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October surprises: last-minute election game changers

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Four days before the 1992 election, former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger (under President Ronald Reagan) was indicted on criminal charges stemming from the long-running Iran-contra affair. The scandal had erupted six years earlier with revelations that US profits from secret weapons sales to Iran had been diverted to arm the contra rebels fighting the Sandanista government in Nicaragua, contrary to Congress's directive. The Weinberger indictment by an independent counsel hardly came as a surprise – he'd already been previously indicted. But some say that reminding voters of the Reagan-Bush Iran-contra scandal did not exactly help George H.W. Bush's reelection chances. With Ross Perot reentering the presidential race, Mr. Bush lost to Democrat Bill Clinton. Pictured, a contra camp near the Nicaraguan border.

PHOTO: Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File

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