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The Commission on Presidential Debates must have been thinking exactly what SPINdex was thinking. Ross Perot is unelectable. It's that simple. But SPINdex is also wondering if Bob Dole's new slogan shouldn't be "Just don't bother."

Coverage of the commission's decision to nix Perot from the presidential spinfest topped this week's SPINdex chart with a score of 1,222.

During the two-week period leading up to this week's column, SPINdex's sample of media outlets devoted 148 stories totaling 97,646 words of copy to the subject. While Perot may not get his share of national TV exposure from being in the debates, his plight earned 11 minutes of network airtime from 22 newscasts.

Bob Dole's take on a new national anti-drug slogan at first confused, then bemused SPINdex. His attempt to co-brand Nike's "Just do it" with the Reagan era mantra "Just say no" earned him a SPINdex of 222.

Exxon scored third-place honors by throwing superpremium fuel on the Federal Trade Commission's fire that leading gasoline marketers were overstating claims for their high-end fuels. While Amoco, Sun and Unocal agreed to pull their campaigns, Exxon fought the challenge and generated a SPINdex of 104.

And in what may be the first example of posthumous marketing spin, deceased gangsta rap star Tupac Shakur placed fourth with a SPINdex of 41 for coverage about a music video his Death Row Record label released after his death that eerily depicts the rapper being gunned down.

A "commercial-free" edition of CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" ranked last in this week's chart with a SPINdex of 36. Dave and sponsors AT&T, Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler and Nike attracted only three newspaper and two wire service stories.

Following up on the recent Network Premiere Season Edition, SPINdex went back and looked at how the top three shows of the new season performed during their first week on the air. While NBC's "Suddenly Susan" topped the Nielsen ratings among new shows, it ranked last among the three with a SPINdex of 271 from 36 stories generating 30,358 words of copy.

Top SPINdex new show honors went to CBS' "Cosby," which earned a score of 380 from 42 stories generating 40,950 words of mostly consumer media copy.

Joe Mandese is senior VP of Myers Reports. Mark Weiner is VP of Medialink Research.

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