- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Teamsters President James P. Hoffa said today the union has ruled out endorsing third-party presidential candidates Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader and may not endorse either of the major party candidates, either.
"Our position is between [Al] Gore, [George W.] Bush and withholding endorsement," Mr. Hoffa said. He said the union would decide shortly after Labor Day.
The Teamsters did not endorse any presidential candidate in 1996.
The union is upset with Gore over his support for a trade deal with China. The Teamsters' opposition to free trade is more in step with the positions of Green Party candidate Mr. Nader and Mr. Buchanan, one of two candidates nominated by opposing factions of the Reform Party.
Mr. Hoffa called Mr. Nader "a visionary."
"But I think we have to look at reality as to who has a chance of winning," Mr. Hoffa said in an interview. "And while I have great respect for him, I think it's going to be hard for him to pull enough votes to win."
Mr. Hoffa is a Michigan delegate to the Democratic convention but says he may not be around for Mr. Gore's nomination.
"The Michigan delegation is going to go for Gore, so however I vote will be irrelevant," he said.
Mr. Gore has the endorsements of the United Auto Workers union and the AFL-CIO.
Mr. Hoffa said he thought Mr. Gore made a good choice in Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as his running mate, but he added that it wouldn't sway the endorsement decision.
Mr. Hoffa said he was received well by his fellow delegates today, even though he also courted Republicans at their convention earlier this month.
Michigan Rep. David E. Bonior, the House minority whip and the leading House opponent to the China trade bill, said he thinks Mr. Hoffa will eventually endorse Mr. Gore.


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