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D’Amato Wants Powell For Veep

March 11, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, the co-chairman of Bob Dole’s national campaign, said today that the dream running mate for the Republican presidential front-runner would be Colin Powell.

``Colin Powell would invigorate the Republican Party, would invigorate the ticket, would help it become a winning ticket,″ D’Amato said this morning in a telephone interview.

Powell, who last year opted not to run for president and said he wasn’t interested in being vice president either, would bring much more to the ticket than he would cost it politically, D’Amato insisted.

Powell spokesman Bill Smullen said today that none of the candidates have contacted the retired general to discuss the vice presidential slot. ``Clearly there’s an interest in him and he’s flattered by that, but he’s still committed to his position″ of not becoming a candidate, Smullen said.

D’Amato said he hadn’t talked to Dole yet about picking Powell as the vice presidential candidate, but would urge the Kansan to do so if he wins the GOP nomination as expected.

Dole rival Pat Buchanan has said the selection of Powell, a moderate who supports abortion rights, could lead to a revolt at the convention among his supporters. But D’Amato said he wouldn’t mind if Buchanan and his supporters bolted the convention.

``Maybe he’ll walk,″ D’Amato said. ``I don’t think many people will walk with him.″

Dole himself today rebuffed Buchanan’s suggestion that he rule out Powell as a possible running mate.

D’Amato said Dole should avoid cutting any deals with Buchanan that provide the conservative commentator with a showcase speaking assignment at the convention.

``I would not bestow upon him any special attention,″ D’Amato said.

``The 1992 convention in Houston was a horror because of Buchanan,″ D’Amato said Sunday in an interview with the New York Post. ``He’s divisive and frightens people and we should not succumb to that again.″

D’Amato said Powell could bring minorities, women, young people, military veterans and independents out to vote for the GOP ticket. New York’s junior senator said he also felt Powell could be convinced to run.

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