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  •   Pataki Thinks About 2000

    By Dan Balz and William Booth
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Tuesday, November 12, 1996; Page A06

    President Pataki? New York Gov. George E. Pataki (R) has been encouraged by "dozens of rather prominent people" including some Democrats to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, according to one of his top aides.

    But Pataki spokeswoman Zenia Mucha told the Associated Press yesterday that speculation about a Pataki candidacy was "premature."

    Mucha's comments came after the New York Post, not citing its sources, said Pataki is giving serious thought to the prospect but will not make up his mind until 1998 – and only if he wins reelection. "It's true that a number of people have recently approached the governor and said, 'Given your achievements in New York, you know, you have what it takes to be a great president,' " Mucha told the Post.

    Pataki, a fiscal conservative and social moderate who supports abortion rights, defeated three-term Gov. Mario M. Cuomo (D) in 1994. His poll ratings now are at their highest level since his January 1995 inauguration.

    Pataki told the Post he wants to improve the GOP's chances of regaining the White House in 2000, but would not discuss the possibility he would run. "I think we have to be far more pro-active in making sure that the Republican candidate reflects the core vision of the Republican philosophy," he said, adding, "I do have thoughts about the next time, but I'm not prepared to talk about those thoughts."

    © Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

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