Las Vegas Review Journal: JOHN BRUMMETT: Letting Bill be Bill

Las Vegas Review Journal

JOHN BRUMMETT: Letting Bill be Bill

Bill Clinton knows better than anyone how a Democrat gets elected president. Like the eager-beaver smartest kid in class, he loves to tell you.

In 1988 the late Lloyd Bentsen, then the Democratic nominee for vice president, came through Arkansas to campaign. Clinton bounded all around Bentsen, literally waving a sheet of paper. On it he had scripted an ad that he believed Michael Dukakis needed to run to confront and counter the Willie Horton controversy.

Typically, Dukakis was trying to ignore it all.

Clinton’s text amounted to a counter-punch, something that acknowledged and absorbed the Horton jab without trying to deny that it’s bad, really bad, when a guy gets out of prison on a weekend furlough and kills somebody. But then it tried to say that the presidential race wasn’t about one killer or one tragic correctional snafu, but a host of economic issues affecting millions of law-abiding, hard-working people and on which Dukakis presumably had better ideas.

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