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Colin Powell says he's stillconsidering a run for president next year, possibly as an independent, after he finishes writing his autobiography in September. "I've checked the Constitution very carefully, and you do not have to belong to a political party," the popular former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman told an audience of 3,200 people at Salem State College Tuesday night. Can he afford to wait? GOP primary contenders are racing to compete now for campaign money and talented staffers. But as an indy,TIME political contributor Laurence Barrettsays, Powell would have little trouble getting on the ballot much later. One thing's sure - it can't hurt book sales.Campaign '96 File