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Kemp Mum While Making Rubber Chicken Circuit

August 9, 1996

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ A relaxed Jack Kemp laughed, joked and parried with the few reporters who managed to catch him Friday amid persistent reports he would become Bob Dole’s running mate.

``I’m too old to worry about that question,″ the 61-year-old former Housing secretary said. ``I’m very content. I didn’t want anything. I haven’t sought anything. I didn’t expect anything and still don’t.″

While Dole was saying he’d picked a No. 2 for his GOP presidential ticket but not specifying who, Kemp and his wife, Joanne, spent the day speaking to and shaking hands with realtors and credit union workers in the Walt Disney World area.

His audiences heard a motivational speech, but nothing about the vice presidency.

``He wouldn’t say anything,″ said realtor Naomi Shares, who attended a luncheon with the Kemps shortly before he made his second speech of the day.

Scores of reporters chasing Kemp around got the same thing.

``I have immense regard and respect for Bob Dole and it’s his decision,″ Kemp told reporters when arriving at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel after a speech to the Florida Credit Union League at a Marriott Hotel.

At various times during the day, Kemp and his aide, Christian Pinkston, denied that Kemp had talked with Dole or his campaign, that Dole had offered him the vice presidential slot or that Kemp had accepted.

``It was flattering to be considered; that’s all I can say. It will be over soon,″ said Kemp, a former Buffalo Bills quarterback and New York congressman who ran for the GOP nomination against Dole in 1988.

After his mid-afternoon speech to the Prudential Realty group, the Kemps agreed to allow three still photographers to come up to their hotel suite to shoot a few pictures. Reporters weren’t allowed.

The photographers found a photo crew for Time Magazine had already spent about 45 minutes with the Kemps, who were packing for a flight to Dallas. They allowed a couple of minutes for photos then left the hotel through a back entrance, for a high-speed trip to Orlando International Airport.

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