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"We take out monetary policy `insurance' when we perceive an imbalance in the net costs or benefits of coming out on one side or the other of the most probable outcome." -- Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, telling Congress why he may--or may not--cut interest ratesEDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABIReturn to top

FOR DOLE, WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS

BOB DOLE IS LOSING SUPPORT in the executive suite. The Senate majority leader was the first choice of 39% of the senior executives drawn from the BUSINESS WEEK 1000 in a recent survey--down from 52% in early December. While he's still No.1 among this group, the slide tracks his fortunes among GOP voters. He barely won the Feb. 12 Iowa caucuses and lost the Feb. 20 New Hampshire primary to Pat Buchanan.

Executives are no fonder of Buchanan than before: Only 2% support him now, up from 1%. The former commentator knocks Corporate America for layoffs and exporting jobs. And he derides the Kansas senator for close ties to corporate honchos.

Dole's December executive support seems to have gone to Lamar Alexander and Steve Forbes. Former Tennessee Governor Alexander's backing among this set has more than doubled, to 15%. And publisher Forbes has risen from 8% to 14%, despite disappointing showings among voters. Nonetheless, ask executives who has the best chance of beating Bill Clinton, and the answer is overwhelmingly Dole (55%), with Alexander (19%) in second place.

The Harris Poll for BUSINESS WEEK of 421 executives began Feb. 9, just before Iowa, and concluded Feb. 20, before the New Hampshire results came in.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABIReturn to top

GOODYEAR GETS A GRIP ON ITS FUTURE

SAM GIBARA, THE NEW CEO AT Goodyear Tire & Rubber, is starting to unveil his strategy to lift the world's No.3 tiremaker back to No.1 by 2000. He'll launch products, cut costs, buy smaller tire companies--and could spin off Goodyear's oil pipeline.

Don't expect him to go after big boys on the order of Pirelli. Gibara says he's leery of the debt such a purchase would entail. And Goodyear got burned badly by overleveraging in the 1980s. A major task of Gibara's predecessor, Stanley Gault, in bolstering the company when he took over in 1991 was cutting the $3.7 billion debt.

So look for more deals in emerging nations such as Goodyear's recent move to buy control of Polish tiremaker TC Debica. Gibara also wants to expand Goodyear's nontire businesses, which include auto belts and hoses, as well as rubber chemicals. The pipeline, now a moneymaker after years as an albatross, could fetch a good price--analysts say up to $700 million. Gibara says the pipeline is not a strategic fit, although he adds: "We are in no hurry to sell it."EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI BY ZACHARY SCHILLERReturn to top

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOME POL

THE LANDMARK TELECOM BILL really got the money flowing on Capitol Hill. Some 50 political action committees representing companies in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries gave $1.7 million to House and Senate candidates in 1995's first half, the latest figures available.

That compares with $1.4 million in the same period of 1993, when talk about telecommunications reform was mainly just talk. President Bill Clinton signed the measure, which will turn the phone and media world upside down, on Feb. 8.

Also striking is the change in partisan giving patterns. In 1993, when Democrats ruled Congress, the PACs divided their money fairly evenly between the parties. The GOP takeover of Congress brought a dramatic reversal, with $1,267,122 going to members of the new majority, while Democrats got just $473,289.

Not surprisingly, the major players in the telecommunications debate bagged the most. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), who is up for reelection this fall, received $92,485. His office could not be reached for comment. On the giving side, AT&T's was the most generous PAC, with contributions of $240,245.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI BY STEPHEN WILDSTROMReturn to top


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