Running uphill: 8 weeks inside the Wellstone campaign (originally published Nov. 11, 1990)

  • Article by: Dennis J. McGrath
  • Star Tribune
  • October 24, 2002 - 11:00 PM

On Sept. 12, a day after the Minnesota primary, a Star Tribune reporter and photographer began to chronicle Paul Wellstone 's Senate campaign from the inside. In exchange for a promise to print nothing until after Election Day, they were given full access to every facet of the campaign. The result is this intimate portrait of a historic political upset. A year ago, Paul Wellstone sat in a nearly deserted St. Paul cafeteria and told a skeptical newspaper reporter how he planned to topple Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, the Goliath of Minnesota politics. He would fight on his own terms, Wellstone explained, not on Boschwitz's. To try to match Boschwitz dollar for dollar, TV ad for TV ad, would mean certain defeat. A low-budget, grass-roots crusade was the honest way to campaign - and the only way to win, he declared. Experts scoffed at that argument and at the diminutive college professor who made it. He sounded like a naive, idealistic freshman, and his record of left-wing activism would make him ridiculously easy prey for Boschwitz's wealthy, ruthless, proven machine. But Wellstone and his child-brigade staff didn't understand that their campaign was supposed to be a quixotic one, ending in failure Nov. 6. Instead, they believed unswervingly in their crusade, and on Tuesday they scored a triumph of little people over big money, of passion over complacency, of conviction over expediency. They out-hustled their veteran opponents, positioning Wellstone to exploit the implosion of the Independent-Republican Party. Wellstone gave no ground on his principles. What he said in public, he also said in private. He sometimes held his tongue but could not banish his true emotions from his face. (There was one deception: Wellstone called it a 10-shirt-a-day campaign, and he worked up many a sweat - pushing himself so hard that he suffered dizzy spells near the end. But he rarely changed shirts during the day.) In a year when voters wanted to shower off the political slime, Wellstone ran a campaign based on issues, and he made people smile. In the darkest moments of the campaign's final days, when tears of anger and pain trickled down his cheeks, he resisted the urge to respond in kind to Boschwitz's personal attacks. Instead, he placed his faith in the basic goodness and fairness of the voters. By a large majority, they rewarded him with their trust - and with a seat in the U.S. Senate. Wellstone 's quest began April 24, 1989, in his hometown of Northfield. Over the next year and a half, he built a network of volunteers and supporters who helped him capture the DFL endorsement. Then, by a surprising margin, Wellstone buried state Agriculture Commissioner Jim Nichols in the primary. Now he faced Boschwitz and the real race was on. Two days after the primary, Wellstone flies to Washington for the political work he hates most: asking for money. Over a dinner of crab soup and salad at the Fishery, a storefront restaurant decorated in fishing motif, Wellstone tells his campaign manager and his D.C.-based pollster just how much he loathes it: "I don't look like their candidate, I don't talk like their candidate, I don't act like their candidate. I'm tired of coming here and begging." His advisers, in turn, coach Wellstone on how to make his pitch the next day to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee - a sugar daddy for candidates, able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their behalf. About 100 executives of the nation's richest political action committees (PACs) also will be at this meeting to look over Wellstone and two other candidates. It's a one-stop shopping opportunity for candidates and donors. "Don't get angry," advises pollster Diane Feldman. "I won't be angry, but I want to be honest," Wellstone says. Feldman and John Blackshaw, the campaign manager, go over the realities of getting money from the committee and PACs with a Minnesota connection: Advertising and campaign organization are important, and issues are a factor, too. But what matters most are poll results and fund-raising ability. These people like to back winners. Convince them you can win and they'll help make that happen with fat checks. The dinner discussion moves from money to a poll Feldman wants to take, including a question about taxes. "We need to do well in the suburbs, and they're very tax-sensitive there," she says. "Do we still talk about cutting the military budget, for example?" There's a brief pause. Wellstone looks up and says, "Of course we will." "I know," Feldman says. "But the question is, how loudly do we trumpet it?" So it goes for two hours; then the three of them climb into Feldman's car, a battered Mustang with fan belts that scream like banshees. She drops off Wellstone and Blackshaw at an apartment near the National Zoo, where a former student of Wellstone 's has offered free lodging