Starling with Kramer's Bio on Nebraska's Sen. Bob Kerrey last November, PEOPLE reporters filed stories on virtually every aspiring candidate—including Libertarian standard-bearer Andre Marrou—and many of their handlers. Coordinating the magazine selection coverage in New York City, senior editor Howard G. Chua-Eoan says his goal was "to get the candidates past policy statements and to open up their real lives."
Two of the more interesting lives in this campaign belong to Mary Matalin and James Carville, advisers to George Bush and Bill Clinton, respectively. This week, Kramer and New York staff writer David Ellis, assigned to Washington for the campaign, share their impressions of this politically challenged couple (see page 50).
Washington correspondent Margie Sellinger has been covering the Gore family since July, conducting two rare interviews with Tipper (page 98) and bonding with Tipper's mother, Margaret Aitcheson, who ransacked her old photo box for us. Washington special correspondent Nina Burleigh began her year with the Gennifer Flowers story, then was assigned to—and became impressed by—Hillary Clinton. "She was gentle and warm, contrary to that hard career-woman image that's been built up," Burleigh says. "She admired my green cowboy boots, rather wistfully, because wearing anything but conservative suits would only inflame the controversy around her."
Ellis came to PEOPLE from TIME in September and immediately volunteered to hit the road, spending two days with the President-elect's mother, Virginia Kelley (page 46), in Hot Springs. Ark., which left a lasting impression. "Bill Clinton," says Ellis, "is literally the guy from down the block." Along with Burleigh and Chicago correspondent Luchina Fisher, Ellis was in Little Rock to chronicle the excitement of victory. "The last thing I saw," Ellis says, "was Bill Clinton leaving the hotel at 1:45 A.M. on election night, his voice lost, still greeting even body."
Washington bureau chief Garry Clifford, an 18-year PEOPLE veteran, coordinated the coverage from D.C., a town she describes as "nervous all year—awash in Maalox and Di-Gel." By now, she says, her team, which worked together so long and so well, is "exhausted. It will be sad to say goodbye to the Bushes and even Millie," she adds. "But it really is a new generation. Imagine all the wonderful stories waiting to be done on the new people coming to town!"