A defiant Pat Buchanan said Saturday he was not certain he would back Bob Dole in the fall, derisively referring to the likely GOP presidential nominee as a hollow, duplicitous candidate who has no ideas and had sold out the middle class.
During an interview with The Associated Press, just the mention of Dole’s name stoked anger in Buchanan, who vowed to stay in the Republican race and selectively target a few states even if Dole mathematically clinches the nomination in the next few weeks.
“What does Bob Dole stand for that we all ought to get behind?” Buchanan asked. “The answer is: nothing.”
Buchanan conceded Dole was most likely to win the nomination but, at a time most other Republicans are rallying around the presumptive nominee, left no doubt that peace with him was nowhere near at hand.
“Next question,” he said bluntly when asked if he would pledge to enthusiastically back Dole if he were the nominee.
Recalling his general election support of President Bush in 1992 after his bruising primary challenge, Buchanan said: “I thought Bush, for all his mistakes on taxes and the other things, was simply a better man and a better president and was more representative of what I believed than Bill Clinton.”
Asked if he could make the same judgment about Dole, Buchanan said: “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what Bob Dole believes in.”
Buchanan traced his anger to Dole’s decision in New Hampshire to launch a television ad labeling Buchanan “too extreme” to be president.