Return of the compassionate conservative?

    At a 25th anniversary reunion of old hands of the George H.W. Bush presidency at Texas A&M last weekend, the good will flowed in such abundance that the 89-year-old honoree remarked: "It's kinder and gentler all over the place."

    The observation referred to the senior President Bush's pledge, in accepting the 1988 Republican nomination, that if elected he would conduct a smiley-face administration. And in personal style, he pretty much lived up to it.

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