GOP Supporters Launch 'Dole for VP' Campaign

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

( - Despite her protests, GOP supporters of Elizabeth Dole launched a petition drive on Monday to make her the Republican Party's vice presidential candidate.

"We strongly believe that a Bush-Dole ticket is the best chance for a Republican victory in 2000," said Pam Coy, spokeswoman for The National Petition Drive for Elizabeth Dole for Vice President.

"She's going to be like a breath of fresh air in Washington," Coy added. "She has an amazing ability to multitask like nobody we've ever seen."

Wire services report that the group has launched a Web site and mailed informational packets to Republican governors and other party leaders around the country. The packets include a sign-up form, sample letters of support to newspaper editors, display ads and a pre-recorded radio spot.

While no petition can formally place Dole on the GOP ticket, organizers hope to generate a groundswell that convinces the presumptive Republican nominee, Texas Governor George W Bush, to pick the former Cabinet secretary and ex-American Red Cross president as his running mate.

Dole's campaign says it does not support the effort by Earl Cox, a Charleston, SC resident who previously tried to draft Colin Powell as president and Dole as a presidential candidate before she launched her own aborted candidacy last year.

"We are opposed to it and we asked them not to proceed," said Stewart McLaurin, a Dole spokesman. "She's just not supportive of such a draft or petition drive."

Ari Fleischer, Dole's former spokesman who now works for Bush, said talk of a running mate is premature. He outlined the three criteria Bush has said he will use to pick his running mate: someone who can be president, who agrees with his political philosophy and who likes him personally.

"Those will be the criteria the governor uses," Fleischer said.

Meanwhile, Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh traveled to Washington on Monday to meet with Capitol Hill and Republican National Committee leaders about melding their efforts. It was believed that Don Evans, the Bush campaign's finance chief, will join the RNC in a top-level post.

During the trip, Allbaugh planned to meet with RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson and the campaign's congressional liaisons, Senator Paul Coverdell of Georgia and Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri.