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Dole Sidesteps Age Questions May Consider Committing To Only One Term

Bob Dole said Sunday he “has been tested in a lot of ways,” giving him a sound background for his upcoming run for president. He mentioned several possible running mates, including Jack Kemp, Colin Powell and governors from California and several other states.

The Kansas Republican said he will formally announce his candidacy in April, around the 50th anniversary of one of his most severe tests, a World War II injury.

Dole will be 73 years old in 1996, making him older than any president at the start of his first term if he is elected. In light of that, he was asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” whether he would commit to only serve one term as president.

“Well, I must say that’s an option that people have talked about,” he said. “But … we have not made a decision. I assume we will make that decision before we announce so the American people will know it.

“Some people might like it,” he mused. “Some might say, `Well, you’re a lame duck on day one.’ There have been a lot of one-term presidents the past few years, the past two decades or so. But it’s a judgment we haven’t made.”

During the television appearance, Dole spoke of the “very high risk” of having a first lady who is actively involved in policy-making, as Hillary Rodham Clinton has been.

He said his wife, Elizabeth Hanford Dole, who has served as secretary of Labor and of Transportation, would want to continue in public service but would do “moretraditional first lady efforts.” She now heads the Red Cross.

At least three other prominent Republicans are expected to announce their presidential candidacies over the next few months - Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, former Vice President Dan Quayle and former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander.

Dole was the Republican vice presidential nominee during Gerald Ford’s unsuccessful race against Jimmy Carter in 1976, and he unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nominations in 1980 and 1988.