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does "the lead" mean "the win situation of Smith"?

 

Of the driver's five passengers, Kilduff, Baskin, and Clark of ABC could do nothing until the car stopped. Smith and Jack Bell of AP were a different breed. They were wire service reporters; they dealt in seconds. Smith's seniority had given him a clear beat, the greatest in his career, and the longer he could keep Bell out of touch with an AP operator, the longer that lead would be. So he continued to talk. He dictated one take, two takes, three, four.

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    The 'lead" is the amount of time that he is ahead of other reporters with the story.

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