for the night. Wellstone and Blackshaw share a mattress on the floor. Blackshaw, an advance man for presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988, has been through several campaigns, but he's never shared a bed with the candidate before, he says the next day. "There are a lot of firsts in this campaign," he says. "But that's the engaging part." `These aren't my people' The next morning, Wellstone is on stage at the campaign committee with two other Senate candidates - Harvey Gantt from North Carolina and Josie Heath of Colorado. "This is where I feel like Tammy Faye," Heath says, referring to the wife of evangelist Jim Bakker. "I need you to write that check. . . . For the few of you who have already given to my opponent, there's still time for redemption. And I'm not proud." This may not be his kind of crowd, but Wellstone delivers a rousing speech, and the money brokers listen raptly. He explains how he surprised the pundits with his grass-roots campaign. He details his stands on the major issues. But he never asks for donations. In fact, he comes close to telling them that he doesn't want their money: "I've said it in Minnesota and I'll say it here. I don't plan to match Rudy Boschwitz pollster for pollster, imagemaker for imagemaker, $6 million for $6 million." Later, his advisers are angry with him for failing to mingle with the PAC executives after the session. "Paul, can I yell at you?" Feldman says. "You've got to schmooze better. You can't look like you want to kick them in the balls." "I mean, Ashland Oil's here," Wellstone says with contempt. "Looking at these (name) tags - these aren't my people. I don't like cattle shows and I'm not going to beg them and I'm not going to kiss their ass. I'm not so constituted." The argument goes on for minutes. Wellstone gives no ground, but hugs Feldman and promises, "I will be good from now on." Later, committee leaders promise to send the campaign $17,500, after the Wellstone camp agrees that its supporters will buy a table for $10,000 at the committee's fund-raising dinner two weeks later. Going begging in Georgetown The Georgetown mansion of Elizabeth and Smith Bagley is their first after-lunch fund-raising call. Smith Bagley is an heir to the R.J. Reynolds tobacco fortune who has split from the family business. Elizabeth Bagley likes to work for and contribute to the campaigns of progressive candidates. The couple are friends of former President Jimmy Carter, as evidenced by a photograph of their infant daughter being bounced on Carter's knee. They were also big givers and fund-raisers in the Dukakis campaign in 1988. Wellstone and his aides are greeted at the door by Lilly, a maid whose salmon-colored uniform matches the marble in the foyer. A Rembrandt hangs in the library. Elizabeth Bagley enters from the dining room, where candelabra the size of rose bushes adorn the table. She is deeply tanned and has recently returned from a vacation on Nantucket Island, off Massachusetts, where she and her husband socialized with Sen. Ted Kennedy - and with Boschwitz, a friend of Kennedy's. Wellstone makes a brief presentation, stressing the grass-roots nature of his campaign and his progressive politics. Bagley names a dozen people, asking if Wellstone has contacted them and if they've contributed. Wellstone and Norm Kurz, a Washington-based fund-raiser, admit that most haven't been contacted or won't return their calls. Sensing that Bagley thinks he's lazy, Wellstone tells about his three-shirt-a-day primary campaign: "I haven't been in a cafe in Minnesota in a year and a half where there hasn't been 30 to 35 people, sometimes 100, not for a rally, just to talk about issues. Then I come here (Washington) and it's always, `I don't know your name.' " Bagley says, "It's a cynical town. And you're one of many, too." Indeed, Lilly has greeted many candidates standing at her employers' front door with their hands out. When Kurz had asked for an audience, Bagley says, she thought, "Oh, God, do I really have to talk to one more person?" "I really have never even heard your name," she says. "Whose fault is that?" The question goes unanswered. Bagley agrees to make fund-raising calls on Wellstone 's behalf, but she doesn't say if she'll write a check herself. She leads the group on a house tour. Through the foyer, into an enclosed courtyard, down a flight of stairs to an underground swimming pool, enclosed by marble columns and glass. The pool took two years to build and is patterned after a pool at a Hong Kong hotel. Then it's through an exercise room with mirrored walls and a ballet barre and into a casual family room with a large-screen TV. As they walk back through the exercise room, Wellstone is so deeply engaged in conversation with Bagley that he walks into one of the mirrored walls. Outside, he laughs about it. "I just spent an hour and a half trying to impress this woman and then I walk into a mirror and I almost break my nose. I'm not used to being in places like this." A few hours later, there isn't much to laugh about. Wellstone