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Watt may make many in Washington cringe, but he's big out West.

At least that's what the GOP finds. Not long ago, political wags predicted the feisty interior secretary could cost Republicans lots of votes out West in November. But the head of the Republican National Committee says Watt is an ''asset'' in 1982 House races in the West. Seems RNC polls show that, with the exception of California, Watt is a ''very popular'' man west of the Mississippi.

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The party chairman allows that Watt could hurt some congressional candidates by campaigning in their districts. But he insists ''Jim Watt is not a liablity to the Republican Party today.''

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