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Pundit dishes up election spin at conference

Oct. 18, 2000

By AMETHYST HENSLEY

Staff Writer

Al Gore will win this election unless the reaction to last night's final debate dramatically changes things, political commentator Thomas E. Mann said last night as the Election 2000 keynote speaker.

In a year of volatile and confusing polls, Dr. Mann believes that the outcome of the presidency is essentially a referendum of the people on economic good times.

He conceded that the current personality focus and 'insatiable appetite for scandal' has led Washington to write political obituaries for Vice President Al Gore. But he believes these judgments are premature.

Although the polls show a slight lead for Bush, Dr. Mann contends that it is a very modest lead, not lasting or decisive.

'There is no market for change in good times,' he said.

If Texas Gov. George W. Bush wins, political analysts may have to take a closer look at the role and impact of campaigns.

Dr. Mann attended the first debate in Boston and expressed his shock after seeing the television analysts' opinions.

'It may come down to who the American people can stand to look at on TV for the next four years,' he said.

Dr. Mann spoke as the Robert T. Miller Professorship Distinguished Lecturer for the Election 2000 series. He lives in Washington, D.C., and works at the Brookings Institution.