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Campaign Notebook

Thursday’s developments:

Republican race

Lamar Alexander said Steve Forbes’ ad attacks are untrue. “If Malcolm Forbes Sr. knew how Junior was spending his money he might have put some restrictions in the will,” Alexander said in suburban Des Moines, Iowa.

Pat Buchanan declared himself “the temporary front-runner” as he visited an advertising company in Creston, Iowa. Hoping to gain support among economic conservatives, he hired the company to erect billboards saying, “Buchanan: He’ll bring the jobs home.”

Bob Dole said in Portsmouth, N.H., that Forbes’ negative ad blitz affects him but he’s “still standing.” Recent polls have shown the two candidates in a close fight for the Feb. 20 New Hampshire primary.

Phil Gramm insisted the Iowa caucuses were still “wide open,” but brushed off questions about his loss in Louisiana, saying, “I don’t want to look back to it. I want to look toward the future.”

Dick Lugar criticized his rivals for engaging in heavy negative ad campaigning. “Someone must take a stand,” Lugar said in a release from Des Moines. “This is a demolition derby.”

News of note

President Clinton said he’s eager for

the opening of the presidential campaign and predicted that voters will give him a “clear yes” after he makes his case. “I’m looking forward to it,” Clinton said in a telephone interview. He dismissed suggestions he could face an election-year recession and sounded upbeat themes likely to become staples on the campaign trail.

A poll commissioned by five television stations found Dole supported by 20 percent of those sampled to 14 percent for Forbes and 12 percent for Buchanan. However, the poll of 507 people who said they would attend the Iowa caucuses found 26 percent still undecided. The survey, conducted by Personal Marketing Research Inc., had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The statewide results of the Louisiana Republican caucus showed a tighter race between Buchanan and Gramm than indicated by the allocation of the GOP delegates 13 for Buchanan and eight for Gramm. Buchanan won one of his delegates by a single vote in one congressional district and another by 17 votes. Some 22,846 Louisianans - or about 5 percent of the state’s registered Republicans - participated in the caucuses, according to final returns released by the state party.

Upcoming on TV

Dole on C-SPAN at a rally in Oskaloosa,

Iowa. Friday 7 p.m. EST.

Today’s stops

Alexander: Davenport, Iowa;

Burlington, Iowa; Marshalltown, Iowa.

Buchanan: Storm Lake, Iowa; Sioux City, Iowa.

Dole: Davenport; Ottumwa, Iowa; Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Forbes: Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Manchester, Iowa; Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Gramm: Waukon, Iowa; Dubuque, Iowa; Des Moines; Mason City, Iowa; Johnston, Iowa.

Lugar: Sioux City; Mason City; Johnston.