In 1988 Michael Dukakis ran for the presidency on the theme, "It 's all about competence. " Dukakis led George H.W. Bush in the polls throughout much of the campaign, but then made the mistake of posing in full gear atop an Army tank as it rumbled along the terrain. It 's true that he looked silly, but to any intelligent observer it was just more campaign hokum and high jinx, another uneventful day for reporters on the boring campaign trail. But it didn 't play out that way. The media pounced on the event, and the Bush campaign played it for all it was worth, which it turned out was a lot. Yes, there was the Willie Horton ad and CNN 's Bernard Shaw 's mean-spirited question in the debates about a hypothetical rape of Dukakis 's wife, but the tank photo was the death knell of the Dukakis campaign.
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