Secret Search for a Third-Party Candidate

THEY keep a low profile. They speak only by telephone. Their plans are classified. But some say they may be plotting to seize the White House. Call them ''The Secret Seven.''

In a Hollywood-style twist on the now-familiar ''third party'' theme, Time magazine reports that seven prominent politicians, all with centrist political views, have been recently drafting position papers that could be precursors of a presidential bid.

The group includes five Democrats: New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, ex-Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas, ex-Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, ex-Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, ex-Minnesota Rep. Tim Penny. Rounding out the seven are two independents: ex-Connecticut Gov. Lowell Weicker and Maine Gov. Angus King. While it's not clear which, if any, of them would run, the announcement of the group's existence has the markings of a trial balloon.

''There is a center in this country ... that is basically socially inclusive, fiscally conservative, pro-environment,'' Senator Tsongas says. ''Those people feel rather disenfranchised at this point.''

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.