans to stay during the Republican Convention in August, filed for bankruptcy under the weight of a $28.7 million debt. The Houstonian’s owners say the hotel will continue to operate normally. That’s good news for Bush. Because Texas does not have a state income tax, the President can continue to reduce his tax bill by filing his returns from Houston.

The Invisible Man

He looms like a pale ghost from an earlier political era, moving from table to table at a campaign function. When he lingers near one table, there is an uncomfortable silence before someone from a group of reporters asks, “Care to join us, Senator?” Twenty-four years after he ended Lyndon Johnson’s hopes for a second term by getting 42% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, Eugene McCarthy is running for President again, and no one seems to care.

Ignored by the Democratic National Committee and the press, the genial ex- Senator from Minnesota, now 75, has mounted a one-man campaign, roaming the state on a schedule known mostly to himself. Though McCarthy picked up only 211 votes in the Democratic primary last week, he says he’s staying in the race. He says that “if the networks ever interviewed me, it might help with recognition.”

Baker to the Rescue?

The last time George Bush found himself in deep political trouble, he turned to James Baker for help. In July 1988 Michael Dukakis had a 17-point lead in the polls, and Bush’s campaign was in disarray. Baker took over in August, and within the month Bush pulled ahead and stayed there.

But this year, Bush aides say, a return appearance by Baker is out of the question — at least for now. For starters, Baker is busier now as Secretary of State. Further, Bush resents the notion that he needs handlers. Aides believe that the President would have to be behind by at least 15 points before he could bring himself to call Baker again for help. “For Baker to come back,” said a Bush lieutenant, “things would have to be a lot more desperate than they are now.”


CREDIT: TIME Graphic by Nigel Holmes

CAPTION: Where the candidates will fight it out

These are the key dates in the process of selecting delegates to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

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