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All's fowl in this game of chicken

First the chickens began showing up at President Bush's campaign stops, bearing signs. "Chicken George," the Democrats (presumably) declared from inside their feathered suits, was afraid to debate.

But when Bush put forth his debate proposal and opponent Bill Clinton balked, the chickens came home to roost.

Two Arkansas Republicans in chicken suits showed up at Clinton headquarters in Little Rock on Thursday.

Clinton aide Betsey Wright promptly emerged from the headquarters building carrying a bag of charcoal and a bottle of barbecue sauce. With scores of Clinton campaign staff cheering her on, Wright tried to coax one of the costumed Republicans into a makeshift barbecue pit.

Unable to "cook" the "chicken," Wright, her counter-protest recorded by photographers, cheerfully returned to her office as the picketing resumed.

Clinton's "laws'

Bill Clinton's tongue-in-cheek "laws of politics," as shared with reporters on the campaign trail:

Whenever possible, be introduced by someone you've appointed to high office.

When someone tells you it's nothing personal, it means they're fixing to screw you.

Nearly everyone will lie to you.

There's no such thing as enough money.

If someone tells you it's not a money problem, it's someone else's problem.

When you start to have a good time, you're supposed to be someplace else.

The voice of doom

Nothing so invigorates a politician as to march triumphant through the streets of the old hometown.

Take Rep. Romano L. Mazzoli's march through Louisville, Ky., with fellow Democrat and fellow candidate, Bill Clinton.

Cheers to the right of them! Cheers to the left of them!

Then above the din arose a lone voice, crying "Congressman! Congressman!" Mazzoli: Big grin. Big wave.

Lone Voice: "You're history in four months _ believe it, baby!"

They said it

"We're not dumb, and that's why we're not going to let up for a second. We know the other side is going to go nuclear soon, and we know that things are going to change. Things have to tighten up. That's the way presidential races are." _ George Stephanopoulos, the Clinton campaign's communications director.

"George Bush wants the American people to see him as the hero who put out a raging fire, but new evidence now shows that he is the one who set the fire. He not only struck the match, he poured gasoline on the flames. So give him credit for calling in the fire department, but understand clearly who it was that started the blaze." _ Al Gore, on Bush's policies toward Iraq before the Persian Gulf War.

"I think he's basically trying to salvage his reputation. I don't think he has a snowball's chance in hell of being elected." _ Pat Clawson, the former Virginia director of the Perot for President movement, on Perot getting back in the race.

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