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WASHINGTON _ Texas Gov. George W. Bush, joined by running mate Dick Cheney and former Gen. Colin Powell, walked slowly across Bush's ranch Thursday before a cluster of journalists. The three men were dressed in casual jackets, a breeze ruffling their hair as they stood against a bucolic backdrop of pastures and horses.
Back in Washington, Vice President Al Gore's running mate Joseph Lieberman emerged from the White House to address another tangle of reporters. As he spoke, Lieberman was framed by the majestic, white-columned West Wing, a scene that seemed custom-made to add heft to a potential vice president-in-waiting.
The election dispute may be a legal battle and a war of words, but it is also a contest of images. Bush, Gore and their running mates have been employing all the stagecraft and choreography at their disposal to look presidential, as though taking on the trappings of the job might help persuade the public that they deserve it.
Television viewers have …