gets word from the Twin Cities that Boschwitz will start running $300,000 worth of TV ads in two days. This is the moment he knew would come, the launch of the $7 million Boschwitz juggernaut. "Three hundred thousand dollars," Wellstone mutters. "He's going to try and end it in the next couple of weeks is what he's trying to do." But as it turns out, viewers see a bunch of "feel-good" ads about Boschwitz, not attacks on Wellstone . "I cannot believe he's not snuffing this thing out right now," says Pat Forciea, the campaign's chief strategist. "This megamillion-dollar outfit is choosing not to bang on us. I sense a high degree of overconfidence. If this race ever tightens up and we win, it will be because of this." Sick and tired By dinnertime Wellstone is literally sick of fund-raising. The long hours and stressful encounters have given him chills and a headache. He hurts all over and looks awful. "I feel like I'm trapped in an elevator," he says as he stands in line for food at a reception given by the Democratic Hispanic Caucus at the Washington Hilton. He wants to go home. Later, as he's leaving the hotel, he bumps into the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Wellstone headed Jackson's presidential campaign in Minnesota in 1988, and as they share a big hug, Jackson offers to return the favor by campaigning for Wellstone . That would generate publicity and money for Wellstone -- and probably some votes, at least among the blacks, gays, farmers and progressives loyal to Jackson. But it could hurt Wellstone among Jews who haven't forgiven Jackson for his "Hymietown" comments in 1984. Eventually a decision is made to tell Jackson no thanks. A youthful brain trust In the Mansion, an ornate bed-and-breakfast in Duluth overlooking Lake Superior, Wellstone and his inner circle kick off their Nikes and Reeboks and plot campaign strategy under the gaze of stuffed owls, a bear's head and other animal trophies. These people are the elders in Wellstone campaign and most haven't celebrated a 35th birthday. Some are in their 20s. They are senior to the campaign staff, most of whom are barely out of college, few of whom have worked in a general-election campaign. They're a sharp contrast to the Boschwitz camp, stocked with experienced political operatives and successful businessmen. One overriding reality emerges tonight: The campaign is so far behind that it will have to take unusual risks. Paul Ogren, a populist legislator from Aitkin, puts it bluntly: "You've got to roll the dice and come up with some big-time gimmicks." The Boschwitz campaign "is an intimidating group of guys," Forciea says. "I disagree with them, but, boy, do I have a lot of respect professionally for Tom Mason (Boschwitz's campaign manager). It's the ultimate white-boy brigade, guys in their 30s and 40s, mostly attorneys, bright, come from successful families, successful careers." Nevertheless, Forciea outlines a way Wellstone can overcome Boschwitz's army and huge treasury: If he can carry Minneapolis, St. Paul and the Iron Range and stays close - no worse than 60-40 - in the rest of the state, he can win. The theme that should Wellstone 's candidacy, he says, is who Boschwitz's friends are and where his money comes from. That triggers Gary Cerkvenik, a political strategist and close friend of Forciea's from the Iron Range. He minces no words when he talks about Boschwitz. "I think we should rip this guy's head off," Cerkvenik says. "I'm a real advocate for tearing this guy's heart out." No money for handbills Ramon Das, the field organizer for St. Paul, wants $125 to get fliers printed for distribution at a candlelight vigil at the State Capitol. Blackshaw sighs. "We're trying to go on TV Monday night, and $125 cuts into that time we can be on TV," he says. "I wish we weren't so crunched for money, but we are." The campaign has most of the things it needs, but never enough of them. The St. Paul headquarters has a fax machine, but the furniture is second- or third-hand, including a legless desk and a chair whose armrest drags on the floor. Blackshaw has a car phone, finally, but no business cards. "All my cards went into ads," he tells a contributor who asks for one. To get phones installed, campaign workers reach into their own pockets to make deposits or borrow from friends, promising to return the money after Election Day. More than once, printers refuse to publish another piece of literature until overdue bills are paid. Wellstone 's distaste for raising money and his refusal to accept most PAC contributions have their advantages, providing grist for this stirring introduction by Roger Moe, the Senate majority leader, at a Moorhead rally: "He's got a soul that's intact. It hasn't been chopped up into little bits and sold to every PAC in America." But it also means that the campaign must rely on computers lent by staff members or supporters. Users are asked to be friendly to the machines. One bears a sign: "It has suffered significantly through this campaign already." Boy genius of strategy As Wellstone and a