Dole Sweeps Midwestern Primaries

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After two failed runs for the White House, Bob Dole has finally cleared the first hurdle. Dole swept four Midwest primaries Tuesday, clinching the Republican presidential nomination. Dole can now turn his attention fully to November's election. "The fall campaign is under way. It is 230 days to defeating Bill Clinton," he said. Dole easily beat rival Pat Buchanan in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, pushing him past the 996 mark in delegates needed for the nomination. Buchanan has vowed to stay in the race in an effort to shape the GOP platform and Dole's choice for running mate. Dole ran unsuccessfully for his party's nomination in 1980 and 1988. In 1988, Dole lost the New Hampshire primary to George Bush and could not recover. This year, Dole rebounded from losses in three of the first five primaries -- including New Hampshire -- to win the last 22 contests. His springboard was a win in South Carolina; the same state that ended his hopes in 1988. "The first time I came up empty. The last time I came up short. This time I'm coming up full," Dole told The Associated Press. As the GOP field has winnowed, Dole has cut into Clinton's lead. According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll Dole has cut Clinton's lead from 17 points to nine.