GEPHARDT FACES HOUSE CHALLENGER

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Even though outgoing House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., is the favorite to slip a notch to Minority Leader, other Democrats are looking to move up. Today, longtime North Carolina Rep. Charlie Rose, who narrowly sidestepped a GOP near-sweep of his state, announced he'll challenge Gephardt for the Democrats' top House job. The Rose rationale: the Party faithful might be better off if they’re less faithful to President Clinton. "Our president is not our prime minister, and the (congressional) leaders are not his chief whips," said Rose, a moderate and longshot who had his eye on the Speakership before the Dems lost control of Congress. California Rep. George Miller, a liberal and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, is also a rumored contender.Post your opinion on theWashingtonbulletin board.