few aides fly from Duluth to Moorhead one afternoon, Forciea is dispensing advice about how to portray Boschwitz. "I think we have to push this millionaire business," he tells Wellstone . "I don't think you can say `millionaire' too many times out here." At 32, Forciea is the precocious chief strategist, the genius behind this upstart campaign. In consultation Wellstone , Blackshaw and others, Forciea sets and guides a strategy that combines tremendous risks and some tried-and-true approaches. On the one hand, Wellstone greets voters through an extraordinarily unconventional and humorous advertising campaign. On the other, he makes weekly trips to the Iron Range to cement labor support. Forciea works full time on the campaign yet takes no salary. For most of August, September and October, he forfeits the commissions that account for about three-fourths of his pay at an investment banking firm. Forciea had been a frequent consultant to Wellstone through the summer but didn't join the campaign until July 29. He was returning home from a round of golf that day when Sheila Wellstone called to say she thought her husband's campaign had stalled and asked what Forciea could suggest to revitalize it. "I finally decided I could not sit it out or show up once a week and be an armchair quarterback," he says. "It was a very sincere call, and it made me feel quite guilty." Forciea was among the tiny minority who felt that Boschwitz was vulnerable despite his high popularity ratings. And he considered it a privilege for a kid from the Iron Range to run a guerrilla campaign against a millionaire. Forciea was reared on hockey in Coleraine. His parents hung a photograph of Richard Nixon over the fireplace. But the son turned out to be a Democrat, and he masterminded Michael Dukakis' 1988 primary wins in Minnesota and three other states. A former goalie for the College of St. Thomas hockey team, he still plays regularly but is starting to fear the puck. He dreams of a different role in a more gentle sport - owning a minor-league baseball franchise. He wears Art Deco ties that push the limit of outrageousness. When he and Wellstone disagree on strategy, which is not often, it is Forciea who advocates the more aggressive tack. Shortly before the election, for example, he passes Wellstone a note during an appearance at the University of Minnesota-Duluth rally, urging Wellstone to call Boschwitz the "David Duke of Minnesota politics." Wellstone smiles but shakes his head and silently mouths his response: "I can't do that." The art of the TV ad Bill Hillsman and friends created the Wellstone TV ads, which set a new standard for political advertising in Minnesota, and perhaps in the nation. They sold the personal side of Wellstone -- likeable, caring, family man - and overcame his past public image as an ultraliberal academic. They used humor to undermine a popular senator while making people laugh. "Paul is a unique guy: He's not your typical politician," says Hillsman, 37, a Gary Gaetti look-alike who is dressed for a day's shooting in a White Sox baseball cap, leather jacket, jeans and sneakers. "It would be a big mistake to put him in a suit and tie and have him talking to the screen. Paul is outgoing, energetic. In video terms, he's `hot.' He's good on screen." The first Hillsman ad is known as "Fast-Paced Paul." It ran before the September primary but set a theme that lasted through Election Day and beyond. In this spot, Wellstone explains that he doesn't have a lot money for television, "so I'm going to have to talk fast." He races in front of the camera, moving from scene to scene showing his family, his modest home, the farm where his son and daughter-in-law live. His pace accelerates until he's literally running past the camera. Then he jumps onto the trademark campaign bus, which speeds away. When the ad was being filmed, Wellstone wasn't told precisely how it would be put together. Hillsman was afraid he wouldn't approve. When Forciea finally saw it, he was nervous about its untraditional approach. "We did nothing with it for 72 hours," Forciea explains. "Finally, I decided to go with it. We scheduled it to begin running on the 10 p.m. news and we told Paul about it at 6 p.m., when it was too late for him to do anything about it. "When it ran, BOOM, the phones went off, people volunteering." Hillsman drew laughter and blood with a classic known as "Looking for Rudy." It was patterned after the film "Roger and Me," in which the director is the main character, seeking an interview with General Motors President Roger Smith. In the ad Wellstone visits Boschwitz's offices, trying to track down the senator to schedule some debates. In one scene he is confronted by two tall Boschwitz campaign workers who tell Wellstone they don't want strangers wandering around the office. "Those guys were straight out of central casting," Hillsman says. "They were like bouncers at a Republican party. The only thing they didn't do is crack their knuckles." In the ad Wellstone leaves his home telephone number at every stop. He