• U.S.

Forward Spin: Mar. 2, 1992

2 minute read
Janice Castro

LEADING INDICATORS

What key issue will swing this year’s presidential election? Now that the economy appears to be easing up, Republican political consultant Tom Edmonds predicts that the focus will be on character. Let’s go to the tabloids.

CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS

Remember Reagan’s giant convention video? Edmonds bets on an equally elaborate homage to Barry Goldwater this year. Honoring the party paterfamilias could help strengthen Bush’s shaky right flank — but look out: the feisty Arizonan also tends to say what he thinks, regardless of the script.

CAN WE TALK?

In 1988 candidates leaned so hard on political ads that voters seemed forced to pick their President the way they’d pick a station wagon. This year look for candidates following Bill Clinton’s example and buying live TV time to talk to the folks. Unlike canned messages, these paid fireside chats look sincere and avoid the pitfalls of actual contact with journalists.

TERM-LIMITATIONS OUTLOOK

A call to throw the rascals out is always good for a round of applause, but when the elections are over, expect to see the old familiar faces.

BACKFIELD STRATEGY

Don’t be surprised if Bush comes out of the conventions lagging in the polls. He’s done it before: Remember the 17-point gap against Dukakis? Bush will wait at a distance, counting on economic recovery and the emergence of the character issue late in the game, then move in tight for the finish.

UNINVITED GUESTS

If there’s one thing Republicans like, it’s a nice, orderly convention. Uh-oh. Shades of 1968. Get ready for throngs of militant aids activists outside the Houston Astrodome. ACT UP and Queer Nation have been booking hotel rooms and preparing for mass arrests. The protesters do not plan to apply for any permits, since that would reduce the opportunities for havoc. Houston police < are armed to the teeth with the latest in riot gear.

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