As expected, New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman today became the 18th out of the 31 Republican governors to endorse Bob Dole for president. He's got "the message, the stature and the experience to beat Bill Clinton in 1996," said Whitman, who plans to campaign actively for Dole. As part of the ticket? Whitman has denied rumors she's angling for the vice presidency, though since becoming New Jersey's governor on a platform of tax cuts and moderate social policies, she's rocketed to stardom within the GOP and is frequently mentioned as vice presidential material. "Whitman would be a turnoff for the conservative wing of the Republican Party," notes TIME's Larry Barrett. As to the relative importance of Whitman's endorsement, Barrett says, "nods from state leaders like Whitman are less a boon for those that get them, and more a bane for those who don't. This is primarily a blow to Steve Forbes who has stressed his role in helping to formulate Whitman's program and could really have gotten a lift out of a Whitman endorsement."