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1998 Election Outlook

This Year's Strategies

Until Tuesday, October 27, Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky had only been a fringe issue in the ads, with Republicans trying to remind voters of the accomplishments of the 105th Congress and Democrats trying to keep the focus on issues and off bad-boy Bill. Then, Republicans shifted gears and unleashed $10 million worth of television commercials that attacked the president and the Democratic party.

"I think the Republicans realized their prospects to make gains in the House and Senate were eroding and they lobbed a bombshell," said Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, a non-partisan, non-profit research institution that focuses on engaging citizens in politics. "But if the scandal becomes a real debate, I think it will be a wash. The country wants to move on, but the ads may mobilize voters both ways." Republicans may respond to the ads and get out to endorse GOP candidates, and Democrats may be moved to try to take back the House and Senate.


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