Powell's Not For Turning

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DES MOINES: Better burn those "Powell 2000" campaign buttons: the general says he's not running. Ever. Perhaps the last man in the country with enough stature to be a likable politician, Colin Powell still tops every poll asking Republicans who they want as their next president and he raised a few eyebrows when he agreed to come to Iowa, the first caucus state, to speak at a business seminar alongside Bob Dole.

But the Gulf War hero came to disappoint his audience, just as he did in 1995. "I was never a politician," Powell said. "I didn't have the passion for it ... I'm still principally a soldier." Asked if this was a flat-out denial denial of any intent for 2000, a Powell spokesman added: "You can take that to the bank."

Never mind, Iowa the next GOP top banana may still have been at that seminar. One who told the crowd of 11,000 that the country "can never return to an age of innocence but can move on to an age of rediscovery" and made a barn-busting attack on the "bloated" federal government. This potential president's name? Liddy Dole.