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TURNING CLOCK BACK - OR AHEAD?

Traditionally, in presidential politics a vigorous young candidate who wishes to succeed or replace a lethargic older one plays the generation card.

Traditionally, also, the Democrats and Republicans do not nominate congressional leaders for the presidency.But traditions can be broken.

In Bob Dole's case, the 71-year-old majority leader of the Senate is citing his maturity, experience and his sacrifice in World War II as reasons for voters to hand him the GOP presidential nomination and then Bill Clinton's presidential portfolio.

Some observers who believe that Clinton, the baby boomer, has been a failure as president suggest that the nation should turn back to the World War II generation for leadership.

If that were to happen, the Republican options would be limited to a single individual: Bob Dole.