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   Change in GOP Running Mate Seems Unlikely [But GOP continues speculation of a replacement]

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News Date

2/17/2004 12:00 am

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Associated Press

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News

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Entered 2/17/2004, Updated 2/17/2004

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Change in GOP Running Mate Seems Unlikely Dick Cheney is only six years older than President Bush, but his long government resume and graying presence helped offset the Texas governor's lack of seasoning and foreign policy experience in 2000. Those same avuncular qualities seem less politically reinforcing now, with Bush facing a difficult re-election battle and Cheney, 63, burdened by political baggage of his own. Allegations of profiteering in Iraq by oil services giant Halliburton, which Cheney once headed, and his frequent claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction have become standard Democratic targets. Some Republicans are quietly asking whether Cheney will help or hinder the ticket among voters this November. That has raised speculation about possible Cheney replacements. Among those mentioned: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee; Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio; Colorado Gov. Bill Owens; former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, now Bush's homeland security secretary; and two New Yorkers: former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Gov. George Pataki. Some Republican advisers note that, while Cheney's lack of political ambition might be good for Bush, it doesn't help the party groom a candidate for 2008. Of course, similarly, it could leave the door open for a run by Bush brother Jeb, now the governor of Florida.


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