Hinting That He's Available

Laxalt ponders a presidential race, shuffling the G.O.P. deck

For years Paul Laxalt has played the supporting role of best friend to Ronald Reagan's star turn as leading man. His performance has been a polished one: the crisp, affable, silver-haired Nevada Senator has headed Reagan's presidential campaigns and become an essential backstage adviser to the man he used to go camping with when both were Western Governors. But now the script has the leading man retiring. As Laxalt, 63, surveys the potential replacements, he has begun publicly pondering that most common question of both politicians and second leads: Why not me?

For now, the two-term Senator is still playing coy:...

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