asks a Boschwitz secretary if he can keep her pen because his campaign doesn't have much money. As he passes a BMW in a parking lot outside one of Boschwitz's offices, he says, "Nice car." As the spot ends, he's calling directory assistance seeking Boschwitz's home phone number in Plymouth. The ad was filmed in August, but there isn't enough money to edit and produce it until October. At 2 minutes long, "Looking for Rudy" is expensive to air. In fact, the campaign can afford only two showings in the Twin Cities - at a total of $13,000. But it becomes an instant classic, one of the most talked-about ads in Minnesota politics. Responding to reporters' questions, Boschwitz spokesman Jay Novak testily Wellstone an "Abbie Hoffman-type character," a "leftist hustler" and a "self-promoting little fake." That prompts an idea in Wellstone campaign: T-shirts proclaiming the wearers "Little Fakes For Wellstone ." An expensive trademark A mile outside Albert Lea on Interstate Hwy. 90, the famous campaign Bus begins to sputter and lose speed. "Is it breaking down Wellstone calls from his seat halfway back. "Yep," says Paul Scott, the retired Greyhound driver who is spending his first day behind the wheel. "It's going to quit on us." "This bus is going to give me an ulcer Wellstone moans. Scott is puzzled. Just the night before, the bus had been retrieved from the repair shop, where a brand-new truck engine had been installed. But nobody had told him that the gas gauge was broken, or that the bus guzzles a gallon every 7 miles - with a tailwind. It's out of gas. Thanks to the backup car, assigned to travel with bus because of its unreliability, the stranded candidate is transported, gasoline is obtained and the schedule is met. The campaign spent $3,500 for the old school bus, hoping to add a distinctive style to Wellstone 's candidacy. It has a sink, four-burner stove, refrigerator and toilet - none of which work. It also has a table, two beds and a speaker's platform attached to the rear, for a modern form of whistlestop campaigning. When the bus is working, Wellstone feels at home on it, and it stands in for him at parades and other events he can't attend. But it has been more expensive than imagined. Nearly as much has been spent to fix it as to buy it. Later, with a full gas tank, bus rolls along toward an appearance on a farm near Byron. But smoke starts puffing out from under the hood, and Scott again pulls onto the shoulder. "Damn bus!" Wellstone says. The engine is hissing, and antifreeze is boiling on the engine block. Scott finds two snapped fan belts. He and the bus catch up with Wellstone at suppertime in Austin, where Wellstone is telling how he'll focus his work as a senator on child care, health care and the environment. Scott has another suggestion: "Somebody better focus on getting that bus to run more than 50 miles without breaking down." From L.A. to `Margo-Forehead' John Blackshaw, the campaign's "hired gun," is a vegetarian, an L.A. lawyer, a veteran of national politics. On Aug. 1, he loaded up his Jeep Cherokee and drove out of Los Angeles. Three days later he started working for Wellstone . On Sept. 12, one day after the primary, he is named campaign manager. Coming to Minnesota enables Blackshaw to mix politics and romance once again. He did it in 1988, when he was a top advance man for Michael Dukakis and began what turned into a long-distance courtship with Barb Lawrence, Forciea's sister-in-law. She worked for a few weeks on the California presidential primary, then returned to her teaching job in Elk River. Forciea initially urges Blackshaw not to join Wellstone campaign because it is such a long shot. But Blackshaw prefers an underdog, grass-roots campaign effort to corporate litigation. When he arrives, he finds a wildly enthusiastic and devoted staff with little direction or organization. "How the hell are we going to get this done, I wondered," Blackshaw says. His initial task is to overcome the suspicions of the staff, some of whom have toiled on the campaign for more than a year already, and who fear he's a political hack, a "slick handler." And he had to convince a leery candidate to accept him. "I didn't think I'd like him," Wellstone says. "Then I met him and I couldn't believe what a decent person he is. I watch his relationship with Barb and I just see it." Blackshaw shares Forciea's taste in loud ties. He is charming, gracious and owns a wry sense of humor. When a group of hunger strikers fail to meet Wellstone for a noon rally, Blackshaw observes that they probably went to lunch instead. His Irish and Italian heritage has favored him with a handsome face and black, curly hair. In the weeks following the primary, Blackshaw repairs the biggest organizational flaws and hires more workers, bringing the staff to about 35 people. He is intimately involved in setting strategy and is responsible for the day-to-day mechanics of the campaign. He is the chief executive officer, although no one would mistake this campaign for a business. He presides over staff meetings