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Campaign Notebook

Wed., Jan. 31, 1996

Tuesday’s campaign news

Evangelical environmentalists

Congressional conservatives, who have already seen some religious allies on moral and cultural issues attack the overhaul of welfare and Medicaid, will face another such challenge today as a group of evangelical Christians urge support for the Endangered Species Act and the defeat of proposals to weaken it.

Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin who helped found the group, the Evangelical Environmental Network, said in an interview Tuesday that the Endangered Species Act was “the Noah’s ark of our day,” and that “Congress and special interests are trying to sink it.”

DeWitt and other leaders of the evangelical network, which says it represents more than a thousand local churches, will announce a nationwide drive this morning to create a movement of “Noah” congregations pledged to support the protection of endangered species.

Perot on move

COLUMBIA, S.C. The Reform Party movement is strong despite setbacks in some states, Ross Perot said Tuesday as he helped the independent party’s organizers turn in petitions to qualify for the South Carolina ballot.

“Every state will create roadblocks and obstacles,” Perot said when asked about the party’s failure so far to qualify in Ohio and Maine.

“When the dust clears, we’ll have it,” he said. “Both political parties will do everything they can to stop this party from being created.”

Debate scheduled

CONCORD, N.H. At least four of the leading Republican presidential candidates will get to question one another two days before the New Hampshire primary, a spokesman for the event said Tuesday.

Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, commentator Pat Buchanan and publisher Steve Forbes are committed to the debate, scheduled for Feb. 18 in Concord, spokesman Bruce Jeannont said.

As for front-runner Sen. Bob Dole, “It’s still up in the air,” Jeannont said. “It’s absolutely not a ‘No.”’

The candidates

Lamar Alexander said in a statement that Forbes’ New Hampshire primary campaign is like the Wizard of Oz, projecting a big image while hiding from real voters. It’s the latest blast from Alexander, whom Forbes has bypassed in the polls.

Pat Buchanan savored his Alaska straw poll victory and said it will give him a boost in the Iowa and Louisiana caucuses.

Bob Dole unveiled a new ad that portrays Forbes as an extravagant spender of government money during his 1985-1993 chairmanship of the Board of International Broadcasting.

Steve Forbes said he did no wrong while chairman of the Board of International Broadcasting, which oversaw U.S. radio broadcasts to Communist Europe. “They played a critical part in bringing down the Iron Curtain. President Reagan was immensely pleased with our performance,” he said in Derry, N.H.

Phil Gramm tried to play down his poor showing in the Alaska straw poll, noting he had chosen to spend nothing on TV ads and just $30,000 on radio. “It didn’t make any sense … when you’re a week away from picking real delegates (in Louisiana),” Gramm said in Washington.

Dick Lugar began airing new television commercials in Iowa featuring “average Iowans” praising him. The first spot features Des Moines insurance executive Fred Taylor declaring, “I would shake his hand and believe anything he said.” An announcer says “Iowa will do the right thing” for Lugar.

News of note

Jack Kemp was meeting with Dole in Washington Tuesday night, and planned to meet with Forbes today. With 12 days to go until the Iowa caucuses, both men are seeking Kemp’s support for the GOP nomination. The endorsement of Kemp, who ran for president in 1988, is considered influential for many supply-side conservatives.

Dole finished a distant third behind Buchanan and Forbes in Alaska’s straw poll. Buchanan polled 33 percent of the 9,188 votes cast, Forbes took 31 percent, and Dole had 17 percent. Dole dismissed the results as “not particularly significant.”

Upcoming ON TV

Forbes on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” 6 p.m. PST today.

Today’s stops:

Alexander: Des Moines, Iowa; Cedar

Rapids, Iowa; West Des Moines, Iowa.

Buchanan: Manchester, N.H.

Dole: Westbrook, Maine; Londonderry, N.H.; Nashua, N.H.

Forbes: Washington.

Gramm: North Augusta, S.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Lugar: Hawarden, Iowa; Sioux City, Iowa.

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