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Clinton Steers Bus More Like a Bandwagon

July 19, 1992|CATHLEEN DECKER | TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

"How can we look our children in the eye and tell them that we are not willing to get involved and roll up our sleeves and get this country on the right track again?" he demanded with a revivalist's flair.

Clinton took to the microphone a few moments later, and exhaled a dramatic sigh.

"Whoa!" he said. "Al's gonna have to turn those speeches down or he'll make me look bad."

Each has put to use the jargon of their Southern roots.

"It's hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July here right now," Clinton said at one stop, "and it may get a little hotter before we get done."

The tour is clearly intended to send forth an image that will make its way into American living rooms via the television cameras that record the candidates' every move.

But beyond the political maneuvering, the overt appeals for votes, and the hokiness that is almost a constant component of road trips, there are also flashes of the yearning in towns small and large for someone, anyone to believe in.

The other night in York, where the bus tour arrived two hours behind schedule--about par for the trip thus far--Jean Plessett and her husband, David, were in the crowd as Clinton delivered a fiery address.

"What burns me up about this Administration is they deny the problems, divide the people, distract our attention and they're driving us into the dirt," said Clinton. "We're going to lift America up again. I am tired of it."

Afterward, Jean Plessett still wasn't sure about Clinton, but she had her fingers crossed.

"I eyeballed him and he eyeballed me," she said. "I hope what he says is what he can do if he wins."

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