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Washington Insight

August 22, 1996

THE POWELL FACTOR: Anyone with a shred of doubt about Colin L. Powell's appeal to voters should review the latest Newsweek magazine poll. It shows that Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole would benefit far more by naming the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as his candidate for secretary of state than he did by putting Jack Kemp on the ticket. Among the swing voters who will decide the election, 46% said they would be more likely to vote for Dole and Kemp if Powell was tabbed for secretary of state. Just 32% said the choice of Kemp made them more likely to go for the Republicans. Even Dole's tax-cut proposal had less pull than Powell, with 42% saying that it made them more inclined to vote Republican. Powell, who has stumped for the ticket this week, says he has not been offered the job but adds: "Anything's open." Newsweek's poll of registered voters also asked whether Hillary Rodham Clinton or Elizabeth Hanford Dole was "better suited to be first lady." The results, from respondents of all political stripes: 42% named Mrs. Dole, 28% picked Mrs. Clinton.

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BOUNCE, BOUNCE: Not all the poll news was good for the Republicans this week. While most national surveys taken since the convention showed Dole's convention bounce cutting President Clinton's lead at least in half, the latest ABC News poll, taken early this week, shows Clinton rebounding. ABC had found that Dole had closed to within 4 percentage points immediately after the convention, but now trails by 12 points.

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FROM THE PODIUM: The Democrats won't have Powell to rouse delegates like the Republicans did at their convention, but they will present an array of luminaries of their own for prime-time speeches at their gathering in Chicago next week. Monday's lineup includes actor Christopher Reeve and gun-control activist Sarah Brady, wife of former White House Press Secretary James S. Brady, who was wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan. Tuesday, it's Mrs. Clinton, Veep wife Tipper Gore, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the convention keynoter, Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh. Wednesday's speakers include Vice President Al Gore, Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, who will nominate President Clinton for reelection. Thursday, it's Al Gore again and Clinton delivering his acceptance speech.

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WHEN SPOOKS HAVE FUN: The CIA's national intelligence summary arrived for President Clinton as usual one day this week. Inside was a list of world leaders and their ages--and a disturbing report that the Kremlin had gone on alert. It seems officials in Moscow had detected "an unusual heat source" in midtown Manhattan, said White House spokesman Mike McCurry. But the Russians stepped down the alert upon discovering that the heat came "from a huge birthday cake with candles," McCurry said. Clinton celebrated his 50th birthday with a celebrity-studded birthday bash Sunday at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

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PEN PALS: Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Carson) is in Congress because legal difficulties forced the departure of her predecessor, fellow Democrat Walter R. Tucker III. Responding to many inquiries, Millender-McDonald sent out a letter this month providing Tucker's current address and urging former colleagues to offer "words of encouragement . . . during this transition in his life." The transition is occurring in federal prison, where Tucker is serving a 27-month term for extortion and income tax fraud when he was mayor of Compton in 1991-92. Address your correspondence, Millender-McDonald said, to inmate no. 03988-112, FPC Lompoc, 3705 West Farm Road, Lompoc, CA 93456.

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