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Sen. D'Amato Dreams Of Dole-Powell Ticket


NEW YORK (AllPolitics, March 11) -- Just days after successfully completing his key role in Sen. Robert Dole's sweeping New York primary victory, the Empire State's most powerful leader, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, is still playing kingmaker.

Dole (R-Kan.) should ask Gen. Colin Powell to be his running mate, D'Amato told The New York Post in an interview published today. "Powell has the ability of drawing people from the independent column to the Republican ticket," he said.

A recent CNN/TIME poll suggest D'Amato may be right. Though most polls show President Bill Clinton with a sizable lead over Dole one-on-one, a Dole-Powell ticket runs neck-and-neck with Clinton-Gore.

D'Amato said he had not yet made any recommendations to the Kansas Senator. Dole has stated any decision about a running mate is months away. That's done little to quell the rumor mill, however.

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan as veep, by contrast, would be a nightmare, according to D'Amato. "The 1992 convention in Houston was a horror because of Buchanan," he said. The fiery pundit delivered a spirited if divisive speech during prime time, part of a deal for endorsing former President Bush. Declaring America was in "holy war" to recover traditional values, Buchanan's inflamatory rhetoric was seen by many as driving moderate voters to Bill Clinton and businessman Ross Perot.

[Quote from D'Amato]

That's a scenario Dole wants to avoid at all costs. But negotiating with Buchanan may be Dole's most formidable challenge between now and the Republican convention next August in San Diego.


Pressed on how he would view a Dole-Powell match-up, Buchanan warned reporters over the weekend that choosing a "Rockefeller Republican" might be unacceptable to Buchanan supporters. That was a reference to Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President from 1974-1977 who was known for his moderate views. Ironically, Rockefeller nominated Bob Dole, who was viewed as more acceptable to conservatives, to take his place on President Gerald Ford's in 1976 ticket.

D'Amato, one of Dole's national co-chairs, shrugged off the risks of alienating Buchanan. "If Buchanan wants to walk out, let him walk. So be it."

Meanwhile, Powell has given no indication he would reverse his earlier decision, made last fall, against running for vice-president. "Clearly, there's an interest in him and he's flattered by that, but he's still committed to his [earlier stated] position," Powell spokesman Bill Smullen told AP.

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