Thursday’s developments on the presidential campaign trail:
He’s got the whole world…
The victory of “America-first” presidential candidate Pat Buchanan in New Hampshire’s Republican primary set off alarm bells worldwide.
A Norwegian newspaper compared the Republican candidate’s rhetoric to 1930s Europe, and the Edinburgh Scotsman said bluntly: “Heil Buchanan.”
From Mexico to Japan, people worried aloud what Buchanan’s protectionist and isolationist policies might mean for the rest of the world.
But not all was negative abroad for Buchanan, who disclaims any notions that he is racist or anti-Semitic. Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a candidate in June presidential elections, congratulated Buchanan Thursday as “a comrade and brother-in-arms.”
Zhirinovsky, who has made no secret of his own anti-Semitism and disdain for foreigners, said Buchanan’s “slogans are close and understandable to us. Especially your words, ‘America for Americans.”’
News of Note
Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole’s drive to garner Washington state got a boost on Thursday with flowing endorsements from Republican Sen. Slade Gorton and Rep. Richard “Doc” Hastings, R-Pasco.
Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Spokane, also has endorsed Dole.
A win by Dole’s rival Pat Buchanan would harm trade-dependent Washington state, both Gorton and Hastings said during a news conference on Thursday.
“I’m for Bob Dole because Dole is a free-trader,” Gorton said. “Whether it is Boeing, Microsoft, apples or wheat, we are a trade-dependent state.”
Dole will be in Portland this weekend. Gorton, who will act as co-chairman to the Dole state campaign, said the Republican majority leader would also visit Washington before the March 26 primary.
Dole is the leader in a new North Dakota poll pitting him against the seven other Republican presidential hopefuls on the state’s primary ballot Tuesday, along with President Clinton.
Dole was the pick of 36.8 percent of the 550 people polled. Clinton, who is not on the ballot, was second with 26 percent, followed by publisher Steve Forbes with 15.7 percent and Buchanan with 11.2 percent.
From the back of the bus
Forbes is digging in his heels and his wallet. Sen. Dick Lugar, too, says he’ll carry on for now. But both are refashioning their GOP presidential campaigns to try to compete with the trio on top.
Forbes, the publishing heir who went from pre-voting sensation to also-ran in the first contests, campaigned in Delaware on Thursday in the midst of a staff shakeup and after deciding to spend millions more of his own money on the fight.
In Washington, Lugar said he would concentrate his efforts on five New England primaries March 5 - essentially sitting out important contests in Arizona, the Dakotas, South Carolina and more - and see what happens.
Forbes finished a distant fourth in Iowa and New Hampshire while Lugar was lower still. Forbes elevated former Wyoming Sen. Malcolm Wallop to his campaign’s top strategic role and reduced his reliance on consultant Carter Wren, architect of the attack ads that backfired in Iowa and New Hampshire.
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