Here it comes, ready or not: The 1996 Presidential campaign is getting under way. On Sept. 10-11, Washington will host a gathering of 2,000 activists for the convention of the Christian Coalition, the political-action arm of televangelist's Pat Robertson's movement. All of the GOP's likeliest candidates for the nomination plan to drop by. Participants in this first "cattle show" of the '96 campaign will include Senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.), former Housing Secretary Jack F. Kemp, former Education Secretary William J. Bennett, and ex-candidates Patrick J. Buchanan and Robertson himself. And, of course, Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.), just back from a vacation-cum-campaign swing through New Hampshire, will be on hand. Remember: fewer than 1,200 campaigning days till November, 1996.

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