LAST TIME IT WAS MARIO CUOMO. THIS TIME IT'S PETE WILSON. JUST AS the possibility of Mario loomed like a fatal disease over the 1992 Democratic presidential wannabes, so the current G.O.P. contenders are apoplectic about Wilson's running--a near certainty now, with an announcement possible this week.

Color them scared, but not frozen. Each of the three top candidates is maneuvering to thwart Wilson's prospects. Lamar Alexander, who fears that Wilson could usurp his anti-Washington, outsider mantle, reminds anyone who'll listen that Wilson pledged to finish his full term as California's Governor, "and should do just that." Phil Gramm's aides point...

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