Key Democrats say their national party needs to review its nominating process so that the next Democratic presidential nominee is someone who can at least "talk" to the South.

While Democrats are taking comfort in the addition of one seat to their Senate majority and five seats to their House majority, they were licking their wounds over the party's fifth loss of the White House in the past six tries.Democratic National Chairman Paul Kirk said Sunday the path to the nomination may warrant review with an eye on shortening the process but, "I don't think we ought to overreact quickly."

On Election Day, Democrat Michael Dukakis picked up 10 states, all well above the Mason-Dixon line, and got 112 electoral votes, while Republican George Bush swept the South, the Rocky Mountain states and California for an Electoral College landslide of 426 votes.

Kirk, on NBC's "Meet the Press," said he did not anticipate any intraparty "blood-letting" over the election and suggested the outcome was the result of "perceived prosperity and relative peace and people basically voting for the present they knew rather than the future that they were uncertain about."

Kirk's future may become a critical feature of the party's future. He has served the usual four-year term and he said Sunday he will talk with other party leaders about staying on for another four years.

But civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who lost the party's nomination to Dukakis this year, told CBS's "Face the Nation" that he talked with Kirk and is under the impression the party chairman probably would be stepping down.

In looking toward 1992, Democrats said the party needs to reshape the way it chooses a nominee and the new process must focus more intensely on the South.

Democratic pollster Peter Hart said the problem for the party now is to find someone who can "talk" to Southerners, adding: "If you can't talk to them, then you're not going to carry them."

Senator-elect Charles Robb, D-Va., said, "It's very clear . . . that you have to appeal to the South. You can't give up 155 electoral votes right off the top and expect to win the election."