Campaign Notebook

Monday’s developments: Presidential race

Lamar Alexander said his “real world” vision was better than that of Steve Forbes or Bob Dole. In a statement issued from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Alexander said Iowans want leadership that doesn’t depend on “Washington talk,” or about a “magic” tax plan. Alexander lags behind both Forbes and Dole in most polls.

Pat Buchanan labeled Texas Sen. Phil Gramm as a supporter of higher taxes and racial quotas one day before the Louisiana caucuses, the first official voting of the 1996 presidential race. Speaking in Winnfield, La., Buchanan said he would appoint anti-abortion judges and vowed to reverse affirmative action as president.

Bob Dole said a Kansan like himself was the only candidate who could defeat President Clinton because the Midwest “will be the battleground” in November. “It seems to me that with the opportunities we have in the Midwest, a strong Midwestern candidate would certainly be helpful,” he said in Ames, Iowa.

Steve Forbes challenged Dole to a one-on-one debate over an ad the Kansas senator is airing in New Hampshire. Forbes said the ad, featuring Gov. Steve Merrill, is based on “bogus arithmetic” and makes false statements about his flat-tax plan.”The flat tax is a tax cut,” he said in Sioux City, Iowa. “That’s something the Washington political class does not want the American people to know.”

Phil Gramm predicted victory in today’s Louisiana caucuses, where he and Buchanan were the only major contenders for 21 delegates. Both men hoped a Louisiana victory would help one of them become the conservative alternative to Dole. “I’m the conservative who can win,” Gramm said in Muscatine, Iowa.

Dick Lugar found support for his campaign from fourth-graders at an elementary school in Bedford, N.H. “This is the kind of greeting committee I live for,” Lugar said of the cheering children.

News of note

Twenty-one Louisiana delegates were at stake today in caucuses to be conducted at 42 sites. The process was designed by state GOP officials who support Gramm, making him the favorite. Most GOP hopefuls boycotted the event in deference to Iowa’s caucuses. Still, whoever wins will have an early lead in a race for the nearly 1,000 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination.

Tonight on TV

Steve Forbes at Indianola, Iowa campaign rally on C-SPAN, 7 p.m. PST.

Today’s stops:

Alexander: Des Moines, Iowa; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Sioux City, Iowa;

Buchanan: Baton Rouge, La.

Dole: Washington.

Forbes: Storm Lake, Iowa; Fort Dodge, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Indianola, Iowa.

Gramm: Boone, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Ottumwa, Iowa; Sulphur, La.; Lake Charles, La.; Lafayette, La.; Shreveport, La.; Baton Rouge, La.

Lugar: Des Moines, Iowa; Waterloo, Iowa; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Waverly, Iowa.

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