THE CHAIRMAN OF VIRTUE

BILL BENNETT'S STOCK IS SOARING. BUT WILL SUCCESS SPOIL HIS APPETITE FOR HIGHER OFFICE?

They've seen him on television, but some in the sparse morning crowd at the Valleyfair! amusement park in Minnesota can't quite place him--the big guy over there by the roller coaster. Maybe he's that football coach, Bill something. Bill Parcells? They aren't sure, and being Midwesterners, several greet him with a cautious "Hiya, coach." Bill Bennett just grins, nods and lets his son Joseph, 7, tow him away through the shimmering heat toward the bumper cars.

It's a moment that Bennett, 53, experiences with some regularity and recalls with self-deprecating relish. In other contexts--in an airport, say, clad in one of...

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