QUAYLE DIPS A TOE IN '96 POOL

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Is Dan Quayle a contender for president? Earlier today, one of his "close associates" told CNN the former veep had all but announced for 1996. But Quayle, apparently unsure of potential GOP backing, promptly downgraded the alert to "thinking about it." Quayle's spokeswoman said he'd issue an official verdict after November's mid-term elections. BTW: A recent Harris poll of Republican and independent voters found Senate minority leader Bob Dole leads the undeclared pack with 17 percent support, followed by Quayle with 13 percent and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Colin Powell with 12 percent.