Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said Wednesday his support for Bob Dole would depend on the party platform, the convention’s cast of speakers and the presumptive GOP nominee’s choice of a running mate.
“What we do in the fall is contingent on what happens in the next three weeks,” Buchanan said. He left open the possibility of withholding support from Dole or running for president as an independent.
“We intend to go to the Republican convention as Republicans, and we hope to walk out as Republicans,” he said. “But I can’t here and now give a blank check and tell these folks they can do anything they want and we will get on board.”
Dole’s campaign expressed hope that Buchanan would back the ticket.
Republican officials rejected a speaking role for the conservative commentator at the San Diego convention this month. Buchanan turned down an offer to make a brief pretaped video appearance but plans to address a rally of supporters on the eve of the convention.
With platform deliberations scheduled to begin Monday in San Diego, Buchanan issued a lengthy list of his own proposals.
“We all know the dire straits in which the party is in right now,” he said. “And we think the way to win is with boldness and audacity and with emphasizing the differences we have with President Clinton on the issues.”
He urged sweeping tax cuts, institution of a flat tax that would drop current deductions except for home mortgages and charitable contributions, withdrawal of U.S. ground troops from Europe and South Korea, a freeze on legal immigration and trade curbs on China and Japan. He opposes a “tolerance” plank on abortion proposed by Dole.