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Campaign Notebook

Saturday’s campaign developments:

Presidential race

Pat Buchanan visited a drug treatment center, the Odyssey House in New Orleans, just three days before Louisiana’s Tuesday Republican caucuses. “The treatment here, I think, is tremendous. It’s a tribute to the spirit of the individual. So we’re helping these folks who are caught up in drug addiction,” he said after talking with some young patients.

Bob Dole, appearing in Dubuque, Iowa, a hotbed of antiabortion activity, appealed to social conservatives who are key to winning the state caucuses Feb. 12. He said his first day as president would be “American family day” and that he would rescind executive orders that allow legal abortions. “All our talk about a less violent, more caring society will come to nothing unless we protect the sanctity of human life,” he said.

Steve Forbes defended his attack campaign style during a flat tax town hall meeting in Manchester, N.H. “It’s legitimate, I think, in a democracy to have a debate on the record of people who promise one thing and then do another. That is how we get the debate moving forward.”

Phil Gramm, harkening to primaries past and seizing a photo opportunity, stopped at a Manchester, N.H., country store that for years had been a landmark on the presidential campaign trail. He was the first Republican hopeful to visit Lloyd Robie’s general store this campaign. “I think it’s much better if the candidates can meet with the people,” said Robie, 77, whose great-grandfather opened the store in 1882.

News of note

President Clinton, savoring his unchallenged status for the Democratic presidential nomination, ended a two-day campaign swing through New Hampshire, which boosted him toward the White House four years ago. Surrounded by dozens of police officers, Clinton asserted that he’d fulfilled his campaign pledge to put more cops on the streets. “Our job will not be over until crime and violence are the exception and not the rule,” he said, noting his goal of putting 100,000 more police officers on the beat was one-third accomplished.

Republican presidential contenders reacted to the death of an American soldier in Bosnia with expressions of sympathy - and reminders that they opposed the mission from the start. The strongest criticism came from Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, who said that, if elected president, he would bring the soldiers home as soon as he was sworn in. “It’s a tragedy for his family, but also is a tragedy for America,” Gramm said. The soldier, the first American killed in action in Bosnia, died when he stepped on a land mine.

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, campaigning for her husband, told a crowd of about 700 cheering supporters at Iowa State University, that “this is a watershed election,” especially on the issue of how much help government should give to American families. “The decisions that will be made starting with the caucuses will determine what kind of government, but more important, what type of community we will have heading into the next century.”

Today on TV

ABC’s “This Week With David Brinkley” - Gramm, Alexander and New Hampshire Gov. Steve Merrill, a Republican in Dole’s campaign.

CBS’ “Face the Nation” - Buchanan, Ross Perot.

CNN’S “Final Edition With Frank Sesno:” Topic: Who is Steve Forbes? Guests: Not announced.

Today’s stops

Alexander: Nashville, Tenn.

Buchanan: On Face the Nation. No scheduled events.

Dole: Spencer, Iowa.

Forbes: Iowa.

Gramm: Brinkley show. No scheduled events.

Lugar: Gilford, Hanover and Dartmouth, N.H.