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Bush to kick off campaign

President Bush makes his formal announcement for re-election Wednesday, convinced he's laid the groundwork for victory in November. Bush, whose campaign and fund-raising committees have been at work for weeks, waited until now to make the traditional announcement to "maximize his visibility" for the New Hampshire primary Feb. 18, said his spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater. "It's a tradition in American politics that there be a formal kickoff." By waiting, Bush has had a national forum through the State of the Union speech to spell out his economic recovery plan and, last week, his health-care reform plan. He will declare his candidacy in the ballroom of a downtown Washington hotel. He then flies to New Hampshire to speak to the New Hampshire Legislature, then a gathering of law enforcement officers and firefighters. Then it's on to a tour of the General Electric plant in Hooksett and a "meet George Bush" stop at Bedford Mall. He'll end the day at the Gateway Technical Center in Manchester.

Clinton sees GOP "attack' plan

NASHUA, N.H. _ Democrat Bill Clinton on Monday blamed a "Republican attack machine" for recent negative publicity and vowed to "fight like hell" to regain momentum in the presidential race. With the New Hampshire primary a week away, the Arkansas governor was hoping to halt a recent slide in the polls, which now show him in a dead heat with former Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas. Unsubstantiated tabloid allegations of infidelity and a controversy over whether Clinton tried to avoid the Vietnam draft slowed his campaign just as he was emerging as the early front-runner. With his wife, Hillary, by his side, Clinton told reporters that "it isn't any accident that as soon as I emerged as some kind of front-runner . . . the Republican attack machine went into action." He said recent allegations against him match those raised by Republicans during his gubernatorial races in Arkansas. He said Republicans were involved in arranging the paid interviews in which Gennifer Flowers claimed she had an affair with the governor. Republican officials in Arkansas and nationally have denied any party role.

Jerry Brown: Cuomo will run

BOSTON _ Democratic presidential candidate Jerry Brown said Monday he believed New York Gov. Mario Cuomo would seek the Democratic nomination no matter what he says, and a poll showed strong support for Cuomo in New Hampshire. Cuomo's intentions came under speculation once again as a New Hampshire tracking poll showed that, despite saying he will not seek the Democratic nomination, he would win 21 percent of the vote as a write-in candidate _ tying front-runner Bill Clinton _ in the state's crucial primary. Brown, one of five major Democratic presidential hopefuls, said in a Boston radio interview Monday that Cuomo would change his mind and join the race. Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, who as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors frequently has encouraged Cuomo to enter the presidential race, said in a Boston Globe interview that he would make another pitch to the New York governor this week. "Gov. Cuomo would be a superb candidate, and I'm going to encourage him to get in, to be honest with you," Flynn said in the interview, published Monday. Cuomo announced just hours before the Dec. 20 New Hampshire primary filing deadline that he would not run for president in 1992.

Nader to Brown offer: No thanks

MANCHESTER, N.H. _ Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, subject of a write-in presidential candidacy, said he would decline Jerry Brown's offers of a job in his administration if Brown became president, Nader's campaign committee has said. "At various times, Brown has said that he will offer Nader the positions of vice president, chief of staff, and cabinet member," the Committee to Draft Ralph Nader for President said in a statement Sunday night. "Ralph Nader today declined for the record Jerry Brown's offer of a position in his administration," it said. Nader has allowed his name to be used as a write-in protest candidate in the New Hampshire primary Feb. 18.