In 1991 the campaign team for US Democratic candidate Bill Clinton had a tough job. Sitting president George Bush Sr had already achieved considerable success during his presidency with his role in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the Soviet Union, and his decisive action on Iraqi aggression in the Persian Gulf made him immensely popular. A poll carried out in March 1991 shortly after the ground invasion of Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm measured his approval rating at a staggering 89% — the highest yet recorded by Gallup. Yet despite these successes Bush had an Achilles heel that would ultimately cost him the 1992 election: the state of the US economy. Clinton strategist James Carville coined the phrase "the economy, stupid" as a constant reminder to the campaign team that the everyday hardships experienced by voters as a result of the 1990-1991 recession would be more influential on their voting decisions than foreign policy — and he was right. Clinton won t...

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