ABC News' Tom Shine reports:
It was 1988 and a popular Democrat, Michael Dukakis, the governor of Massachusetts, was running for president. Like the very popular Republican governor and presidential candidate, Rick Perry, who is touting job creation in his home state as the “The Texas Miracle," Dukakis was eagerly taking credit for an impressive economic turnaround in Massachusetts in the 1980’s dubbed, “The Massachusetts Miracle.” Dukakis proudly proclaimed that if elected president he would do for the country what he did for Massachusetts. Dukakis opened up a wide lead over his republican opponent, George H. Bush, with some polls showing him up 17 points or more—BUT then it all started to collapse.
First there was Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who was furloughed under a special Massachusetts program already in place when Dukakis was governor. After his release Horton assaulted and raped a Maryland woman. Then there was the Pledge of Allegiance issue. Dukakis vetoed a bill that would have required the pledge to be recited in all Massachusetts classrooms. He said the requirement was unconstitutional. The Bush campaign responded with visits to flag making plants. And who can forget that ride in an M1 tank? Meant to show that he was strong on defense, it instead became a joke with the image of a tiny head lost in a huge helmet just barely peeking above the opening in the tank.
By election day, these issues and other missteps had cemented his defeat and no miracle could possibly save him.