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Senate and House Democratic Leaders Thomas Daschle and Richard Gephardt have been on the telephone, separately and together, seeking 11th-hour corporate political action committee (PAC) money. Their pitch: We're going to be in the majority come January, so you'd better get aboard.

The Daschle-Gephardt calls were placed to PACs that have been contributing heavily to Republicans but still have $50,000 or more left in their tills. Since Democrats will regain control of Congress, the leaders tell CEOs and Washington corporate representatives, perhaps they might want to balance their giving. The response so far has been mixed.

A footnote: Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York liberal who will become chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee if the Democrats take over, has been sounding very restrained and moderate in meetings with business representatives. His demeanor is intended to counteract Republican warnings to contributors that a dangerous radical would be put in charge at Ways and Means.
Republican political insiders are furious with Bob Dole for blunting the impact of possibly illegal foreign contributions to Bill Clinton by calling for general campaign reform.

Dole supporters complained that their cries of protest about money pouring in to President Clinton from Indonesia were muffled by Dole's sudden emergence as a campaign reformer. But these protesters include corporate lobbyists who have long opposed campaign finance reform.

A footnote: Staffers on the campaign plane note that Dole, who has maintained his optimism throughout this difficult campaign, this past week for the first time appeared dispirited behind the scenes.
Georgia State Republican Chairman Rusty Paul has started to tell fellow party leaders from other states that, in the event the Dole-Kemp ticket goes down to defeat, Jack Kemp should succeed Haley Barbour as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

During the Bush administration, Paul served under then-Housing Secretary Kemp as a deputy assistant secretary. He argues that his old boss' idealism would correct the mean-spirited image of the GOP and raise the morale of a losing party.

Barbour, who has made clear he will not seek another term as national chairman, appears to be leaning toward Florida State Chairman Tom Slade as his successor. Slade would be more of a technician than a cheerleader.
Friends of House Majority Leader Dick Armey say that he will consider seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 if President Clinton is re-elected.

Armey is described as appalled that the GOP waged the 1996 election campaign without pushing a plan of comprehensive tax reform. The author of a flat-tax plan rejected by Bob Dole, Armey says privately he should have become a candidate this year.

Armey faces no opposition to be re-elected as GOP floor leader. If the party loses control of the House, he will become the chamber's top Republican. House Speaker Newt Gingrich has said he has no desire to be minority leader in a Democratic-dominated House.
Prominent Republicans have been trying to promote news accounts saying that Sen. Christopher Dodd will become secretary of state in a Clinton second-term administration. The reason: the tough fight for Florida's electoral votes.

Dodd is extremely unpopular among Florida's Cuban-American voters because of his conciliatory position toward Fidel Castro. President Clinton has made inroads within the normally Republican Cuban vote and this week paid his first visit in four years to Miami's "Little Havana" section.

Actually, there is no sign that Dodd is on Clinton's list of possible successors to Secretary of State Warren Christopher. But associates say he might be interested in a bid for the presidency in 2000.

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