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Dole “Very Doubtful” Powell Will Change Mind About Vice Presidency

June 12, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Bob Dole dampened speculation Tuesday about Colin Powell joining him on the GOP ticket, saying ``it’s very doubtful″ the retired general would join a Dole presidential bid in 1996.

While Powell has maintained since last year that he was not presently interested in elective office, many admirers continued to float his name as an exciting addition to the Republican slate.

And speculation flamed anew this week, after Dole and Powell briefly snuck out of a fund-raising picnic for Virginia Sen. John Warner on Saturday for a face-to-face chat. Dole said they discussed differences on affirmative action and abortion.

But after resigning his Senate seat Tuesday to devote his full energies to the presidential campaign, Dole said it was unlikely Powell would change his mind about not running.

``I would say it’s very doubtful. My view is that he made this decision when he made the announcement earlier _ or last year _ and his wife was standing there with him, and I think she feels very strongly about it,″ Dole told CBS’ ``Evening News.″ ``When he said he didn’t want ... to participate in elective politics in 1996, in my view that covered everything, not just the presidency, but the vice presidency, elective politics.″

Asked about the meeting on Monday, Dole had been evasive.

``I talked about his ability to help me, maybe show up in some of our campaign appearances. ... We didn’t broach the thing, we sort of danced around the question,″ he said.

Previously, Dole has said the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would make a good adviser on international and military affairs.

Powell never waivered after his announcement last year that he would not run. But prominent Republicans, among them Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a ranking Dole campaign adviser, kept urging him to reconsider.

Asked in March if he wished others would stop raising the possibility he might run, Powell responded, ``It would make life easier for me.″

``I’ve answered the question, and I thought I answered rather completely,″ he said. ``I’m honored and flattered that people would continue to speculate about it, but I’ve made my decision.″

Powell spokesman Bill Smullen said Dole’s comment was a ``reaffirmation″ of Powell’s position, and he described the Saturday meeting as ``very cordial, very productive.″

``They talked about a variety of issues, but I’m not at liberty to discuss them,″ he said.

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