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EX-LABOR SECRETARY WILL NOT SEEK GOP NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT

Saying, "Right now isn't the right time," Republican Lynn Martin announced Friday that she will not seek the party's nomination for president in 1996.

"I would not bring the full commitment of time, energy and person that the next year requires and that the run deserves," Ms. Martin said at a news conference at a Republican club near the Capitol.

Her only regret, she said, is that her decision makes it unlikely that a woman will compete on either the Republican or Democratic presidential ticket. "A smaller talent pool is never a good idea to get the best people," she said.

Ms. Martin, a former Illinois congresswoman and labor secretary in the Bush administration, said the decision had little to do with the abortion issue or groups that would oppose her. Ms. Martin is pro-choice.

"I'm unwilling to put forward what the public rightfully demands of its candidates -- an uncomplaining, committed person who puts her or his time, reputation and life totally on the line," said Ms. Martin, who was joined at the announcement by her daughter, Julia, and daughter-in-law, Lisa.

Ms. Martin, 55, is the latest Republican to decide against entering the presidential race. Former housing secretary Jack Kemp, former defense secretary Dick Cheney and former Vice President Dan Quayle also have declined to run.

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