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CAMPAIGN ’88 : Silver Lining: No Need for Visit to New York

Unlike in some past elections, New York is not a hotly contested arena this year--Republicans so far have pretty much conceded the state to Democratic candidate Michael S. Dukakis.

While that is a problem for George Bush, there is a silver lining: Neither candidate has to campaign much in New York City, and neither one has.

Both men frequently visit next-door New Jersey, and both go to New York to raise cash. But Dukakis has not staged an open-to-the-public event in New York City since Aug. 11. And Bush has not done so since the New York primary in April.

There are big reasons for a candidate’s avoiding New York: boisterous crowds, controversial public officials, the danger of any minor gaffe being magnified by the city’s huge concentration of news media.

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Then there are little reasons. Motorcades, for example. In all other cities, local police block off large numbers of intersections ahead of a motorcade, guaranteeing a quick exit that keeps the candidate out of danger.

That sort of intersection control in New York would cause paralyzing gridlock, so police have to settle for blocking a few streets at a time and hoping for the best. Aggressive drivers seldom cooperate.

After Dukakis met with foreign dignitaries Thursday near the United Nations, for example, his 16-car, three-bus motorcade picked up several unexpected additions--a gray stretch limousine, a silver Cadillac sedan and a van from a New York fish wholesaler, all of which tried to slip into line in the hope of getting a faster trip across town.


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