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PATAKI PLANS 12-CITY TRIP IN 7 STATES TO RAISE FUNDS

Gov. Pataki, who some New York Republican leaders are promoting as a possible presidential candidate in 2000, said Tuesday he plans a 12-city, seven-state fund-raising swing next month.

Pataki said the trip to the West and South is designed to raise money for his re-election race next year, not to boost his standing on the national scene.

One veteran pollster scoffed at the claim that Pataki's trip wasn't intended to bolster his national prospects.

"He's raising money and testing the waters for a presidential bid," said John Zogby, president of Zogby International. The Utica-based pollster added, "He's in good shape for re-election and feels he has a nationwide message -- a record of tax cutting, of bringing New York the death penalty, of being one of the prototypical new center-right governors."

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