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CAMPAIGN 2000

Bush Seeking Guidance on Running Mate

May 19, 2000|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Texas Gov. George W. Bush sent letters to 450 Republicans on Thursday seeking advice on his hunt for a running mate. He also suggested in an interview that he would accept someone who favors abortion rights--within limits.

"I assure you that your views and any advice you render will be kept confidential," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee wrote to U.S. senators, representatives, governors, state Republican committee members, state GOP chairmen and Bush-for-president committees.

Separately, Bush was asked by Fox News TV if he would consider teaming up with someone who, unlike him, favors abortion rights.

"I'll consider Tom Ridge. He is a friend of mine. He has been a good governor of the state of Pennsylvania, and he's under serious consideration, as are a lot of other people," Bush said.

Ridge supports Pennsylvania's strict legislation on abortion. The law calls for a 24-hour waiting period, parental notification when minors are involved and a ban on abortion after the 24th week. Ridge also favors a ban on a late-term procedure opponents call "partial-birth" abortion.

In contrast, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, another possible running mate who favors abortion rights, vetoed a bill that would have banned the procedure.

An official familiar with the governor's thinking, when asked whether Bush was purposely drawing a distinction, agreed with that analysis.

When asked about his timetable, the governor said: "Well, obviously right before the convention or at the convention. I haven't made up my mind as to when the announcement will be made. But I'm taking my time."

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