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Aides Want Dole To Decide VP Selection Process

[Bob Dole]

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 10) -- Aides to Sen. Robert Dole want him to make an early list of potential vice presidential choices, so the campaign will have time to review the candidates thoroughly before the August GOP convention in San Diego.

The Associated Press reported today that campaign manager Scott Read and other top aides are encouraging Dole (R-Kan.) to shape a selection process and narrow the field to eight or 10 possibilities.

In a memo to Dole, Reed also has urged Dole to name an attorney with proven political skills to head up the search for a running mate -- the same first step that Bill Clinton took in 1992.

The downside to moving so early is that as possible VP candidates' names become public via leaks, they come under intense scrutiny from the press and public.

[John Engler]

Among the names mentioned so far: Michigan Gov. John Engler, Ohio Gov. George Voinovich and former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. Dole reportedly remains interested in retired Gen. Colin Powell, notwithstanding Powell's regular protests that he is not interested. Several public opinion surveys indicate that Powell's presence on the ticket could gives Dole a significant boost. Powell's wife, however, remains worried about her husband's safety if he were to become a candidate.

One reason some Republican strategists want to begin the VP selection process now is they remember 1988 and the early rough treatment of Dan Quayle, George Bush's unexpected choice as his running mate.

The other strategy for Dole is to focus on Senate business, drawing distinctions between himself and Clinton, and put the VP selection on the back burner for now.

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