Gipper Junior On Deck?

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SAN DIEGO: In a move more political than personal, Bob Dole is seriously considering Jack Kemp as his running mate despite tensions between the two that date back to the 1980's. The Dole camp has confirmed that Kemp is one of three vice presidential finalists, along with Florida Senator Connie Mack and one other possibility from a pool of Republican hopefuls that includes Arizona Senator John McCain and former South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell. Kemp held discussions with GOP campaign advisors on Thursday, following a long chat about the nomination the evening before with Dole in his Washington apartment. If Dole chooses Kemp as his Number Two on Saturday, it will be a surprising personal choice given their past history, but could prove politically prudent, says TIME's John Dickerson. "Bob Dole has plenty of reasons to hate Jack Kemp," says Dickerson. "Kemp endorsed Forbes on the eve of the New York primary, they were rivals for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination and Kemp nearly messed up Dole's economic message. But Kemp is a national candidate who would help Dole with women, help him with social issues, and help him in California." While Kemp was not in the early running, Dole is giving the former housing secretary and football star a second look in the final round. Trailing President Clinton by 20 points in polls, Dole hopes to begin closing the gap by choosing an attractive vice-presidential candidate. A California native and former congressmen from Buffalo, N.Y., Kemp is popular among GOP activists for his supply side economic views on economics, his staunch deficit-fighting and his opposition to abortion. Despite his strained relationship with Dole, Kemp also has a bit of an inside fix: three top campaign aides - Scott Reed, John Buckley, and Kevin Stach - worked for Kemp's 1988 campaign. -->