that often include Nasty, a staff member's 13 1/2-year-old greyhound-shepherd who entreats the humans to play fetch with a tennis ball. Blackshaw soon impresses the staff with his political instincts, his interest in seeking advice and his speed in making decisions. But early in his tenure, he is woefully unfamiliar with Minnesota geography. Staffers kid him incessantly about the time he referred to the Fargo-Moorhead area as "Margo-Forehead." Humor as a political tool In a recording studio on the 28th floor of the Foshay Tower, the ad known as "Faces" is being taped for TV. It's one of the upbeat, humorous ads that will attract national attention before the campaign is over. Wellstone isn't sure he likes it. The ad alternates between Boschwitz's face and Wellstone 's face as Wellstone talks about how little money he has and how viewers won't be seeing him on TV as much as Boschwitz in the weeks ahead. But, he says, he's better prepared to represent Minnesotans in the Senate - "not to mention better looking." The punchline Wellstone . He doesn't think it's funny. "Women dig you," the ad writer says. "That's what the polls said." Wellstone is unconvinced. "The thing people don't expect in political advertising is a sense of humor," the writer says. "The thing about Rudy Boschwitz that my mother doesn't like is that he's one humorless s.o.b." As he's leaving the studio Wellstone gets it. Rushing back inside, he says to the ad writer: "I see what you're getting at. If I was good looking, then it would be a problem. But since I'm not, it's not a problem." Checks and balances On Oct. 15, this letter and a check arrive from Lillian Owen of Minneapolis: Wellstone for U.S. Senate - A very nice man called me - explaining the need for funds in the Wellstone Senate race - I said I would send $15. He kindly thanked me. After he hung up I thought, here I am 95 years old with a bad back, a bad heart and a bad senator. I battle my condition with the first two and would like to take a $25 swipe at number 3. Thanks for calling me. Gratifying words for staff members whose paychecks are sometimes delayed, and who know that payroll is third priority for the campaign, after fund-raising and buying air time. Shortly after Boschwitz reports $1.1 million in cash on hand, finance director Dick Senese reports the Wellstone balance: "We've got $7.15 in our account as we speak." Two days later he is asked how the checking account is holding up. "We've got less than zero." Debating a haircut How strongly does Wellstone feel about being asked to do something he finds phony? His advisers get a reminder when they suggest he get a professional haircut before debating Boschwitz on TV. Wellstone points out that his wife, Sheila, has been cutting his hair since they were married 27 years ago. He doesn't want to change now - even though a 10-year-old told him admiringly that his hair style, thinning on top and blooming on the sides, makes him look like one of the Three Stooges. A haircut by a barber feels phony to him. This is the kind of thing that makes the campaign a challenge for advisers like David Lillehaug, who coached Walter Mondale for his 1984 presidential debates and has agreed to prepare Wellstone for his Oct. 14 confrontation with Boschwitz, now just days away. Like the rest of the staff, Lillehaug doesn't try to change Wellstone ''s views or even to soften them. His job is to tone down the candidate without robbing him of his passion. Today that work is being done in the 22nd-floor conference room of his law firm, Leonard, Street & Dienard in Minneapolis. Lillehaug is flanked by a TV, two VCRs and a video camera. The subject of a haircut had already been raised by Blackshaw, but Wellstone had been unreceptive. "I gave him the finger," Wellstone recalls. But Lillehaug backs Blackshaw: "I think it can't hurt." That brings a belly laugh Wellstone . "That translates into: It can't get any worse than it is." "This will be the largest number of people who've ever seen you," Lillehaug points out. And after awhile, Wellstone gives in. "All right, fine. As long as it doesn't look fake." Assault on incumbency The strategy for the debate is to have Wellstone fan the flames of anti-incumbent feeling by suggesting that Boschwitz is responsible for the mess in Washington, especially the paralysis over the budget. "I want you to ring that anti-incumbency bell every time you can," Lillehaug says. "If you ring that bell every 30 seconds, then the debate will be a success." For most of the next three days, the focus is on how to "ring the bell." Issue by issue, Wellstone explains his position in 3 to 4 minutes. Then Lillehaug, a master of economy, tells him how to say the same thing in five or six sentences. It takes away the fireworks that make Wellstone such an exciting orator at a rally, but leaves behind a statement that's brief, pointed and more suitable for television. "This is great," Wellstone says. "Do we have a tape recorder? I can't get all this stuff down." "I don't

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