THIS COLUMN: No?
THIS COLUMN: OK, OK, but suppose this. Suppose this other guy comes down with a horrible fatal disease, and suppose Gov. Bush comes to you on his knees and begs you to run with him for the good of the party and the country? And suppose that a crazed scientist gets hold of a terrible poison, three drops of which are enough to kill millions of people, and suppose he threatens to put it in the water supply of a major city unless you agree to run for vice president. In that case, would you accept the nomination?
McCAIN: Well, in that case I suppose I would have to consider it.
THIS COLUMN: So, in other words, you don't rule out the possibility of running for vice president?
McCAIN: Excuse me, I have another exclusive interview on the other line.
McCain's renewed interest in the No. 2 slot clearly complicates Gov. Bush's decision, which was complicated enough by the fact that he's already made it. Adding further complication is the sudden availability of Gen. Colin Powell. Powell has long indicated—by such statements as "no" and "absolutely not" and "look, can't you get it through your thick skull?"—that he was inclined against running for vice president. But in an exclusive interview with this column, he reopened the door. (The interview was conducted before Bush announced his choice of someone else.)
THIS COLUMN: Will you run for vice president if George W. Bush asks you to?
POWELL: No. Not a chance.
THIS COLUMN: Oh please? Please, please, please?
POWELL: N-O spells no!
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