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    Bush: It's time for woman governor

    But ''not this year,'' the incumbent clarifies later.


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 19, 2002

    TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush told 300 high school girls visiting the Capitol Tuesday: "It's about time a woman became governor of the state of Florida."

    The girls agreed. So did Democratic challenger Janet Reno.

    "Careful what you wish for, Mr. Governor," said Reno spokeswoman Nicole Harburger.

    Bush's comment amused state Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, who recently dropped out of the gubernatorial race, leaving Reno the only woman running. "He had to do it when I got out. Is that his way of endorsing Janet Reno?"

    No way, Bush said later. He explained that he meant "it is not that far in the future -- certainly not November of this year -- when a woman will be governor of this state and it will be a time to celebrate."

    Bush suggested that reporters dig into his theory about a Republican computer disc that listed him as one of several GOP governors who are vulnerable in the November elections.

    The disc reportedly was found by a Democratic aide in Lafayette Park near the White House. The governor, however, joked that it was all part of a plot between him and his president brother to generate interest in the governor's race.

    "I asked my brother to put me on the vulnerable list because I don't want anyone to be complacent," Bush said. And it worked, Bush added. "We got major coverage on it."

    Reporters were skeptical. "You got a better story?" Bush asked.

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