The process of nominating two persons who will ultimately compete for the presidency is long, complicated, exhausting, and expensive. The 1988 presidential primary campaigns were no exception, as Democratic and Republican candidates spent countless hours and millions of dollars to win votes and delegates in caucuses and primaries across the country. Speeches, debates, and media advertisements helped spread the candidates' messages and policies to the voters. A different, fresh, and informative forum for each of the candidates was introduced by the Kennedy School of Government in "Candidates '88," a series of live, hour-long interviews with Marvin Kalb followed by questions from the audience of Harvard faculty and students. Broadcast nationally by PBS, this highly praised series made an important contribution to the presidential selection process and had a significant impact on the voters' understanding of the 1988 campaign, the candidates, and the issues.
Now the complete interviews have been collected in "Candidates '88," a volume that captures the substantive, revealing, and lively conversations between Marvin Kalb and the candidates. The book includes an insightful introduction by Marvin Kalb in which he examines the special political climate of 1988; explores why George Bush was the only candidate who decided not to participate in "Candidates '88"; discusses the power of the camera, the most coddled and cherished piece of technology in the history of presidential politics; and reflects on the problems of the nominating process and the need for reform. The volume also includes brief political biographies of all of the candidates written by Hendrik Hertzberg.