Lamar Alexander, facing questions about how long he can remain in the presidential race, said not to count him out until several more Republican primaries are held. “I think everybody ought to just settle down and let’s have an election.” In a week or so, he said, “it’ll be clear who can beat Bill Clinton, who can defeat Buchananism and who can paint a picture of the future.”
Pat Buchanan, calling himself a “happy warrior,” vowed to ignore his detractors even as he challenged Bob Dole to match his multi-stop campaign pace in Arizona. “They can call me all the names they want. We’re not going to compromise. We’re not going to apologize,” a defiant Buchanan said while campaigning in Arizona. He offered the Senate majority leader some help navigating the terrain, displaying an Arizona map with more than a dozen towns circled to show the places he’s visited. “We’re going to see if we can’t get one of these maps over to his headquarters so he knows a little bit more about this great state of Arizona,” Buchanan joked.
Bob Dole spent a low-key day of campaigning in Arizona. At a retirement community in Green Valley, he told senior citizens he would protect government benefits for the elderly. “We’re not going to devastate Medicare. Don’t let Bill Clinton scare you.” And he rapped Buchanan for his anti-trade positions. “We’re not going to solve it by building a wall around America,” Dole said of the U.S. trade deficit.
Steve Forbes told a Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington that he planned to stay in the race to gain more support for his flat tax proposal. “The message is why I am running today and why I have no intention of quitting this race.” He also said he wants the “scourge” of abortion to end, but emphasized that the issue must ultimately be decided by agreement and persuasion instead of by law. “I know it’s frustrating to hear that but in a democracy there’s no other way,” he said.
News of note
Former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp, a favorite of some conservatives, said Pat Buchanan needs to be engaged on his “dangerous ideas” but that attacking him personally will misfire. “I am criticizing all of the candidates who simply throw ad hominem or personal attacks on Pat Buchanan,” he said. “What they should be doing is talking about the real issues that he has raised, and he has come up with some very dangerous ideas for the future of the country.” Despite a promise of early support for Steve Forbes, and a statement he would endorse someone before Iowa, Kemp remains neutral.
A straw poll of conservative activists gave Sen. Bob Dole an edge over Pat Buchanan. In a poll answered by some 600 delegates to the annual Conservative Political Action Convention in Washington, Dole got 26 percent of the votes to 24 percent for Buchanan and 11 percent for Steve Forbes. Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, the group’s favorite a year ago, got 9 percent despite being out of the race, tying Lamar Alexander and Alan Keyes.
Upcoming on TV
Buchanan on CNN’s “Late Edition With Frank Sesno,” 9 a.m. PST.
Buchanan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Alexander: Phoenix; Nashville, Tenn.
Dole: Tucson, Phoenix.
Dick Lugar: New England.
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